Street gel saddle more comfy than Fusion Freeride?

I plan to ride a century on a 29er by the end of the summer. There are only two things that will prevent me from meeting this challenge - fitness and saddle pain. Fitness comes down to doing the conditioning work so it should take care of itself, saddle pain on the other hand is not just something you can get around by perseverence. I tend to suffer numbness and considerable pain after an hour in the saddle so how on earth am I to train for a 14 hour marathon?

Today I rode for four hours on my KH24 and I swapped the KH Fusion Freeride saddle for the KH Street Gel saddle that came as standard on my KH20. I found it much more comfortable - if comfortable is the right word. I wouldn’t have been able to ride for four hours on the Fusion Freeride.

I have seen that Kris has brought out a new slim saddle - does anyone know what it’s like and are any of the other street saddles - Impact Naomi for instance - that you’d recommend for distance riding?


I used to get really bad saddle sore until I bought some Chammois butter from UDC… instant cooling relief!!! :smiley:

I’d be interested to know this too. I’m wanting to ride a century on my 36er, and I’m sporting some 102mm cranks to help with the saddle soreness, but I’m wondering if any of the KH Saddles (or other brand) would be more comfortable than the standard Velo Gel Saddle that I have now. Currently, I can handle about an hour before I get numb and in pain, and if I want to do 100/10/1 I can’t be getting off the saddle 10 minutes every hour to relieve saddle soreness.

It is normal to suffer pain and numbness after an hour. That is when you get off and have a rest for a couple of minutes before continuing- you’ve got a long way to go. I’ve done several centuries including a couple on a 28" (a 29er with a narrow tire). I’ve done a bunch of long rides on 36" too and the saddle soreness is always there- no matter which seat. I quite like the Fusion freeride and Street gel, but they still hurt. For me it is a matter of overcoming the pain with endurance- and music seems to help. I’m not in a hurry to do another 28" century since 36" makes it a lot easier on saddle soreness.

They might be a bit more comfy but only slightly. Those resting minutes are quite important for keeping your speed up I reckon. After a minute of rest you can be feeling much fresher even if it only lasts a few minutes. If you could figure out a way to ignore the pain and just keep riding for 8 hours straight it would make it faster but not easier. 102mm cranks is fairly short for a 36"- you wouldn’t want to face too many steep hills with those.

If it doesn’t kill you it will make you stronger. Give it a shot. The positive comments from bike riders can be helpful in distracting you from the uncomfortable pain of saddle soreness- they say “You’re a legend”, “You’re a hero”, or “I could never do that” and it somehow breathes life back into your legs to maintain a respectable pace for them.

Trousers or shorts with slim seams on them are as important as the seat. If are going to buy a seat for distance I reckon get the stiffener plate and KH T-bar, or Nimbus shadow handle (I use a combination of both KH base for better adjustability and Nimbus handle for extra length/width).

I sometimes wonder about bike seats for endurance- with better handlebars it might be feasable.

Any discussion of saddle comfort for distance riding has to have a couple of disclaimers:

  • If you aren't wearing a good pair of bike shorts you're just hurting yourself
  • Saddle comfort, in the end, is very personal. What works for others is not necessarily the most comfortable for you.
  • Riding position is a factor. The "right" saddle is part of an equation that has to take into account your pelvic angle on there.
Start by getting a good quality pair of padded bike shorts. Don't go cheap! They are worn directly against the skin. Some people use various types of lubricant, but I have little experience with that. I have something called Body Glide, which is like a stick deodorant for your crotch. I used it in RTL and some other long rides, but it's hard for me to tell if it made a difference.

The right seat for an upright riding position is not the same as what you would want for a leaning-forward, aero position. I ride with the Nimbus Shadow handle, fully extended and curved down. All of that still gets me only somewhat “aero” but still changes the angle of my crotch on the seat. For MUni I like a thick, mooshy saddle. For road I’m still trying to decide between KH Fusion Freeride, and my older Nimbus Gel. The Freeride seems to irritate me because of the seams on either side, or perhaps its more squarish cross section. But the Nimbus Gel doesn’t have that channel down the middle, which is probably helpful on long rides…

I have just invested £175 ($300) in a pair of Assos cycle shorts - they arrive tomorrow and if all the glowing write-ups are true they’ll be worth every penny.

Well actually my dad uses Assos for biking and I tried them for uni, and I find the padding too thick. I like my cycle shorts to be a bit thiner for uni than for biking. I think it has to do with the relative cadences experienced on the two cycles.

There’s definitely some personal preference involved with slim versus thicker saddles. Lots has already been said on that so I just wanted to add: installing a T-bar on your uni, and playing around with it until you get both the angle and extension the way you like it, will help hugely for comfort.

And not just for distance riding, for muni as well. The only uni where I don’t use a T-bar is my KH24, which I use for technical downhill. Otherwise, for XC muni (on my 26) I use a T-bar positioned close to the saddle, and for distance (on my 36), I use a T-bar extended further out and low.

Aesthetically its nice too in that you no longer look like youre grabbing your crotch every time you grab the saddle. =)


It is just this kind of prejudice that us crotch grabbers have been fighting for years!

My own verdict is in, at least for next weekend’s century: KH Fusion Freeride FTW! I rode 60 miles today (I think it’s my 2nd longest ride ever) and my crotch doesn’t want to kill me.

With a name like Assos… let’s just say I think their attention is in the right place. :smiley:

Oddly enough, after many years of holding my crotch on a unicycle, I get very few comments on that…

I think the brand is supposed to be read as Ass SOS.

Still the same concept. Unless they’re thinking of an SOS pad:astonished:

(That’s a brand of steel wool, if you never heard of it)

Yes, very true!
(speaking as a ‘crotch grabber’)

Wow John, congratulations! That is inspiring.


I use an impact Naomi, and it’s by far the best Unitouring saddle I’ve used. Before that I’d been cutting down the foam on my saddles for years.

I think the new KH Slim saddle will be similar to the Naomi, with the bonus of being able to attach a KH T-bar handle to it.

Fat saddles like the Fusion Freeride gets in the way and can chaffe over longer distances. If they were better, then you’d see bike riders riding on big fat saddles too.

I disagree. My sit bones like a thin bicycle saddle. On the unicycle I prefer thick foam with a cutout as more pressure is up front and less on the sit bones.

But why would that be? Your ischial tuberosities (ie sit bones), should be supported whether it’s on the bike or a unicycle. After all, the position is not all that different. Being on a unicycle does not mean that your squishy bits should take the weight of your body.

The main difference is that unicycle saddles tend to curve up to wedge against your crotch, which I think is a legacy of pre-handle freestyle unicycles to stop you falling off. I think they need to be flatter for long distance riding.

My squishy bits definitely take a beating. This is where a handle should help but I don’t like my kh handle. I think you are right about the curve of the seat. I wish the cutout were wider up front. I tried modifying a seat but did a botched job of it. Hill climbing, standing to crank uphill, is the best relief. that and anti friction cream.

I just started riding on a wider hub (Oregon) and I found that the extra width of 2cm seems to take away the chaffing and pressure points in the taint.

Maybe what we need is more width so our feet are further apart…of a narrower saddle. I cut down the foam on my KH FR and this seemed to help some, but 1/4 off each side is not much.

I’m not a fan of a wide stance. I tend to angle my knees in when riding, which often causes tyre burns on my legs. On a long ride I take most of the skin off.

The wider saddles tend to get in the way too, but I have fat thighs and short legs :frowning: