Latest Research on Saddles



craigstanton

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Oct 31, 2003
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CyclingPT said:
The Specialized seats do offer a large, flat rear sitting surface. One large draw back, however, is the lack of an abrupt transition between the rear and the nose of the seat. This section follows the inner borders of the pubic rami (Where Alcock’s canal is) and can put pressure on the arteries and nerves as the rider leans forward on the seat. The Specialized seats were tested for blood flow with the rider in a generally upright position (trunk to horizontal angle of 60 degrees). The teardrop shape will also encourage the rider to slide forward on the seat while riding to minimize the material between the thighs. Especially on the wider models of the seats where the wide rear gradually transitions to the nose this would become a larger problem.

Hi Cycling PT,

Thanks for picking up on the strand and providing info. I wonder how the E3 compares to the various noseless seats that have become available over the last few years? I have never ridden one myself -- this is in part why I posted the Times article in the first place, to ask if anyone has specific experience with noseless seats. I can imagine how a noseless seat would shift more weight onto the "sit bones." But, for some reason it's difficult for me to imagine riding without some type of nose. On the E3, I wonder why you just made the nose narrower rather than getting rid of the nose altogether? What are the benefits of retaining the nose? What purpose does it serve, apart from encouraging a rider to shift weight forward a bit. Does it keep too much weight off the wrists? That seems like something one should worry about in trying a noseless saddle. Seems like an inordinate amount of wieght might shift into the arms, shoulders, and wrists.

Craig
 

chero

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Aug 22, 2005
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I agree, and thanks Craig for posting the article. There is no doubt this is a problem for some riders, and the fact that some ride without problems doesn't change that (as the article pointed out, not everyone who smokes dies of lung cancer either). The issue has been around for a while as one poster pointed out, but the evidence keeps getting stronger that the risk is real, and caused by perineal pressure. And I think PT's posts were helpful and his saddle design makes sense. Time and personal trial will tell. This is of sufficient importance that formal randomized controlled trials would be appropriate (though not likely to be funded).

I don't know for sure how helpful this is, but it seems logical that if you experience numbness (I certainly have), that is a warning sign that speaks to your individual case. And if you can come up with strategies to reduce or eliminate it, that would likely reduce risk. The right seat design ought to help, and you can't get any pressure from the nose of a noseless saddle. So although PT has a bias here, his strategy seems sound, and worth a try. Other things would be checking that your seat nose is not tipped too far upward, peddling standing at least a few strokes every few minutes and getting out of the saddle whenever coasting (especially if you feel any incipient numbness), clipping out and standing at a stop light rather than staying seated in a track stand, and if you are not a racer, a more upright posture (flat bar road bike anyone?).

Chero
 

craigstanton

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Oct 31, 2003
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" and if you are not a racer, a more upright posture (flat bar road bike anyone?"

Hi Chero,

While I agree with everything you've said, I would suggest that a more upright posture might not be entirely appropriate for more than just those who race. For example, I commute to my place of employment 32 miles each way, several days a week. I couldn't really imagine doing this distance regularly in a more upright position, particularly on windy days. It would certainly be possible, but for anyone who regularly rides longish distances a more upright position might prove counterproductive. After all, particularly when riding in a paceline, don't some people call "sitting up" to expose your chest the "windbreak." The idea being that this is a way to slow down without harsh breaking. Then again, anyone who regularly rides long distances has most likely developed their own habits and preferences in such matters.

Best,
Craig
 

chero

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Aug 22, 2005
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I see your point Craig. My commute is shorter (20 miles round trip), and in the city with limitations on speed due to poor street conditions and stoplights, so I much prefer a flat bar, for comfort, visibility, and hands closer to the break levers. But as they say, "your milage may differ".

Chero
 

CyclingPT

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Nov 9, 2004
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A more upright posture may not always help the situation. It only works if your sit bones are well supported (not slipping over the edges of a skinny saddle) without extra saddle material pressing up into the groin (like heavily padded seats). The trouble is that there are three main contact points (hands, seat and pedals). As you shift the weight off of your hands – more is placed on the seat, thus increasing the importance of the design of whatever seat you are on. As some racers have found, the more aero/ bent over your posture is, the less weight on your seat and the more tolerant they can be of the design - to a certain degree. It is a fine balance between the two (i.e. getting the weight on your sit bone region vs. moving some of the weight up to your hands) for long distance riders. Just one more thing to think about.
 

craigstanton

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Oct 31, 2003
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CyclingPT said:
A more upright posture may not always help the situation. It only works if your sit bones are well supported (not slipping over the edges of a skinny saddle) without extra saddle material pressing up into the groin (like heavily padded seats). The trouble is that there are three main contact points (hands, seat and pedals). As you shift the weight off of your hands – more is placed on the seat, thus increasing the importance of the design of whatever seat you are on. As some racers have found, the more aero/ bent over your posture is, the less weight on your seat and the more tolerant they can be of the design - to a certain degree. It is a fine balance between the two (i.e. getting the weight on your sit bone region vs. moving some of the weight up to your hands) for long distance riders. Just one more thing to think about.

Hi Cycling PT,

Did you see my questions above about the nose vs. noseless seat designs? Just curious as to your thoughts along these lines.

Cheers,
Craig
 

CyclingPT

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Nov 9, 2004
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craigstanton said:
Hi Cycling PT,

Did you see my questions above about the nose vs. noseless seat designs? Just curious as to your thoughts along these lines.

Cheers,
Craig
Craig,

The nose of a seat plays a very important role in maintaining control of the bicycle during turns, technical descents, getting on and off the seat to center yourself, and during hard efforts when the bike is being torqued from side to side. What I did with the E3 was to cut away the gradual transition between the nose and the rear support surface. This has a few different purposes:


  • Removes pressure from the inside of the thighs.
This allows the rider to sit more comfortably over the rear of the seat and not feel the need to slide forward to get more leg freedom of motion. In this case, no weight is placed on the nose – so the set up is similar to a noseless design.



By removing pressure on the inside of the thighs, the seat also decreases chafing, saddle sores, and relieves pressure on the arteries along the inside of the upper thigh (some pros have actually have very severe arterial blockages which may have been caused by saddle pressure to the inner thighs).




  • It also take moves the seat material out of the way of the path of the pudendal arteries and nerves in the pelvis. The teardrop shape seat almost exactly follows the path of Alcock’s canal (where the arteries are). By removing the material, when you lean forward on the seat you no longer compress those structures. Instead the weight is place in the center where there is spongy/ muscular tissue in males – instead of the main arteries supplying the penile tissues.

Hope this helped.



Joshua Cohen PT, MS

http://www.unlimitedsportsanalysis.com
 

craigstanton

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Oct 31, 2003
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"The nose of a seat plays a very important role in maintaining control of the bicycle during turns, technical descents, getting on and off the seat to center yourself, and during hard efforts when the bike is being torqued from side to side. "

This makes a great deal of sense, and gives flesh to my earlier thoughts in why it might be difficult to ride without a nose on one's seat. As I reflect on how I ride during technical descents, in particular, it does indeed seem difficult to think of riding without the nose.

I wonder if a noseless seat, then, might not be better suited to say indoor training during the winter months? During such indoor rides, there is no technical riding, no side to side (as the bike remains stationary unless one rides rollers) and centering oneself on the bike is pretty easy to do by simply looking down at the neck and front wheel.
 

cydewaze

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We're discussing this on another forum as well. I'll be picking up one of the E3 saddles from Performance today after work. I think they have them on sale. I'll let you guys know how I like it.

For the record, I used a Selle Italia Flite for years with no problems at all, but for the past two season's I've been running the Gel version of the same saddle, and I don't like it at all. No funny feelings with Mr Happy, just general discomfort. Not fond of the gel at all.

We'll see how the E3 works out. It's light!
 

craigstanton

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Oct 31, 2003
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cydewaze said:
We're discussing this on another forum as well. I'll be picking up one of the E3 saddles from Performance today after work. I think they have them on sale. I'll let you guys know how I like it.

For the record, I used a Selle Italia Flite for years with no problems at all, but for the past two season's I've been running the Gel version of the same saddle, and I don't like it at all. No funny feelings with Mr Happy, just general discomfort. Not fond of the gel at all.

We'll see how the E3 works out. It's light!

Great. Thanks Cydewaze. I notice you are in Maryland. I live in the Maruyland Dc suburbs myself.
 

cydewaze

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craigstanton said:
Great. Thanks Cydewaze. I notice you are in Maryland. I live in the Maruyland Dc suburbs myself.
Cool beans. I'm in Mont Co. Got a really nice 57 mile loop up here in the north western corner of the county that the fiancee and I do on weekends. I'm making a cue sheet for it tonight to post online for some other friends. I'll drop you a line with the url of it.
 

cydewaze

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Welp, I got my E3 today.

First off, I'm getting a little irked at Performance. They had a hand-written sign that advertized the saddle, with Ti rails and a weight of 190g. So I bought one and headed home for dinner.

Got home, opened it, and quickly noticed a "CRO MO" logo on one of the rails. Looked at the box. 259g (or something close to that). "No problem" I figure. 60g is minimal.

Then I pulled my old seat off to install the E3. Wouldn't go on. The rails are actually farther apart than my old saddle, and too far apart to mount into my seat post. I don't feel like bending or prying it, so I guess it's going back tomorrow. :( Pity too, because it looks like it would be a really nice saddle.
 

craigstanton

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Oct 31, 2003
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cydewaze said:
Cool beans. I'm in Mont Co. Got a really nice 57 mile loop up here in the north western corner of the county that the fiancee and I do on weekends. I'm making a cue sheet for it tonight to post online for some other friends. I'll drop you a line with the url of it.

Oh, by the way. We live in Old Town Gaithersburg. You have some nice bikes. I have several myself. My custom steel road ride is a Landshark w/Dura Ace all around. http://www.landsharkbicycles.com/Gallery/Stanton.html

My commute bike (most of my long miles are from my commute downtown) is a Bianchi Castro Valley with fenders and panniers - also steel. I have an old Cannondale permanently situated on an indoor trainer, and on days that I don't ride downtown to work, I try to ride my folding Strida bike to a locker at the subway. See: www.strida.com
 

cydewaze

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craigstanton said:
Oh, by the way. We live in Old Town Gaithersburg. You have some nice bikes. I have several myself. My custom steel road ride is a Landshark w/Dura Ace all around. http://www.landsharkbicycles.com/Gallery/Stanton.html
Nice bike!

Commuting, ugh. I can't even imagine commuting from Damascus to L'Enfant Plaza. It would mean riding on 124, which is a recipie for being squashed flat by someone steering with their knees while sipping on a coffee. Shady Grove Rd wouldn't be bad (bike lanes) but the traffic is just so erratic. One minute they're going 5mph and a few seconds later they're goign 55mph.

Plus, it's a 90-min commute as it is, so I can't imagine how long it would take doing is on a bike. No showered at work to boot.
 

craigstanton

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Oct 31, 2003
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cydewaze said:
Nice bike!

Commuting, ugh. I can't even imagine commuting from Damascus to L'Enfant Plaza. It would mean riding on 124, which is a recipie for being squashed flat by someone steering with their knees while sipping on a coffee. Shady Grove Rd wouldn't be bad (bike lanes) but the traffic is just so erratic. One minute they're going 5mph and a few seconds later they're goign 55mph.

Plus, it's a 90-min commute as it is, so I can't imagine how long it would take doing is on a bike. No showered at work to boot.

We have a shower at the office, so I am lucky on that front. It takes me about 2 hours each way, and it's almost exactly 32 miles (64 round trip). I ride mostly on back roads that have wide shoulders and/or bike lanes. I take Muddy Branch into Potomac and then fork left on Travillah. I ride Travillah Southwest until it T's into River Road. River Road is nice to ride south until Potomac town center. There I turn left onto Falls Road and take Brickyard down to MacArthur. I follow MacArthur to the CCT, and then take the CCT iunto Georgetown. It's actually a pretty nice ride. But, much further than Gaithersburg and it simply wouldn't be possible. With the baby, the only real quality time I get in the saddle is on my commute. I do it out of desperation, and besides that, it beats the train or driving hands down. I leave early enough that by the time traffic is really picking up, I am already at Potomac town center.
 

CyclingPT

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Nov 9, 2004
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cydewaze said:
Welp, I got my E3 today.

First off, I'm getting a little irked at Performance. They had a hand-written sign that advertized the saddle, with Ti rails and a weight of 190g. So I bought one and headed home for dinner.

Got home, opened it, and quickly noticed a "CRO MO" logo on one of the rails. Looked at the box. 259g (or something close to that). "No problem" I figure. 60g is minimal.

Then I pulled my old seat off to install the E3. Wouldn't go on. The rails are actually farther apart than my old saddle, and too far apart to mount into my seat post. I don't feel like bending or prying it, so I guess it's going back tomorrow. :( Pity too, because it looks like it would be a really nice saddle.
cydewaze,

I forwarded your message to the product manager at Performance to let him know about the seat you purchased. He stated that if you contact their customer service, they will gladly help to correct the situation. (1-800-727-2433) Please let me know if I can be of any further help.
FYI: The Performance retail stores only have the Gel version. The Ti is available online and in the catalogs.

Sincerely,
Joshua Cohen PT, MS
http://www.unlimitedsportsanalysis.com
 

cydewaze

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CyclingPT said:
I forwarded your message to the product manager at Performance to let him know about the seat you purchased. He stated that if you contact their customer service, they will gladly help to correct the situation. (1-800-727-2433) Please let me know if I can be of any further help.
FYI: The Performance retail stores only have the Gel version. The Ti is available online and in the catalogs.
Thanks. I'm going to bring it back to the store today and return the weird one, and possibly try to order a Ti model online.

I put the seat on the corner of a bench at the store, and straddled it. It REALLY focuses all the weight on the sit bones, and I really felt no pressure on the crotch. And this was not even in proper bike shorts.

While I've never had any sort of problems with ED, I don't think that's any reason not to try the seat. It seems like a good seat either way, and I happen to be in the market for a saddle anyway. My main area of discomfort in a saddle is chaffing on my inner thighs from the sides of the saddle. The E3 has a fairly narrow nose, so I think it would not interfere with pedal stroke and possibly reduce the chaffing problem.
 

chero

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Aug 22, 2005
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CyclingPT: Any recommendations on the gel vs. the Ti versions of the E3?

Chero
 

craigstanton

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Oct 31, 2003
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chero said:
CyclingPT: Any recommendations on the gel vs. the Ti versions of the E3?

Chero


Also, Cycling PT, Cydewaze mentioned that the rails on the non-Ti version of the E3 were wider than the slots on his current seat post. Are the rails on all models of the E3 wider than normal? In other words, will purchasing the E3 require purchasing a new seat post as well?
 

RapDaddyo

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May 17, 2005
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cydewaze said:
Then I pulled my old seat off to install the E3. Wouldn't go on. The rails are actually farther apart than my old saddle, and too far apart to mount into my seat post. I don't feel like bending or prying it, so I guess it's going back tomorrow. :( Pity too, because it looks like it would be a really nice saddle.
What was the rail width of the E3? Does the Ti version have different width rails?
 

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