Over the last year, I’ve blogged more than once about my Selle San Marco Ponza. It’s the saddle I mounted on my bike last May, after complaining about the hard ride on my previous saddle.
I liked the Ponza for its narrow race-inspired shape. It has a slight upsweep at the back, which cradles the butt. I wasn’t getting the soreness on my bottom that the previous saddle was giving me.
That was before I started riding longer on it.
It’s been evident for some time now that the Ponza is okay for anything up to an hour. At about that time — maybe 55 minutes, maybe 65 — my butt hurts. Specifically, the soft tissue area right at the bottom of my bottom hurts. And the soreness will be there well into the next day.
In addition, I’ve been developing saddle sores. Bag Balm seems to do a good job of dealing with them, but still — on a ride of several hours’ duration, you don’t want to have to deal with an irritated pimple on your butt being rubbed uncomfortably by a saddle that has turned against you.
Much of the time, a one-hour saddle is fine for me. I can ride from my home to the Veloway, do three or four laps, and ride back home in roughly that 55-65 minute window I mentioned above. That’s about 15-18 miles.
But on weekends, I like to go longer. Two hours would be the minimum for me there. And to do that would require another saddle.
Recently, I did a Sunday ride with a group of folks I’d never ridden with before. Looking over their equipment, I saw many more generously padded saddles than I do on my club rides. When I asked people if the padded saddles don’t cause them problems on long rides, I got a unanimous no. Everyone said they feel as good after three hours on the bike as after an hour.
So, despite everything I’ve read or heard about how padded saddles can compress your sensitive parts, and cause just as much discomfort as the hard ones, I decided I would go for something cushier this time.
The new saddle is on the bike, and I had a good first ride. But I’m going to wait a bit before I review it. I need to get more miles on it — and rides of longer than an hour.
Steven King says
Definitely agree with you on that one.
The Ponza that arrived with my bike does the same to me – longer rides just get worse and worse as you go. I also found it rubbed unpleasantly on steeper climbs when you’re forced to mash on the pedals.
I’ve changed mine for a Specialized Toupe. Not a cheap option, but I’ve used and liked their Alias model in the past. Feels good so far, but the long weekend rides will be the true test…
Cheers for the great blog,
Just goes to show you – the Ponza replaced the stock Specialized Alias saddle. I put the Alias back on the bike for two rides last week, and it was flat and hard. However, it did force me to pay attention to my pelvic tilt to make sure the sit bones were on the seat. I think I’m done with minimally-padded race-type saddles. But then, I’ve got old man flat butt anyway – no longer much built-in padding back there.
I’m pretty happy with the “stock” saddle that came with my Specialized Roubaix. No hot spots, no soreness and no numb places.
Specialized Avatar gel saddle
The saddle is the most personal component on the bike, and what works for one person won’t suit another. A fellow club member just got a Specialized Roubaix, and hated the Avatar Gel. He replaced it with a Toupe.
Sine Botchen says
So did you end up getting the WTB saddle (saw a link from twitter)?
I like the “speed” model and have them on both of my bikes. I regularly put in 2+ hours several times a week and so far have not had any complaints. Also, I really couldn’t tell much difference between that model and the next one up the chain – except for a $100 price difference.
Ditto. On sale at Performance for $25. The jury is still out – I need to get in some long rides on it.
Try a Selle An-Atomica. That is an all day saddle.
Hope you have better luck with the new saddle! I’ve used a Speed V at some point, and I don’t really recall it having a lot of padding. Maybe the Ponza is just really, really hard …
I still love my Brooks saddle. Recently I’ve been having a few issues with it, but I think I can work them out by making a few adjustments. I don’t mind a little maintenance every 6,000 miles or so, though …
The Ponza has virtually no padding.
Really makes me wonder which saddle were you riding for the BP MS-150, since that was definitely longer than an hour.
I have to agree with Apertome and give a +1 to the Brooks saddle. It is definitely not the sexiest, or the lightest of the bunch, but you can ride that thing for hours and hours on end. That was what I rode for the BP MS-150. I was expecting a tough ride, saddle-wise, for the second day, and the saddle behaved like any other ride day.
I will be fair though. You always have to make sure that the Brooks saddle does not get wet. And if it does, maintenance soon ensues. I am seriously considering laceing mine up since I feel there is way too much give now that I had the saddle for over a year.
I did ride the Ponza in the MS 150. And I was not a comfortable rider after the first hour. I stopped at every rest stop after the first, not so much to top off the water and get a bite, but to walk around and shake out the soreness. The second day, I was sore from the first pedal stroke. I stood on the pedals a lot that day. It was that ride that convinced me the Ponza had to go.
Mark Elam says
I rode a 40 miler yesterday sitting on my Bontrager Lite. Like other saddles, it’s fine for the first 20-25 miles, then something happens.
I’m watching some auctions on Ebay for a fizik Aliante, famous for being the most comfortable saddle out there (at least for ‘B’ riders).
I’ll let you know!
Please do, Mark. Always looking for more information.