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Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg) Looking to lose that spare tire? Ideal weight 200+? Frustrated being a large cyclist in a sport geared for the ultra-light? Learn about the bikes and parts that can take the abuse of a heavier cyclist, how to keep your body going while losing the weight, and get support from others who've been successful.

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Old 06-26-07, 07:14 AM   #1
burlsube
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Saddle numbness....

I apologize for the multiple posts about my saddle issues, but it seems to be the only thing that is keeping me from my goal of losing weight.

I continue to experience numbness on rides regardless of the saddle and or tilt. I have tried a lot of different saddles including a Brooks and a Selle an Atomica. But for whatever the reason I am still getting numb. I generally try to level the saddle and then adjust the tilt accordingly.

I have had a bike fitting and I am using quality shorts (usually Assos or Descente). My bars are only dropped -.5cm from the nose of the saddle. I also make a point of getting out of the saddle frequently

I am not sure what else to do seeing as I do not want to damage anything. My only other thought is that my core muscles are weak and causing my pelvis to rotate while on the bike. Any suggestions are appreciated.
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Old 06-26-07, 09:31 AM   #2
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Some of it may simply be saddle time related. There are some muscles that you may be using for the first time in a long time and you may simply need to spend some time in the saddle to build them up. Also that brooks saddle may simply have needed more time to break in. It took nearly 500 miles for mine to break in and get really comfy...

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Old 06-26-07, 09:48 AM   #3
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I find that clenching the muscles once in a while down in that region - I guess I'm thinking the Kegel muscle - seems to help. I think it helps with blood circulation in the immediate term, and in the long term helps with conditioning. Maybe I'm all wet (I'm not a doctor and I didn't even stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night), but that's what seems to help me.
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Old 06-26-07, 09:53 AM   #4
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If your pelvis is rotating, there's a pretty good chance that you have the saddle a tad high. Try lowering it a tiny amount and see if that addresses the issue. You should be able to rest your heel on the pedal with your leg fully extended, on both sides. On all people one leg is usually marginally shorter than the other, usually a MM or so, and you need to adjust for the shorter leg as well. nIt should also be pitched level, by the way.

The other thing is, you also need to stand the pedals occasionally.

Also, different positions on the saddle for different conditions, slide a bit forward or stand in a climb and centerish for cruising and stand occasionally to stretch and also restore circulation to the bits.
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Old 06-26-07, 10:06 AM   #5
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I'll second the saddle height. Quick story, I took the bike out the other day and was going along grand for about 10 miles when I felt the saddle lower itself. I got off and highered it up and within 5 minutes my bits were numb. I lowered it again and no more numbness. I must have raised it too high. Not sure if this is your problem but it might be worth checking. Mark the seat post and lower it little bits at a time. Little bits are about 1cm long!
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Old 06-26-07, 10:34 AM   #6
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I'm having the same problem but with only a couple hundred miles under my belt(no pun intended) I've been chalking it up to newness. I've been playing with saddle level trying to work on my hand numb issues. Maybe I need to work on height too.
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Old 06-28-07, 06:04 PM   #7
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I had problems with numbness until I discovered a wider saddle. I am 6'4" and now at 195lbs (used to be 240lbs). Most saddles are designed for the average sized rider. I knew my sit bones had to be wider than the average person and went searching for a wider saddle. I bought a specialized Indie Sport saddle that is 155mm wide. I can now ride in comfort for hours. The smaller saddles tend to put pressure on the area between the sit bones and will cause the numbness.

I recently cleaned up my old road bike and took it out on one of my normal rides. I needed to turn around after 45 minutes. Getting off of the old saddle was all I could think of on the way home.
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Old 06-28-07, 07:07 PM   #8
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I'm assuming you have a decently ergonomic saddle with a channel in the middle. (If not, I highly recommend you get one!)

If this persists...has anyone tried one of those adjustable split saddles? It's really two little siny saddles that you can adjust. Like this:

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Old 07-01-07, 03:12 AM   #9
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My only experience with saddle numbness was when I first got my bike last year.

I felt that I wasn't getting enough leg extension when I pedaled so I raised the seat just a bit.

The next couple of rides gave me some numbness and minor soreness that persisted for a few hours after I finished riding.

I lowered the seat back to where it was and have never had that problem again.
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Old 07-09-07, 04:01 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by burlsube
I apologize for the multiple posts about my saddle issues, but it seems to be the only thing that is keeping me from my goal of losing weight.

I continue to experience numbness on rides regardless of the saddle and or tilt. I have tried a lot of different saddles including a Brooks and a Selle an Atomica. But for whatever the reason I am still getting numb. I generally try to level the saddle and then adjust the tilt accordingly.

I have had a bike fitting and I am using quality shorts (usually Assos or Descente). My bars are only dropped -.5cm from the nose of the saddle. I also make a point of getting out of the saddle frequently

I am not sure what else to do seeing as I do not want to damage anything. My only other thought is that my core muscles are weak and causing my pelvis to rotate while on the bike. Any suggestions are appreciated.
Double ditto on the comments about getting the saddle height right. If you still have the Selle An-atomica and want to give it another go, try putting more tension in the saddle and also moving it forward a bit. I had never experiences numbness or pressure in the forward area until I tried the Selle An-atomica. In its "hammock-like" state of low tension, this problem manifested itself. On the first 45 mile ride, I tighted the tension 3 times (about 4-5 turns) and it made all the difference in the world.

A non-broken Brooks can be a torture device.

A cheap saddle worth a try is the Terry Liberator.

Bob
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Old 07-09-07, 04:48 AM   #11
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The boys were numb for the first month I rode. It got progresively better. Try the saddle height, but your problem could just be new saddle issues. I'm a big guy (250), so I really felt my problem had alot to do with weight. Still the same weight but very little numbness. Take care.
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Old 01-28-08, 04:12 PM   #12
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Hey guys,
I hate to sort of 're-open' this post, but I wonder if I'm having the same problem. I just did my first training ride for my first MS150 from Houston to Austin, and I did the 45 mile route. It was the longest ride I've done on my new bike, a 2008 Cannondale CAAD9 5. My seat is stock - a Selle San Marco Ponza Lux. After riding the CAAD9 6, I thought this saddle was heaven, but not so.

When I bought the bike, they did a good fitting, and the other night I went to the Sun and Ski open house here in town and got a free fitting too. They also said that my fit was pretty good, but they adjusted my seat to perfectly level. I think before it was tilted down ever so slightly. I never had any issues with 'numbness' prior to the leveling of my saddle, but I also had never ridden that far before either.

My problem is that my 'berries' are just fine, but the 'twig' is still kind of numb today, over 24 hours after I finished the ride. Sorry for the analogy, but I'm trying to be PC. I'm about 6'1" and 250lbs. My 'area inbetween' is just fine. I'm actually not that saddle sore at all, but the numbness is really worrying me.

What do you guys think I should do? I'm really concerned about this of course. Immediately I want to run out and buy a new saddle, but should I? If there's any additional info I can provide, please let me know too...

Thanks guys,
TB
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Old 01-28-08, 05:07 PM   #13
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A couple of questions or so.....
  1. How often did you get up and stand the pedals to relieve pressure? Did you spend the entire ride in the saddle? (This restores bloodflow to the manly bits)
  2. Did you do good stretching at your little rest breaks?
  3. Now, a more graphic question: Sorry ladies.... Did you tuck the junk up and away from the saddle and are your shorts good and supportive? Your manly bits need to be pointed up to prevent pinching and compression causing loss of flow to that particular organ.
  4. Your shorts aren't too tight? If they are to tight or too loose, either way can cause numbness, either from constriction (too tight) or creases forming, creating numb spots.

Do a little analysis based on these questions.
Quote:
Originally Posted by roadnoob412 View Post
Hey guys,
I hate to sort of 're-open' this post, but I wonder if I'm having the same problem. I just did my first training ride for my first MS150 from Houston to Austin, and I did the 45 mile route. It was the longest ride I've done on my new bike, a 2008 Cannondale CAAD9 5. My seat is stock - a Selle San Marco Ponza Lux. After riding the CAAD9 6, I thought this saddle was heaven, but not so.

When I bought the bike, they did a good fitting, and the other night I went to the Sun and Ski open house here in town and got a free fitting too. They also said that my fit was pretty good, but they adjusted my seat to perfectly level. I think before it was tilted down ever so slightly. I never had any issues with 'numbness' prior to the leveling of my saddle, but I also had never ridden that far before either.

My problem is that my 'berries' are just fine, but the 'twig' is still kind of numb today, over 24 hours after I finished the ride. Sorry for the analogy, but I'm trying to be PC. I'm about 6'1" and 250lbs. My 'area inbetween' is just fine. I'm actually not that saddle sore at all, but the numbness is really worrying me.

What do you guys think I should do? I'm really concerned about this of course. Immediately I want to run out and buy a new saddle, but should I? If there's any additional info I can provide, please let me know too...

Thanks guys,
TB
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Old 01-28-08, 08:07 PM   #14
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TIGHT short to hold the twig up and get rid of as much padding as you can.
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Old 01-28-08, 08:08 PM   #15
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Well, let's see, Tom. Here's the best I can remember....
1. I stood up and rode that way as much as I thought I needed to. My rear end really didn't feel too bad, so I'd have to say I didn't stand as much as I thought I'd need to. My perineal area really wasn't and isn't sore at all, given this was as long as I've ever ridden on my bike. I didn't think to stand every so often just to relieve pressure on this area - I'm thinking I should have...
2. To be honest, I don't think I stretched much at all during each rest stop. The worst thing was the first rest stop was almost 18 miles into the ride. To top it off, it was cold and foggy, and I was soaked - all I wanted to do was go to the bathroom and get back on the bike to get pedaling and warm again.
I will say that at the first rest stop, I remember thinking I was already 'numb' because I couldn't feel anything if you know what I mean. Sorry everyone for being so 'candid'.
3. I don't know that I can honestly answer this one - I simply can't say. I think the 'junk' was always forward - never tucked up and behind me. Actually, I know it was because I remember trying to get down in the drops and sitting right back up because I was 'smashing' everything.
4. My shorts aren't too tight, and I don't think too loose. I think they may be, if anything, too cheap. They're the Ascent riding shorts I got at Nashbar for $25. The chamois padding is ok, but definitely not what I'd call 'plush'. To be honest, I've not been able to find the nicer brand name shorts in my size (usually XXL), and I've always had a bit of a hard time justifying the cost for shorts, but now I'm definitely seeing the potential need...


Cain - get rid of padding? Why do you say that? I thought that was the purpose of all these nice riding shorts...?

-TB
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Old 01-28-08, 11:07 PM   #16
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Yep, doing the occasional stand is to restore blood flow restricted by compressing the Perinial (Penile) Artery.....which supplies guess where? You can numb it out without butt pain, just from the reduced blood flow.

Another thought....is your saddle the correct width for your sit bones? If it's marginally too narrow, it can compress the perineum without causing pain, but will cause enough restriction to numb you. Have the Ischium (sit bones) measured with something like the Ass-O-Meter, from a Specialized Dealer and it will give you a good idea, actually a really good idea as to the width of saddle you need. I ride a fairly narrow saddle, for example at 135MM width.
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Old 01-28-08, 11:34 PM   #17
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If your pelvis is rotating, there's a pretty good chance that you have the saddle a tad high. Try lowering it a tiny amount and see if that addresses the issue. You should be able to rest your heel on the pedal with your leg fully extended, on both sides. On all people one leg is usually marginally shorter than the other, usually a MM or so, and you need to adjust for the shorter leg as well. nIt should also be pitched level, by the way.

The other thing is, you also need to stand the pedals occasionally.

Also, different positions on the saddle for different conditions, slide a bit forward or stand in a climb and centerish for cruising and stand occasionally to stretch and also restore circulation to the bits.
And if your leg length difference is greater than that, say a centimeter, be especially careful to have saddle height adjusted to accommodate the shorter leg, otherwise you could rock on the saddle. Ask me how I know this..... :-(
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Old 01-28-08, 11:37 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by CenturionII View Post
I had problems with numbness until I discovered a wider saddle. I am 6'4" and now at 195lbs (used to be 240lbs). Most saddles are designed for the average sized rider. I knew my sit bones had to be wider than the average person and went searching for a wider saddle. I bought a specialized Indie Sport saddle that is 155mm wide. I can now ride in comfort for hours. The smaller saddles tend to put pressure on the area between the sit bones and will cause the numbness.

I recently cleaned up my old road bike and took it out on one of my normal rides. I needed to turn around after 45 minutes. Getting off of the old saddle was all I could think of on the way home.
One valuable piece of advice I was given when I was having numbness issues: if a woman's saddle works best for you, set aside your male ego and use it. Women's saddles are often wider than men's.
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Old 01-28-08, 11:41 PM   #19
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TIGHT short to hold the twig up and get rid of as much padding as you can.
Sigh, my enormous pot-belly makes it hard to get shorts tight enough to keep the 'landing gear' tucked up. :-(
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Old 01-28-08, 11:43 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by neilfein View Post
I'm assuming you have a decently ergonomic saddle with a channel in the middle. (If not, I highly recommend you get one!)

If this persists...has anyone tried one of those adjustable split saddles? It's really two little siny saddles that you can adjust. Like this:

Not a good idea, Neil. The saddle nose helps in steering the bike by giving you something to press against.
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Old 01-29-08, 12:10 AM   #21
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Well, let's see, Tom. Here's the best I can remember....
1. I stood up and rode that way as much as I thought I needed to. My rear end really didn't feel too bad, so I'd have to say I didn't stand as much as I thought I'd need to. My perineal area really wasn't and isn't sore at all, given this was as long as I've ever ridden on my bike. I didn't think to stand every so often just to relieve pressure on this area - I'm thinking I should have...
2. To be honest, I don't think I stretched much at all during each rest stop. The worst thing was the first rest stop was almost 18 miles into the ride. To top it off, it was cold and foggy, and I was soaked - all I wanted to do was go to the bathroom and get back on the bike to get pedaling and warm again.
I will say that at the first rest stop, I remember thinking I was already 'numb' because I couldn't feel anything if you know what I mean. Sorry everyone for being so 'candid'.
3. I don't know that I can honestly answer this one - I simply can't say. I think the 'junk' was always forward - never tucked up and behind me. Actually, I know it was because I remember trying to get down in the drops and sitting right back up because I was 'smashing' everything.
4. My shorts aren't too tight, and I don't think too loose. I think they may be, if anything, too cheap. They're the Ascent riding shorts I got at Nashbar for $25. The chamois padding is ok, but definitely not what I'd call 'plush'. To be honest, I've not been able to find the nicer brand name shorts in my size (usually XXL), and I've always had a bit of a hard time justifying the cost for shorts, but now I'm definitely seeing the potential need...


Cain - get rid of padding? Why do you say that? I thought that was the purpose of all these nice riding shorts...?

-TB
Ah, a trip down memory lane. Back in March 2007 a well-meaning ride instructor adjusted the saddle height on my Trek Navigator because I wasn't getting a full leg extension. Problem was, it was for the longer leg. So I rocked back and forth as my suspension seatpost bounced up and down. Combine that with the fact I hadn't developed the ability to stand up while moving, and my wearing underwear beneath bike shorts, and the inevitable happened. The difference is that I thought it was a right of passage, so I rode for 75 miles and a week with a numb putz. (Neil F. will translate that word if you don't know what it means.) It took six weeks for the nerve damage to heal. The only up side to the problem is that during the six weeks of healing the soldier stood at attention much more often than he did before, but I digress.....

Based on my experience, here are my recommendations:

1. At the slightest sign of the wedding tackle going numb, stand up. Better yet, stand at least once every ten minutes while pedaling. You might even want to get off the bike.

2. Keep the landing gear tucked up. That's another euphemism, folks.

3. I'll omit the advice about getting a good bike fitting and not wearing underwear with cycling shorts, since you don't make those mistakes.

4. Adjust the saddle nose slightly downward.

5. Cain's suggestion about padding makes a good point about saddles. Plusher and softer isn't always better. Often excess padding in shorts or saddle means it creates pressure points when you sit down and sink into the plushness.
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Old 01-29-08, 06:05 AM   #22
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Thank you guys so much for all the tips and tricks. I kind of wonder if it doesn't have something to do with the saddle being adjusted BACK to level height at the last bike fitting I had. It had previously been nosed down ever so slightly, and while in that position I didn't have numbness issues, I was having some soreness in the 'perineal' area. I chalked this up to just needing more time/miles in the new saddle. Now I hadn't put as many miles on the bike in one session with it like that yet, but I'm curious to see if that won't help with the issue.

I'll definitely be going to my local Specialized dealer to see if they can't help me get fitted for a saddle so I can make sure the one I have fits or doesn't fit me before I run out and buy a new one.
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Old 01-29-08, 07:22 AM   #23
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Cain - get rid of padding? Why do you say that? I thought that was the purpose of all these nice riding shorts...?

-TB
Neil summed it up. All that padding puts pressure where it shouldn't be(even though you really don't feel the pressure). I've been 100% padding free for a 1000 miles now and love it. I've also ditched the padded gloves and now my hands aren't going numb either. Padding is the devil!


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5. Cain's suggestion about padding makes a good point about saddles. Plusher and softer isn't always better. Often excess padding in shorts or saddle means it creates pressure points when you sit down and sink into the plushness.
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Old 01-29-08, 07:23 AM   #24
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Sigh, my enormous pot-belly makes it hard to get shorts tight enough to keep the 'landing gear' tucked up. :-(

I use tight compression shorts and roll the top down to keep them under my gut. It's worth it to keep the landing gear out of the way.
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Old 01-29-08, 10:22 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by Caincando1 View Post
Neil summed it up. All that padding puts pressure where it shouldn't be(even though you really don't feel the pressure). I've been 100% padding free for a 1000 miles now and love it. I've also ditched the padded gloves and now my hands aren't going numb either. Padding is the devil!
Well, uhm, I wasn't going that far. I meant you can have too much of a good thing instead of 'padding is the devil.' 1000 miles without a chamois! >SHUDDER!<
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