There’s that old saying that you get what you pay for. And that’s definitely true for some things. Vacuum cleaners, for example. I once bought a $15 dollar vacuum and while it was fine for some things, it didn’t have enough suction power to get pet hair out of my carpet. Bummer, yes. But what could I honestly expect for the price?
When it comes to bicycle saddles, however, you might not need to spend more to get what you’re looking for. In fact, if what you’re looking for is more comfort, you probably don’t want to be looking at the pricier saddle models out there on the market. These saddles ($100+) are more expensive because of the materials they’re made with – carbon fiber shell and rails. These saddles are designed to be super light and are also the result of thousands of hours (and dollars) of research and development by bicycle companies. But they’re also designed for racers. If you’re not worried about each and every gram a component adds to your bike, you’ll probably be more comfortable (both in your butt and in your wallet) by spending less.
Of course, spending less doesn’t mean going for the cheapest model out there either, but don’t feel like the most expensive saddle is the most comfortable one, because it’s probably not. In a way, finding a comfortable saddle is like finding a comfortable pair of shoes, and there’s no one size/model fits all when it comes to saddle comfort.
A few things to keep in mind when selecting a saddle:
1. Your sit bones should be supported. The width of your sit bones (it’s different on everyone) will have a lot to do with which saddle is most comfortable for you.
2. You’re not really “sitting” on the saddle. If you think about the way you sit in a chair or on a couch, all of your weight is being supported by the chair. On a bike, it’s a little different. The saddle is one point of support, but there are also the pedals under your feet and the handlebars. One reason people find riding uncomfortable is because they try to put too much weight on the one point (the saddle). If you’ve tried a few models and still can’t find something that works for you, try putting more weight on your feet and hands (you don’t need to stand up off the saddle to do this either).
3. Padding: some is good, but there is such a thing as too much. Especially on longer rides, an overly-padded saddle can chafe and cause hot spots. If you like your saddle but want a little more padding, you can always try a gel pad accessory.
What did you think of the saddle on your Montague? Was it comfortable right off, or did it take some getting used to? Have you customized your bike with your own saddle?