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Do Saddles Wear Out

fatdazfatdaz Posts: 348
edited April 2016 in Road beginners
I've been riding my current "Summer" bike for 4 years and have consistently ridden ~5000 km per year on it. In the last 12 months I have started to feel less comfortable on the saddle on any ride over 3 hours or so. I find myself having to stand regularly and relieve pressure on the area around my a*se.

I had no such issues for the first 3 years of riding the bike even riding up to 8-9 hours. I lost a lot of weight so my body shaped changed but that was 2 years ago so, if that was the cause, I'd have expected to experience issues then rather than now. Likewise I bought a stiffer wheelset but also went from 23mm to 25mm tyres at a slightly lower pressure and certainly didn't initially notice any discomfort on long rides after that change. Are there any other components which could wear out over time and contribute to this or is it just likely to be a combination of advancing age, change in body shape, riding at a higher cadence, different wheels?

Is it worth another bike fit in the basis that all the weight loss may have changed my ideal riding position?



  • markhewitt1978markhewitt1978 Posts: 7,614
    It's just plastic, padding and a cover, so yes they can wear out like anything else.
  • sungodsungod Posts: 12,995
    saddles can wear out, padding disintegrates, they sag, etc., it varies with saddle

    if your body has changed, less padding, that has an affect too

    if the height/setback/angle aren't all just right even the 'correct' saddle for you will not be comfortable

    not sure it needs a bike fit, try diy with the advice here... ... can-it-be/ ... oad-bikes/

    i've found that getting the saddle set up as he describes so that i can ride ok in the arms back position (it's best to adjust the set up on a turbo not out on the road) made a huge difference, now i'm fine on long rides whereas before i'd get uncomfortable after a couple of hours
    my bike - faster than god's and twice as shiny
  • marcusjbmarcusjb Posts: 2,412
    There's allsorts of things potentially at play here - but, yes, the padding in a saddle can lose spring over the years (whether that equates to a loss of comfort depends on the saddle, but it may adjust your position slightly). The padding in shorts likewise can wear out over the years.

    Equally, over 4 years, you change and your position might changed - and there's no easy answer as to which way (depending on your age and exercise, it could be just as likely that you gain flexibility as lose it! Especially as you lost a lot of weight).

    The tyres should give you a bit more comfort regardless of the wheelset, so I think ignore that just for the moment.

    Experiment with saddle position and make small changes and see what improvements are made. 4 years is a long time and especially as you've changed body shape by losing the weight, you will have moved your position on the bike.
  • fenixfenix Posts: 5,437
    Yes they will wear.

    I remember a story of one of the Sky riders who was so aware of his bikes that he brought one back to the mechanice to say that it wasn't set up properly. The mechanic reassured him that it was precisely the same as his other three bikes (or whatever) and that he was just imagining it.

    So they swapped the bikes a few times and the rider always spotted the bike that didn't feel right.

    The mechanic was stumped - everything was the same.

    Until he twigged that the saddle on that one was slightly older than the others.

    So yes - they will wear out.
  • Jay_FormeJay_Forme Posts: 132
    Can you put the weight back on and see if you get the same comfort level?

    that way you can only really be sure its the saddle and not you.
  • fatdazfatdaz Posts: 348
    You have no idea how much I'd enjoy the process of putting it all back on !

    I'll have a look at some slight alterations to the saddle. I'm riding a lot at the minute so it should be easy to get a view on what different tweaks feel like
  • Yes they do. Here's my quick story. This riding season, i had worse than ever lower back pain, shoulder pain, numb hands, and my right leg would tingle after about 20 miles. I tried everything from adjusting the steerer stem, to the seat post, to new gel gloves, nothing worked. I got a new seat/saddle and instantly, all of my symptoms were gone. No more back and shoulder pain, or hand/leg numbness. For reference, i use a foam/gel saddle, but i assume once they're worn, any saddle will give you issues.
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