Effect of cadence on Saddle Comfort



Carligene

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Jun 25, 2022
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Hello! I am getting back into training. Here's my dilemma. I want to build miles by spinning at a high cadence, say 95+. This kind of spinning however puts more of a strained feeling on my butt, or more specifically, I think the perineum. As a result, I often default to a slower cadence at a higher gear because pushing that way relieves the pressure off the saddle making me more comfortable. My question is how can I resolve this dilemma so I can spin more briskly, staying a bit more comfortable? For reference I have no weight to loose...I am 5' 7" and weight 140. Thanks!
 

Mr. Beanz

Well-Known Member
Aug 18, 2015
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I'd bet it's your adjustment and set up.
I'm a Clydesdale at 240 pounds and I spin around 100rpm with no discomfort.

Also check into different saddles. I have used Terry WTB Cannondale Trek Specialized Selle Italia, and found the Terry to be the most comfortable of all. 100 miles first ride out of the box. Sadly up from $60 to $175, I won't buy a 4th out of principle because I think they're price gouging now.

I did read about a Spoon Charge saddle on a cycling forum. Not being totally satisfied with higher priced models thought I'd give it a try.

Shape and geometry fits me perfectly and for less than $30 on ebay I've found my go to saddle. Been riding 3 different ones on my 3 main bikes for about a year and I'm surprisingly impressed.

Just fits my butt like a glove.
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comebackkid

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Aug 10, 2022
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If you are just getting back into things I would wait a bit and just see if racking up time on the bike makes things better. I noticed that for me the number-one factor in being comfortable on road bikes is being in shape. The real seat is your butt, and once all of those leg and butt and other muscles are toned up and bigger, I did not have a problem putting miles on any of my three road bikes. As light as you are you should end up having an easy time of it once you are in shape. I am usually 200+ pounds unless I ride a LOT of miles, like over 150 per week, then I have gotten down below 190. I can't imaging how comfy it must be weighing fifty pounds less than I do now as far as seating goes......
 
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cobbwheels

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Dec 7, 2022
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Hello! I am getting back into training. Here's my dilemma. I want to build miles by spinning at a high cadence, say 95+. This kind of spinning however puts more of a strained feeling on my butt, or more specifically, I think the perineum. As a result, I often default to a slower cadence at a higher gear because pushing that way relieves the pressure off the saddle making me more comfortable. My question is how can I resolve this dilemma so I can spin more briskly, staying a bit more comfortable? For reference I have no weight to loose...I am 5' 7" and weight 140. Thanks!

At 140 lbs, you'd be lightweight. As it seems, many lightweight riders tend to perform better at lower cadences. Take for instance, Marco Pantani who used crank arms way too long for his inseam length. Such equipment choice would dictate mashing pedaling technique and lower cadence.

Another one is Alberto Contador who compared to his heavier rival, Chris Froome also pedals at a lower cadence at higher gear.

HOWEVER, if you're really better at higher cadence, one thing you can do to help reduce butt discomfort is periodically pedal out of the saddle. Even just 5 to 10 seconds out of the saddle every now and then will hugely improve your butt endurance on the saddle. This also means you need to include out of the saddle intervals in your training to get used to it so you don't burn out doing it. Pedaling out of the saddle not only helps the butt but it recruits different muscles, may give some of your tired muscles some rest during a long climb so it's a very useful technique to learn and get used to.

I don't really time when I need to stand on the pedals. Whenever I'm starting to feel a bit of soreness on the glutes and hamstrings is the signal for me to pedal out of the saddle for 5 to 10 seconds.

Training to pedal at lower cadence at higher gear is not a bad choice either, especially at your weight. What would help avoid muscle fatigue when pedaling at low cadence is learn how to recruit your glutes and hamstrings on the downstroke and avoid using the hamstrings to pull up and scrape back (pull the leg up with the hip flexors only). You may even avoid pulling the pedal up entirely to further unload your butt.
 

ambal

Well-Known Member
Oct 15, 2010
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I am getting back into training. Here's my dilemma. I want to build miles by spinning at a high cadence, say 95+. This kind of spinning however puts more of a strained feeling on my butt, or more specifically, I think the perineum. As a result, I often default to a slower cadence at a higher gear because pushing that way relieves the pressure off the saddle making me more comfortable. My question is how can I resolve this dilemma so I can spin more briskly, staying a bit more comfortable? For reference I have no weight to loose...I am 5' 7" and weight 140. Thanks!

One potential solution to your dilemma is to invest in a high-quality, well-padded bike seat. A comfortable seat can make a big difference in reducing pressure on your perineum while spinning at a high cadence. Additionally, you may want to consider adjusting the position of your seat on the bike, as well as the angle and height of your handlebars. Experimenting with different setups can help you find the most comfortable position for your body.

Another strategy is to build up your miles gradually. Start with shorter rides at a lower cadence and gradually increase the cadence as your body adapts. Remember to also focus on proper form, such as keeping your back straight and your core engaged, which can help reduce pressure on your perineum.

You may also want to try different bike shorts.

Finally, stretching and strength training exercises can help you to build up your muscles and reduce the strain on your perineum. You can work on your core, glutes and hamstring, to help support your body while cycling.

Remember, every body is different and what works for one person may not work for another. It is important to listen to your body and not push yourself too hard, too soon. With time and patience, you'll be able to build your miles while staying comfortable.
 

cobbwheels

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Dec 7, 2022
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One potential solution to your dilemma is to invest in a high-quality, well-padded bike seat. A comfortable seat can make a big difference in reducing pressure on your perineum while spinning at a high cadence.

I'm using a cheap saddle that looks identical to the ISM PN1.1 TT saddle;) I think the double stub nose design eliminated perineum discomfort for me completely. So the 3D form design of the saddle is a big factor in comfort. I'm not saying you'll be comfortable on the ISM PN1.1. You may have to discover what form works best for you by trial and error. Some LBS, bike fitters or saddle vendors can lend you a test saddles for free to let see which design works best for your butt.

The key to perineum comfort or discomfort is also from your back posture. You'll notice many of the Pro peloton racers on long stages roll their pelvis upright and keep a tightly curved lower back posture. That helps the perineum away from the nose of the saddle. It also helps open up the hips to deliver more torque to the pedals and helps relax the core muscles to avoid causing fatigue to it. I copy their technique and seems to be the only way I can survive a non-stop 6 hr ride in the mountains without pain.
 

cobbwheels

Well-Known Member
Dec 7, 2022
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A good habit to acquire and train for is to be able to pedal out of the saddle (standing) periodically during the ride even for short periods at a time. It helps rest some of the muscle groups and for butt relief.

You should be able to pedal out of the saddle without blowing up even if your legs are already under fatigue as good goal which means adaptation and technique is optimal.
 

sonomasp

New Member
Feb 19, 2004
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1st. I think some one else also noted as you get in shape, you'll have less discomfort. And you can lose a few pounds. At 5'7" you should be able to get into the mid 130's lbs. When I raced in my 20's I was in the mid 130's.
2nd. It actually pays to figure out your sit bones. Which have nothing to do with your size. I'm liking the new flat and short saddles( riding Shimano Stealth Pro Carbon) 155 mm width. I also have 2 WTB Silverado's on the Gravel & Mountain Bike. But think the Stealth is slightly more comfortable. Also invest in some qualilty Bibs. Find a pair that fit you. For me it's 1. Biemme 2. Castelli. The Capo's are So-S0. My dislikes are Pearl Izumi, Louis Garneau, and don't even go near Voler. They cater to teams on a budget.
I haven't tried Assos( Price) but have a friend who swears by them.
 

cobbwheels

Well-Known Member
Dec 7, 2022
80
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1st. I think some one else also noted as you get in shape, you'll have less discomfort. And you can lose a few pounds. At 5'7" you should be able to get into the mid 130's lbs. When I raced in my 20's I was in the mid 130's.
2nd. It actually pays to figure out your sit bones. Which have nothing to do with your size. I'm liking the new flat and short saddles( riding Shimano Stealth Pro Carbon) 155 mm width. I also have 2 WTB Silverado's on the Gravel & Mountain Bike. But think the Stealth is slightly more comfortable. Also invest in some qualilty Bibs. Find a pair that fit you. For me it's 1. Biemme 2. Castelli. The Capo's are So-S0. My dislikes are Pearl Izumi, Louis Garneau, and don't even go near Voler. They cater to teams on a budget.
I haven't tried Assos( Price) but have a friend who swears by them.

It's a weird thing but on Paris-Roubaix stages, pros that are having discomfort and performance issues are the lighter ones. Additionally, heavier riders in the pro peloton stand a lot less than the light riders so they spend more time sitting with apparently no issues. So losing weight may not improve riding comfort unless you're overweight. I'm a light rider myself at 120 lbs. Absolutely no issues at all as long as the roads are smooth but my routes goes over poor quality roads. Some sections are even cobblestones and the only way for me to have comfort over these rough roads is use wider tires and suspension seatpost.66

And the price of the saddle have less to do with comfort or fit than the saddle's shape/geometry and the rider's unique needs for their butt and riding style. I've heard so many stories of someone buying an expensive saddle but ends up selling it because it was less comfortable than their stock saddle!:D Not saying that cheaper is better but when it comes to saddles, going up in price doesn't always result to improvements.

This is why many saddle companies offer free returns of their products and don't guarantee that even their most expensive product will actually improve your riding experience over what you use currently.