Thursday, 4 August 2011

Buying a Selle SMP Stratos

Time to go back to basics! It is very easy to get carried away with all this “we need proper infrastructure” and “is cycling dangerous” and forget what the hell we all bike for; be it cost, environment, health or as is the case for me – just the sheer fun and pleasure of it.

A few posts back I went into “What to buy next”. In the end I boughtr the Backpack and decided I would buy the new saddle a month later. After all the new saddle was going to cost £160 to £180 and with the best will in the world, that just seemed excess on a commuting bike. But me being me – whilst I went to my local Evans to buy the new backpack, I also decided to get them to check out my sit bone width on their Specialized and Bontranger Ass-o-meters.

I discovered (rather surprisingly) that I didn’t have a “wide” ass but I was in fact was quite narrow, I am not sure why this surprised me – I guess I assumed that because I was always uncomfortable on the saddle, it must therefore be too small for me and not the other way round. Currently the Specialized saddle I am using was the one that came fitted as standard and it is sized for the largest of backsides. 

As a side point here, given that this has been an issue for me then it must be the case for others, therefore I do believe that cycle shops and bike suppliers should offer at least a couple of different width saddles to each purchaser of a new bike. This would cost little other than a bit of floating stock but it might greatly increase the desirability of their bikes to a potential buyer.

So having been ass-o-metered, from then onwards my bike saddle just got more and more uncomfortable. I had only been using it for about 2 weeks prior to this (I had initially bought a heavier padded / gel number when I first got the bike and had gone back to the original saddle when I found the more padded one was constricting movement at higher speeds). So was the saddle getting more uncomfortable – was there a build-up in the pain I was getting in my backside? Or was the whole thing physiological now that I knew the saddle was a wrong fit, was I becoming more and more fixated on it? To be honest I really have no idea – all I know was that in my mind I was starting to suffer quite a degree of pain in my backside and down my right leg and it was removing the pleasure in cycling – so much so that today I took the train (rain also played a part in the decision today and very tired legs for some reason).

So last night I ordered my new saddle and this is it!

If you want to find out more about the saddle you can visit the company site here. I would also advise you to read thoroughly the support part of the site in helping to choose the correct saddle. I would also advise you check your sit bones width, either at your local bike shop (if they know you well and are happy to help) or at home, it is worth taking the time to get it right.

My initial reason was to keep "my laughing carrot" (best metaphor I have heard yet) in working order, especially as I am on the wrong side of 40, but also I started to realise through the reading of the benefit to your cycling in general from a well fitting saddle.

I read article after article after article about saddles. I spent hours and hours fixated over the problem and have read more reviews than your average actor. I really hope I have made the right choice, but with all these things you only are going to really know when you place your bum on the saddle. This is probably the thing that has most annoyed me about the whole buying a Selle SMP saddle, I just couldn’t find a single Local bike shop that stocked them and had a tester for me to try out. They quite obviously have designed of saddle that is a long way from the norm, you would think it would make sense for them to have a least one dealer in every major town that stocked their saddles and also had testers in store. I am a good Googler and I Googled my nuts off trying to find one but with no luck, there were plenty of places selling them online though. I am going to have a moan at Evans at some time and get them to start stocking these saddles. 

Anyway, I managed to find a cheaper online stockist, I bought the saddle from a store in Germany through eBay and by the benefit of a slightly weaker EUR I have managed to pick up a new saddle for £142 (including postage) instead of the £158 (+postage) which was the cheapest I found in the UK. The good thing about the German shop is I am also allowed to return the saddle (if undamaged of course).So I am going to have to fit it on very carefully and not scratch it in any way.

So I am going to keep you updated on how I progress with the saddle – to be honest I have no idea what benefits it will provide, I am hoping that it will help more than just removing my discomfort in the saddle, there are literally hundreds of posts by people who bought this saddle saying how good it is, but I am doubting Thomas and wont believe it unless I feel it with my own posterior. I will be honest in my opinion, even if it hurts to admit I made a mistake. Yet despite all this I can help feel I have spent too much for someone who manages about 5,000 miles a year. But this (apart from the replacement of broken parts is my last major purchase for the bike. I still need a bit more clothing to deal with commuting in the winter but nothing major.

Mambo Rating - Please God it works well!


  1. Hi, I came across your site and wasn’t able to get an email address to contact you. Would you please consider adding a link to my website on your page. Please email me back and we'll talk about it.


    Mandie Hayes

  2. No problem Mandie - I am always happy to follow and link to sites about cycling!