The right saddle

The right saddle

There seems to have been a lot written about the hazards to one’s manhood from riding on the wrong saddle. I use a Specialized Tri-cross with the factory-fitted Riva road saddle for a short daily commute and weekly fitness rides on road. I find the saddle comfortable for the first 20 miles then the pressure on the sit bones seems to increase.

I don’t feel pressure anywhere more sensitive. Should I be considering a new saddle? If so, which?

Brian Smith, Tewkesbury

The simple answer is: there are no simple answers. In Three Men on the Bummel (by Jerome K Jerome), in which the three plan a cycling tour of Germany, Harris believes that the right saddle is to be found. Our narrator replies that: ‘this is an imperfect world of joy and sorrow mingled. There may be a better land, where bicycle saddles are made out of rainbow stuffed with cloud; in this world the simplest thing is to get used to something hard!’

I cannot improve upon Jerome’s analysis. Be glad that your existing saddle, whilst ‘constructed upon anatomical principles’ at least does not ‘nip like an irritable lobster’ or press hard upon any parts of the anatomy unintended to receive such pressure. We are all made differently and a better one for you may yet exist; however, there is no cheap or easy way to find it.

One dealer used to have a mail-order ‘saddle library’ that you could borrow for a fee refundable against the saddle picked, but the length of time for which each customer needed the library gave an unprofitable ratio of stock to sales. Some dealers do something similar on an ad hoc basis; and if you have a good relationship with a local dealer it could be worth asking if he has any alternative saddles you might try.

Chris Juden

 

This was first published in the August / September 2012 edition of CTC's Cycle magazine.

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