I’ve been battling the creaking saddle demons for several years and after lots of experimentation and research I found the cause and the solution.
I’m riding saddles made in the 1980s-90s so right there I’m already in trouble. All bike parts wear out, including saddles and I’ll explain why.
Saddle rails are springs, constantly moving up and down in their support structures within the saddle. Over time, which varies with the saddle model and manufacturing variables, the saddle will start to creak. Most cyclists don’t ride their saddles into the ground like me, so few riders experience saddle creak woes.
Of course, before trying to fix your saddle creak, you need to be sure it’s the saddle that’s at fault. Be sure the seatpost is well greased because it can cause creaks in the saddle area. Some people say to oil or grease the rails at the clamps, but those locations are not meant to move, so lubrication is not recommended, beyond a very light dab of oil to prevent rust.
When I first experienced saddle creak, I did what most experts recommend and added oil, all kinds of oil, but nothing worked. In fact, it sometimes made things worse. The bottom line is, if it’s not supposed to move, don’t add oil. Those seat rails are not meant to move.
[Seatposts are not meant to move and they absolutely need grease. So I imagine giving the rails a thorough cleaning and oiling would keep them from squeaking. Lack of access makes this impossible. Everything I’ve tried in terms of lubrication hasn’t worked.]
My next line of attack was to drill a hole and drizzle in Super Glue. That worked, for a while.
Then I tried a screw that rested up against the bend in the rail at the nose of the saddle. That worked, for a while.
I’ve never had an issue with the rails in the rear of the saddle, only the nose. I think that’s where the most stress occurs. Over time and constant movement, the rail loosens up inside the nylon mold. You can’t notice the movement, but it’s there. I disassembled a saddle to check the rail. It’s a single piece of wrapped steel alloy. I thought it might be welded there and the weld failed.
Finally, I decided to try epoxy. I carefully cleaned the saddle nose by dipping it in concentrated Simple Green, rinsed, and then sanded the nylon around the rails for the best possible adhesion.
I used JB Weld quick-setting epoxy. It couldn’t be easier to apply. Just squeeze out the two mixtures, stir together with the enclosed wooden stick and drizzle it into the saddle between the rails. Every saddle is different, but this one for a Bianchi (Viscount saddle) had a wide opening ideal for adding epoxy. Your results may vary with different saddles based on how they are built. Some saddles have small or no openings to speak of, so adding epoxy may not work well. You might have to drill a hole.
Now my saddle is completely quiet. I don’t know how long it will last, but if it’s not at least a year, it’s time for one of those new saddles that looks like it was made by space aliens.