Monday, August 14, 2006

A Relief

I know this is my third post today. I have excuse for my behavior.

I recently bought this saddle: Sella Italia SLK. It's a pretty nice looking saddle. Compared to my Aliante Gamma, it is about 70 grams lighter, too.

Before I go on to talk about the SLK, I want to mention how much I love the Aliante. The shape is nice. The saddle is soft, without being too mushy. Everyone who has been on my bike has commented on how comfortable this saddle is. From the moment I first sat down on this saddle, it has been one of my favorite ever.

However, it isn't--how should I put this--anatomically correct. Therefore, I decided on the SLK. I probably would have gone with Specialized, but I hate their saddles. Or, at least, I've never enjoyed sitting on any of the ones I've tried.

Thursday, the SLK arrived. But, due to to the Tour, I didn't have time to ride it until Saturday night. My first impressions went like this:

"I can tell this saddle is split down the middle. This padding is very firm. I think I'm really going to like this saddle."

After around 30 miles, I started to realize that, although there wasn't any, um, numbness, I was very uncomfortable. While pedaling, this wasn't as noticeable, but when I stopped pedaling, I felt like I needed to stand up and get off the saddle. That ride ended at 36 miles. It hurt.

Now, I'm fully aware that sometimes it takes some time to get used to a saddle. Heck, I've reviewed quite a few saddles. My experience as been, though, that if a saddle is this uncomfortable after a ride of this length, there might be no hope for honest-to-goodness comfort. That is, my body may grow accustomed to it, but I doubt I'll ever enjoy it.

I think I'll send it back to Performance.

What do you think? Am I jumping the gun, here? Should I give it another 50-60 miles? Anyone have any other saddle suggestions? I'd rather not kill my chances of having more children after riding all day in LOTOJA. Also, I'd rather not spend all 12 hours of it standing out of seething pain.

By the way: 25 days until LOTOJA


tkp said...

I always think it's a big mistake to make a major equipment change right before a big event...especially one like LoToJa where you really need to focus on anything except becoming accustomed to a new saddle, a new position, a new pedal, shoe...anything.

Put your old saddle back on. Wait until after LoToJa and then start working with the new saddle. Give it a few rides before you decide to send it back.

As a side note, the most comfortable saddle I've ever used is the Selle Italia SLR. It looks extraordinarily uncomfortable, but after experimenting for a few weeks early in the year with a Trans Am (also with the anatomically correct cutout), the SLR was back on my bike for Cherohala.

Jon Sharp said...

I would have to agree that the SLR looks quite uncomfortable.

Normally, I wouldn't want to make any changes before a long ride like LOTOJA, either, but in this case, I'm worried about long distance in my current saddle. If I have severe numbness after 1.5 - 2 hours in the saddle. What will happen after 12 hours?

tkp said...

That's one of the reasons several long rides are so may have the legs for a 200 mile ride, but I can guarantee that your backside won't be ready for it...on any saddle...unless you've toughened it up first. My backside begins to hurt long before my legs do. On a positive note, ride through the discomfort (which may last quite a while)and eventually you won't notice it.

With only 25 days left to LoToJa, your best bet is to pack a bottle of Advil in your kit and stick with your old saddle.

BTW, I did one ride on a Specialized Saddle and took it back. Worst.Saddle.Ever.