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I've been on the lookout for a new saddle recently and everywhere I look on the web it suggests you should try lots of saddles before you buy.

I went for a professional bike fit, which was great but the guy didn't have many saddles to try. My local bike shop(s) don't offer a try/buy service.

Is there any saddle swap/service available in the UK that will allow me to try some saddles? I contacted Wiggle (popular online bike store) and asked if I could return a saddle if it didn't work out - they said no as the rails will get marked.

What should I do? Just buy and ebay?

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    Saddles are a bit like underwear. Some like boxers, some like briefs, and they’re awful personal. You can ask your buddies if they’ll let you ride. You can join a bike club. Or rental bike shop. But the realty is that many of us have garages or closets full of saddles we bought with Great Hope (R) but turned out not to be the miracle fix we thought. – RoboKaren Feb 8 '18 at 16:09
  • There is one large bicycle seller in Britain (E.v.s) who offer this saddle testing service at many local shops. And there may be more if you ask around. A cycling club might also help. – Carel Feb 8 '18 at 19:26
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    Someone should start a "saddle library", like a toy library or a tool library. You pay a fee, and can take home a used-but-good saddle and try it for a month. You can return it, and swap for another loaner, or buy a new one of that exact model. – Criggie Feb 8 '18 at 19:30
  • Love the saddle library idea. – SSilk Feb 8 '18 at 21:09
  • Yeah, I thought a saddle library would be a good idea.. almost a good business idea.. perhaps I should do it, sure beats programming? – John Hunt Feb 13 '18 at 10:10
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I'm not sure about UK-specific swap service, but here are a couple of things you can try:

  1. Check with your local bike shops and see if they have loaner saddles. My fave local bike shop has loaners of almost every saddle they carry and a sign out ledger. You can sign out the saddle and leave your credit card info. If it's not returned within a couple weeks, they bill you for the full price.
  2. Buy a saddle you're interested in, and carefully wrap a long strip of electrical tape around the saddle rails. The rails are thing enough that the width of the tape can pretty much go around. Then clamp them just firm enough to stay in place, and you'll find that after removing the tape, there are no marks. Voila, you can return it according to the return policy of most shops ("no marks on rails"). If the saddle comes zip-tied into a cardboard backing or box, just buy some dollar store zip ties of the same color to put it back in. I've done this with great success. Just make sure not to lean it against a brick wall or ride in your retro 70s punk studded leather bike shorts.
  3. Check your local bike forums/ club scene and see if anyone is willing to loan out a saddle you're interested in for a few days/ weeks (offer them a safety deposit).
  • Yes, I consdiered doing #2 but wasn't quite sure about success levels. I've currently got a Selle SMP which is a lot more comfortable than the Arione was (my bike fitter let me swap the saddle) however I went out at the weekend to do some hills in yorkshire and found actually it is good being able to move forward and backwards on the saddle so perhaps it's not quite right... I'll probably end up with a shed full of saddles. So hard to tell how good it is unless given a fair bit of time. – John Hunt Feb 13 '18 at 10:13
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    #2 works fine, just don't tighten the saddle as tight as you usually would. You should be able to tighten it to a sweet spot where the saddle's not shifting around over the course of a few rides, but is not clamped hard enough to gouge the metal through the tape. Without tape, this would still result in surface scratches and marks on the rails, but those are prevented by the tape. I can't say 100% if this same approach is safe on carbon rails but I would expect it would be. – SSilk Feb 13 '18 at 18:09
  • I have no interest in using carbon rails at this stage as I'm not a category 1 weight weenie lol – John Hunt Feb 14 '18 at 7:06

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