Touring - Aerobars + B17 = A good numbing
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I did my first overnight tour last weekend. 73 miles each day or about 8 hours per day in the saddle. I never have road that far in one day yet alone on back to back days. Although I did a couple of 50 mile 5 hour rides in preparation and I commute. The B17 was relatively new but had 120 miles on it. The second day I was going against a strong wind and road on the aerobars a lot. The effect was being numb in the genital area for a day and half after I got back, which was a bit scary and something I would prefer not to repeat.
I am a bit surprised and disappoint by this as the handle bars are about seat height and the aerobars are tilted up slightly. I did not think that this was any more aggressive position than riding on the drop bars. Also, I thought triathlon people ride a 100 miles at time in a far more aggressive position.
I am still reading threads on the Triathlon and Long Distance forums but I am not sure what I am going to do next. Apparently, the aerobars put me in too aggressive of a position for the B17. However, I find the aerobar position to be very comfortable and it is my favorite place to be when tired or riding against the wind. One thing I am considering is the Selle Anatomic saddle. I guess I was wondering if anyone else had suggestions.
I just put mine on, so no rides longer than 30 miles. My idea was to elevate the arm rests higher than typical so my body angle when on them wasn't great. So far very comfy. Don't give up on them yet. I do have the Selle Anatomica (SP?) slot cut in my Brooks Flyer.
06-10-08, 06:38 PM
That second picture suggests your saddle nose is about level with the rear of the saddle. I recommend you tilt the nose up more and try various up-angled tilts to learn if that helps. Mine is a relatively steep nose-up tilt and I find it comfortable. Such a tilkt will also take some pressure off your hands.
06-10-08, 08:38 PM
Nothing inherently wrong about combining aerobars and Brooks saddles. The combo works for me. On my tour last summer, I spent long periods in the aero position. My bike geometry is similar to yours, although my handlebars may be a little higher.
All you may need to do is fine-tune your setup.
Or you may be one of the many for whom Brooks saddles just don't work. A lot of people love them, while others cannot use them. Brooks saddles are not panaceas!
I just switched from a B17 to a Brooks Team Professional this week. I have the top of my drop bars level with the seat, and the B17 was never super comfortable when in the drops, where I ride most of the time. The Team Pro is much more comfortable when I am leaning forward and stretched out than the B17 was. On the B17 I would experience more pressure on the front part of my sit bones than was comfortable (though not the numbing you describe). Don't know if that translates to the aerobars or your experience, as you do have them higher, but I am thinking that they do lean you forwards more.
06-15-08, 02:03 AM
Hmm, interesting. I ride in the drops with a B17 and I find it quite comfy. I guess everyone is different ;)
06-15-08, 05:45 AM
I'm not surprised at all by the numbness. While you're not using your aero bars in an aggressive setup, you are still shifting your weight forward.
Triathletes don't use wide touring saddles, by the way. Totally different setup, durations, mentality and so forth.
One option, which looks good but I have not tried yet, is the Topeak Allay saddle. You can regulate the pressure in the middle section of the saddle -- a little bit more complex than I'd normally use, but you may be a good candidate for it.
If you want to stick to leather, I'd talk to Wallingford Cycles, a big Brooks dealer; they may be able to suggest a model, and I believe they have a 30-day warranty. Or, get some cheap / used saddles of varying widths and shapes, and experiment. Once you find a good shape, get a high-quality saddle of the same dimensions.
Also, while I fully agree that you need to eliminate the numbness, a few days of it won't cause any permanent damage.
Hmm, interesting. I ride in the drops with a B17 and I find it quite comfy. I guess everyone is different.
Yep... It depends a lot on your body and your bike's setup. E.g. my B17 is fantastic on my touring/cross bike, but doesn't feel as good on my road bike.
I I have the top of my drop bars level with the seat, and the B17 was never super comfortable when in the drops, where I ride most of the time.
Just an FYI, typically that's an indication that you should lower your bars. ;)
06-15-08, 06:48 AM
This is a pic of a Brooks Imperial.
I am very prone to numbness and this saddle has worked great in that regard.
Don't know about the aero bar thing though.
I think a slotted saddle is in my future. Not sure which one but probably the Selles Anatomica. Reports from a couple of different forums are quite positive, at least for comfort. Some people are reporting that the quality is less than a Brooks. The other option is get the Selles Anatomica slot in a Brooks B17 or a Team Pro. I go back and forth between all three options but probably won't know anything until I try something as this saddle thing seems to come down to trial and error. I am going to email the folks at Selles Anatomica about my situation before I order though. The Brooks Imperial would also be an option too but I don;t think it come out until fall.
06-17-08, 12:33 PM
After 8 hours in the saddle what exactly did you expect? A couple of 50 mile 5 hour rides aren't going to toughen up your butt. How far is your commute?
One of the first things I remember reading from touring sites went something like this: "It isn't the speed when training, nor the distance, it is the time in the saddle that will prepare you for long days on the bike."
There is no way that I would comment on your saddle preference, I still have not found one that I really like. I will say that whatever you do don't give up on the aerobars. Your butt would have hurt a lot worse if you had not been down in the bars.
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