Having spent most of my life on a bike means that I have spent most of my life on a saddle. And looking back at my many years of racing, from Juveniles to the Tour de France, I have used my fair share of saddles. And yes, I have a favourite.
My all-time favourite Christmas present was back in 1983 when I received my first ever SAN Marco Rolls saddle. White of course with a beautiful gold metal plate on the back. My Christmas wish had come true.
You see for a while now I had been out training with a local bunch (this was in Amsterdam) – and there were some big name riders. The former world pro road racing champion Gerrie Knetemann was riding with us and using a SAN Marco rolls saddle. It was white and had gold plating. I was in love and a Rolls saddle was all I wanted in life at that time and that wish had come true.
It was super comfortable and after a month or two it really moulded to my body shape. I used that saddle up until the early 90s, until I turned professional and had to use the saddles they gave me.
Fast forward a life time of riding and racing and I find myself once again using a SAN Marco saddle.
For the past few years, ever since I passed the 40-year mark, I have found myself becoming more tender in the saddle region. My tough as nails anatomy has slowly softened up for some reason. With age catching up, I had been hunting around for the most comfortable light weight saddle on the market.
I am now using the SAN Marco Short fit open saddle. I was initially sceptical about the short fit movement, but other saddle brands were going this way so that was a good sign. The saddle is 250mm long and mine is 144mm wide. They come in three different widths so ask your local bike shop to measure you up.
Typically, I ride around 150 to 250kms a week, the 1000km training weeks are long gone (thankfully).
My Saturday ride is around 4 hours and it was usually on those rides that I would struggle with saddle comfort. What I found with the short fit saddle was that the wider channel definitely relieved pressure typically experienced on longer rides, which eliminated the soreness that I used to endure. The cut-out or channel improves the blood ﬂow, preventing numbness, and provides relief from pressure. The open structure (channel) is definitely a big plus for men, however I note that this is not a gender specific saddle.
The shorter fit was no issue - I mean how often are we riding on the last 2-3cm tip of our saddles? I really didn’t notice that the saddle was a few cm’s shorter than the usual length saddles.
On the climbs I really liked the rear of the saddle which is slightly raised. San Marco call this a waved profile - ergonomically designed which gives you something to push against while climbing.
The padding SAN Marco use is bio foam, so it moulds to your body shape. I’ve learned through many years of racing is that a gel saddle is useless for the serious cyclist. Bio foams (so quality memory foams) are the only way to go.
Saddles are a very personal thing as everyone has a different body shape. If possible, try and test ride a saddle to know if it’s comfortable and will work for you and your riding style. Not for a few hours, give it a week or so.
My advice is visit your local SAN Marco dealer to test ride one. With saddles, you need some good old fashioned know how and service to ensure you get what you need, so pop into your local bike shop or ask our friendly customer service team through live chat!
Check with your nearest bike store for local availability.