Saddle Sore? This is What you Should Look for in a New Saddle


Specialized Toupe saddleChoosing the correct saddle is a very personal thing and Dan is having problems in that area and needs to know what he should look for in a new saddle. We try to help him and give him some pointers, but of course he is the only one who knows if he is comfortable. (Above image credit


Hi, I find my butt gets sore after 30-40 miles. I’ve tried a couple of different manufactures shorts, some with gel and some with chamois and tried Assos’s chamois cream but still get sore from the saddle. I’ve gone through the setup of the bike to make sure seat is correct height and angle etc.. I’m currently using a Specialized Toupe 143 saddle, should I consider a different saddle and if so, without any to try or borrow; how do I choose one in the shop and any recommendations? I’m about to start a 6 day ride with up to 75miles per day, so need help sorting this uncomfortable problem.

Hi Dan,

Saddles are a problem, well they are for many riders, and some lucky people can just sit on any saddle and are comfortable straight away. For the rest of us it’s very much a trial and error process and when we find the saddle we get on with, we then hope they don’t stop making it or change it. So you want to know what do?


First; your ass is just like the rest of your body, it needs to be trained to ride longer distances and get used to doing something different. Your muscles, heart and lungs and your seating area needs to be trained to toughen up for cycling.


Second; what can you do to help? Clean the sitting area (ass) well after a ride and use an alcohol on it after your shower/bath, after shave will do, this makes sure the area is clean and will harden the skin. For the actual ride you need good shorts with good padding, like the ones you have tried and a cream can help, Assos is one of the best, but you can also try the one from Elite and we found Crotch Guard very good without the greasiness of the creams. These of course are to stop chaffing and will not stop the actual pressure on the saddle. Never use something that will soften the skin.


Now the BIG question; how to pick a saddle that suits you? This is very difficult to answer, as I said before; what suits me might not suit you and it’s very difficult to advise others. Many people love their Arione saddles and others hate them, the Flight has been popular with many over the years, even with its changes, including the gap in the middle.

More gel doesn’t always mean more comfort, but it can help, look at the shape of your saddle and decide if it is rubbing or there is more pressure at certain points, then check out as many other saddle shapes and gel configurations to see if there is another saddle that may fit you better. There are some saddles that are available from shops on a test basis, try to find the shop hear you.


This is a very difficult subject and is a problem for most riders, similar to choosing the correct cycling shoes. I hope we have helped, but it is a bit like finding who the slipper fits! Let us know what you decide and good luck on your ride, Dan.


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  1. Dan

    Just an update in case anyone is intersted in the outcome.

    I did the bike ride using my original Spacialized Toupe saddle, by day 3 is was in agony!!

    After, i bought a Spcialized Avatar 143 for more padding, rode 4 miles and knew instantly this wasn’t for me, my thighs got sore very quick.
    I then tried a Selle Italia SLK, it’s smaller than the the toupe and felt comfortable at first but after a few hours, sore again.
    This was now starting to get expensive.

    A lot of people suggested Fizik Aliante. I looked at these and decided £180 (uk pounds) was too expensive just to try a saddle. I looked on ebay and found a mountain bike version Aliante-g, i got this unused (was fitted to a bike a person had just bought and didn’t want it) for around £40.
    What a difference !!!
    I know this isn’t the lightest saddle in the world but the first time i rode for over 3 hours, there was no pain!!!
    Didn’t matter whether i sat on the rear of the saddle or moved forward on the nose, it was comfy!
    I’ll probably splash out on the road version in the spring, as i now know this the shape for me.

    Thanks for all the advise.

  2. Jack Doonan

    I read with interest the problems some are having with saddle soreness. Many years ago, when I was in the Fleet Air Arm and about to undertake an “Escape & Evasion” exercise , in the Brecon Beacons, an old Chief Aircrewman advised that to combat chaffing and blisters, you should: Liberally smear the area with Vaseline petroleum jelly; Wear a close fitting, seamless garment over it; Wear an outer garment that covers the whole area. In the “Escape & Evasion scenario, this advice was relevant for maintaining foot health and comfort. In cycling, to combat chafing and consequent saddle soreness, I have found the same advice applies, i.e., one should: Smear the whole area with Vaseline; don close fitting, seamless underpants; put on padded cyling shorts; enjoy the comfort! I trust your readers find this useful.

  3. david

    I have both the Sella Italia “Flight” and the San Marco”Era”, they ‘re both very different but both very comfortable.

  4. Jimmy

    I find that if you stand up to peddle 4-6 times in a hour’s ride your butt does not get to sore.Of course a good pair of shorts and a good saddle helps too.I have a Koobi Tri-Ti Bicycle Saddle and they build the Saddle to your weight and how you ride and how long.Hope this helps.

  5. Jon

    Try and look at Cobb saddle.

  6. Rick

    Try the saddles with the “holes” in them like the Selle Italia. Sam is correct, your ass needs to get used to any new saddle and usually takes a week or longer (depending on how much riding you do). The reason I say start with ones with the hole, is that everyone that has ridden the standard profile saddles will not go back after using these. Hopefully this helps reduce your selection dilemma by 50%. Ciao.

  7. ian

    The most comfortable saddles are the padded ones you might find on a mountain bike with a large centre gap. They are not fashionable for road bikes, and they are relatively heavy, but remember, the only part of the bike you cannot see when you are on the bike is the saddle. What the saddle looks like when you are off the bike is of no importance whatsoever. Forget completely what a saddle looks like and get one that you can sit on for several hours without it becoming a problem. You will go faster for longer even if it weighs a bit more than the carbon sliver that looks so fast when you are off the bike.



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