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Old 06-29-07, 09:22 AM   #1
beelz
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Modifying a saddle for perineal comfort

Continuing my bike seat quest from a previous post, I finally found a wide saddle in a second hand bike shop in SE Asia. It's the same model you see in this picture.



The seat measures about 10 inches across at the widest part. These seats are apparently only available as second hand, not new, so I have to make do with this one.

Big as it is, I'm not even going to attempt to ride it until I modify it a bit, as I ripped my crotch up very badly last year when I tried to ride a conventional seat. I have minor prostate problems, so want zero pressure on the prostate and genital areas.

I am going to take it to a shop that reupholsters motorbike seats and ask them to modify the seat. I think the kind of modification that makes the most sense is this type: (ABS)



because it seems to totally eliminate contact with the perineal area while preserving the nose for riding stability.

Now, I suspect they won't be able to actually create that concave front nose, as the frame is not shaped that way. But if you simply lower the nose by removing padding, will that achieve the same effect?

Or maybe rather than lower the nose, one can simply raise the rear part of the seat, by putting extra padding there?

My saddle already has a slight indentation down the center, as you can see, but it's totally inadequate to relieve pressure. I want to deepen and widen that center indentation so there is no pressure at all on my perineum. How deep should it be? How wide should it be? Many seats I've seen that have cutouts have the cutout too narrow, IMO.

And should one attempt to reupholster with special very firm padding that won't compress a lot, in order to make sure that the sit bones remain high in the saddle, and the perineum remains pressure free?

Also, as one loses potential butt support due to the rounded edges of the seat, is it possible to upholster it so that the edges are not round, but rather rise at 90 degree angles from the frame? That would add over an inch of butt support and make it noticeably more comfortable, IMO. (I have a big butt and am a heavy guy) Or is that not necessary? Does your butt compress the flat area so that the rounded downward-sloping area at the edge becomes part of the same plane of support? (I hope that's not confusing!)

Unfortunately, this saddle has the kind of mount that can not adjust seat position front to rear, but you can adjust the seat angle. It also has two slightly rusted shock absorber springs underneath. I don't know how difficult it would be to find someone who can change the mount to one that can be adjusted front to rear...maybe I can live without that.

Your thoughts would be greatly appreciated on this. I'm hoping that if you get a wide enough saddle, you can create your own customized dream seat by modifying it to your anatomy.
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Old 06-29-07, 09:29 AM   #2
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Try a LWB recumbent bike. The seats are the answer to prostate problems. bk
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Old 06-29-07, 09:33 AM   #3
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Are you sure you're headed in the right direction? Of course I don't know anything about your specific needs, but in my experience, more padding often complicates the problem rather than solving it--at least in my case, the standard padding on saddles is so soft it compresses to nothing, and I'm sitting on the shell with a wad of foam wedged up where I don't want it.
Have you tried cutout saddles? Also, Rivendell has a new leather saddle called something like the An-Atomica, looks like a Brooks B-17 with a slot cut out of it. I saw it in the print version of the Rivendell Reader and can't find it on the Web site, but I e-mailed them about something else this morning and asked if it's in stock; it is. Here's the guy to ask: keven@rivbike.com
Failing that, the recumbent suggestion is a good idea. I've only ridden them a little, but they should solve your problem.
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Old 06-29-07, 09:33 AM   #4
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You could try one of these for $20

http://www.nashbar.com/profile.cfm?c...All%20Products
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Old 06-29-07, 09:38 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Velo Dog
Have you tried cutout saddles? Also, Rivendell has a new leather saddle called something like the An-Atomica, looks like a Brooks B-17 with a slot cut out of it.
Here's an information page, intended for dealers:

http://www.selleanatomica.com/
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Old 06-29-07, 10:10 AM   #6
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My problem is I live in SE Asia. Buying any seat mail order means very high international shipping charges, and it would be too expensive to return it if I don't like it, so I cannot experiment like you lucky North Americans can. It is interesting to me, though, to see that you can get The Seat by Ergo for $20 now. I thought that looked like an interesting seat. However, others have said that those noseless seats make riding a lot less stable.

They don't sell recumbents here, so that's not an option either. Also, if I imported one, I would get stared at beyond belief. These people stare at us foreigners just walking down the street, can you imagine how much they would stare if I was the only person in their whole country driving a recumbent? It would be VERY hard to deal with, I assure you.

So I'm just trying to find a homegrown solution that might work for me.

As far as the seat padding compressing all the way down to the frame, in my experience it doesn't compress that much. But that's another reason why I wonder how deep to make the cutout, so that it will still remain a cutout when my weight is applied to the seat. If you apply thick enough, firm enough padding, I don't think it will compress all the way down to the frame. But I'm no expert.
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Old 06-29-07, 11:10 AM   #7
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"My problem is I live in SE Asia."

Where in SE Asia are you living? I'm moving to Thailand next summer, and have been unsuccessfully trying to find out what will be available there and what prices are like.
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Old 06-30-07, 06:45 AM   #8
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Patachenca, I previously lived in Northern Thailand, but spent time in Bangkok too, and I never saw the kind of saddle I've been looking for (and I spent a lot of time looking). Yes, there are some saddles with cutouts available, but you won't find the large diverse selection that are available on the internet. And if you want a jumbo saddle, they just don't sell them in Thailand. So you should bring your own.

Bikes is a different story. There are plenty of those, of all kinds, and they're pretty cheap I think.
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Old 06-30-07, 06:49 AM   #9
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I was hoping to get some technical replies with opinions about how wide the perineal area is, the best way to reupholster the seat so as to minimize the nose, etc., and I didn't get any. Should I maybe post this in a different forum category, and if so, which one?
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Old 07-01-07, 05:44 AM   #10
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Maybe you can measure your sit bones by sitting on something like dough or whatever you have at hand. Then try and determine how much you want for your sit bones to rest on and get rid of everything between that is not needed. My sit bones are about 112mm center to center and I would think that I would want 25mm of support for each which would leave me with a hole of 62mm wide. If you have wide sit bones then you may be able to have a wider hole.

Good luck with the mod. Maybe it will make riding fun again.
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