Under every great cyclist...
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Radical and effective designs

Under every great cyclist...
Under every great cyclist... (Gabe Hernandez / AP)
Plushy seat, awkward positioning
Plushy seat, awkward positioning

EasySeat II: Flat 9-by-6-inch seat for casual riders made of two pads that flex independently.

Likes: Very comfortable. The pads independently pivot down about an inch with each leg push-down. Longer, narrower Pro Hub 2 model ($89.95), designed for serious riders, has similar characteristics.

Dislikes: The gap between the seat pads is so small ( 3/8 inch) that your soft tissues still feel some pressure — clearly more than the Spiderflex, ISM and the MoonSaddle. Also, the seat tends to sit you too far forward because its rails are positioned too far back.

Price: $59.95. (800) 582-8088; www.hobsonseats.com()
Brilliant design comes at a price
Brilliant design comes at a price

Selle SMP Strike Pro Racing Saddle: Intricately sculpted seat for serious riders with a gaping 7-inch hole and full-length center cavity extending from tail to down-sloping beak.

Likes: With the huge hole (you can fit your hand half-way into it) and the 1-inch droop of the tip, there is no discernible squashing of the soft tissue between your legs. It is more comfortable than the Adamo due to its normal-sized length (10 3/4 inches) and narrow, inner-thigh-friendly width (1 3/4 inches at the tip). In fact, after I got used to feeling the edges of the crevasse against my sit bones, I’d say this is the most comfortable saddle I’ve ever used. (Note: Several same-priced heavier and lighter SMP models are geared toward less- and more-serious racers.) Striking looks.

Dislikes: You could buy two Adamos at this price.

Price: $239. (805) 385-3179; www.albabici.com()
After breaking in, a sweet ride
After breaking in, a sweet ride

ISM Adamo Road Saddle: High-performance saddle, for triathletes and bike racers, with a short nose (1.5 inches less than a standard saddle) bisected by a 4-inch long, inch-wide slit.

Likes: Noticeable decrease in soft-tissue pressure versus a standard saddle. After my ride on the Adamo, I switched back to my normal seat, which I had thought was very comfy, and felt as if I were riding on a steel pipe. The manufacturer’s claims that laboratory tests showed no blood flow loss in the leaned-over “aero” position seem credible. This clearly is safer in terms of blood flow than a normal saddle. Good-looking too.

Dislikes: Takes a while (30 minutes for me, possibly several days for others) to get used to your inner thighs rubbing against the 2.5-inch wide nose (about an inch over a standard saddle). Also, your “sit bones” ache a bit initially, having more pressure on them.

Price: $119.95. (813) 293-6974; www.ismseat.com()
The pressure is definitely off
The pressure is definitely off

ISM Touring: A 7 1/2-inch wide, toilet-seat shaped saddle for casual riders with a large U-shaped cut-out in the front.

Likes: No private-part pressure at all. Tapered front end does not dig into the hamstrings as much as other casual-oriented saddles when you lean forward. Although not a plush comfort, it has an active feel that high-energy types might like.

Dislikes: Less initial comfort than the other casual saddles. Takes a while for your sit bones and gluteals to find a “sweet spot.”

Price: $49.95. (813) 293-6974; www.ismseat.com.

Finally, a simple solution

MoonSaddle: Minimalist 11-inch-wide saddle for casual riders that is shaped like a half moon.

Likes: Very efficient pedaling. Your tush perches solidly on the rim. The crescent shape, curving rearward, stays out of the way of your legs on the push-down; among the noseless seats, only the ISM toilet-seat does this as well. Oddly sleek looks.

Dislikes: Too-small gap between the rails and the seat bottom makes it difficult to attach a seat post.

Price: $86. (406) 859-1963; www.moonsaddle.com()
Comfort for casual riders
Comfort for casual riders

Spiderflex: 10-inch wide noseless saddle made of two pads separated by a 1.25-inch gap. Includes a built-in suspension gasket.

Likes: Very comfortable and balanced. The wide seat cradles your rear, and the airy gap eliminates genital pressure. Great for riding in the upright comfort-bike position.

Dislikes: Like other noseless saddles, not practical or comfortable for performance road- or mountain bike-riding.

Price: $89.99. (204) 745-2922; www.spiderflex.com()
Finally, a simple solution
Finally, a simple solution

MoonSaddle: Minimalist 11-inch-wide saddle for casual riders that is shaped like a half moon.

Likes: Very efficient pedaling. Your tush perches solidly on the rim. The crescent shape, curving rearward, stays out of the way of your legs on the push-down; among the noseless seats, only the ISM toilet-seat does this as well. Oddly sleek looks.

Dislikes: Too-small gap between the rails and the seat bottom makes it difficult to attach a seat post.

Price: $86. (406) 859-1963; www.moonsaddle.com()
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