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Perineum-friendly bike seat

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

Ah yes, everyone's least favorite topic. Finding a bicycle saddle that is comfortable as well as functional has never been easy (or cheap) and one that doesn't put pressure/vibration/impact where it doesn't belong is even harder.

Most saddles widely available in bike shops, department stores, et. al. are either the super-narrow prostate guillotine variety (6" wide or less, no channel, no cutout) or the super-wide couch designed for 'comfort cruisers'. Problem with the latter being that they're not nearly as comfortable as they look and don't really take the pressure away from the sensitive areas. they just distribute it over a larger area (= your ass).

I currently use a Specialized saddle (logo no longer legible) with a channel and rear cutout, producing a sort of 'swallow tail' appearance, which works ok but is getting on in years and a Nashbar cheapie with a channel that was actually pretty good for the price (~ $ 15), both with the nose kinda pointed down, which does lead to a little more hand numbness, but I'd rather have numb hands than numb something else.

I also have an old ABS Dual Action, which is probably the most prostate-friendly bike seat I've ever used, but it does have a STEEP learning curve and is weird-looking contraption, almost like something out of a Steampunk game or movie.

I've been looking at the Moonsaddle, the Spongy Wonder and a few others and wanted to get some feedback from you guys on what works for you.

post #2 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nukuhiva View Post

I've been looking at the Moonsaddle, the Spongy Wonder and a few others and wanted to get some feedback from you guys on what works for you.


A Fizik Arione CX.

 

As a 59-year-old rider who hasn't had saddle issues since learning the right way to sit on a bike, around 1973, whose saddles have tended to be getting narrower and stiffer (and better designed) since that year, I suggest getting a professional bike fitting.

 

And if for some reason going to a fitter isn't possible, here are my suggestions for self-medicating saddle-related problems.

 

First, if you're having persistent problems "down there," consider getting a medical examination to make sure you don't have conditions that require treatment or preclude riding a road bike.

 

Too much pressure on the perineum--Saddle is too high; you're effectively dangling your legs from the hips, which are supported by a saddle wedged into your crotch. Lower the thing.

 

Butt sliding off the front of the saddle in spite of pushing back with the arms--Saddle is tilted too low in front. Find an angle that more closely resembles horizontal.

 

Pulling butt off the front of the saddle with the arms--Saddle is too far from the handlebar. Get a shorter stem or a smaller bicycle.

 

Too much pressure on the hands--Saddle is too far forward; your center of gravity is in front of your feet and you're using your hands and arms to support the torso and head. Slide saddle back, and then lower it a bit to account for the extra reach created by sliding it back.

 

Privates getting crowded between thighs, saddle, and belly--Loose weight and raise handlebar for the interim.

 

If you ride a road bike, get used to the idea that whatever saddle you choose will somehow fit between your legs. And understand that there are road bike saddles designed for relieving pressure, and some are more suitable than others, but you need to start with your fit. And if this is not feasible to you, consider a comfort bike or a recumbent.

 

post #3 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nukuhiva View Post

Ah yes, everyone's least favorite topic. Finding a bicycle saddle that is comfortable as well as functional has never been easy (or cheap) and one that doesn't put pressure/vibration/impact where it doesn't belong is even harder.

Most saddles widely available in bike shops, department stores, et. al. are either the super-narrow prostate guillotine variety (6" wide or less, no channel, no cutout) or the super-wide couch designed for 'comfort cruisers'. Problem with the latter being that they're not nearly as comfortable as they look and don't really take the pressure away from the sensitive areas. they just distribute it over a larger area (= your ass).

I currently use a Specialized saddle (logo no longer legible) with a channel and rear cutout, producing a sort of 'swallow tail' appearance, which works ok but is getting on in years and a Nashbar cheapie with a channel that was actually pretty good for the price (~ $ 15), both with the nose kinda pointed down, which does lead to a little more hand numbness, but I'd rather have numb hands than numb something else.

I also have an old ABS Dual Action, which is probably the most prostate-friendly bike seat I've ever used, but it does have a STEEP learning curve and is weird-looking contraption, almost like something out of a Steampunk game or movie.

I've been looking at the Moonsaddle, the Spongy Wonder and a few others and wanted to get some feedback from you guys on what works for you.



What works for me has no bearing on what works for you. As it is, though, I'm using a Selle Italia Turbomatic....the new version. Some saddle cut outs or channels work for some riders, and some don't. A proper fitting saddle and bike is the most reliable way to avoid numbness in the dangly bits. Most bike shops will allow you to buy or try a saddle and then return or switch saddles iffn' the first didn't work. It can take several switches or returns to find the right saddle.
post #4 of 11

I've never had a truly comfortable saddle ever.

Well, I had one, some horrible gel topped contraption that came stock on an old Bianchi. While initially quite pleasant, it'd lead to severe numbness after 30 minutes or so.

My riding buddies appreciated it more than me, for its comedy inducing effect. Watching me trying to walk right after getting off the bike was apparently quite hilarious.

 

What I look for now is endurable discomfort. My favourite saddle has the amazing property of being equally uncomfortable after 3 hours, as it is after 10 minutes. Anything short of a full week of all-day riding, I can deal with, w/o any issues. I'll settle for that.

post #5 of 11

FWIW.  Long distance touring cyclists prefer the BROOKS B17 saddle ...

 

  • Brooks saddles are bricks, but what price comfort?

 

Those who have tried the Brooks B17 (or, similar saddles) and found it to be uncomfortable probably did not set it up properly ...

 

  • with most leather saddles, the seatpost must be lowered, slightly, because the rail-to-top distance is typically greater than with most "regular" saddles, and (as oldbobcat noted) if a saddle is too high it will generally be uncomfortable
  • I don't understand people who masochistically set their saddles with the nose higher than the back, BTW, regardless of the saddle model 
  • some break-in time may be required with a leather saddle, but maybe not
  • some periodic maintenance is required with leather saddles
    • most tires need air, periodically, too
    • most chains need oil, periodically, too
    • etc.

 

Also, regardless, a key to comfort includes ensuring that you are sitting on the widest part of the saddle and NOT straddling the middle section or nose of the saddle (unless you are a masochist!?!) ... some people need to have a "professional fitting" to learn this, some don't.

 

BTW.  The "first" generation of "plastic" saddles from the 80s (and, some would include the Cinelli Unicanitor which had been around for a while by then -- the Unicanitor shell remained the same, AFAIK, but by my reckoning the Unicanitor "cover" was modified slightly over time to reflect innovations pioneered by other saddle makers) had to be as comfortable as a leather saddle to compete, so a NOS San Marco or Selle Italia saddle could be worth investigating ... in no particular order:

 

  • San Marco Concor (not necessarily the derivative San Marco Concor Lite)
  • San Marco Rolls
  • San Marco Regal
  • Selle Italia Turbo (and, direct "copies" sold by other companies ... the Selle Italia Turbo was a very highly regarded saddle)
  • ¿others?

 

 IMO, some of the subsequent saddles were designed with other goals in mind than comfort.

 

Regardless, as is oft noted, what works for one-or-many-or-most may not work for YOU (or, me!?!).

 

 

post #6 of 11

Saddles that work for me? Vetta saddles from the 1980's always worked for me and I am lucky enough to still have two that are serviceable. I also have a white foam rubber and plastic saddle that only has the word Velo on it in black ink that I got off of eBay for $8.00 that is comfortable for rides of two hours or less. Longer than that and it gets pretty uncomfortable. And then there is the Forte Classic Saddle from Performance Bike. I also have an old Brooks non-leather saddle, model C3 I think. It is on an older bike that I don't ride often. And I have an old Selle Italia that came on another bike. I don't know what model it is but it was comfortable until the padding got too soft. I think it is destined for the dumpster when Spring cleaning time gets here.

 

But as most everyone else has stated, what works for me might not work for you. If there was one saddle that worked for everyone, that would be the only saddle available and all the others would have gome out of business. Luckily everyone's backside has different preferences, and luckily, most bike shops take that into consideration when you go saddle shopping. Ask your LBS what their saddle policy is. A lot of people swear by Brooks Saddles and a lot of people swear at Brooks Saddles. A good Brooks leather saddle would probably be comfortable for you after the break in period, but they are fairly expensive, require more care than other saddles, and it may not work for you in the end. So welcome to cycling and the quest for a comfortable saddle!

post #7 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by kdelong View Post

Saddles that work for me? Vetta saddles from the 1980's always worked for me and I am lucky enough to still have two that are serviceable. I

 

 



Are you talking about that Vetta spinoff of the Selle Italia Turbo? I've talked to a few people who said that Vetta was the best piece of plastic they ever had between their thighs. Good for you on still having a couple.

post #8 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by oldbobcat View Post



Are you talking about that Vetta spinoff of the Selle Italia Turbo? I've talked to a few people who said that Vetta was the best piece of plastic they ever had between their thighs. Good for you on still having a couple.


I don't know if these are copies of the Selle Italia Turbo. They have the same basic shape like a lot of other saddles from that period. There was a slight attempt at making it more "anatomical" by recessing the center of the saddle along the length. They are vinyl rather than leather but they were affordable and comfortable, two qualities that were fairly mutually exclusive then. I purchased one as a replacement for an old bike in 1984. Sold the bike but kept the saddle. The other one came as original on a 1986 Centurion Ironman Expert that I still have since it was the first serious bike (as in not a big box store bike) that I bought brand new. 
 

 

post #9 of 11

 

I am lucky that I can comfortably ride just about any saddle. I have used every stock saddle on every bike I have owned without any comfort complaints. Three years ago I crashed my Trek 1000 and the saddle was torn off the rails. My Bassano saddle was history. I replaced it with a 14.99 San Marco Ponza Lux saddle.

Everyone is not the same. The only real advice I have to offer on this subject is when you do find the saddle that's right buy two so you have one a few years down the road. It would suck to find your self in the same predicament 5 years from now because your new saddle is no longer in production. 

post #10 of 11
Give Rido saddles a try
post #11 of 11

Everyone's anatomy is different so it's difficult to recommend a saddle based on your own comfort.

 

I have been reading up on saddle fitment and came across the concept of finding the correct width seat based on your "sit bones".

If your saddle is not the correct width then your bones will very sore and painful OR you will have some friction/chapping issues. 

 

You can measure your sit bones by sitting down in a chair and lifting your legs up about 6-12 inches off the ground.

Reach under your butt and find the bones (not the purple one in the center).

Find a way of measuring the distance between them. 

 

I measured my sit bones and found they were 125-130mm wide. My saddle was 130mm wide and so I went out and purchased a Specialized Toupe Pro in 143mm.

It's much more comfortable than my previous saddle.

In my research I've found that Specialized has really put a lot of time and effort into their R&D around this and so I went with them.

They have several seats in different widths as well as curvatures to fit various body types. The Toupe, Romin, Phenom etc.

 

Specialized has a guideline for sizing.

 

 

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