My career in a nutshell could be described as: Slightly Numb
I thought I found my perfect saddle in the Specialized Phenom 143. A MTB saddle, but it worked perfectly on the road. After 10,000 mi on it I then I started feeling a lot of pressure in my perineum. Kind of out of nowhere. I picked up a Specialized Power 143 and gave that a try.
My thinking was that it has a more curved profile and wider cutout and would help. It sort of did, but after 5,000 mi on it I just can’t find joy in riding it. After just 30 minutes of riding I find myself shifting a lot. I’ve played endlessly with tilt and fore aft and I just cannot get this saddle dialed in.
SMP has been on my want-to-try list, but the prices are just too hard to swallow and until recently I didn’t have a local retailer that can let me test drive. However, Colby Pearce swears by them and I’ve desperately wanted to try one. Thanks for the reco.
my fitter has a saddle test program, might want to try that route. I’ve got a spare Drakon on my grocery store bike, for when I’m using the trainer. And I’m definitely not using the trainer right now. But the rails are slightly bent and its not completely level (stupid 2015 Trek Domane seat clamp ). Not sure how much it costs to ship but PM if you are interested. Also think that Competitive Cyclist has a good return policy, but I’m not crazy about the colors they have.
williams aurora slc. I’m pretty sure it’s discontinued but I bought 4 (one for all my bikes) so I’m good. Measure your sitting bones to make sure you’ve got the right fit. Mine were closer together than I would have guessed given my height
I wish I could find the article (google fu is failing me,) but Slowtwitch once had a very interesting article with an extremely respected fitter. They were looking at pressure mapping as a function of saddle comfort. The core message I took away was: Saddles, your bibs, and your anatomy are all intrinsically linked to the point that changing one part essentially invalidates the ability to track the other two elements. Put another way, even if someone with your exact anatomy recommends you a saddle that works for them, their bib shorts and your bib short chamois differences may give you a different result.
All that’s to say: I barely think it’s possible to get recommendations, as the variables are too high.
Having said that, on the road I use a Selle Italia SL (non-cutout) and have always found it comfortable. I found the Fizik Arione to be wildly uncomfortable and felt like my whole body weight was on my taint.
Agree that saddle choice is deeply individual. I’ve heard so many people say “I love this saddle,” come to fry it, and not like it.
The only other thing I’d say is that I think an additional variable (besides you, the saddle, and chamois, is also your fit and position on the bike. I’ve found it challenging to isolate those variables, but I think that’s what I need to do!
I’ve had issues with pressure from saddles, and what’s helped me is using the Specialized Sitero. It’s meant as a time trial saddle, but I use it on my road bike. I like that it has a cutout that goes all the way through the nose of the saddle. So there’s nothing there to cause any pressure, in the middle of the saddle at least. Pretty much every other cutout saddle comes back together at the nose of the saddle, which is where I would feel the uncomfortable pressure, so the Sitero works well for me.
Ive got about 1500 miles on a specialized power mirror. Previously using a standard mirror before that. Out on the road, I never really thought about the saddle, but I had a pretty hard stop at around 1:30 riding indoors. Since I switched to the mirror, boredom has become my limiting factor, not gooch pain. I got the specialized version and not s-works, as the weight difference is negligible and it was $150 cheaper. Cant comment on real durability, but at 4-5 months on it, its holding up great and Id buy it again
Having gone through pressure mapping, I don’t think that different bibs invalidate a mapping session. Will different bibs change peak pressures? Sure, but my experience was that the high pressure areas are still the high pressure areas. Just the peak pressures change depending on how well the chamois matches your shape. My n=1 is that pressure mapping could be useful in comparing how good different saddles are for your particular anatomy, and optimizing your bike fit to reduce peak pressures while pedaling, and highlighting if chamois shape / density is aligned with your personal anatomy or pressure points.
I had almost chronic ischial bursitis and it was primarily resolved through fit changes that involved saddle pressure mapping. Moving my seat up and back let me rotate my pelvis forward and take pressure off of the main problematic areas. I also now am very picky about chamois shape (to make sure it covers my high pressure contact points) and density (higher the better.). That was after confirming that my saddle width was appropriate for my pelvic shape.
I’ve been through various saddles over the years in my bid to find that holy grail of a saddle.
Finally, I found SQLabs saddles, available in 1cm width increments, and any numbness has been banished completely, I have them on all my bikes now.
I had a bike fit last week. A very good one indeed. Spotted my hips were rocking too much and the final adjustment was trying a new flatter seat (Prologo Dimension Tirox). My hips stay planted now. The slightly rounded nature of my previous seat encouraged my hips to rock forward. I’d suffered saddle sores for 2 years on a previously comfortable seat (I’d moved the seat backwards and down it seems over the last few years - he put me up and forward)
I haven’t had numbness for years since switching to a seat with a cutout. The Dimension saddle is short too, real smart.