New to the group and looking for some advice.
I have been on the same saddle since purchasing my bike back in 2013. Its a Selle Italia that came on the bike. I always found it very hard flat and numbing in all the wrong places. Having made a decision to actually use the bike for what it was made and enter some races this summer, I am looking at upgrading a few components, got new carbon rims which was the really big upgrade. So, doing my due diligence and researching seats, I just put a Bontrager Versa Comp on while I am on my (very old) magnetic trainer. I have noticed a significant difference, but now that I am at 90 min trainer rides I am feeling that old numb feeling. A friend suggested I look into SQLabs and I did get their “fit kit”, a piece of corrugated cardboard to sit on. I already know I need at least a 145 seat. Does anyone have experience with this company? My understanding is the Canadian distributer was just bought out. Thanks!
Nice to have you onboard @davidcook
Is there something about the SQlabs saddle that in particular you think will work for your behind? Do you favour round or flat saddles? Or just want to try something new?
Saddles are a very personal thing and everyone’s bottom is slightly different hence why there are many out there! I must admit I have never quite found the perfect saddle myself and have tried the various mechanisms (cardboard, the bean bags and the WTB gel one). They seem to give you an idea of the sit bone width but don’t seem to help with the shape (at least for me!). You didn’t mentioned which area was painful but maybe a saddle with a cutout might help it even a dual nose saddle like an ISM saddle if you are feeling pressure there?
Some saddle manufacturers offer good return policies allowing you to take the saddle back if it doesn’t work for you which might be worth trying. It maybe worth popping into one of the local bike shops and see if they have try before you buy options too (Mcphails, Grand River Cycles, Ziggys and King Street cycles are all club sponsors!). It might all have changed due to COVID rules though However, many of these shops will have take-off saddles (stock saddles that the customer immediately wanted changed) likely available to low prices to allow you to try a variety of shapes and sizes at once.
One thing to note is that being on a trainer often means a static position so you don’t move around as much concentrating the pressure on one spot. I get pain on the saddle area after about 90 minutes to 2 hours that I don’t get out on the road.
Finally, the post gave me an idea: maybe we could have a club forum organized saddle test pool? Allow club members to try out other members spare saddles for a period of time to see if the shape / width is right for them? I might have some spare saddles that don’t work for me I could donate to kick things off? Maybe we could get some donations from our sponsors? @Steven_Stillaway (I’m sorry already!) is there some way to have a have check in or check out? I guess we could have a spreadsheet but is there a nicer way?
@Oliver_Smith , thanks for the response. I have some metal pelvic parts. Reconstructive operation years ago left me with titanium plates (not enough to make a bike frame) holding my pelvis together, SO, I am harder to fit that most as I have no flexion in my synthesis pubis coupled with 20-30% muscle and nerve loss on my left side. Dont know if I will ever find a comfortable seat. But I will never stop searching! I did go to Ziggies and tried their jell measuring tool, but maybe carrying a bit too much junk in the truck, they could not get a clear reading. My old Selle Italia is a 135 flat saddle and the new Bontrager Versa Comp is 145 with cut out and mild contour. So, yes that is making a big difference. My friend is giving me his P2 and it has a dual nose so I am interested in trying that style of saddle. What I have been reading about the SQlabs makes physiological sense to me, just not so sure if I want to spend another $200 on a saddle. Spent enough on the new rims and tires!
I agreed with Oliver about the static position when riding indoors. I would wait until you get outside and you may find that the bontrager is a great fit.
The lads at Speed River Bicycles in Guelph offer a saddle fit/pressure mapping…hard for me to explain here, but a call to their shop may lead you in the right direction!!!
I’d pop by McPhails or Ziggy’s and sit on their sit bone calculator. That’ll tell you what size saddle you need (ie: 143mm etc.) and it’s free
What sort of racing are you doing? MTB, Road, Gravel?
I’ve tried all kinds of saddles and by far the best (for me) has been the specialized power saddle. It’s worth trying…I run it on all my bikes (Road, TT and gravel)
The comp has a bit more padding than the expert which has a bit more padding than the S-works version.
I did try the sizing system they have at Ziggy’s but they could not get a reading.
I am wanting to race road and TT, my friend is sending me his Cervelo P2 in a week or two and I have a SCOTT Foil (with new ALTO 40CC rims!). Been working hard and just finished a 6 week building block training and moving into adding some HIIT. Have designed an 8 week training block to add on to the 6 week. Not into Crits and wife wont let me get a fourth bike for gravel. I just started mountain biking last summer and don’t have the skill to race but love using it for hill climbing training.
One thing I would add from personal experience – there’s the saddle shape/design AND adjustment and bike fit. Getting both right is pretty important. I’ve had a bike fit for my road bike at Ziggy’s and some success setting up a new saddle (indoors and on the trainer) using the pedalling with your hands behind your back method to dial in fore-aft and seat angle. Getting the adjustment right for you will determine where you are in relation to the seat, which has a huge impact (at least it has for me) in terms of comfort both in terms of butt and hands as the fore/aft adjustment really impacts how you carry weight. Dialiling in seat height, angle and fore-aft has made a big differene for me in terms of both comfort and form.
Maybe check out McPhails saddle fit system. Strange you couldn’t get a reading. I find using the same saddle across bikes makes fit so much easier. Good luck!
I have the same problem with the various fit systems. I’m not sure if my butt is too boney or not boney enough but I tend to get a vague reading
Another thing to consider is the your position of the sit bones changes depending on your riding position so what might be comfortable on the tops might not be in the drops or vice versa.
I do the same saddle on all my bikes too. But I’m always looking for something better! It should be noted that it is not just shape that makes a difference but also the padding and where the padding is placed. For example the Selle Italia saddle I find really comfortable is a very similar shape to the the specialized Romin but the Romin padding is in a slightly different place / density and is not good for my butt.
Something else to consider is the bib shorts. Trying different types with a different chamois shape / structure might help too?
Very interesting discussion. I know we (cyclists) talk a lot about bikes…and saddles in particular. I didn’t realize the amount of analysis being done on saddles until this thread! (Btw…I love spreadsheets…)
TL;DR - I don’t pay attention to cushioning. For me, it’s all about the saddle shape (side to side AND front to back). Focus on finding an “invisible” saddle, not a “comfortable” saddle.
My personal experience (and advice I give family/friends) is that they should pay less attention to cushioning and more towards shape and width. If anything…cushioning can cause more issues. Sometimes a saddle with less cushion than you think you need is better.
I’ve been lucky through the decades as my body seems to adapt to which ever saddle I choose for each bike I’ve owned.
However…a couple years years ago I tried Fabric saddles as MEC has a great return policy and they carry a decent selection of Fabric saddles …and I appreciated Fabric’s categories.
I put the Scoop Race Flat on my track bike. Against my own advice, I was a bit concerned at the lack of any cushion. It is minimal at best. But, it is probably the best saddle I’ve ever owned (since the late 1980’s!) and I can summarize it in three words…it is invisible.
I don’t notice the saddle when riding! The flat shape and slightly longer “nose” fit me so well, I can’t say it’s uncomfortable or comfortable…it’s invisible.
I bought another one and put it on my gravel Led Sled and have gone on multiple hour rides with the same “invisible” saddle experience…on gravel and bumpy trails!
My plan is to add one to my road bike this year.
I have a Fabric on my mountain bike, but as I spend a lot of time out of the saddle I never actually associated it with comfort. But, when I think about it, I do feel more comfortable on rides like the Health Valley trail when I am on the saddle for periods of time. But then the whole trail from my front door and back is only 17km, so barely 45 min ride. I may just give it a try on my road bike see how that goes. I know there is a big difference being on my trainer compared to on the road (trail) so maybe the Bontrager will be just fine on the road. I also make sure my chamois is in good condition, although I am a cheap bugger, so dont always buy the better quality bibs and just tough it out. May have to invest in at least 1 good quality pair.
FWIW I use the SQLab saddles on all my mountain bikes, but they don’t work for me on road. I used their fit kit to measure my sit bones, and while the results are perfect for MTB they just didn’t seem to work with my road wise.
I use the new Selle Italia Model X Green Superflow (terrible name, great saddle) for my road bike, after trying fabric and a few others. The Model X is basically a cheap version of the Specialized Power ARC.
I like the saddle club idea Oliver…I ave a few to offer up to this “backend library”…
Update to this chat. My friend sent me his TT bike as he cant ride any more. He has an SQ Labs saddle on it. I put it on my trainer and have done 4 one hour rides and find the saddle very comfortable. I do have the Bontrager Versa Comp on my road bike and I am sure when I get out on the road with it I will like it a lot more. Still would be very interested to see if SQ Labs are still available as they were bought out at the end of last year. I now have 4 different saddles and think it would be interesting to continue the idea posted about having a club saddle trial group.