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Old 12-23-12, 03:51 PM   #1
TomD77
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Apparent contradiction between study sponsered by Selle and their product line.

Personal factors forced me into research about saddles during whick I stumbled into this 2002 study partially sponsored by Selle titled "PRESSURE DISTRIBUTION ON BICYCLE SADDLES
(a comparison between normal “flat” saddles with gel and saddles with a “hole” in the perineal area)". Link to study (PDF)

Since the study seems to conclude that holes in saddles to relieve perineal pressure are counterproductive and induced pain in all riders in the study, I'm trying to understand why virtually everything Selle offers has this selfsame hole.
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Old 12-23-12, 04:34 PM   #2
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I'm trying to understand why virtually everything Selle offers has this selfsame hole.
Be careful of the language.

"Selle" is Italian for "seat" or "saddle", although the feminine "sella" is preferred. It is not a company name.

Several different Italian saddle makers use the word "Selle" as the first part of their name--Selle Italia, Selle Royale, Selle San Marco, Selle SMB are the ones that come first to mind, and each is a completely different company. Selle Anatomica is an American firm.

Selle Royale did the study you linked to, but only two of their model lines feature a cutout. The vast majority of their saddles do not.
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Old 12-23-12, 05:01 PM   #3
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"Selle" is Italian for "seat" or "saddle", although the feminine "sella" is preferred. It is not a company name.

Several different Italian saddle makers use the word "Selle" as the first part of their name--Selle Italia, Selle Royale, Selle San Marco, Selle SMB are the ones that come first to mind, and each is a completely different company. Selle Anatomica is an American firm.

Selle Royale did the study you linked to, but only two of their model lines feature a cutout. The vast majority of their saddles do not.
I certainly didn't know that!

Still struck by the study's conclusion that the cutouts were counterproductive and the profusion of saddles with cutouts.
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Old 12-23-12, 08:24 PM   #4
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What we need here are reports from each member who have ridden both "with" and "without" saddles, to tell us which was more comfortable to them, if either, and why...
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Old 12-23-12, 08:37 PM   #5
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One ten-year-old study is not enough data.
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Old 12-23-12, 08:47 PM   #6
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What we need here are reports from each member who have ridden both "with" and "without" saddles, to tell us which was more comfortable to them, if either, and why...
I've got only 3 years experience, a pittance compared to many here. Given that, I've had a fair share of saddle fit problems and have, or have tried, a collection of various types of saddles. To date the saddles with which I've had the best experience have no cut outs.
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Old 12-23-12, 09:07 PM   #7
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What we need here are reports from each member who have ridden both "with" and "without" saddles, to tell us which was more comfortable to them, if either, and why...
+1, I put a whole lot more stock in what the 50+ riders here say about how a part works for them than any advertising or such. Real life experience from someone in my same age and riding group about how a saddle works for them is more valuable to me. People here don't generally have a reason to say something works well unless it actually does so for them, not so with advertising or copy from a catalogue.

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Old 12-23-12, 09:11 PM   #8
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The worst saddle I tried was one that had a cut out.
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Old 12-23-12, 09:21 PM   #9
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What we need here are reports from each member who have ridden both "with" and "without" saddles, to tell us which was more comfortable to them, if either, and why...
The most comfortable saddle I've used was a Bontrager no padding carbon with a hole cut out fanny hatchet. In fact, after owning it for less than a week I rode a century on it.

As a bent rider I don't really care now.
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Old 12-23-12, 09:32 PM   #10
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The problem some might have is not everyone has problems with perineum pressure so they would have a bigger issue with sit bone pressure and any saddle addressing that issue would more than likely work fine. There is a group of riders that do have issues with perineum pressure and flat saddles either have to be tilted down in the nose causing pressure on the riders wrists, or some other adjustment that is supposed to pul more pressure on the sit bones and force a pelvic tilt. . A saddle with a cut out allows someone to ride a relitive flat saddle giving and a more balanced ride.

If you have never had a perineum pressure then you will never understand what a relief the cut out saddles offer for those of us who do. Perineum pressure can go from a soreness than will last for an hour or two to a pain that makes it hard to walk for a day. I didn't know about Brooks Imperials before I went to a Selle SMP but preineum pressure can be so bad that the suggestions by all of my Brooks friends saying that within the first 500 miles the saddle will form to me makes a great assumption that somehow I could put up with the pain for 500 miles. So I have had a lot of saddles and have given away or sold every saddle without a cut out. I still have a few saddles but they all have cut outs and I haven't had any perineum pressure in years.

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Old 12-23-12, 09:35 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by David Bierbaum View Post
What we need here are reports from each member who have ridden both "with" and "without" saddles, to tell us which was more comfortable to them, if either, and why...
My road bike came with a saddle with a cutout. I did my own research and concluded that a saddle with a cutout is wider and therefore can lead to chaffing on the upper leg area. I changed to a non-cutout and it is more than 1/2" narrower where it counts. Lack of the cutout does not affect my comfort in that area. Picture attached shows where I measured.
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Old 12-23-12, 10:12 PM   #12
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What we need here are reports from each member who have ridden both "with" and "without" saddles, to tell us which was more comfortable to them, if either, and why...
I prefer cutout saddles. Or rather I prefer the cutout saddles that I have been riding. Saddle shape is very personal. The cutout is only one facet of saddle fit.
I've been riding on Specialized Toupes for the last five years. Before that I used Selle SLRs, which have no cut out. With the Toupe I get little to no penile numbness. With the SLRs I got a bit more- not a problem if I got out of the saddle periodically, which I do anyhow. This is on rides up to 8-9 hours.

Saddles with cutouts are not always wider than ones without.
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Old 12-24-12, 02:48 AM   #13
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My road bike came with a saddle with a cutout. I did my own research and concluded that a saddle with a cutout is wider and therefore can lead to chaffing on the upper leg area. I changed to a non-cutout and it is more than 1/2" narrower where it counts. Lack of the cutout does not affect my comfort in that area. Picture attached shows where I measured.
Have to agree in principle until you get onto some of the more reputable makes. Pre prostate surgery I used a Flight Ti saddle and it was comfortable. It was n't after surgery and eventually I got onto the flight Gel Max saddle with a cutout. That cured the problem and the saddle on the nose is the same width as my original Flight. Then went to the LBS and got a San Marco "aero" that was the same shape and it worked and it had a cutout.

BUT I have had saddles that did have the Cutout and caused chaffing because the saddle was wider on the nose. My Pinnie came with a cutout saddle and I know you have to run in a saddle but after about 1,000 miles it is still not right. Seeing this post and I have just gone and checked the Pinnie saddle and it is wider than my other two. Looks like I will buying yet another saddle and it will be one of the expensive Flights that are the same width as my Gel Max or the Aero.
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Old 12-24-12, 03:02 AM   #14
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I read the article and what I found most interesting was figure 9. Note how very different the pressure distribution was for different cyclists. This is the real point of the article ... their empirical evidence says what we already know in this forum - every one's butt and riding style is different, so what works for me may not work for you ...
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Old 12-24-12, 06:23 AM   #15
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You Boyz could come on over to the 'Recumbent' side of the bike universe and ride completly pain free..

You can still wear your spandex, we In our cargo shorts won't Laugh at you,,at least not Infront of your friends,,

And No you don't have to grow a beard or develope an 'Areo Belly' to fit in XD


Just sayin, "Temba",,, "Arms Wide"


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Old 12-24-12, 07:57 AM   #16
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The focus of attention is the cut out. But if you visit the Selle Italia site, you will notice that the cut out is merely one issue. What needs to be done is to study the method in which Selle Italia is using to arrive at the saddle that would fit your needs based on your body type.

I think that's what "ID Match" is all about. It was introduced at 2012 Eurobike and also in September at Interbike in Las Vegas.

Everyone's cumulative experience is fine and dandy, but everyone's experience doesn't mean the body types are referenced to the saddles. It would be better to get the ID Match on everyone and then talk turkey.
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Old 12-24-12, 08:12 AM   #17
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Its only been a month since I had the Selle Italia SLR Superflow 130. Prior to that I used the Fizik Arione for a number of years, maybe 8.

I did the ID Match at Interbike and the technician who measured me was none other than the PhD who developed the ID Match.

http://www.selleitalia.com/se_it3/idmatch/
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Old 12-24-12, 09:15 AM   #18
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Two things struck me about the study. First the comparison of but four saddles is much too small a sample to adequately compare the wide range of saddles out there. Second, if what is stated in the 2nd paragraph of the introduction is correct, "Studies from rough terrain and vibrations of the saddle cause repeated micro trauma to the perineum...", is remotely accurate, then they've opened the door for a strong argument that wider tires with lower air pressure is a good thing.
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Old 12-24-12, 05:05 PM   #19
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If that was from a Star Trek Next Generation episode whereby Picard battles a beast with an alien captain whom he is slowly coming to understand via their metaphoric manner of speech – “His eyes wide open”, then it made me chuckle that you thought to use it in that manner. Good one, osco53.
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Old 12-24-12, 05:36 PM   #20
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I certainly didn't know that!

Still struck by the study's conclusion that the cutouts were counterproductive and the profusion of saddles with cutouts.
Reminds me of the promotion of helmets that often has little or no relationship to study conclusions about their effectiveness.
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Old 12-24-12, 06:36 PM   #21
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I read the article and what I found most interesting was figure 9. Note how very different the pressure distribution was for different cyclists. This is the real point of the article ... their empirical evidence says what we already know in this forum - every one's butt and riding style is different, so what works for me may not work for you ...
akohekohe has posted a concise summary of the whole study.
Personally I can ride a completely unpadded CF road seat without issue - but thats just because my shape coincidentally happens to be a good match for the seat. That same seat apparently is pure hell for anyone else that's tried it.
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Old 12-24-12, 08:44 PM   #22
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I read the article and what I found most interesting was figure 9. Note how very different the pressure distribution was for different cyclists. This is the real point of the article ... their empirical evidence says what we already know in this forum - every one's butt and riding style is different, so what works for me may not work for you ...
Add in the fact that we all change over time, and not always in one direction. I have enjoyed many saddles over the years and hated just as many with an extensive overlap in those two sets. Sometimes we are riding with a horizontal back, sometimes we are a bit more upright. These posture changes affect the width of the bones that come in contact with the saddle. (They angle in towards the front, so as you get more aerodynamic, you will be sitting on a narrower portion of these bones.) I've had weight swings of fifty pounds and this affects the amount of padding I want as well as how wide a horn I can ride without chafing issues.

The only saddle I won't return to is a Brooks, or anything similar. I rode on one for several years during the early- and mid-70s. It just puts too much of the load on the soft tissue area for my liking. Well, I do have one similar saddle that sees some use for short errand runs, but I would never use it for any riding of more than thirty miles or so.
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