Choosing a saddle

I’m not sure I like the saddle that came on my bike. It’s a fizik arrione, which seems to suit a lot of people, but I’m not convinced. Does anyone have a recommendation on how to find a saddle that specifically fits me?

Finding the width of your sit bones can be done by sitting on some corrugated cardboard, google/youtube will give you ways to do it.
From there its at least easy to know what width to go for.
Some manufacturers also provide different versions of saddles depending on your riding style, for example racing saddles will assume a lower profile and hip angle compared to more upright riding position. For example as I need to replace my Giant saddle I know that they do a forward, neutral and upright version of their Contact saddle.
But how comfortable is less of a science and really a bit hit and miss.

Some LBS will have demo saddles for you to try…ask around at your local shops and see if they can help you try different saddles. As noted above, saddle fit is as much trial and error as it is science.

Some suppliers, such as Cobb, have a return policy that makes trying different saddles a no-risk option, just a bit of a hassle to have to send stuff back.

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Demo saddles from your LBS. Other option would be to buy on the cheap from e-Bay and try things out after doing copious research on your own (I’m currently going this route).

I had an Arione on my road bike, but have had numbness issues, so wanted a cutout. Researched a bunch and talked to a couple of fitters. Settled on the Prologo Dimension and I like it - no numbness - except now I’m getting one specific saddle sore after my long and hot rides and races. I think it’s not healed adequately after one specific ride that caused it, so my upcoming time off may resolve it for good (I hope!).

If not, back to the drawing board… I’ll ebay the Dimension to someone else and try another.

Saddles are (a) very personal choices and (b) often limited by your anatomy and sit bone placement. Unfortunately, seeking a broad-based, one-size-fits-all answer is not going to work for most people, most of the time.

I’ve faced a similar conundrum as you in the last year or so. I’ve tried a half dozen saddles and have yet to find one that I love (particularly for indoor/trainer riding, which seems to be less forgiving than saddles for outdoors, IMO)… There are some that rate really well that have been incredibly disappointing, and others that have been okay that I really, really like. My favorite saddle so far (especially for indoor riding) is the Selle Italia SLR Superflow L3. HUGE perineal cutout and a small amount of padding that I’ve personally found it to be pretty comfortable for indoor riding. However, I know other people who have anatomical structures that do not work well with the large cutouts.

I’ve also tried a Selle SMP Drakon, and found it to be quite uncomfortable for indoor riding, but decent for outdoors. That said, perhaps the most disappointing saddle I tried was the ISM PN 3.1. Although it removed the pressure from the perineal area, it added an incredible amount of pressure to the sit bones, and was pretty much unbearable on the trainer after 45 mins, even after hours of break-in.

I agree with others… if you can find a shop that has a broad selection of higher-end saddles (different brands, different models, different sizes) and will take the time to fit you, it’s probably your best bet, even if you spend a bit more money than you otherwise would by buying the saddle from an online retailer.

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In addition to there being a huge selection of saddles the positioning fore/aft, height, tilt, and the position and angle of other contact points can all make huge differences.

My suggestion would be to focus on width first. Do the sitbone measurement and try a relatively neutral flattish saddle that corresponds to the size. Something like a Specialized toupe is pretty sensible. As has a slight curve front to rear and slight curve side to side but nothing major.

It’s very hard to compare saddles and positions without having saddle height nailed, and then it’s tricky to maintain that perfect height as move the saddle. Team Sky used 2 reference points on saddles so could perfectly setup saddle on 4 factors - nose setback from BB, angle of saddle (usually taken bang in middle but depends on model), then front mark to BB and rear mark to BB. Just measuring up the seat post will get you close but it is worth have a fixed few reference measures to go back to.

Do some zone 2 stuff and try each bar position for 5 minutes. If it doesn’t feels great try shifting it fore and aft, it should immediately put you out of position or feel very odd if not in the right place, so get it feeling as good as possible. When trying a saddle first time I don’t use padding as it helps ID pressure points far quicker.

If you get nice pressure spread everywhere, no thigh catching (unlikely on a toupe) and things feel good crack on. If get pressure in the middle then either it is too far back, the bars are too far or low, the saddle it tilted up or the saddle is too narrow. Just by sitting further back without pedalling you should get some feedback on that. If necessary try wider than the numbers suggest, they is little to lose.

If feels good check the height is within a safe range of your usual saddle height and better still have someone or something to check you are not over extending the knee, then try some harder more sustained efforts. Ideally do this first on a trainer and if feels good go find some uphills, downhills and some dead flat sections (hard headwind and drops is ideal as naturally you will likely get low in drops).

Just from doing the above you hopefully get a feel of it you want a more curved or a flatter saddle.

If want more curve to push back on you could try a Specialized Romin (or could mean saddle is too low, too far forward, or bars too close or high). A Romin can feel wide on front end if a little low or setback too far, again it would need a play.

If you want to move around a lot and feel like the slight curve holds you in one place then maybe a Fizik Arione may work better and just need more playing with position (I can use one but need it slightly nose down and slightly forward of normal saddle position).

If you genuinely sit in a single position and feel you want something wide and flattish it might be worth trying a Power, and if try that and want a bit more curve a Power Arc.

These last 2 saddles are designed for more aggressive positions, so if you have a lot of bar drop and/or rotate the pelvis a lot you could start at this end of the spectrum and work back.

Good luck with it and sorry for the ramble.

As a side note of course other saddles are available other than Specialized, it is just what I seem to have always ended up with after trying tens of others over the years.

Only other I can suggest if you like a little softness in a saddle, a slight curve and traditional shape is a Charge Spoon. They seem to suit a lot of people I know that don’t run a hugely aggressive position.