Friday, January 18, 2013

Tales from behind

I'm trying to find the perfect saddle at the moment. In order to keep myself reminded of what's gone before I thought I'd post about where I am now and what has cosseted (or not) my behind. This isn't going to be one of those reviews where I compare weights etc.

So first up the most comfortable to date is probably the CSN Superleggera K10 which I guess would come in at the budget end of the spectrum. This came with my Ribble Gran Fondo and I've done around a 1000 miles on it.
Pros- minimal numb wang and a reasonable amount of flex.
Cons- I did get some saddle soreness from it on longer days, and the shape seems to just snag a little on my thighs at the back wing.

Next up I think is the Specialized Toupe Plus. Twice the price of the K10 above but is it twice the saddle? Well it certainly hasn't resulted in any numb wang. It is quite hard though.

Pros- Lightweight, no numb wang at all.
Cons- quite stiff, and the flat shape puts pressure on the insides of my legs, more so than the K10.

Lurking in the middle so far, and also on my MTB is the Selle Italia XR XC Flow. It should be noted this is a narrow model.

I've done around 800 miles on it and find it comfy to start off with but then the narrowness begins to put pressure on my perineum. It is light, and it wasn't expensive. I used it during the cyclocross races with no problems.
Pros- short distance comfy, light, cheap.
Cons- no good over 30 miles

A friend, Pete (cheers Pete) very kindly lent me a Charge Spoon to try. I've no picture of it, so here's a stock pic from online-

I was really hoping it would be the right saddle. Not least as Pete confirmed he suffered in similar ways to me with comfort and pressure. Also I could get a brown leather one with titanium rails. This pleased me.
It was not to be. It was comfy to start with but then I found the old numb wang creeping in. Even adjusting the saddle to have more nose down didn't allay the pressure and pain. Real shame.
Pros- cheap (for non-leather), range of colours. Sit bone comfy.
Con- numb wang!

The Specialized Rival 143 was OE on my Tricross back in 2010. I did close to 1200 miles on it before changing.  It's ok up to around 10 miles and then gets rather uncomfortable indeed. Numb wang a go go.
That said it is pretty tough although the cover bubbled up a little at some point along the central groove. Although there isn't a cut out in the foam or cover, there is in the plastic base. Not that it made any difference.
Pros- came with bike, durable
Cons- numb wang.

So to round off so far is the SDG Bel-Air Ti, and I have a snazzy Palomino version.

I really wanted this to be spot on, one because I had it, but also because I liked the idea of fitting it to the road bike. So for testing I took it from the MTB and fitted it to the road bike. First thoughts were good; there's plenty of padding in the saddle and it wasn't snagging my legs at all. As the miles wore on though things became very painful down below, and then numb. The reason it's down below the Rival, despite similar characteristics of pain infliction is that it's the only saddle where I've actually felt bruised the next day or two. Back on the shelf then...
Pros- awesome style
Cons- gives me such a beating.

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