I replaced the original saddle with a Selle Italia Max Flite Gel, which has a little more flex than the original Specialized saddle as well as having gel inserts.
I would love to be able to say that this Italian masterpiece was the cure for my pain in the bum, however whilst it has undoubtedly contributed to more comfort, I suspect the simple truth is that more time in the saddle is making my bum more tolerant of having to support my weight on the instrument of torture that is a cycle saddle.
I had to play around with the positioning of the saddle for a few days (height, fore and aft position and nose angle) until I found a comfortable position which suited my riding style. I'm not convinced it is absolutely right, but spending time in the saddle is more enjoyable now, so we must be heading in the right direction.
On the subject of adjusting the bike to suit my riding style and my actual physical shape and height, a bit of good old Google research has revealed that their is a bit more to this than simply adjusting the saddle. Specialized offer a "bike fitting" service where trained fitting technicians, using specialist fitting tools, conduct a bike fit assessment process to "ergonomically enhance the fit of the bicycle and equipment". Apparently investing in a bike fitting session will "enable you to ride faster, longer and in greater comfort" which can only be a good thing when in July of next year I will have to ride circa 120 miles up a French mountain. Undoubtedly their is more than a little advertising bull in some of the claims that are made for this service, however the closest Specialized store that is able to perform this service is only 20 miles from home, so I think it I will be investing a little cash and time in having the bike and my shoes properly set up for my riding style.
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