Saddles for Fixed Gear

Faithful readers (all 6 of you) may recall that I’m still trying to get the fit right on my fixed-gear commuter bike (a Masi Speciale Fixed).  The initial problem was that I was leaning too hard on my wrists, and they were falling asleep after about 1/2 hour of riding.  Raising the bars 1/4″ or so helped a bit, but not enough.  Next I tried angling the seat back a bit more, to keep me from sliding forward.  That actually helped quite a bit with the wrist numbness, but the stock Masi saddle was uncomfortable in the new position.  I tried swapping it out for a Selle Italia “gel” racing saddle I had lying around, and it was marginally more comfortable, but still not quite what I was looking for.  This morning I tried the saddle from my road bike, a cheap Forté (Performance house brand) “Classic” saddle which I’ve always found comfortable.  The jury is still out, but it seems like we’re getting closer with this one.

One thing to consider, is that the same saddle that’s comfortable on a freewheel bike might not be comfortable on a fixed gear, and vice versa.  With a freewheel, it’s easy to shift weight to the legs while coasting downhill, whereas with fixed gear, the legs spin rapidly downhill and more weight gets shifted to the saddle.  So if anything, saddle comfort is more important with fixed gear than with a freewheel.  I’ve often wondered whether a leather saddle, like a Brooks, might be the thing for fixed.  I’ve hesitated trying one because I’m not crazy about taking an expensive leather saddle out in the rain.

Still also working on the rebuild of my old ’93 Specialized Rockhopper.  It has Dia-Compe 987 cantilever brakes on it, and my initial thought was to swap these out for V-brakes.  However, after some consideration, I think I’m just going to stick with the cantis.  There’s nothing functionally wrong with them, and switching to V-brakes would have also required swapping out the levers.  However, my new fork didn’t have the cable stop needed to use standard cantilevers.  Some net surfing revealed that there are essentially 2 options:  A bolt-on stop that attaches to the brake hole in the fork crown, or a stop that clamps to the steerer tube.  I ended up going with the former, because it puts the stop in roughly the same spot as it was on my old suspension fork, so I should be able to use my existing brake cable housing.  The part is on order and I’ll give it a shot when it arrives.