View Full Version : A better saddle?
06-28-2011, 08:54 AM
I'm wondering if anyone has ever tried out one of the noseless saddles discussed in this NY Times article.
I've never experienced any of the... eehhh... issues the the article mentions, but I'm not sure there is a man alive who wouldn't think "that sounds like something I would like to avoid in the future" when reading through the story.
These saddles also seem like they might be a solution to a very unfortunate problem I do sometimes encounter when riding on oh-so-rarely-smooth Portland streets - The dreaded "saddle junk punch" my bikes joyfully dole out to my tender bits if I unexpectedly encounter a pothole and fail to raise myself up out of the saddle sufficiently.
All of the noseless saddles I could find seem to be ugly as sin, shockingly expensive or both. I'm intrigued by the idea, but was wondering if anyone out there had some experiences they'd like to share before I commit to being both poorer and embarrassed to lock my bike up outdoors.
06-28-2011, 10:24 AM
my-my...that article certainly doesn't shy away from graphic description.
I wish I had some more detailed personal accounts to share about these type saddles. A year ago, my friend showed up with a variation of one these on his hybrid. He tried to pitch me on how great it was (yeah). It had two independently adjustable round kind of things upon which your sit bones rested. He was super sold on the idea. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to hear from this person how that saddle has worked out over time.
The vast majority of problems people are having in riding conventional nosed saddles, is probably not having them adjusted properly in terms of height, angle, and lateral positioning, and in how they're sitting on them. When their legs get tired, I think some people have a tendency to rest too much of their body weight on the saddle. I'd guess this is mostly what causes all the problems people are having with nosed saddles.
Still, anatomy is different from person to person. I sure wouldn't ride a nosed saddle if after every effort to get it adjusted right and having tried to learn to support a proper amount of body weight on the legs, the nose was still banging the goods. I've never had that happen much...so I'll keep riding the old Avocet Racing II saddle that came with the Trek 560 (kind of like a Selle Italia Turbo 1980 saddle.
I have a The Seat (http://www.ergotheseat.com.au/) on my road bike (http://bikeportland.org/forum/showpost.php?p=20974&postcount=125) (that's a reflector hanging off the back of the saddle). I got it at Coventry Cycles some years ago, back when The Seat was still a US-based company, but the design looks just the same. It's a little heavy and the lycra covering isn't as tough as leather or vinyl (it got a 1/4" hole on the side when I taco'd a rim and went down at 1mph, but the catch hasn't run) but just for comfort I find it really good. It felt odd for the first half-mile or so, sort of as though I would slide off the front, but soon I forgot all about it and just rode, pain-free. A friend tried it and had the same experience including liking the saddle. My rides aren't real long, a 20-miler would be a big day, but my butt stays comfortable on it for that long, at least.
My riding had fallen off to almost nil until eight years or so back, and when I started up again I experienced considerable discomfort from my old hard-vinyl Schwinn saddle (http://bikeportland.org/forum/showpost.php?p=21456&postcount=131), which had been ok in my younger days. Just a few miles left my perineum and sit-bones sore and feeling bruised for several days. Same on an Avocet leather saddle that came with the road bike, same on a Specialized saddle that came with a used Univega MTB, even though they both had a little more padding than the Schwinn. All of those were typical tear-drop shaped wedge touring saddles. The Avocet had a little extra padding under the sit-bones, leaving a proto-tunnel down the center, but it still wasn't comfortable.
I put a Serfas Rx gel seat on the Univega. It has a deep tunnel down the center to relieve perineal pressure and that seems to work well. That bike is my freight & adventure hauler, more miles, heavier loads but shorter distances than the road bike. That saddle is also comfortable, but it has a nose.
If/when I get another saddle it will probably be a Brooks B17 Imperial, with the perineal cut-out in the leather. I've just heard too many good things about Brooks seats in general, especially from long-distance tourers. I am not looking forward to breaking it in, though!
06-28-2011, 11:08 AM
No numbness or tingling thus far (been riding over 20 years), just a prolonged erection in the morning following a fitness ride!
On a serious note, I think it has to do with where you sit on your seat. Some positions on one's seat cut off blood to nerves where others don't, likewise hard racer seats. Course sitting up occasionally to gain speed or work up a hill relieves the pressure. I have a selle italia seat which I purchased through BikeNashbar.com which has a wide tale that allows me to rest my seat bones on.
Dovestrobe and wsbob both mentioned fit, and that reminds me that The Seat has very limited fore-and-aft adjustment because its rails are necessarily very short (no "nose"!), only about an inch of adjustment. There are seatposts with different offsets for the seat clamp, if that is what it takes to get a good fit, but be aware that The Seat itself has limited adjustment, that way.
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