May 13, 2010

Slippery TT Bike Saddle? Some Fixes

I bought a new Fizik Ares bike saddle and was having trouble with sliding forward in the time trial position. Basically, when I tilted the saddle so it felt comfortable, I kept sliding forward. When I tilted it so I wouldn't slide forward, it was a pain in the ass, literally. Well not really the ass, but I don't know exactly what that part of the anatomy is called. The taint?

Anyways, it appears the pros have this same problem. I posted this photo before of Contadors time trial saddle. Now I'm guessing this is hard on the shorts. Contador doesn't have to pay for them, but I do. And he probably has a much tougher butt than I do. I don't think this is an option that works for me. I can't afford the shorts or the chamois butter bills that would result. When I first saw this, I thought slipping and sliding is an obvious problem with a carbon fiber saddle. It wouldn't be that much of a problem for a regular saddle.
But I was wrong. I bought the Fizik Ares saddle for my spanking new time trial bike. And I had a problem with sliding as noted above. The surface of the saddle has a pretty slick surface to it. I'm not the only one with this issue with the Ares saddle apparently. Marco Pinotti seems to have the same problem with his Ares at the 2010 Giro. Of course he chose essentially the same pro solution that Contador did. The same old crotch grabbing, taint abrasive, sticky tape.
But I think I have a better idea for the working man/woman who can't afford to wear out a pair of shorts on every 40 km TT. I took a very fine abrasive sandpaper (extremely fine) and lightly sanded my saddle. Just enough to take off that slick surface. Sure it probably isn't as waterproof as it was before. Or should I say sweat proof. But it works for me. And I didn't sand all the sheen off. Check out the photo. Anyways, last night I did a 10 mile TT and it worked just fine. I have no recollection of any slippage at all in my pain interval. Basically, it never crossed my mind once in the race or the warm-up (of course I had other considerations at the time). But that is the real test, isn't it?

Oh yeah. I posted my fastest average speed of the millenium. With my Easton road wheels to boot (it was a club TT). And a nice solid 2nd place. And the short saddle is great for taking pressure off that oh so sensitive taint because you can get some relief from butt contact without sliding too far back (yeah I like the saddle). But you have to get the right tilt - I fussed the tilt quite a bit.

And one more thing. I gave my road bike saddle a slight sanding too. I slide around too much on hard climbs. I think I'm on to something.

July 27, 2010 Update - I have been using the sanded Fizik saddle for some time now and it works pretty well. Had to re-sand it a couple of times as it gradually gets more slippery over time. No big deal. But I guess Fizik has also realized their saddles are pretty slippery for TTs.  They are now selling adhesive strips for the saddles for a reasonable price. I guess every problem really is an opportunity.

I'm thinking of giving my saddle just a little shot of spray adhesive. But only thinking about it so far.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the tip...