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A sore butt is no fun. The most fragile of the
three contact points on a bike (butt, hands, and
feet), the rear end takes the most punishment in a
place accustomed to more gentle treatment. And
saddles do little to help. They seem designed to
transmit every bump directly to the bum as
The world leader in bicycle touring saddles is the
British company Brooks who has been making
saddles in their Birmingham factory since 1866.
They make beautiful, highly crafted leather
saddles, polished to shine like Italian leather
Yet despite the media sensation and the seat
redesign frenzy following Lance Armstrongâ€™s
testicular cancer revalations, few cycle tourists
chose anything but the traditional old-style Brooks
saddle. Tradition is an import, especially in
cycling. But tradition for traditions sake is not
UPDATE: This seat was fine
for a week, but after a while
Rich began to get horrible
saddle sores. He replaced it
with a plush Specialized
Rich owns a well-worn Brooks saddle but is not
using it on this trip. Newer saddles, designed to
contact the seat bones but avoid more fragile
parts and pieces seem just a bit more logical.
Amanda's saddle is designed specifically for
The real problem with purchasing a saddle is that
you cannot tell if it will bother your back-side until
you've ridden with it for a while. Most saddles will
show signs of use almost immediately, making it
impossible to return an uncomfortable saddle to
the store if it is not to your liking.
You might consider purchasing your saddle at
REI. They have a remarkable return policy. If
you are not happy with your saddle even after a
month of hard use you can return it, no questions
asked. (This is true of anything purchased at
Another option is to purchase your saddle
second hand at flea markets or swap meets.
There are plenty to be had. This is what we did.
This way, you spend only a few dollars on a
saddle, allowing you to test it with little risk. If it
doesn't work out you can always sell it on eBay.
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