Friday, June 20, 2014

"Squeak, squeak, squeak . . ."

Apologies for this extremely late edition of The Bikeist.  The problem is that I've been distracted to distraction by my squeaky, creaking, noisy saddle all week. Tried to replace it with a Specialized Toupe, but the brand new saddle creaked even more!

A quick Google search by my crack research team revealed a plethora of riders with identical complaints about Specializes saddles.  The big problem, though, is that almost all riders, noise or not, rate Specialized Body Geometry saddles as the most comfortable they have ever ridden.  I have to agree.  After decades of gutting out numbness, pain, and tingling, my Specialized saddle has made all of that go away like magic.

I have tried everything with my current saddle:  readjusting the rails, oiling them, untightening and re-tightening everything, slightly varying the saddle position.  Yet, there it is whenever I begin to apply the slightest bit of torque -- a rhythmic "eee-aww, eee-aww, eee-aww . . ." not unlike having a minute donkey trapped in my saddle-bag.

Guys at the shop recommend I try a Fiz•ik saddle, like a lot of pros ride, but they're pretty expensive, and I've read complaints about them being uncomfortable (comfort being the #1 feature we should all look for in a saddle, with unsqueakiness running a close second).  Some of my friends say I ahould break down and get a Brooks leather saddle.  

They are soo beautiful and well made (the Cambium, non leather, model I have on my urban assault bike never squeaks, but is too hard for long rides).  But, they can take a year to break in and are ruined if they get wet.

This problem is so typical of the problems faced by avid bike riders.  When you spend so much time in the saddle, you become very particular about your bike and how it performs.  So, a small thing like a sqeak can just about drive you insane.  Even more maddening, though, is that, even though bicycles are refined machines, there never seems to be an obvious, scientific, black and white answer to these sorts of problems.  I'd be better off going to a psychic than to a bike mechanic to figure this one out.

So, after months of experimentation, I decided to seize the opportunity to pester all my cycling club friends at once last night at the farewell we held for one of our legendary riders (and avid member of The Bikeist's fan-base), Chris.  And the near consensus was that I should go with the Selle Anatomica:

It's a leather saddle, that incorporates the modern, Specialized-type approach to relieving pelvic pressure, that riders claim is comfortable right out of the box -- so no prolonged break-in period!  

I'm sold!  Hopefully, it will be more solidly constructed than the plasticky Specialized saddles I've been riding and trying out.  I'll be sure to let you know.

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