Saddles And The (seemingly never ending) Quest For The Holy Grail…Written: May 31, 2012
Cockpit - Bars, Stem, Seatpost, Components, Saddles
Yes, I’m still dicking around with saddles…
I had stopped. I found a saddle I really liked in the Fizik Kurve ‘Chameleon’ – it wasn’t quite as comfy or soft as the Kurve ‘Bull’, but it seemed to be a sturdy perch that alleviated a good deal of the vibration I get through my integrated seatpost and I didn’t suffer numbness on it. Curiosity got the better of me though. I had to give my Tune Komm-Vor one last try…
Damn thing had me flummoxed again.
You may recall my series of ‘Saddle Experiment‘ posts which (perhaps ironically) stopped at #13. That was about the same time that the Tune Komm-Vor originally appeared on the Baum, and I was so taken by it that I forgot to write anything more. A couple of other saddles slipped through the net too as I tried a San Marco Regal (the ‘Vintage’ version) and a Selle Italia Flite 1990 (i.e. the original, classic Flite design before they ruined the look of it with the new style). The Regal was tried on my short-lived Pegoretti and the Flite on my equally short-lived winter bike, and both worked very well despite the lack of cutout.
So why not just use one of those two on the Baum? Well, I would have done quite happily, except due to their respective designs I couldn’t get them in the right position on the Tune Cappy that graces the Baum’s integrated seatpost – its zero offset leaving them both too far forward for me. With the limited selection of decent setback ISP heads on the market (and my irrational hatred of Ritchey components which prevents me using their design) neither saddle was going to work on it.
Thankfully the Tune Komm-Vor was proving to be a great saddle; somehow it’s skinny carbon shell offering both enough support and enough flex for a decent level of comfort, without numbness and again, despite not having the cutout that I thought I so desperately needed. On which basis you might – quite rightly – even question why I bothered with the Kurve Chameleon at all (to which I’d answer quite simply that I wanted something that seemed a bit less precious and fragile). When curiosity did get the better of me and I returned to the Tune recently I not only reminded myself how good it was but also realised how the width of the Chameleon had been hampering me. The narrower width of the nose of the Tune saddle made my legs feel much more free to move. It’s stayed on the bike ever since too, and probably for the longest stint of any saddle I’ve used in recent times.
So why has this topic reared it’s head again? S-U-R-E-L-Y this is job done?…
I wish. Two issues have arisen:
- My shorts rub on the edge of it and make a really annoying noise (seriously, it’s like fingernails on a chalk board)
- It’s started creaking, and in quite a worrying manner
Arse. So what now?
I could just replace it, but there’s nothing to say it wouldn’t just start creaking again, and regardless of how much I like it there must be saddles out there that are both cheaper and won’t need perpetual replacement to keep them noise-free. Besides which, that doesn’t solve the (really very f?&king annoying) shorts noise.
In truth, because the fancy lightweight saddles like the Tune really suit the look of the bike, and because it’s damn near the exact same shape as the Komm-Vor (and reportedly every bit as comfortable) I very nearly ordered an AX-Lightness Phoenix – not my worst idea because if it turned out to be as comfortable as the Tune then the fact that the sides of it are moulded and curve under would eliminate the problem with the shorts rubbing. Except I’m right on the weight limit for it, and there’s the small fact that it costs FIVE HUNDRED DOLLARS! No, despite even my expensive tastes I just couldn’t bring myself to do it.
Much as I like them I think I have now eliminated most of the über light saddles from the list, based mostly on the same reasons that I’m switching from the Tune and not trying the AX. I briefly considered trying the S-Works Toupé, but given that it seems a cutout is less critical now it’d be $325 on a saddle that doesn’t even look comfortable, nor does it have any give in it. I might as well go back to my Superleggera if I’m going to do that (and before anyone comments as such, I’ve tried the standard Toupé).
Why not just go back to my Superleggera? The shape of the saddle is awesome… or at least it was… when my arse was smaller. Yes, I’ve put on weight, and the Superleggera is now too narrow at the back to be comfortable or supportive enough for me. And then there’s the fact that it is a damn solid saddle anyway!
For once I think I’m going to try the sensible option. I think I’m going to try the San Marco Regal-E. The ‘Belgian Sofa’. The saddle I really shouldn’t have dismissed so quickly before – and dismissed quite stupidly, given that it was a decision based mostly on looks (stupidly, as it didn’t even look that bad), although at the time my ISP was also too tall to get the saddle low enough. It was the saddle shape I most liked when I tried the older version of it late last year, and comes with the benefit that this one will actually fit on the Baum in the right position as the sides are more cut away to modernise the design and reduce the weight. My ISP should now be short enough too, having reduced its height by 15mm a few months back.
And if I don’t get on with it? God knows.
Tags:AX Lightness,bull,chameleon,Fizik,fx,Komm Vor+,kurve,phoenix,regal-e,regale,saddle,San Marco,San Marco Regal,San Marco Superleggera,selle,selle italia,Tune
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