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I resumed cycling after a +20 year break and I was having problems with the saddle. At first I thought it was my weight and being unused to cycling (I would get discomfort and then numbness after about 90 minutes, which wasn't nice). I persisted and got my weight down and rewarded myself with a fancy Olmo bike. And it felt like the saddle wasn't even there. I even managed an 11 hour ride without any discomfort.

The saddle on the Olmo was a Selle Italia SL Gel Flow. I used to race on a bike with a Selle Italia SLR, so I got a SLR Gel Flow that was the same length and width as the SL Gel Flow and put it on my commuting bike. And no change. So I thought maybe it was the bikes and swapped the saddles. Nope - it wasn't the bikes, it was the saddles.

I bought a new commuting bike that had a Selle Italia C2 Gel Flow. And it was okish. I could manage the commute into work (about 75 mins) with no trouble, but any longer wasn't good. The C2 suffered in the Glasgow weather and the cover started coming loose, so I got a Fizik saddle and it is like the SL - extremely comfortable.

So I am baffled about the Selle Italia saddles. They look identical and I've measured them every way I can think of and they are the same, except for the weight. They seem to have the same amount of give on the surface. But when I actually sit on them they feel very different. I don't understand it at all. Incidentally, the Fizik is pretty much the same shape as the Selle Italias, except without the gap in the middle.

I am baffled by what is going on with the saddles. Does anyone have a clue as to what is behind this?

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    Welcome to Bicycles @WyD1234. I think this is a great question. Photos of the saddles on your bikes would help get accurate answers. I'm wondering about how the saddles are mounted on the bike. BTW, we recommend that new members take the tour to make best use of the site. – andy256 Dec 29 '16 at 12:40
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I think it is the difference in stretch, a slight different of angle in 'give' will make a huge difference in how they fit you.

It is often but not always that the more expensive saddle is the better one. I have had a very cheap (4 $US or less) that I used without problems for all its (rather long) life.

People who use saddles with a gap will often tell that those work very well for them, but not for all people.

So I am afraid it will be a case of try and change if it does not work out. If, as you have, you find one that fits you, try to get one for each (new) bike.

  • When buying a new bike, take the opportunity to try saddles from the LBS. Many have a box of OEM saddles swapped out by customers and are happy for you to try as many of those as are in the box. The more expensive ones may be a bit harder to convince them to let you try. – mattnz Dec 29 '16 at 19:15
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    Congrats on the gold badge! – andy256 Dec 30 '16 at 11:50

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