I was having the darnedest time getting a saddle that I could tolerate on my new bike. I finally broke down and tried (gulp) a leather Brooks saddle. Apparently these saddles take a long time to break in, require protection from the rain, and are otherwise part of the non-synthetic world. They are not inexpensive, and most of the models can't be obtained locally, but when you've tried everything within reach that is economical and readily available . . . and there's a six-month unconditional trial period, fully returnable. . . . Did I mention I was getting desperate?
After talking briefly by phone with the source I was using, I ordered a B-17S. That's a basic model (B-17) in the short-nose version. Short-nose saddles (generally called women's models) had been working better for me than long-nose saddles (generally called men's). No short-nose models could even be looked at here in town, although I did find one long-nose saddle hidden in a case at a local bike shop and the friend who later loaned me a pair of padded bike shorts for the break-in period rides a Brooks.
Here's my Brooks saddle on my bike:
It arrived just before my long road trip. I got it installed, took a test ride that said I would at least be okay for the duration of the trip, and took off with the bike disassembled in the back of the car, hoping for chances to ride. I did get three rides in while I was in Washington. I would have ridden more, except that I don't have a bike rack and the bike was under the rest of the load in the back of the car (fibers and the like), so I only got it out when I completely unpacked. And getting it down from the next-to-top floor of the hotel (where it stayed during Sock Summit) was a schedule-buster. Anyway, I did get to ride a bit during the road trip.
I tuck a plastic bag under the seat, on top of the flat kit, so I can cover it if the bike's parked outside and it might rain (this summer, we've had a lot of rain).
Over the past week, I keep forgetting to put the padded bike shorts on and it's basically okay, although for a while yet I hope I'll remember them for any ride over 5 miles (8 km). Nonetheless, they're already not essential.
This is the first saddle I've tried on this bike that I can't still feel an hour (sometimes eight hours) after I've finished my ride. And I'm nowhere near the end of the standard break-in mileage.
This saddle's a keeper, and worth every penny.
I still need to figure out grips that are comfortable, but that's not quite as critical an issue to resolve as the saddle.