Just looking for a new saddle and am amazed at the huge price range. I realise that different bums may prefer different saddles but what do you actually get for paying more? Is it just less weight? Is there a Holy Grail of comfort? And of course can somebody recommend a saddle that won't break the bank and still be comfy for somebody who weighs 13stone?
What more do you get from an expensive saddle?
Lightness and build quality usually
You can't really recommend saddles but I get on just fine with both the Charge Spoon and the Knife - I'm around 13st
Charge Spoon is the standard good VFM saddle answer. :edit - beaten to it already:
They're alright but a comfy saddle on longer rides is worth its weight in gold...thing is, the best way to find out is trial & error; I've settled on Spesh saddles with the hollowed out grove as I was getting uncomfortably numb without a grove on the Spoon
An empty wallet. Spoon for me.
Selle Italia SLR XC. Light, comfortable and currently reduced from £100-odd to £39 at OnOne
WTB Volt keeps me comfy.
i like the charge spoons and have three of them but they do weigh 290g which is a bit lardy.
Its not weight that affects saddle comfort, but the width and angle of your sit bones, im 16st but have narrow 130mm saddles. Then theres different shapes which may or may not suit you, then theres cut outs which help if your pelvis is tilted foreward (pretty much a given if you work in an office).
More expensive tends to mean more choice as well as better materials and manufacture. Theres only one spoon (fine if that fits the most common arses) but selle italia do the SLR in 3 widths, 3 different cut out shapes, 4 padding levels, and loads of price points/construction materials. And if none of those fit then they do the flite in most of those options too!
I go between an SDG Bel Air Ti (only 45gms lighter than cromo version) and Madison Flux (minutely different from Charge Spoon, but seems to have tiny bit more padding at the back, scuff inserts, and more sensible stitching, I could be wrong about the padding, but using both - seem to prefer the Flux for comfort.
Choosing between the Bel Air and Flux? Probably the Bel Air but for the extra padding, higher rear perch, and lack of stitiching on the top material. The minor weight gains are meh IMO, I generally look for comfort and longevity with a weight/cost compromise.
In saying that, got on really well with (used) Fizik Gobi K:ium flexy-gilled thingamajig that I paid a tenner for as leather was scuffed up. Really nice perch even when rode all day, gets out of the way quickly, easy to adjust self fore and aft, seemed really well made and took some abuse. That's what I'd buy again if was loaded*
*Yet without using padded shorts it'd still be the Bel Air, being a softarsed softy. Saddles are like arses and opinions, more expensive doesn't necessarily mean more useful/comfortable or that great a saving in weight. XC racers opnions may differ....
Mtb not really found a benefit to high end saddles, buy whatever sdg is going cheap.
Road, the best upgrade I ever made was to a Fizik Arione, made the bike feel 'right' straight away.
My two favourite saddles are the Charge Spoon and the Specialized Toupe.
The Spoon is cheaper, heavier and the padding seems to "pack down" quite quickly meaning it has to be replaced sooner.
I guess that I should do some sort of cost:longevity equation to work out which is actually cheaper in the long run.
I'd pay 10x the price for a sadle that fits over one that doesn't. Thankfully I have a spoon shapes arse.
For the money you basically save weight
Least favourite of all my saddles tbh
I am not that fussy over my saddle tbh but that spoon is less comfortable than some roady saddles I use on the MTB that have no padding.
Spoon here as they discontinued flites, they came back slightly different & then reintroduced the old shape & if they weren't stupid money I'd go back but a spoon at less than £20 will do
I think the No.1 answer would be more£=extra lightness.
You can easily get a cheap saddle that would be more comfortable if the shapes right than something costing top dollar but being the wrong shape.
Once you know what shapes/styles suits you generally more money will buy you a lighter version of the same.
Higher price= Lighter weight is not necessarily true, and it's certainly not the only factor what makes a saddle more expensive. In many cases it's down to material differences in the base, padding, and cover. Basically, the more you pay, the better these get.
When I say better, I mean that the base gets more robust, and has more cleverly engineered flex throughout- to ensure sturdiness without compromising comfort/ensure comfort without giving the base the same rigidity as a bit of ham.
Padding-wise, better saddles tend to use higher-density padding, meaning it's more resistant to packing-down- in the same way that good bibshorts don't use massive wads of thick padding. This affects ride comfort as well as longevity.
Cover material makes a huge difference to a saddle's lifespan, but also the aesthetic (cynics will say this doesn't matter, but when your bike is your pride and joy, you want it to look good)
A well made saddle will last for years, and still look good after a couple of winters slopping through manky conditions, in heavyweight winter riding shorts. For example, I've got an SDG Duster which has seen a couple of horrific winters now, and it still looks pretty much box fresh.
Rail material does make a difference, in ways other than weight. Yes, a ti rail might be marginally lighter than a cro-mo rail, but it is also significantly stronger, and much more resistant to the rigours of riding in shitty conditions.
After years of using crappy saddles (and having them wear out in less than a year) I've seen the light and have resolved only to use good quality saddles. The initial cost is more, but a good one lasts for years, and I figure as it's the part which connects my most sensitive of the 3 contact points to the bike, it's worth doing right
In terms of recommending a saddle, that's pretty much impossible, as everybody has different preferences/fits etc. Best thing to do is find a shop with a few different test saddles, and try a few out to see what you like!
Even if it breaks, hell it's only £20, or even £10 when bargains turn up. Just buy two (I did )
Never had issues with a Spoon wearing out on the cover. They are comfy without being a big padded sofa. They do the job. Only replaced one due to bending a rail in a crash. Have seen plenty of expensive ones bend also.
- you'd hope to get a better engineered saddle which is comfortable and looks good, whilst also being stiff, strong, durable and light
I was a always a Flite fan until i rode with a Fizik Arione, now all my bikes have Ariones. Beautifully made, light, visually perfect and spot on for my arse. Saddles are such a personal thing that I don't think you can recommend a definitive "the one" to anyone. There are some gopping looking saddles out there though.
Seems a good buy , so I did
Arione or Flite for me, both light and well made. I have 1980's Flites that are still functioning fine. Off road I'm much less fussy because I'm riding SS and spend a lot of time standing up!
Not all Ariones are the same. I have three; one is white with black centre (to match the bars) and is noticeably firmer than the suede finished black and all black leather saddles. The former was the only one I bought new and perhaps they changed the padding.
RD - buy your Flites used, they come up all the time.
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