Q: How can I find a saddle that doesn’t hurt? Is there such a thing?
Brandon Marsh answers:
A: This is a really good question. When shopping for a road or tri bike, it’s easy to get wrapped up in the buzz around carbon fiber frames, Zipp wheels and electronic shifting, to name a few. Yes, the search for a saddle can be a pain in the butt; yet, it could be one of the most important bike components you purchase. You could be sitting on this saddle for over 100 miles, so shop smart and keep these points in mind:
1. First, make sure you have good quality cycling shorts (or tri shorts) and use an anti-chafing cream of your choice to help prevent common causes of discomfort.
2. Next, find a local bike shop you can trust. Many times a local shop will have an assortment of saddles that are “test” models you can borrow. Ask about their inventory and see if you can take one for a test ride.
3. You can also surf saddle manufacturers’ websites to view the range of options each carries. The manufacturer may have more models than your local bike shop. Some manufacturers even offer a “comfort” guarantee, which allows you a certain amount of time to try the saddle. If you aren’t fully satisfied after the test-run, you can return the saddle for a different model or even get a full refund.
Another thing to keep in mind is sometimes a saddle will feel worse before it feels better. It’s almost like wearing in a pair of shoes. Be patient, because with these seat-shopping tips and some time on the road, you’ll be sitting “tall in the saddle”.
Amy Marsh is a four-time Ironman champion, two-time IronDistance champion, and was named the 2010 USAT Long Distance Triathlete of the Year. Brandon Marsh has been competing in triathlons since 1988, and can be counted on to be a top-10 contender in every event he enters. Got a question about swim-bike-run or sports nutrition for Team Marsh? Email them at firstname.lastname@example.org. ‘Like’ them on Facebook or follow on Twitter: Brandon @BrandonMarshTX and Amy @AmyCMarsh.