I bought my Eddy Merckx EFX1 carbon road bike back in the autumn of 2012. It was a great buy and riding it has always filled me with joy, except for one thing: the Prologo saddle it came with is agony! I really don't know how or why I put up with it for so long?
As my first road bike, everyone had warned me that it would take a while to get used to the hard, skinny saddle if you're used to riding round in comfort on a squidgy, sofa-wide version like the one I have on my hybrid touring bike. That's partly why I grimaced and bore it for so long.
But a few months later, following my first 100-mile long sportive, I still hadn't really broken it in, or for that matter, toughened up at all. After a long day in the saddle I would tiptoe around gently the next day, lowering myself slowly onto chairs to protect my bruised sit bones.
The other reason I hadn't upgraded my instrument of torture was because saddles cost quite a lot and I really had no idea what to get. I wandered round aimlessly at cycle shows examining all the different options - but they all looked the same. Some were black, some were white, some were made by brands I liked like Fizik - but at the end of the day I couldn't be sure that any would be an improvement - and I suspected that I'd just end up £80 worse off with an equally tender bottom.
Then one serendipitous day - I saw a posting on Twitter about ladies saddles reviewed. It happened to be around Black Friday when my inbox was inundated with cycle retailers offering ludicrous amounts of money off their stock. It was a lightbulb moment - I read Road.cc, Total Women's Cycling, Cycling Weekly - you name it - but they all said the same thing: Selle Italia Diva Gel Flow Saddle. This is the nirvana of ladies saddles or bottom heaven, if you will.
Not that I distrusted the cycling press at all, but I went on to read the rave reviews posted by ordinary punters like me and they were unanimous in their praise. The only criticism I could find was that it creaked - well I could cope with that if it was comfortable! So I went to Chain Reaction Cycles and ordered it for a knock-down £54.99.
When it arrived it did look rather unglamorously chunky and weighed in at 255g which is a little heavier than most. Apparently I have the L3 model and there are several variations to chose from including S for small and the 1 version which is carbon. I have iron (which probably explains the weight) and Max Gel Flow - which I guess means it's the squidgyest. L must also means large, but Selle Italia are too polite to specify that and there is no M medium!
So... Mr Ride Velo insisted on fitting the saddle for me and who am I to refuse such an offer? Then we took it out for a spin on a dazzling day in Richmond Park.
To be honest, I couldn't be more delighted with the Selle Italia and it didn't even creak! It was everything the reviewers said it was: comfortable, no chaffing, just the right size, supportive - well everything you want from a saddle really. Now I just need a really long spring sportive to give it a proper workout. Only one question left in my mind - why on earth didn't I upgrade years ago?