Latest Research on Saddles



cydewaze

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Jun 17, 2004
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I honestly think I got one that was smushed during shipment or something (although the box was unblemished). The rails were around 1/4" farther apart than the rails of my Flite, so unless I forced them together, there's no way I could've mounted it on my post.

Today I'll be back at Perf comparing the one I bought to some of the others to see if it's a production thing or just a one off. Honestly, I can't imagine they'd all be like that.
 

CyclingPT

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Nov 9, 2004
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chero said:
CyclingPT: Any recommendations on the gel vs. the Ti versions of the E3?

Chero
A lot of people have asked about how to decide between the Gel or the Ti version. Obviously, if you count grams, go Ti. The Gel give a little bit more cush – but I honestly find the Ti version very comfortable as well. If you use a more upright position (that will put more weight on you sitbones) or weigh a bit more (which will do the same thing), you might want to try the Gel version.



The E3 uses standard width and standard diameter rails that will work on any regular post. The wide railed seat in question had some sort of defect and I am sure they were quick to exchange the seat.

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

cydewaze

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Swung by Perf to exchange the saddle. Unfortunately, all of them were the same. BUT, I matched them up to some of the other saddles, and they were ALL the same as each other.

I spoke to the tech (older guy) and he said he had problems with the same thing I did, but on a WTB saddle. He had to spread the rails apart to mount it. After a few more questions, I found out that he and I run the same seatpost - American Classic.

I don't understand what's going on. My Flite drops right on my seat post, but the E3 would not. My seat post shouldn't be weird, because I've had it since like '91, and it's had several saddles on it. Did the rail width standard change recently or something? What gives?

I'd like to order an E3 Ti from Perf, but I'm worried I won't be able to mount it up.
 

CyclingPT

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cydewaze said:
Swung by Perf to exchange the saddle. Unfortunately, all of them were the same. BUT, I matched them up to some of the other saddles, and they were ALL the same as each other.

I spoke to the tech (older guy) and he said he had problems with the same thing I did, but on a WTB saddle. He had to spread the rails apart to mount it. After a few more questions, I found out that he and I run the same seatpost - American Classic.

I don't understand what's going on. My Flite drops right on my seat post, but the E3 would not. My seat post shouldn't be weird, because I've had it since like '91, and it's had several saddles on it. Did the rail width standard change recently or something? What gives?

I'd like to order an E3 Ti from Perf, but I'm worried I won't be able to mount it up.
I have also used the old style (early 90s) AC seatposts on all three of my bikes over the years and loved them. I often found I would have to squeeze the rails into place on the clamps, but it never caused any problems. Recently, however, the top clamps on two of my AC seatposts stripped out at about the same time. When I called to get replacement top clamps, I found out that they have since totally redesigned the entire clamp. (The new top clamps will not work with the old ones.) A new top and bottom clamp assembly is about $16 from AC. I don’t know if they made the clamp wider, though. I decided to try out the Thomson post, since I’ve heard so many good things about it. If you do switch to a Thomson, make sure to by one with the 12 degree clamp. (All the new ones already have it, but if you buy an old one on Ebay, it might have the old version. A new 12 degree clamp assembly is about $17 from Pricepoint.) The old clamps had trouble getting enough rotation angle to make some seats totally level.



Hope this helped.
 

TedChris

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Oct 13, 2005
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>>> E3 Form Saddle is a step backwards <<<

(I am new to this perhaps the formatting will be lousy - whatever).

I purchased and tried the E3 Form Saddle. It is a miserable saddle. From some of the upbeat reviews at Supergo I thought I would give it a try. When I got it I immediately thought "no way". The nose is narrow and hard AND at the same level as the back of the saddle. I tried riding on it for a half hour and went from immediate discomfort to worse. The geometry/anatomy is simple - if the nose is at the same level as the back of the saddle AND you lean forward your going to get compression underneathe where you don't want it. With the narro hard E3 nose this compression is focused and painful. I can only imagine one way people would like this saddle (perhaps the Supergo reviewer's route) - you sit way at the back of the saddle and sit up straight (perhaps having inverted your drop bars too). Even in this scenario your trapped - you sure don't want to slide forward on the nose (which is natural thing to do at times).

I wrote a negative review and we'll see if Supergo displays it.

For comparison I use a San Marco Era Pro with a slight tilt of the nose down. This is ok, but I thought I'd check out the latest.
 

CyclingPT

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Nov 9, 2004
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Although one seat will not be comfortable for everyone, I have updated my website with instructions for proper saddle setup for the E3 seat (as well as ANY seat that you currently ride) that will help to improve the comfort and effectiveness of the saddle’s design – whichever brand you ride.



http://www.unlimitedsportsanalysis.com/Saddlesetuppage.html



Thanks you for the comments and feedback.



Joshua Cohen PT, MS

www.unlimitedsportsanalysis.com
 

chero

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Aug 22, 2005
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I have tried the gel version of the E3, and my experience was quite positive, and here is a prelimnary report after half a dozen 10 mile rides commuting. No difficulties getting it on my seatpost clamp, width match just as it should. First ride I had the nose a little above the level, and felt perineal pressure. Next ride true horizontal by a level, and less pressure, but still a little. Next I angled the nose down about 5 degrees, and this was much better. And, without any tendency to slide forward which would limit this strategy. I agree with cyclingPT that setup is a critical issue, but am being even more agressive than he recommends in tipping down the nose.

My previous seat was much more extensively padded, and I am still adjusting to the lesser padding that (even the gel) E3 has. Thus, my sit bones are feeling more sore than they used to, but that is a minor issue compared to the perineal pressure and numbness, which my old seat used to cause, and is the true medical issue here. And, the sit bone soreness already appears to be resolving as I get toughened up. I am convinced that the E3 is better than my former saddle, but I plan to continue exploring. The E3 design seems to make sense to lessen perineal pressure, but before I finish I plan to try a noseless saddle ("The Seat"). As has been discussed on this thread, security and control may be issues with a noseless saddle, but I think I will give it a try.

Chero
 

Rocket^

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Jul 30, 2005
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I have always had a problem with going numb while riding. I have tried many different saddles and positions without a lot of improvement. To be perfectly honest, I thought this was just part of the deal. Reading this thread enlightened me to the fact there may be those of you out there that never go numb.

Since I now suspect I am enduring something that is not necessary, I decided to purchase a E3 saddle. I didn't experience the installation difficulties that were mentioned by one gentleman in this thread. The seat fit perfectly on the seatpost. Unfortunately, I had surgery right after I received the saddle and I wasn't able to use it right away. Last night I was able to get on the bike for an hour and worked on dialing in the saddle position.

While an hour isn't enough time to sufficiently evaluate this product I did notice a couple of things right away. The saddle definately feels different than any saddle I have tried before. I can definately feel more contact on the sitbones than I have with any other saddle. I don't find myself sliding back and forth looking for a comfortable position. It is very obvious where your rear end should be on this saddle. I rode for an hour and didn't experience any numbness for about thirty minutes. When I did start to get numb, it wasn't as bad as normal. In other words standing up for twenty seconds or so, put me almost back to normal.

I still need to fine tune the position and then put in some miles to give a true evaluation. My initial impression is, this saddle has potential. I will report back after I have enough time in the saddle to give an accurate and thorough report.
 

cydewaze

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CyclingPT said:
I have also used the old style (early 90s) AC seatposts on all three of my bikes over the years and loved them. I often found I would have to squeeze the rails into place on the clamps, but it never caused any problems. Recently, however, the top clamps on two of my AC seatposts stripped out at about the same time. When I called to get replacement top clamps, I found out that they have since totally redesigned the entire clamp. (The new top clamps will not work with the old ones.) A new top and bottom clamp assembly is about $16 from AC.
That's good info, thanks!
 

ProfTournesol

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Aug 22, 2003
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CyclingPT said:
I would recommend trying out the E3 Form saddle available from Performance and Supergo stores. (See links below) Performance Bike had heard about my research and the significant improvements in penile oxygen levels that my prototype was able to achieve. They agreed to work with me to develop the seat into a production model and the E3 is the result of those years of work. It is available in a Ti version (190 grams) and a Gel Version (247 grams).



http://www.performancebike.com/shop/profile.cfm?SKU=20853



More information regarding the benefits and changes in the saddle’s design can be found at:



http://www.unlimitedsportsanalysis.com/Infopage.html

I've come very late to this discussion, only having just discovered the thread, however I've used an E3 non gel seat now for 5 months. My previous saddles were a Selle Bassano split saddle and a Fizik Arione, used on a variety of beam (Air Friday) and non-beam (Look) road bikes. The E3 is the most comfortable seat for me in 20 years of cycling memory. Sure, after 200kms I still get sore ischial tuberosities, but this is more related to saddle time than the seat. It has cured my numb 'naughty bits', even after 6 hours in the saddle! It has less seating positions than the Fizik, but it just feels 'right'. It may be a different story for you but I can certainly recommend it. My problem is that I bought my first saddle from Supergo but now that they have been absorbed into Performance Bike I can't buy one for my second bike as Performance Bike have a bank that can't process credit cards issued outside USA. This is unique over the internet in my experience but I'm stuck!
 

typ993

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Jan 14, 2005
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Has anyone tried one of these on a bike on a trainer? I find that is my ultimate test of saddle comfort. If I can get through an hour on a trainer without pain, then that is a good saddle. The Flite gel failed this test miserably, but I am currently using an Avocet O2 Air40 Racing saddle to pretty good effect (though could still use some improvement). On the road, I find the Avocet to be an excellent saddle because I tend to move around more than when I am on the trainer.

I think I might pick up one of the E3's from Performance and put it to the test. : ) . I'll post results here in a couple of weeks...
 

alienator

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Jun 10, 2004
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typ993 said:
Has anyone tried one of these on a bike on a trainer? I find that is my ultimate test of saddle comfort. If I can get through an hour on a trainer without pain, then that is a good saddle. The Flite gel failed this test miserably, but I am currently using an Avocet O2 Air40 Racing saddle to pretty good effect (though could still use some improvement). On the road, I find the Avocet to be an excellent saddle because I tend to move around more than when I am on the trainer.

I think I might pick up one of the E3's from Performance and put it to the test. : ) . I'll post results here in a couple of weeks...

Well, given that I live in Tucson, I don't ride a trainer. I have found, though, that a saddle that lets me ride 5,6,7,8 hours without discomfort is a good saddle for me. The Fizik Arione is that saddle. And in what I can only say must be some exception to the overwhelming evidence (or so the marketeers want you to believe), my tackle works fine: no numbness; no failure to mobilize.

Imagine that. Hmmm. I guess it just goes to show that saddles are a personal thing and that wild claims (like those by the hack designing the E3 saddle) are a bunch of ****. Everyone doesn't need what the E3, drooped nose, or cutout folks tell you that you need. People just need to find a saddle that works for them.
 

chero

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Aug 22, 2005
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Alienator, sounds like if you didn't have diabetes, you would tell the world that insulin is a scam.

Chero
 

RapDaddyo

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May 17, 2005
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alienator said:
Well, given that I live in Tucson, I don't ride a trainer. I have found, though, that a saddle that lets me ride 5,6,7,8 hours without discomfort is a good saddle for me. The Fizik Arione is that saddle. And in what I can only say must be some exception to the overwhelming evidence (or so the marketeers want you to believe), my tackle works fine: no numbness; no failure to mobilize.

Imagine that. Hmmm. I guess it just goes to show that saddles are a personal thing and that wild claims (like those by the hack designing the E3 saddle) are a bunch of ****. Everyone doesn't need what the E3, drooped nose, or cutout folks tell you that you need. People just need to find a saddle that works for them.
Alienator, this post doesn't seem like you. While I agree with your final sentence, I think this issue (saddle-induced blood supply truncation to the genitals) is a really serious problem. I was not nearly as aware of this problem as I should have been and I became much more informed as a direct result of this thread and the insights offered by CyclingPT. Granted, CyclingPT has two products to sell (book and saddle), but he also has a lot of expertise on the subject. He disclosed from the very outset what his commercial interest is in both products.

I also do not ride with an E3, but two of my cycling club male friends do as a direct result of this thread. My saddle is a Selle Italia SLR and I think the main reason I don't have problems is my saddle's shape (very narrow nose until pretty far back toward the rear of the saddle, then a tight radius flare). And, I'm usually in a pretty aggressive position on the saddle (forward), so I don't think there is any pressure at all on the inside of my thighs. But, I think for male cyclists this is a hugely important issue and the E3 seems to be a good solution (for many, if not all). As I look around at the saddles at the start of my club rides, my reaction is that most of the male cyclists are riding the wrong saddles and many will have future problems. I now think there may be more misinformation about saddles than any other piece of cycling equipment. But, the difference is that misinformation on most cycling equipment doesn't result in permanent damage. This is different.
 

alienator

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RapDaddyo said:
Alienator, this post doesn't seem like you. While I agree with your final sentence, I think this issue (saddle-induced blood supply truncation to the genitals) is a really serious problem. I was not nearly as aware of this problem as I should have been and I became much more informed as a direct result of this thread and the insights offered by CyclingPT. Granted, CyclingPT has two products to sell (book and saddle), but he also has a lot of expertise on the subject. He disclosed from the very outset what his commercial interest is in both products.

I also do not ride with an E3, but two of my cycling club male friends do as a direct result of this thread. My saddle is a Selle Italia SLR and I think the main reason I don't have problems is my saddle's shape (very narrow nose until pretty far back toward the rear of the saddle, then a tight radius flare). And, I'm usually in a pretty aggressive position on the saddle (forward), so I don't think there is any pressure at all on the inside of my thighs. But, I think for male cyclists this is a hugely important issue and the E3 seems to be a good solution (for many, if not all). As I look around at the saddles at the start of my club rides, my reaction is that most of the male cyclists are riding the wrong saddles and many will have future problems. I now think there may be more misinformation about saddles than any other piece of cycling equipment. But, the difference is that misinformation on most cycling equipment doesn't result in permanent damage. This is different.

No studies have been complete and properly designed as far as I can tell. I'm not saying that some people are not going to have problems. Obviously, they do. What am saying, though, is that ED as a result of cycling is not some lurking monster that all us guys face. For the majority of riders, a proper fit with a saddle that's comfy is all they need. Note that I didn't say that's always the case.

I'm not impressed, especially as a scientist, by the E3 studies nor by anything that Specialized has said. It looks impressive to show plots or otherwise relate changes in perfusion as a result of ergonomic changes, but that doesn't mean that said perfusion change indicated a potential problem. If marketeers and pseudo-scientists want there "numbers" to mean something, then they need to come up with "numbers" that define what is ok, what is harmful, and what is potentially harmful, i.e. they need to have a factually based, empirically derived baseline.

I can show you that if I sit in a room with a 100% oxygen atmosphere, that my blood oxygen saturation (O2 sat) will be 100% or very nearly 100%. That sounds impressive, but there's no real benefit over an ambient O2 sat of 96 or 97%.

Example number 2: last summer I characterized the surface of a 1.8m spherical mirror in my lab. The surface was found to be accurate to 200 nanometers RMS. Wow. That means the deviations from a perfect shape for that mirror were only 1/750 of a human hair high (or low). Wait, though. That was a crappy mirror. A good astronomical mirror is accurate to less than 1/3000 of a human hair.

The point is, numbers that reflect changes mean nothing without knowing exactly what those changes mean and how those changes are quantified and qualified.

Also, someone claiming unbiased objective reporting is suspect when they're hawking a product at the same time. People are growing suspicious of drug manufacturers more and more, yet drug manufacturers publish reports showing the benefits of their drugs all the time.

If this were such a prominent issue, we would to see the problem in larger numbers. We'd expect to have seen it in the past.
 

alienator

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chero said:
Alienator, sounds like if you didn't have diabetes, you would tell the world that insulin is a scam.

Chero

Do you have something objective to say, or can you only muster a pathetic, low, weak-minded, cowardly response?
 

RapDaddyo

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alienator said:
If this were such a prominent issue, we would to see the problem in larger numbers. We'd expect to have seen it in the past.
I'm not with you on this. You're a very smart guy, but I think you're on the wrong track here. I look at the issue much more simplistically. There appears to be some evidence that bike saddles can significantly interfere with blood supply to the genitals and that this can cause permanent damage. The remedy is simple and cheap -- a saddle that doesn't interfere with this blood supply. Now, as a male cyclist I can take a couple of approaches. One, I can wait until there are five studies published in the premiere medical journals (probably a two-year review and waiting period even after the studies have been written), proving beyond a doubt that bike saddles can indeed cause this problem. Two, I can say, "Holy ****! This is a big deal and the fix is simple. I think I'll make sure I have a saddle that is not cutting off blood supply to that vital part of my anatomy. If I have any doubts, I'm changing saddles. And, the good news is that the solution costs less than $100. Easy decision" I think I'll take the latter. Maybe the E3 will not prove to be the best possible solution in 10 years. In the meantime, barring evidence of a superior solution, I'd go with it. What's the downside of option two? Because option one sure has a potential downside.
 

alienator

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Jun 10, 2004
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RapDaddyo said:
I'm not with you on this. You're a very smart guy, but I think you're on the wrong track here. I look at the issue much more simplistically. There appears to be some evidence that bike saddles can significantly interfere with blood supply to the genitals and that this can cause permanent damage. The remedy is simple and cheap -- a saddle that doesn't interfere with this blood supply. Now, as a male cyclist I can take a couple of approaches. One, I can wait until there are five studies published in the premiere medical journals (probably a two-year review and waiting period even after the studies have been written), proving beyond a doubt that bike saddles can indeed cause this problem. Two, I can say, "Holy ****! This is a big deal and the fix is simple. I think I'll make sure I have a saddle that is not cutting off blood supply to that vital part of my anatomy. If I have any doubts, I'm changing saddles. And, the good news is that the solution costs less than $100. Easy decision" I think I'll take the latter. Maybe the E3 will not prove to be the best possible solution in 10 years. In the meantime, barring evidence of a superior solution, I'd go with it. What's the downside of option two? Because option one sure has a potential downside.

Choose to believe what you want, but don't mistake it for fact. Believe I'm wrong or someone else is right, but don't mistake that for an informed decision.

I'm looking at the issue empirically and experientially:

1. With my bike fit and my current saddle, I can spend the entire day riding w/ zero after effects. None. I compare the after ride condition to my "performance" in several years off the bike due to injuries and surgeries to repair said injuries. My saddle fits me; it's comfortable; and it doesn't keep Mr. Winky from getting up and stretching as often as he likes.

2. There are MANY more riders who have ridden bikes for a long time and who have subsequently had ZERO problems, than there are riders who experience ED.

3. There is zero conclusive data, nor IMHO any compelling data. I've yet to see an experimental setup for this sort of study that isn't flawed in some way.

4. There is no definition for the baseline numbers.
 

chero

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Aug 22, 2005
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“Do you have something objective to say, or can you only muster a pathetic, low, weak-minded, cowardly response?”

Ouch! Alienator, here is what seems to me to be inappropriate and potentially harmful in your post:

“And in what I can only say must be some exception to the overwhelming evidence (or so the marketeers want you to believe), my tackle works fine: no numbness; no failure to mobilize. Imagine that. Hmmm. I guess it just goes to show that saddles are a personal thing and that wild claims (like those by the hack designing the E3 saddle) are a bunch of ****. Everyone doesn't need what the E3, drooped nose, or cutout folks tell you that you need. People just need to find a saddle that works for them.”

You seemed to be saying that since you can ride a long time, that ED from riding is a doubtful proposition. That is sometimes called an “n of one experiment”, and frowned upon by most scientists. You later seem to be changing that to a complaint that people are contending that everyone is affected by bicycle-induced ED, but I haven’t gotten that impression from posts in this thread. The thrust of the commentary is that some people experience numbness, and if neglected, some go on to ED.

I am a person who experienced genital numbness, and then ED, after a few years of commuting 100 miles per week. Changing to the E3 solved my problem. I have no stake in this product, I just ride a bike to work. I got a new bike, and its (different) saddle also was great, no numbness, (making your point that it is not only the E3 that can be a solution, but other saddles as well).

So, if you want to be skeptical about the blood-flow evidence behind the E3, that is fair enough, I don’t find it definitive either (though I think it is a reasonable way to start looking at the problem). But where I think you do others a disservice is to imply that bicycling does not cause ED, or that it is so rare as to be inconsequential, and not worth trying to prevent.

And you also say: “If this were such a prominent issue, we would to see the problem in larger numbers. We'd expect to have seen it in the past.”

As a physician, I am aware of many examples of things (even common things) having been overlooked for a long time. In fact, in medicine there is a saying “You can’t see what you don’t know.” There are many examples, but perhaps the most dramatic is the fact that Helicobacter pylori is the cause of duodenal ulcers. This was missed on pathological sections for about 100 years, but once described, we can all see it now (Marshall and Warren just won the Nobel prize for seeing what they didn't didn’t know in advance).

So, if you don’t get numbness, that is great, and more power to you! And, I agree with you that this is probably the large majority of cyclists. But, those who do get numbness should do something to fix it. Dial in the seat position, stand up more, experiment with other saddles. Don’t ignore it.

Chero
 

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