Saddling up!

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It has been about two weeks since I bought the Salsa Vaya and I managed to put a couple of hundred miles on it since then. The ride is quite different than that of the GT Road bike (as expected).My average speeds dropped around 3-4 MPH. I suspected that is because of the knobby tires and the weight difference. But, so far I like it. It is a joy to ride especially on dirt roads, something I couldn’t do with my road bike.

One of the first things that I upgraded on the Vaya was the saddle as I have done with my previous rides. I don’t know why manufacturers even bother putting seats on new bikes. All my previous bicycles came with stock saddles and they were extremely uncomfortable and the one that came with Vaya was no different. I would experience sheer pain on my hiney and numbness around my perineum after a few miles. To remedy the situation, I have always replaced the stock seat with after market ones. I’ve done just that on my last bicycle which had a Planet Bike 5020 Men’s ARS Standard Anatomic Relief Saddle with Gel that I was very happy with. I could do around 50+ miles without any issues. However, on the new ride considering the mileage I am gonna put on the bike I decided to go with a Brooks B17 leather saddle which seems to be the de facto standard amongst the bicycle tourers.

Brooks B17 saddle in its fancy box

I have ordered one in “honey” color which arrived in a fancy box along with some magazine style literature that I completely ignored and have no idea what they were about (straight into recycle bin!). When I pulled the saddle out of the box, I just couldn’t believe this was the same comfortable saddle that everyone was raving about on the internet. The leather was so hard that I could play the Beethoven’s Marcia alla Turca on it using my knuckles.

I immediately proceeded to prepare the saddle for a process that is described on Sheldon Brown’s home page which expedites the break-in process. I bought some baseball glove oil from a local store and left the saddle in it for an hour or so. The bathing really did make a difference and the saddle was noticeably softer afterwards. But, I think I will repeat the process one more time before I leave for Europe in coming weeks.

Note the marbling effect on the saddle caused by the bathing process

By the way, my brother has finally received his 2013 Kona Sutra a few days ago. Well almost all of it minus the front rack!…? What is up with that?

Sutra minus the front rack

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