Back in the day, I tried what was then the newfangled saddle: the Avocet Touring II. An Avocet saddle was different from any other available at the time because it had two "mounds" on the rear, which made for a center "groove." You might say it was the inverse of today's "donut" saddles.
| Avocet Touring II women's saddle, circa 1980. Note the "bumps" or "mounds": They were intended to lift the cyclist off her perineal area.|
Ironically, the Terry saddles (I've also been riding a Butterfly on my Helene.) feel much like that Avocet saddle, at least to me. On the Terrys (Terries?), the edges of the cutout rub against the inside of my perineal area. So did the edges of the raised ridges on the Avocet. But I think that, if anything, the Terry saddles feel worse to me than the Avocet did. Well, maybe it's not a matter of the saddle itself. I think that what's being rubbed is softer tissue than I had back when I was riding the Avocet.
Below: Terry Butterfly, an example of a "donut" saddle. The rationalization for the cutout in the middle is the same as that for the "bumps" on the Avocet: relief of pressure on the perineal area.
Plus, I really don't think that the tear in my vaginal wall was caused by the Brooks Pro saddles I had been riding. They may have exacerbated a condition I already had because it has more of a "dome" shape than some other saddles, which are flatter.
Another common dislike I have of both Avocet and Terry saddles is that they don't allow me free fore-and-aft movement. Contrary to popular belief, highly technical mountain bikers aren't the only ones who like to slide forward and backward on their saddles. Back when I first started to ride distances, almost every serious rider did the same. And that is the reason why I had to give up, however reluctantly, an elegant suede saddle I rode for a time. (I don't know of any suede saddles that are being made today.) I now realize that saddles with smooth, flat tops are most conducive to my riding style.
That's the reason why I'm going to try the Brooks B-17. I'm thinking of riding the narrower version, which is about the same width (which I liked) as the Terry Falcon X , on Arielle and Tosca. And I'll probably use the standard version on Helene, as it is actually slightly wider than the Butterfly.
I believe (and hope) that the flatter shape of the B17, combined with its firmness, will keep me resting on my sitbones and relieve some pressure from my perineal areas. And, of course, the saddle will become more comfortable over time.
I'm going to ride the men's models. Their width is right for me: In spite of my surgery, my sitbones didn't grow further apart. (That's normal.) Also, women's saddles are shorter than men's. As someone who, as I mentioned, likes to slide forward and backward on her saddle as she changes position, I prefer the length of men's saddles.
Finally, I am happy to put Brooks saddles on my bikes again. Neither Brooks nor anyone else pays me to ride the company's offerings, so I apologize if I sound like an advertisement. But I'll say this: Very few, if any, other bike parts are of as high quality as Brooks saddles. Plus, what saddle is more appropriate on a lugged English frame made from Reynolds tubing?