Taking rides and all the kicks was so…precious Pretenders
In the early days after damaging his pudendal or whatever it was, The Logging Road Cyclist tried any and all saddles that might allow him to ride again. This included one of the SQlab models, either a 611 or 612, he can’t recall. As he remembers, the saddle almost worked, but not quite enough. In fact, since the saddle wasn’t of use to him, he tore off the cover and padding in the front to see if that helped. It didn’t, but this exercise led him to the idea for his own saddles, described elsewhere in the site.
Nevertheless, the impression of a saddle that almost worked remained embedded in the mind of TLRC, so when he entered last winter’s saddle-trying frenzy (an annual bout of mania that TLRC allows himself), he looked at the SQlab website to see if anything new was afoot. There was! Two models!
The 610 and the 60x looked to be that SQlab saddle with the “more” that TLRC had wished for 5 years ago.
A brief anatomy of an SQlab saddle is called for. There are three levels to the upper surface. The rearmost is the highest and is both something to push against and an index to get one’s sit bones in the right place. The midsection is lower, and is the platform where the sittin’ gets done, and spans a groove-divot which provides the critical perineal relief. Finally, lower still, is the front/nose section. The idea is that by raising the sittin’ place above the nose place, and adding the groove-divot, almost all of the pressure is on the sit bones and very little is on the delicates.
This actually works, which still amazes TLRC when he considers how little difference there is between the 3 levels. Plus, it is actually a very comfortable saddle.
SQlab offers these in widths of 13, 14, 15 and 16 cm, and one chooses which is right by measuring one’s sit bone width (their website tells how to do this) and then referring to a chart they provide:
Oops, not that one, this one:
So, the idea is, to one’s sitbone width (11cm to use TLRC’s skinny old ass as an example), you add the number of cm in the chart that corresponds to one’s riding style. TLRC is in either the +2 or +3 category, so he qualifies for either a 13 or a 14. He in fact tried those and a 15 before really figuring out these saddles and settling on a 13. One thing he found is that a too wide SQlab chafes behind the uppermost part of the thigh, just as did the ISM. 13 works great for him. The message here is that both TLRC and Gnat took a while to figure out which width to use, so try to order from a place that will allow you to return a slightly used saddle.
There are a couple of additional choices . SQlab has what they call an “active” system. This means the wings of the saddle can flex, dampened by an elastomeric insert (one of 3) that is selected based on the rider’s weight. They also sell non-active (i.e. normal versions) of the 610. The active is $140, inactive $100. TLRC has only tried the active, and has taken to riding with the middle-level elastomer instead of the stiffest one that is specified for his weight. TLRC has no idea if the active saddles are actually superior to the non-active ones. The other saddle considered here, the 60x ($170) is only active.
TLRC started out working with the 610, mostly based on cost, but Gnat kept bugging him the try the 60x, so TLRC borrowed one from him, tried it, and hasn’t looked back. In the opinion of both, the 60x is markedly superior. TLRC isn’t sure why, but the feeling of the saddle and how it protects the soft tissue is somehow more definite, or crisp. Hard to define, but once tried, not denied, for TLRC at least.
So there it is. The final saddle for TLRC? Is his long search over? TLRC is so sick of fiddling with saddles and saddle adjustments he could scream out loud. For so long, he just wanted to ride, dammit, without always having a wrench to had to tweak the saddle that one-final-time so he could just go for a ride. Both he and Gnat have been fiddling with these saddles for a few months now, and they seem to have stuck. Check ’em out.