In an earlier post (3/16/11), I bemoaned the fact that my beloved BG2 sport saddle is no longer being made by Specialized. But on a visit to a not-really-local shop yesterday, I saw that my BG2 had changed clothes, and was being marketed as a women's saddle.
Saddle fit is really personal. I was out today with a mileage junkie who rides a Brooks B-17 on his handlebars-lower-than-the-saddle road bike, which is supposed to be anathema ("most appropriate for cyclists who set their handlebars about the same height as their saddle")... but this guy does the NJ Longest Day ride every June (over 200 miles in a day), and starts preparing early in the year (we did 50+ miles today); by the time the weather warms, he's crankin' out a couple-three centuries (100-mile rides) a month. And he's doin' this on a saddle that's supposed to be no good for that kind of riding. His partner rides a hugely padded saddle that's supposed to be cutting off circulation to his nethers... but I didn't hear any complaints, and the age and condition of the saddle suggested it was well-loved, if you'll pardon the expression.
Many of the riders who ride hard, light saddles (affectionately referred to by some of us riders as "ass hatchets") are serious, hard-charging riders. And some are, I think, impressed with the latest-and-greatest gear. I'm not. I bought my titanium frame because it was light and should last forever (it's not the latest-and-greatest, which right now is carbon fiber; it's not even a particularly favored brand among titanium frames). I don't use a carbon fork because I don't trust carbon fiber: when it breaks, it does so without warning, and frequently at scary and dangerous times. I'm not in need of the fashionable saddle; I need a saddle that will allow me to ride the bike a few miles in my streetclothes, and, when I am suited up, allow me to ride for six or seven hours (which is my leisurely time for a century).
When I was at the not-really-local shop yesterday, I sat on a Specialized Romin saddle. It was NOT nice when I was just perched on it, although it was OK when I was pedaling and the weight was off my posterior. OK, but much of the time when I ride, I'm coasting. Or I'm not pedaling hard, because I'm chatting with a rider beside me, or waiting for people to catch up. My Specialized BG2 allows me to do that.
Well, the BG2 is a women's saddle now, eh? So I took a look at some women's saddles, and I saw that they offer what I like in the BG2: some padding, a flexible frame, a flat and comparatively wide shape. I saw several, but I'm taken with the Terry Butterfly Cromoly, and the Falcon X (apparently built in partnership with Selle Italia). Both of them are about the same width and shape as my BG2, both advertise flat and flexible, with some padding. I'd feel better if I could see them first, but some webshopping indicates that both are available at reasonable prices anyway. So I may be riding a women's saddle one of these days.
But I promise to limit my purchases from the Terry website. Although this looked fetching; couldn't you see me in the blue one?