Custom Ass Hate

Section head text.

Cedesius hate

I recently became aware of my ass. Not that I hadn’t noticed it for the nearly 40 years I’ve been on the planet, but in recent years my focus has come to bear on my butt’s interaction with my saddle. I blame rollers. I don’t have the skill level to stand on my rollers, so I’m seated as I grind away the winter months. There’s nothing like the ass-sensory deprivation tank of rollers to make you fixate on any discomfort. And by discomfort, I mean the crotch-ial numbness that would set in as I cranked the hours away. There’s nothing quite like the feeling of relief that comes when the sensation returns to your naughty bits.

The genital numbing sensations of rollers set me on a quest to find a perfect saddle. Every ass is like a snowflake, each one special and beautiful in it’s own way, so finding a good saddle is a voyage of discovery into one’s own rear end – and who can resist a long, hard look at their own “pushin’ cushin’”? I know I can’t.

I think custom parts will be the last frontier of the cycling industry. With fabrication methods becoming easier to access, I think in order to compete; companies will offer their customers fully custom parts in addition to the custom bikes that are already out there. Custom saddles seem like a great place to start. Saddles are one of the few contact points on the bicycle, so having one that is comfortable is a key to a happy ride.

When I found out that Cedesius was making custom saddles, I started badgering them immediately to get one for a review. Their Chief Designer, Mark Tonin, has a background in making prosthetics, and he is transferring this knowledge to making saddles for the whiney cycling masses. And don’t try to deny that we are whiney, because we are.

Mark sent me the un-custom carbon version of his saddle design, which retails for $300 on the Cedesius web site. This saddle shape is a more generalized version derived from the custom work that Cedesius has done. The saddle is ridiculously light at around 135 grams, and it has a very distinctive shape, the front of the saddle looks like a big tongue sticking out from the back of the seat. But in the world of but comfort, aesthetics mean very little.

The Outdoor Ride

The first thing I noticed about the saddle was that it had such a formed cradle that it seemed like it was grabbing at my rear end. Normally I enjoy this but in this circumstance it seemed like the saddle was limiting my options position-wise. The saddle definitely has a sweet spot, but for me I think it needs to be about a centimeter longer in the front. I also find the ridges in the tip of the saddle to be a little taller than I need, causing a little rub in the rear taint-ial section (I know – stop with all the medical terminology).

While riding outdoors the saddle seemed more comfortable on the hoods and in the drops than it did when I leaned back and put my hands on the straight section of the handlebars. It seemed like the saddle was designed for a more forward position, almost like a time trial position. Insert standard “I despise time trialing” statement here.

And so ends the first portion of the saddle test, we now move on to the more intense exploration of my crack. Just try and scrub that image from your mind – I bet you can’t.

My indoor saddle test on the rollers is very simple – I ride seated until I can’t feel my boxer jockey anymore. I’m sure that this cannot be good for me, but I suffer so that others may benefit from the knowledge I gain. I’m a giver.

It took 29 minutes and 54 seconds before the sensation left my wedding tackle – not really a great number.

But that’s just me – remember earlier how I mentioned every ass is like a snowflake? Well the idea this time was to assemble a virtual blizzard of buttocks to get a wider cross section of opinions, because we all know that I am a little – how do you say it – crazy?

The group of reviewers were sent the saddle and the following “asstionnaire” for them to use or discard as necessary.

The Asstionnaire:

Current Saddle

The saddle has an unconventional shape, does this mean anything to you? Why are you so shallow?

On a scale of one to ten – one being a ride on the flaming tongue of the devil, a ten being a ride on a blanket made of puppy tongues – where did the saddle rank?

Tell the people where it hurts.

The Newcomer: Walter Lamerton

Walter is relatively new to the world of racing, and as of yet un-jaded by the world of wing-nut bike racers. He used the asstionaire, which shows he’s eager to please – smart boy, that Walter.

Height 5’7”
Weight 175 (I’m not fat, I’m big boned)
Current Saddle Colnago Hoskar Era (rides like a blanket of puppy tongues – man that is one disturbing thought)

The saddle has an unconventional shape, does this mean anything to you? Why are you so shallow?

I hope you’re going to add a picture of this saddle but then you might have to register the site with a .xxx extension. I can’t explain why but I am very shallow (of course so is everyone that had the opportunity to view the saddle at the spoon during my coffee break). This saddle made me a bit insecure about my manhood (does the front of the saddle really have to be THAT long and “HANG” like that?).

Tell the people where it hurts.

It hurt the BALLS (of my sit bones). It took longer than normal to adjust to the new saddle because it was so hard but once my butt adjusted there wasn’t any discomfort while riding. I only rode for 3 hours. A 5 hour ride might have been painful. The discomfort came the next day. My sit bones were very sore (more than with most new saddles). I assume that is because the pressure was so concentrated.

The upside to the pain? Because the saddle is so rigid there seems to be less energy wasted on each pedal stroke (I didn’t come up with a clever experiment to measure the efficiency of power transfer, it’s just something I feel in my gut and that’s better than science any day – thanks, Stephen Colbert).

I don’t think I ever got the angle of the saddle quite right. It is extremely slippery since you’re sitting directly on carbon fiber so I found that I was using my arms to hold my position on the saddle. Whenever I came off the bars I felt like I was going to slide off the saddle. The upside of that? NO CHAFING! AT ALL!

I had never ridden a saddle with the pressure relieving channel. This was probably my favorite feature of the saddle. I never realized how much pressure I was putting on that area.

On a scale of one to ten – one being a ride on the flaming tongue of the devil, a ten being a ride on a blanket made of puppy tongues – where did the saddle rank?

Overall I’d give the saddle a 4. I had similar discomfort when I used the Selle San Marco Era Ti. It was an all carbon saddle with a thin fabric covering.

The Female Perspective: Sarah Sauvayre

Sarah is bringing our female perspective, she is a very experienced racer and has been turning the cranks for a long time.

Height 5’4″
Weight Weight 112 lbs
Current Saddle Selle San Marco “Glamour Aspide” Mmmmmm. Nice saddle.

The saddle has an unconventional shape, does this mean anything to you?

I happen to like carbon as much as the next racer, but this saddle looks like an instrument of torture. Not to start anything here among your very thoughtful and highly articluate user/posters, but this saddle was clearly designed by a man. A man who wants other men to see him riding this scary-freak-looking thing and think, “wow, he must be a tough mf’er.” AND “Oooh, no fair, his saddle is probably lighter than mine! Boo hoo.”

Why are you so shallow?

I would like other riders to think i am a tough mf’er too, but there has to be a better way than this. And it’s surely a lost cause for me anyway.

On a scale of one to ten – one being a ride on the flaming tongue of the devil, a ten being a ride on a blanket made of puppy tongues – where did the saddle rank?

This saddle ranked right up there with the flaming tongue of the devil. This saddle tells you (angrily) where your sit bones are the minute you, er, mount up. I don’t need to be told, thanks very much.

Tell the people where it hurts.

Sit bones. Bruising from an easy recovery ride should tell you something. And how is it possible that a totally smooth surface like this also chafes? No thanks. Selle San Marco Glamour Aspide. Mmmmmm…

Because he’s awesome: Jeff King

Jeff is our, um, rider of larger carriage… He’s big for a cyclist, which means that his co-workers call him a skinny guy. Jeff abandoned the asstionaire for his own prose stylings.

“It didn’t break”

@##=#<3,L>@##=#About the tester: I weigh in at over 200 pounds so I have never been a fan of carbon parts on my bike. I have broken every part on my bike at least once over the years: handlebars, stems, saddles, seat posts, chains, pedals, rims, I’ve rolled clinchers off the rim, hubs and axles, cranks, frames, water bottle cages… you get the idea. I know this isn’t supposed to be a story about how fat I am; I’m just putting down the groundwork to explain why I was a little nervous about getting on a practically weightless saddle. This thing was so light that I could actually notice that my bike was lighter.

Anyway, I popped that baby on and rolled out to meet Armand Della Monica for a ride to Nyack. Unfortunately, I noticed right away that it was less comfortable than my typical Flite saddle. But it does look cool and Armand was immediately trying to get me to switch with him so a “normal sized rider” could review it. I quickly told him to stuff it and we were off on our ride. I won’t go as far as to say it was pinching me, but I will say that I had some pain. Not major pain, but I spent most of the ride shifting around trying to find a spot where I could just forget about it. I think most of it had to do with the shape. Even a cushy gel spin-bike saddle can be uncomfortable if the shape doesn’t fit you and this saddle did not fit my bone structure. I was able to get through the ride without issue but I never really stopped noticing that I was on a hard carbon saddle. When I got home, I popped it off and packed it off to send to the next tester.

Conclusions: The saddle looks very cool. I don’t care who you are, carbon just looks good. It made my bike lighter, but at 200+… not a big issue for me. I didn’t break it. So maybe my review should be seen as more of a strength test – how much weight this thing can handle. If I didn’t break it, I don’t think anyone is going to break it. For good and bad, this saddle is rock solid.

Young Tail: Gavi Epstein

Gavi is our young rider. His taut loins should be able to withstand any punishment the saddle dishes out. Is it legal for me to say that?

Looking at the saddle was really nice, carbon is beautiful in my eyes. As soon as I got on it though I knew I was doomed. There was alot of pressure down there where the sun don’t shine, and the sun was definitely not shining there this day. The saddle was very stiff, there didn’t seem to be much flexibility at all so after a few times of hitting bumps I started standing up for them. Already an hour into my ride I wanted to turn around and go home, but I needed to press on for the sake of our readers. I did not like that I felt like I was stuck in the middle of the saddle where the groove is. I personally like to move around especially climbing when in races, but if I were to move the pain level increased. By the time I was half way through my ride I was already crying for my saddle back and the last half of the ride I spent out of the saddle most of the time.

A Highly Professional Professional: Mike Sherry

Mike is a coach and bike fit expert. He’s logged some serious time with other people’s taints – and gets paid for it.

Saddles are a personal thing so you’d think that a custom carbon saddle shaped to your bum would be a good thing… Well, maybe. But a carbon saddle shaped to another’s bum? Ouch! I found this particular saddle quite uncomfortable in part because it was not 100% symmetrical. One side of the “love canal”, to steal a WTB term, was set a little higher than the other. The result of that was a pretty immediate saddle sore. Another aspect I didn’t like was it’s width. This goes back to saddle being personal but I find many on the market to be a little wide for me at the taper with the exceptions being Selle Italia Flites, Fizik Ariones, and the Fizik Gobi which has been my saddle of choice for the past year. This one wasn’t so wide at the taper but too wide behind the taper. The last element that I’m not fan of was the lack of padding. I like a little cushion there especially for when I get fit and bony.

The elements of the saddle that I did like were the hammock shape in the middle. Its design is similar to the Aliante and Gobi in that there is a slight kick at the back to give your sit bones more support. I don’t like flat saddles for myself because I tend to have difficulty rotating my hips properly. This had a pretty substantial kick and I found I had very little trouble getting into the right position and staying in the right place. I also like the slight cutout canal feature that relieves a little soft tissue pressure. As I mentioned earlier, the execution on this saddle was not good but the design concept is great. WTB uses this on there XC saddles and many riders find them to be extremely comfortable.

I think what these guys are doing is very promising and if I was riding something specific my my exact shape and specifications it would be a whole other experience. Of all the things to spend money on I recommend investing a healthy amount in saddles and shoes since they are the major contact points on the bike.

Time for hate

It’s a $300 Saddle that no one really cares for.

Where does this leave us?

The current shape and design of the saddle would seem to lend itself to a time trial rider trying to shave weight from their bike, but as far as regular riding goes; it’s a tough sell.

I feel that custom saddles are a viable option, but custom molded doesn’t seem to be the answer. It might be more beneficial to get measurements from a rider and then interview them about their riding style and preferences before collaborating on a custom shape.



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