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My current saddle is starting to show its age and isn't as comfortable as I'd like on longer rides. I am considering buying a new one.

Obviously saddles differ in price and weight, but what other aspects should I look at when buying a new saddle?

For example, I've see Fizik adverts that suggest people should buy a saddle suited to their level of flexibility, with pictures of people attempting to touch their toes. Is this something I should consider?

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Saddle width is overlooked by many but is very important...epicidiot.com/sports/bicycle_saddles.htm –  Moab Oct 10 '11 at 4:18
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2 Answers

up vote 2 down vote accepted
  • Comfort
  • Width/size/fit
  • Price
  • Weight
  • Perineal cutout/groove (if that works for you)
  • Low friction
  • Angle your pelvis will be at while riding

That last one is what I suspect Fizik is talking about with the flexibility.

Assuming you're on a road bike and want to go as fast as possible, being bent forward more will help make you more aerodynamic. As long as getting more aerodynamic doesn't interfere with oxygen intake or leg motion that means going faster.

The part of your pelvis you sit on a saddle is a sort of triangular shape with the point forward, so as you rotate your pelvis forwards a narrower part of that triangle is what you're sitting on. So you need a narrower saddle (and maybe some other shape changes) if you're in a more bent-forward position.

Also take into account that saddle fit is not an exact science, despite the measuring gimmicks many shops have. You'll probably just have to try a few saddles out.

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There are more saddles on the market than I haver had hot dinners. It is the same with shoes, and I am fairly sure that 90% of the shoes on the market would give me personal discomfort if I was to buy them and be on my feet with them all day the next day after purchase. But, with the shoes I can mitigate against getting blisters etc. by wearing a comfy pair of socks.

You need to look into wearing a comfy pair of shorts for your longer rides to get around any saddle comfort problems. There is no Holy Grail of comfortable saddle. Having said that, a couple of decades ago it was realised that you need a groove in the middle, so your sit-bones are supported, not the blood veins that go to your man-hood.

You may also want to look into the simpler saddle designs that do not have lots of stitching and some resilience against scuffing when the bike is parked up against a wall.

In 90% of cases 90% of saddle comfort comes from having the saddle in the middle of the rails with the top of the saddle exactly level, the nose pointing exactly forward.

Ask what they recommend in your local bike shop and maybe pretend to be wanting to buy a road bike so you can test ride a few contemporary saddles. Then disappoint the sales guy by saying 'I will take just the saddle...'.

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