I have read threads about guys shopping for "comfort" bikes. There are ample discussions about saddle comfort/discomfort - and lots of advice about position, cadence, seat height, and crank length that mention avoidance of knee problems, etc - how one frame is going to be more comfortable or give a more comfortable ride than another.
I'm no maven and no Lance by a far shot. I am a musician, not an athlete. But I ride plenty - have experience on two vastly different bikes - one a steel framed Schwinn, the other an aluminum framed Cannondale.
I've tried padded saddles, non-padded ones - fairly "normal” road saddles, and just put on a long, sleek Fizik - very narrow - no padding that I notice. Did my first long ride with it, no discomfort whatsoever. My riding style used to be 100% in the saddle. Recently, I've fitted my bike with clipless pedals and find myself out of the saddle on long climbs - it certainly adds another dimension to my riding and is certainly less taxing for me on long steep climbs. But I didn't experience any saddle soreness either way.
I have done a couple of 75 mile days - I was plenty spent from riding. Came home, sat down to relax, and didn't wake up until the next morning. But there was no soreness - no pain.
I'm working my way through a book by Ed Pavelka - the "Complete Book of Road Cycling Skills"
There is a section in the book about medical concerns that covers topics like saddle sores, numbness, knees, and a "men's only" chapter about what pressure on that region can do to our "personality."
I don't have aero bars (my LBS guy is trying to talk me in to getting them - he's talked me into everything else, so one day I'll try them as well), so it doesn't really surprise me that I don't experience "urological" problems as a result of my riding.
But I do ride daily and put on some moderate mileage. When I returned to cycling five years ago after a 20 year hiatus, I just basically hopped on my bike and started riding again without concern for fit or fitness - with no worry about knee pain or saddle pain, or any of that stuff.
I'm just curious - have most of us been fortunate to be free of these pesky problems, or is it more generally the rule to experience some pain as a result of riding. The book gives examples of pro riders who have problems - these guys are working with trainers, have the best equipment, are in top shape, and are gifted athletes - so it can't be that I've anything over on them. I know that they are riding at a totally different level than an old guy like me - but it strikes me odd as I read through this book and peruse this BBS that I've really never had any problems.
As for bikes, what characteristics do different frame types lend to the ride that a rider would truly notice as contributing to or detracting from comfort?