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  1. #1
    Junior Member eddo456's Avatar
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    problem with the frank n' beans... please help!

    So, i figured you guys would have the best input here, the folks on the road forum are kinda rude all too often.

    When i ride for any more than thirty miles i will be out of commission with my equipment for the rest of the day, and potentially well into the next. I have had this experience in two different saddles, and different shorts, my current saddle is a selle italia Flite and i have a descente bib.

    So the problem is this, it all functions, but i have extreme reduced sensitivity, almost like the sensation of a limb being asleep from too little blood flow, like you foot or so on, but this will last hours and potentially over night. It is initially affecting both parties, but soon my testis return to normal, like an hour after or so but the "main show" is afflicted for way longer.

    Is there anything i can do to prevent this, like moving more in the saddle, changing my saddle position and if so in what way, please give me some help guys because this has happened before and this weekend was particularly inconvenient if you catch my drift.

    Also i want to know if i could be damaged permanently if i don't stop this from happening again.

    Thanks in advance

  2. #2
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    It is possible to do permanent damage to that general area from cycling. Get yourself a decent Brooks leather saddle and toss the padded cycling shorts. A leather saddle is firm and supports your sit bones, where your weight is supposed to be supported. Padded/gel seats compress and your weight ends up on your "package". Some people complain that leather saddles take a while to break in but mine felt better than any padded saddle from day one. The best place to buy Brooks saddles is at Wallingford Bike parts (http://www.wallbike.com/) because they offer a 6 month money back guarentee.

  3. #3
    Ho-Jahm Hocam's Avatar
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    Like all curmudgeons, you must post #2's advice with a grain of salt. Brooks are not always the answer tend to act as more of a hammock with most of your weight on your sit bones but some spread onto your perenium (grundle). Many people cannot ride brooks because they can't tolerate any pressure there, but many (like me) find them very comfortable.

    Have you tried lowering the angle of the saddle? It should be level or tilted slightly downward. Also, try a different saddle, possibily with a cut out. You want more of a bar stool approach, rather than a hammock approach. Find a saddle that can get all of your weight onto your sit bones and off the tender bits.
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  4. #4
    Steel Frame BrooklynRider's Avatar
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    You described some major issues. Not typical bike or seat issues.

    You MUST go see your doctor. Who may (hopefully) recommend you to a sports medicine specialist. What you are describing are major medical symptoms random know-nothings on a bike forum cannot possibly have the remotest idea of what you are actually dealing with. Maybe it's testicular cancer?

    What you have described may not be minor bike-fit or fitness issue but possibly a major anatomical problem your average bike weeny never heard of (Lance Armstrong heard of it.) Don't mess around. Get a check-up with a doctor.

    Get MEDICAL opinion and leave the jock hammerheads in the "Road Forum" to diagnose their own issues and how they value their own ability to reproduce. You wouldn't post photos of your swollen testis on a forum, so don't seek medical advice here either.

    Ask a DOCTOR! It's not your saddle.

    All the best! And really, take care of yourself! Everyone is different, and athletes, even more than regular folks need medical monitoring. Athletes often catch things sooner than average Joe's since we are so active and notice changes in our performance or anatomy.

    Most likely you're healthy, but why mess around with something that is this important.

    Don't mess with it. Go get a check up. Period. What you have mentioned warrants it.
    Last edited by BrooklynRider; 03-02-08 at 10:15 PM.

  5. #5
    Senior Member powpow's Avatar
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    A few thoughts:

    Get a new saddle immediately: obviously your current one is not working. I have had NO numbness issues with Specialized BG saddles (Avatar and Alias), even on rides up to 7 hours. It's all about getting a firm saddle that your sit bones can rest on without putting any pressure on the soft tissues (perineum).

    Your current saddle could be to high or tilted with the nose up.

    You might get a bike fitting after you get the new saddle to address the seat height/angle

  6. #6
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    It's something that happens. Do you ride on the drops a lot? Are your handlebars way below the seat level? Do you ride a full-on road bike with a steep seat tube angle? What is your knee-over-pedal-sprindle like? Do your shorts make you feel like you are wrapped up in a diaper? Do you run your seat so high that you are actually rocking your hips while pedalling?

    It's likely your seat is causing you problems, but the contributing factors can be those I ask about because they can cause you to bend over so far that you are pressing on the base area of the penis (where it extends into the perineum), compressing the nerve bundle in that area.

    I've had the symptoms occur because, even though I run Brooks saddles, with the one concerned, I hadn't had the opportunity to fully adjust it' nose tilt and get the handlebar settings right.

    Like most of these things, the sensations returned to normal after a couple of days.
    Dream. Dare. Do.

  7. #7
    Professional Fuss-Budget Bacciagalupe's Avatar
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    Have you considered a recumbent?

    I agree that it is most likely your saddle, possibly combined with an improper fit. gfarrow is correct in that gel saddles feel more comfortable at first, but actually put more pressure on areas that will cut off blood flow. However, I'd keep using cycling shorts; the padding doesn't actually do much in terms of comfort, rather it is designed to wick away sweat, which keeps you cleaner and helps prevent saddle sores.

    I'd check in with your LBS, explain your situation, get a fit and try a few different saddles. It can take several attempts before you actually find the right saddle for you.

    I wouldn't go to a doctor with this issue yet unless you are due for a physical anyway.

  8. #8
    Junior Member eddo456's Avatar
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    Thanks for everyone's input. I recently went to my LBS and got some tips and advice, apparently numbness is a pain that most of those guys have had, but that it does mean that there is something wrong with your positions.

    I don't want to up and see a doctor because i am not too sure what he would tell me short of ride less or for shorter distances, which is not the answer i would want. I have a few ideas about changing my positions, maybe for the better. How many of you have experienced this sensation?

  9. #9
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    Not as bad as what you describe, but I've definitely had problems along those lines. Mostly from a saddle that was too narrow for the position I was riding in, so my sit bones were half off the sides and lots of weight was going where it shouldn't (interestingly, on a drop bar bike the same saddle has been working OK, I assume because I'm resting on a different spot where the bones are closer together).

    I think it's not uncommon, but should be considered unacceptable. I.e. don't freak out, but do promptly do what it takes to fix the problem. Obviously BrooklynRider isn't wrong that doctors know things that we random internet people don't, but I guess if it were me I'd read advice from other riders and try a few different things before going to the doctor. (assuming you do go to the doctor sometimes for check-ups, and that you check your business for lumps or changes on a regular basis)

  10. #10
    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    +1 on the Specialized BG saddles. Terry Fly saddles work, too. I used to have problems on rides over 100 miles, but no longer since I've found a saddle that works for me. Your bib should be fine, but beware that they don't bunch up between your legs and feel like a diaper.

    The symptoms you describe are the very normal symptoms of a compressed perineal area, where there are nerves and blood vessels, none of which like to be compressed.

    The SI Flite is typical of saddles that work great for some people, but are the absolutely worst kind of saddle for folks like me, and probably you. Look for a saddle that only supports you by the sitbones and has quite a cavity or slot between the sitbones supports. Seen from the side, the saddle should exhibit some "rocker" meaning high at either end and lower in the middle. It should be quite firm. Many people with these issues also tilt their saddle noses down 1 or 2 degrees.

    #1 thing to do: do not under any circumstances continue to ride your present saddle.

  11. #11
    Senior Member z415's Avatar
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    Hey Eddie, if you do end up getting a different saddle, keep in mind that there were saddles you previously used that you liked and you can maybe get something similar instead of looking for something new. Maybe like the Felt one that you gave away or the Pave you have on your fixie or even the Terry on your mtb. Also, if you want, you can ride my bike/saddle for a long ride and see if you like it - my Spring Break is next week if you aren't busy. We are swapping pedals though. You have big feet and I like my Looks over those SPDs.
    Last edited by z415; 03-04-08 at 03:43 AM.
    Falling is learning...[SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]...learn to not fall in a box.
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  12. #12
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    Shorts and Saddle Inset Cutouts

    I have had this problem with various shorts, despite using a Brooks B-17. I find that the short pads bunch up just below the perineum and cause compression. My solution, which has worked, has been to make a small slit in the interior material, then use long, narrow scissors to excise a length of pad about two inches long and half an inch wide from the pad. This effectively creates a notch in the pad and prevents bunching. It works. You can patch the small slit with a piece of iron-on tape. Why manufacturers do not pre-mold shorts pads with this in mind is beyond me.
    Another approach is to buy a saddle with a recessed hollow in the same area. Selle makes an An-atomica; you can also buy a Brooks with a slit in the leather:
    http://www.mcmwin.com/saddle%20shop.htm

  13. #13
    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    All my favorite shorts have pads with slightly thicker material under the sit bones - maybe 5/16" thick - and much thinner material under the perinium. They also have pads which are bonded to the shorts rather than sewn. This combination seems to take care of the "bunching" problem. My current fave is the Voler shorts sold for cheap by Hammer Nutrition. OK, so there is a great, huge logo, but the price is right and the shorts are great. Or just buy the Volers right from the source w/o the logo.

    Right saddle + right shorts = comfort.

  14. #14
    Junior Member eddo456's Avatar
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    Thanks folks, i just saw the doctor on a unrelated issue and asked her this as well. It seems that she is in consensus with you all and i just need a new saddle. Thanks again, any more saddle suggestions?

  15. #15
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    I've had good luck with the Selle Italia SLK. It has a major cutout all the way from the back nearly to the front. (I never could get a Brooks to work for me.) Don't underestimate the importance of fit and positioning.

  16. #16
    dork. yup. mrtornadohead's Avatar
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    I have struggled with this before. I had a Terry Fly that if I tilted it downward, I would slide down on to the nose and be numb in no time at all. I actually had to run that saddle with a slight upward tilt and sit a bit further back. I have also tried a B17 and after 15 miles I felt like I was straddling the top tube. It just didn't work for me. So far, and old Turbo and a Bontrager stock seat are working great for me, and trying a Rolls on the long distance bike.

    What that adds up to is that you may end up with a pile of saddles until yo get the one you want. Also, all the small adjustments may add up to big differences (height, tilt, fore/aft positioning, even slight left/right adjustment).
    Wig out, wig hard,wig on.

  17. #17
    Senior Member BengeBoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by eddo456 View Post
    Thanks folks, i just saw the doctor on a unrelated issue and asked her this as well. It seems that she is in consensus with you all and i just need a new saddle. Thanks again, any more saddle suggestions?
    I just switched to a Selle An-Atomica. So far, so good.

    http://www.mcmwin.com/saddle%20shop%20new.htm

  18. #18
    Senior Member The Octopus's Avatar
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    Hope you get that taken care of; definitely sounds like a painful bummer, and it's an issue that you shouldn't be experiencing at the mileage levels you're talking about. My guess is a combination of saddle and fit issues. Everyone's anatomy down there is differnet so there isn't going to be one standard saddle/positioning combination that fits all of us. If there were, then everyone would ride whatever that was and there wouldn't be any need for different saddles in the marketplace, bike fitters, or divergent opinions on the matter. Finding what's right for you and your anatomy can take some work, time, and money, but stay with it and good luck.

    FWIW, I've used the SI Flite on two 1200Ks and numerous "shorter" rides in excess of 400 miles. No issues down there at all. We're all different.....

  19. #19
    Senior Member owenh's Avatar
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    Hope all is solved
    I had a simalar prob but I read somewhere that standing up every 10 mins for 20 - 30
    strokes (no pun intended) helps tske pressure off
    Or just spend the $$ and get a proper fit done
    by a professional with this spefic prob the focus

  20. #20
    Senior Member Pinyon's Avatar
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    Many people will tell you that Brooks saddles are the thing, but they don't work for me at all, because they still squish everything between my sit-bones together too much. I prefer the Specialized Avitar and Alias saddles, mainly because they have a sit-bone test that you can do in the LBS to tell you how wide you need your perch to be. Once you know what width saddle works for you, then you can buy another brand (I also like standard Forte saddles with a cut-away, and the Terry Liberator and Fly saddles).

    The main thing is to find the width that you need. You want your hip bones/sit-bones to sit on the saddle and take almost all of your weight. If the saddle is too narrow, you are sitting directly on your soft tissue (ass hatchet effect), which sounds like your problem to me. If the saddle is too wide, then it squishes "you" into the middle between the saddle pads (most "comfort" gel, and all Brooks saddles do this to me), and you can get the same problem to a lesser extent. After finding out how wide your hips are, or what saddle-type works best for you, you adjust your seat angle and such for the most comfort.

    Good luck!

  21. #21
    Senior Member
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    As someone mentioned: Go to a Specialized dealer and sit on the butt-ometer and find out what saddle width you need. You can use this info for any saddle. I have a Specialized Avatar that I like a lot, but not for really long rides (600Km or longer). For randonneuring, I use the Selle-Anatomica and have ridden many thousands of miles on it. Brooks doesn't work for me because the rails are so short that I can't get it back far enough (yes, my seatpost has plenty of setback) and I end up sitting on the frame and getting bruises or hematomas. For me, the cutout in the S-A or the Avatar also helps with numbness issues; but the key is to make sure that your weight is supported on your sitbones.

  22. #22
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    I've had issues with the nether regions (though pain in my case) and I have made a HUGE improvement in my comfort by switching saddles to the Selle SMP Strike Saddle. I had a brooks, but I still suffered. I got the SMP for the road bike and soon after for the MTB also. They are rediculously expensive (often goes for $229, but I paid $200 at The ProStuff). I got the composite (no padding) for the road and Evolution (slight padding) for the MTB. It is not the padding, but the way the saddles isolate the sit bones and thus relieve all pressure on the perineum.

  23. #23
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    You don't need to have a butt-ometer test at an LBS. Find a kids' sandpit, smooth off a small area and squat-sit on it. Measure where your sit bones predominate, and you have the means to pick your saddle width.

    In fact, if you can feel your sit bones, just get a tape measure and put the end over where one sit bone is, and measure across with your thumb and index finger to the other, pinch the measure at that spot, and have a look at the number!
    Dream. Dare. Do.

  24. #24
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    Im a brooks snob so quit reading if you do not wish to hear it.

    IF you need bike shorts you need another saddle. I never wear bike shorts and have ridden up to 160 miles in one day with my brooks. I ride 5,000 miles per year and NEVER have any sores or rubbing etc.

    I used to have numbess problems and bought a $100 specialized BG saddle. Even with bike shorts my axx would be bleeding after 100 miles. I bought a brooks and never looked back. I can ride in just plain old underwear and anything from coveralls to jeans to shorts over it.

    Brooks Brooks Brooks.

    "Kill a cow and save a penis" That should be their motto.

  25. #25
    2wicky
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    you need a quality saddle with a 'love tunnel' for your goods.

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