Over the last few years of cycling my body has changed a bit, I have improved flexibility both in my neck (partly due to some regular osteopathy for a non-cycling problem) and my pelvis, my thighs are a bit broader and I have noticed some changes in saddle comfort on my Condor Acciaio.
I originally built this up with a Fizik Antares saddle, this has always been quite comfortable but recently I have noticed some pressure on soft tissue particularly when riding in the drops and a bit of rubbing on my inner thighs on the fairly wide (45mm) and flat nose of the saddle. I have never suffered any numbness in the groin with this saddle, the only time I have had that was with a Brooks B17 when I first fitted it on a bike with bars significantly lower than the saddle, no such problems with the Brooks Team Professional I swapped to (the B17 now lives on my Brompton, for which it is a great match).
Whilst I admit to getting excited about choosing most bike components, wheels, tyres, etc., I hate saddles - there seems to be no real consensus on what makes a good or bad saddle as we are all built differently and “trial and error” is expensive with very few opportunities for saddle loans from retailers. I have had good advice from The Bike Whisperer historically and therefore take advice from Steve Hogg’s writings very seriously and was guided to the Selle SMP range. Other options up for consideration included the Brooks Swallow (too flexy) and the Specialized Romin.
The Fizik Antares, I have the kium railed model (I am guessing this is a hollow steel alloy) weighs 189g, dimensions are 275mm x 142mm. It is almost completely flat with a small amount of firm padding and some flex in the centre.
The Selle SMP Dynamic that I have chosen is shaped very differently with a large central cutout, high rear and dropped nose. Weight is higher at 260g (a carbon model is available at 205g) and dimensions are 274mm x 138mm. On unpacking, first impressions were of a really high quality saddle, stitching is perfect, minimal padding, long useable seat rails (about 9cm). Black SMP saddles are covered with leather so I expect it to be durable and easy to clean.
I followed Steve Hogg’s fitting instructions to the letter and following a short ride this morning, found only a couple of minor adjustment to the angle were needed to get what now feels like a perfect fit. Certainly the feel is different, you do sit more in the saddle than perch on it, but support is improved in all the right places and the curve of the saddle matches well with the pelvic bones as you tilt forward into the drops. A major improvement for me!