I have had my bike for many years (since I was a child actually - it still fits, I haven't grown much!) but recently dug it out of the shed and made some good use of it by riding it rather than letting spiders live in it. I managed to get up to about 10 miles which is no mean feat for someone who can barely walk to the end of the road but two things hurt by the end of it. My hands from gripping the handlebars too tight and my backside from sitting on an uncomfy seat for so long. Time to buy a new saddle I thought!
==The Raleigh Gel Saddle==
I decided to go for a Raleigh saddle as my bike was a Raleigh and it is a decent named brand in the biking world. It was also around £15 which wasn't too much to pay if I got bored of cycling or if I didn't like the saddle very much. The saddle itself was fitted by my husband so I can't comment on the fitting unfortunately but it didn't seem to take him too long. The saddle is described as "gel" which gave me visions of those cooling gel eye masks you get to help you relax. Unfortunately, the saddle isn't as squidgy as that and whilst it is described as gel, I'd describe it more of a hard sponge. It is slightly springy, much more springy than the bog standard saddle I previously had, but still not quite as soft as I was hoping for. However, I guess if it wasn't a cushion, I wouldn't be happy with anything.
In terms of comfort, I'm not sure if this is more suited to a male or female. The skinny front part of the saddle is different to cycle on compared to the usual more fatter saddle and I personally feel this front bit could be a bit thicker. The gel seat at the back does cushion my derriere on bumpy tracks and I am definitely aching less when I've been out on it. Personally I would have liked a slightly larger saddle at the back (or even better, a slightly smaller bottom!!) as it it is not as comfy as I would have hoped as it doesn't fully accommodate my rear end.
For the price, the saddle is fine. I don't cycle very often so when I do this definitely does the job well enough for me. If I cycled to work every day, I'm not sure how comfortable this would be for me. As it were, it is fit for the purpose I need it for but next time I think I would get a slightly wider saddle all around. For the price it is a well made, good quality saddle, the shape just isn't quite right for me!
We have been riding our bikes for over a year now and it is fair to say that I have lost some weight and become used to some of the bumps and knocks that you can take while out on a bike, particularly in the countryside. After a few days of riding my new bike I was a bit upset that the seat was so uncomfortable and probably because he was sick of listening to me moaning while out on a bike ride my wonderful husband bought me a new seat as a surprise. The seat that he bought for me was this Raleigh saddle and it has a gel seat for more comfortable riding.
I'm not entirely sure how much my husband paid for this (as it is rude to ask when it is a gift) but I can see this on Amazon for £15.85 with free delivery which sounds very reasonable to me and is a price that I would personally be happy to pay, even before knowing just how great the comfort of this is.
This was around the size of my current saddle and was very simple to change. I left this to my husband, with my supervision of course, as he does anything that involves holding tools or potentially damaging nails or fingers! I loved the look of this as soon as I got it and while the colour is black and boring I soon become used to it, particularly once I found out how comfortable this was! This is quite a thin narrow saddle towards the front and I found this nice and comfortable. Obviously as you get further along the saddle this gets bigger to accommodate my bum nicely. This is a gel and foam seating and because of the exterior cover this saddle is waterproof too. I didn't suffer with a wet seat on more than one occasion with my old saddle but that was because my husband bought me this one quite quickly after we bought our bikes. I must say that having a wet bike saddle on the way home is not pleasant. Often you are already soaked or even worse - the rest of you is dry except your bum! Its not a good look, nor was it something that I enjoyed. Thankfully that has not been a problem since using this saddle so I am very grateful for that! I must say that my bum feels very comfortable when I am sitting on this saddle and it makes a nice bike ride all the more enjoyable now and has definitely contributed to me and my husband going out and exercising more - because I'm moaning less or not at all!
Because this saddle has springs this helps when we are on a country road or going through the park on slightly uneven terrain. I do not notice big knocks anywhere near as much as I used to and if I hit one of the numerous pot holes on our local roads I do not worry that I'm going to be bruised for a week!
When I first received this saddle I was a couple of stone heavier than I am now and even with a larger backside (then, not now) I found this very comfortable. This saddle has helped to make my bike rides much more pleasant and I definitely go out on my bike more than I would have done if I had kept the previous uncomfortable hard seat.
Last year at around this time, we used to do a lot of cycling, having got ourselves a couple of cheap second hand bikes.
My wife had a pink one with sturdy tyres and a thick frame. Mine was an older bike - the racing sort with skinny little tyres and a thin saddle that threatened at times to part one butt cheek permanently from the other - not a good look... or feel (although......NO! - stop before you start, Bellroyd!). That coupled with the fact that it was set a bit high for me and had rusted on at that height meant that I needed to look at some solutions.
At first the trusty WD40 wouldn't do the trick and loosen the saddle to allow me to drop it down a bit. I was a bit miffed - it has never let me down before. I finally managed it and it did feel slightly more comfortable to ride. However, there was still a degree of discomfort there and I went off cycling for a short while. Bike use was occasional rather than frequent over the winter - somehow the motivation wasn't there.
Just last month though, when it started to get a bit warmer, my wife came back from the town one day with one of these Raleigh Gel saddles. When she told me that she had bought one, I was slightly annoyed. I had seen these before and they were huge - designed for ladies who are broad of beam. I thought I would look stupid with one of these clamped onto a gent's racing bike.
However, I was pleasantly surprised when Ermentrude showed it to me because it was nicely streamlined and just looked like a better padded and more streamlined version of the one I was having problems with.
It's nice and narrow at the front which suits the male anatomy for reasons which you can readily imagine and it's nicely sprung. It really does feel good under your bum - which is a phrase I seldom use. It was easy to fit and having given it the once over, I was impressed by the stitching and general finishing. It certainly looked the part and being black it suited the bike. It has a nice grey flash on it and some branding - which I could have done without really but that's the way of the world.
It has a firm but yielding gel inner which feels good to prod and which is obviously the part that makes for a comfortable ride - together with the substantial springs to help you ride out the bounce. Boing! Boing! Boing! A ride around the lanes now is much more pleasant and you don't get the jarring that you used to get when you encounter the holes in the road. It also resists water penetration which the old foam inner saddle it replaced failed to satisfactorily do.
It cost Ermentrude over £20 from a local sports store and that was supposedly on offer - I paid less than that for the bike when I bought it! Now I see that it has been reduced on Amazon to only £13.88 including free delivery! Damn and blast!
If your backside is as big as a small country and large sections of it flop over the side whilst you are riding, then this saddle could be your salvation. Not just you fat bottomed girls, either. Some of us blokes could do with being a bit more streamlined as well. (Note to self!)
Time for bed!
Now this is comfort. I bought the Raleigh gel saddle for £14.89 last year and i've never had a more comfortable ride. The saddle is a H26XW23XD12cm making it very wide seated for maximum comfort. This extra width provides a lot more room to seat your...hind quarters, a feature most saddles lack, and so you can go for long distance rides without making every bump a jaw clenching experience. Not only this, the gel and spring combo greatly reduces the impact of uneven surfaces while riding so your ride feels smooth and comfortable. The vinyl material of the saddle is weatherproof and very durable which is great for me as a regular cyclist and in the long run could end up saving you money.
One thing i must point out is that when adjusting the saddle make sure it as angled straight down as the rounded shape can cause discomfort when attatched at an angle. I would definately recommend this saddle to people who are looking for a more comfortable long distance ride rather than more proffesional cyclists.
~Does Slash really have one of these?~
Anyone who bikes or should I say cycles, be it off road or on road, cycling up mountains .............err and down them again of course, just toddles off to get a pint of milk coz its quicker by bike, or just generally likes the feel and thrill of being at one with the glorious english countryside and accompanying weather, needs a good cycle saddle. There are times when a cheap fix will do, when you can skimp on something so that you have a little more to spend on something else. Choosing the correct type of cycle saddle to suit your shape and seating habits when out on a cycle is a MUST! If you want to avoid the 'Hop along Cassidy' look.
~Cycling should be fun~
Cycling should be fun, it shouldn't cause you to look away in fear every time the words, 'Shall we take the bikes out?' are mentioned. A comfy saddle is a must have item. Which is how we came to have a Raleigh Gel Saddle. Not just any Raleigh Gel Saddle either, ooh noo, its an Avenir Raleigh Gel Saddle! The cycles we have now and have had in the past, have always come fitted with saddles that could make a grown man cry! Why fit an uncomfy saddle to a lovely new cycle? Why do the makers do they do that I wonder, other than to make you go out and buy a better one after a week or so of having your shiny new bike.
The Raleigh Gel Saddle is such a great improvement on the saddle that was on the mountain bike when we bought it. Its not as badly named as the comfy bum saddle we have on one of the other bikes, although the name perfectly describes the way it improves your seating when out on that particular cycle. The Raleigh Avenir Gel Saddle is a more blokey type of saddle, that can cushion a chaps particulars better than those puny racing type things that look excruiatingly painful to sit on.
~The benefits of the product~
The benefits of the Avenir Gel Saddle are many fold. Even if you have a saddle on your bike that only partially splits you in half, you will notice a distinct improvement once you fit an Avenir saddle to your bike. Its got a nice plumpness about it that can take the oohs and arghs out of a longer cycle trip. The shape of the saddle is a little bit of a talking point to say the least, but we have found that many of the gel saddles we looked into getting were of a similar shape. So there must be something in that, which makes this a good shape to have, otherwise all the manufacturers would be making them look different I guess.
Whilst the domed rear seating pads do look laughable, they are in fact perfectly formed and well cushioned. They really make for a comfy place to park your back side on, when out on your bike. The design of the saddle has a neat but smart and rather manful grey diagonal slash across it. Umm I wonder if Slash has one of these beauties? I can imagine him out on the open road, fag in one hand guitar in the other....Err maybe not and anyway, he is a good boy and gave up the fags recently.
The name of the Avenir saddle is neatly placed to the side and is a brightly coloured highlight to the over all look of the saddle. With the main colour of the saddle cover being black, I feel that the grey detailing and orange/ red Avenir name make for a simple and classic effect. The attention to detail is rather good and the design of the saddle is complimented by a pin prick type detailing on the lower part of the saddle under the grey diagonal panel.
~How much! Oh and was it worth it?~
When I came to review the saddle it wasn't listed here, but we felt this was such a good little cycle saddle that it was worth sharing some info about it. We only paid £14.99 for the saddle, which for a gel based cycle seating product is rather good. You can pay double this and still not be able to get as comfy a feel as you do with this saddle. The saddle has the very helpful addition of being nicely sprung. This means that you get a three pronged cushioning effect from both the springs on the saddle and the gel and foam cushioning. The width of the saddle across the back end is wider than it looks here. The piccy here makes this look a lot sportier and much sleeker than it really is. The thing to remember here though, is that with cycle saddles sleek means a bruised arse and wide means a comfy seat.
~Ease of fitting~
The fittings on the saddle are the same as most others and so are easy to tighten up once the correct height and seating position is achieved for your own particular bike. You do need to make sure that you get the centre of the saddle fitted on dead straight before you tighten the fittings. Otherwise this makes for a really awkward seating position that isn't safe or comfortable. The outer covering of the saddle is made from soft touch vinyl. It protects the gel and foam inner layer well and is water proof. We have found it to be durable, although it has had a slight knock to the side of the saddle where it clipped another bike when we were getting it out of the shed. It hasn't ripped at all though and the slight scuff is purely a cosmetic thing.
~Final summary and rating~
We bought the saddle locally, but you can buy this from lots of different sellers and its even for sale online at places like Amazon or Argos. Prices for the saddle seem to be pretty much inline with each other, so I don't feel we either over paid or had a cheapie deal. The comfort the saddle provides is very good. Its so much better than the saddle that came with the bike and although we bought it as a mans saddle, it can easily suit either a man or a woman who prefers a comfy cycle saddle. The saddle performs its duties well and makes going over bumps and rough terrain much more bearable and is 100% better than the other saddle.
To rate the Avenir Gel Saddle I have to give it 4 stars. It performs well and it offers better than average comfort at a mid way price level. You could spend at least double trying to get a similar cushiony feel, but if you choose this saddle you don't have to and can go on to spend the pennies you save on something else instead.