MTB Saddles: Is it possible to try before you buy?

Forums Mountain Bike Forum MTB Saddles: Is it possible to try before you buy?

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    • #202427

      Hello everyone,

      I have discovered that my saddle (selle Italia GEL) is not so good for long rides (12+ miles).I do like it for its profile that is easy to move around when I slam the seat and hop around but too much time on it and I’m hurting pretty bad. I have ridden plenty of 9 mile trips before and I was able to tough them out no problem. Here recently I have gone on two 15+ mile trips that were absolutely agonizing for the last few miles one with and one without a chamois. I am going to play with my seat angle some but I am curious about trying new saddles. Maybe one with the center cut out.

      What options (if any) are there for trying out a saddle before you buy? I have tried a few that I bought used on Ebay but none have impressed. I have also read a dozen articles on saddle reviews but no two butts are alike so reviews only go so far.

      Any suggestions?

    • #202429

      WTB! There’s some nice one’s on Jenson that are affordable and seem quite comfy..

    • #202433

      hi, @onefastfattie! Let me drop my two cents based on my experience.

      Before spending money on a new saddle, try to do adjustments to your Selle Italia. Nose of the saddle should point slightly down and when your feet are on the pedals  (in 3&9 position) kneecap should be right above pedal axle. This is a general setting which works for many riders.

      cant say for other brands, but Specialized dealers have a tool to measure your biometrics and sell you a saddle that fits your body. You might wanna check them out.

      And last but not least, the more we ride the less it hurts.

      Good luck.

    • #202438

      Not sure how to measure or test, other than go to demo days and try a bunch of bikes and keep track of what saddle they come with..

       

      I know with Giant, depending on the saddle model, they come in upright and forward, or upright, neutral and forward. Same saddle but slightly different shape. My bike came with an upright which surprisingly fit me great. I have test road a few bikes with neutral saddle and they didn’t feel as good to me.

    • #202440

      Hopefully Greg doesn’t kill or fire me, but next week we’re publishing my article “How to Prevent Saddle Sores” where I discuss many contributing factors including how to find a fit. In the meantime, will you please read this and let us know if it helps:

      SQlab 611 Active Saddle Review: Rider Tested, Urologist Approved

      The SQlab saddle is excellent, but more importantly, their website is a good resource on correct saddle fit. you can DIY butt measurement using a cardboard box and a chair. Put a piece of cardboard down atop a chair and sit on it. Lift your feet off the ground to improve the impression your sit bones will make. Stand up and mark the center of the impressions. Measure this distance. Depending on riding style, you’ll need anywhere from 2-3 cm wider (than the sit bone measurement) saddle. So if your sit bones measure 120mm wide and you ride semi-upright, you’ll get a 14-15cm wide saddle. There are many other factors likely going on with you so you may want to sort them out before spending money on a new saddle. Stay tuned!

    • #202446

      Thanks Chris for the DIY guidance on saddles and measurements.  I’m going to have to try that and see how my saddles compare.  Looking forward to your upcoming article.

    • #202448

      Your local bike shop may have a test saddle program. I know WTB, for instance, sells demo sets of their saddles to shops. They are bright yellow so you know that they’re demos. You can try out a few different saddles and see what works for you. Even if they don’t have a full-on demo program, your local shop probably has a box of take-off saddles that they can let you try. Bring beer.

      Every butt is different, but I’ve never found a Selle Italia saddle that I liked. Their profile is too rounded for me. I prefer flatter-topped saddles like the WTB Silverado or some of Ergon’s offerings.

    • #202487

      Wow, a lot of great responses. I will have to read that article as well as try out that butt measuring procedure this weekend. Once I have a base knowledge about butt size coupled with the wisdom gained from the article I can make much better informed decisions on which type of saddle to hunt down to try out. Big thanks to all for the input. I will update once I have a chance to read that article.

    • #202488

      Here’s another great one:

      How to Choose the Best Mountain Bike Saddle

      And stay tuned for Chris’s article!

    • #202525

      That was a great article, the explanation of why some features exist on the seat was especially interesting. I am going to measure myself and compare my current saddle. Ill probably keep my selle for street rides because of its narrow profile which makes it easy to maneuver around. But I have a feeling that I will be hunting for a new xc type saddle. Not sure I could justify 189 on saddle but then again if it means I can go longer and be in less pain when I get done, I might just have to buckle down and spend the money on a high quality saddle.

    • #202541

      Thanks Greg,

      I read that article about a year ago and what I learned from it lead me to trying out a few saddles that I could get cheap on ebay( local shop didn’t have a demo program). I also bought my wife a terry saddle after reading about them in that article. She still hates bikes but the seat causing discomfort is no longer her argument. (shes not into sports or bugs or dirt or… you get the idea)

      I found the selle on ebay based loosely on the information from the article (honestly the fact that it matches my bike had a lot to do with my decision to buy it) and I liked it more than the WTB rocket I had tried as well as the Bontrager I had tried. It worked out fine for a good while, but my riding has changed some and perhaps it is no longer suitable for what I am doing with it.

    • #202571

      Yeah, quality saddles are not cheap! Many companies make the same saddle at different price points. As you move up in price, you get nicer, (often) more durable materials, and they tend to be lighter. I would steer you away from the lower end models just because the foam in them tends to be very cheap and will get blown out quickly. I personally go for mid-range saddles with chromoly rails. That way you get good foam, but you’re not paying for Ti or carbon rails. The reason I prefer chromoly rails over Ti, is they will bend but not snap like Ti will. On more than one occasion, I’ve had to get creative with lashing a saddle to a seatpost after the Ti rails broke.

    • #202575

      Yeah, quality saddles are not cheap! Many companies make the same saddle at different price points. As you move up in price, you get nicer, (often) more durable materials, and they tend to be lighter. I would steer you away from the lower end models just because the foam in them tends to be very cheap and will get blown out quickly. I personally go for mid-range saddles with chromoly rails. That way you get good foam, but you’re not paying for Ti or carbon rails. The reason I prefer chromoly rails over Ti, is they will bend but not snap like Ti will. On more than one occasion, I’ve had to get creative with lashing a saddle to a seatpost after the Ti rails broke.

      Ditto^^^. A saddle is bad place to save weight, especially on a mountain bike. Roadies can get away with that nonsense, but they aren’t slamming into them with their beer-swilling tuckus’ every ride either.

      That said, everyone’s posterior is different so no matter who says how great whatever saddle is you have to check them out yourself. So here’s my two sheckels: I still like WTB saddles and graduated from the couch-like Pure-V’s to the more svelte, but still very comfy Volts. All was well and good, but then I rode on several friends bikes that had Chromag saddles and they are now my go to. Many seem to like the Trail Master, but it’s a little too soft for my calloused nether regions and instead I prefer the Lynx DT. The one in the review has Ti rails (meh!), but DT has chromo ones. They are all extraordinarily well made too and look rad. Party.

       

    • #202583

      I have ridden several friends bikes, and demo’d several bikes and the seat I have found most comfortable to me, luckily, is the seat that came on my bike. It is a Giant Connect upright. https://www.giant-bicycles.com/us/connect-upright-black-blue . and it is a cheaper saddle, I have ridden on a higher end Giant with their $110 Contact SL saddle and didn’t like it as much.

    • #202724

      So I remounted the Bontager SSR I had laying around the garage. I rode it this morning on a relatively short ride and I think its too wide for me. Which makes sense on account that the saddle was intended for the ladies. I had to nose it down a quite a bit to get it to feel right. I will say though after rereading many of the articles posted I picked up information I hadn’t the first time through and some that I had forgotten. With that I was able to make better use of the SSR saddle this time around as I was more familiar with design features and what they are intended to do. So while this saddle wont be  the permanent fix, it sure is a good start.

    • #202768

      @RaymondEpstein we have similar tastes. The Silverado has been my long-time favorite and I’ve recently been using the Volt too. I’ve tried a couple of the Chromag saddles – the Trailmaster and the Moon. Both were great in terms of comfort, but the issue I had was the rails creaked like a mofo! On both saddles the creaking came from where the rails went into the plastic base of the saddle so there wasn’t anything I could do to remedy it.

      This was a few years ago, so maybe they’ve remedied the problem.

    • #205157

      I took a chance on an Outerdo MTB Gel seat and it has been an outstanding seat so far. I picked it out of a +500 positive reviews on other websites and I am very happy with it. See my review link below:

      https://www.singletracks.com/bike-reviews/Saddles/Outerdo-MTB-Gel-Comfort-Bicycle-Seat_14131#r13048

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