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Old 07-22-09, 10:27 AM   #1
russellthegreat
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Numb numb numb

I've been doing hours of research on what the best saddle is for preventing numbness in my dick (penis?) and perineum (choad, taint, gooch, whatever you want to call it).

I won't ride a Brooks, so please don't even try to suggest it. Let me try to explain why. I have no idea why my anatomy is this way, but here we go.

Let's start with the saddle parallel with the ground. I put my sit bones right on the back of the saddle, so they are placed well, and they are comfortable, now the problem is that when i put my hands on the bars i get pressure on my perineum. Lots. I'm talking about 10-15 miles and I am completely numb, like operating room numb.

I tilt the seat forward just a few degrees and the pressure is off my perineum (relief!) but now I'm having to scoot back every mile or so, and also I have way more weight on my arms, which fatigues my shoulders, tris, forearms and causes my hands to go numb, which turns out is worse than a numb dick.

I want to sit on my sit bones ONLY. And I really want to SIT there, not have to adjust a bunch, not have to put weight on my hands, etc. So, with that fact in mind that a parallel saddle puts massive pressure on my perineum when flat, I obviously need something for my perineum to fit into without anything touching it. I need to literally isolate the saddle to fit only my sit bones.

So here are the saddles I'm considering. I'm going extreme here. Hug cut out, emphasis on seat bone positioning. I don't care about weight, so that is not why I think the Italia might work. It is entirely because of the huge cut out.

Italia SLC
http://bicycleseatreviews.com/shop/s...le-italia-slc/

Selle SMP evolution Strike
http://www.performancebike.com/bikes...ductId=1066770

Thanks a million for your help. You might just save my sex life and my manhood!
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Old 07-22-09, 10:30 AM   #2
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I forgot to mention here is my current saddle.
http://www.serfas.com/product_details.asp?ID=572
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Old 07-22-09, 10:34 AM   #3
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I have the SLC and like it a lot. Took some rides to get used to it but now it is very comfortable with little numbing. (a bit puzzled about what to do when the rain starts though).
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Old 07-22-09, 10:38 AM   #4
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a properly set up brooks shouldn't make you numb - certainly not in my experience and the experience of friends who ride them.

have you ridden a brooks, you say you won't ride one - but have you tried (not clear by your post if you have tried?)

what is your saddle to bar drop?
are you reaching too far forward?
how is your fore aft position on the bike - is your weight distributed ok?


have you looked at the selle anatomica?
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Old 07-22-09, 10:42 AM   #5
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I have never ridden a brooks, and the reason I won't is because just by looking at it I can tell that it will touch my perineum. I don't want anything touching it at all. It is way too sensitive.

I have made every adjustment possible. Fore/aft in every possible position and several different angles. Same with seat height. My legs feel great, good power delivery, I'm able to maintain consistent motion, etc.

I have always thought I was reaching too far forward, so I've considered getting a shorter stem. The problem is though that regardless of how far I am reaching forward I am still putting pressure on my perineum, so for now my #1 goal is taking pressure off of the perineum, then I will figure out if my handlebar position is accurate.

I've been told by many people that your core strength should do most of the supporting of your torso NOT your arms/hands on the bars. I am putting too much weight on my hands and arms because I CAN'T put much weight on my saddle (for the reasons stated in the original post)

Last edited by russellthegreat; 07-22-09 at 10:48 AM.
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Old 07-22-09, 10:49 AM   #6
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I have never ridden a brooks, and the reason I won't is because just by looking at it I can tell that it will touch my perineum. I don't want anything touching it at all. It is way too sensitive.

I have made every adjustment possible. Fore/aft in every possible position and several different lengths. Same is seat height. My legs feel great, good power delivery, I'm able to maintain consistent motion, etc.

I have always thought I was reaching too far forward, so I've considered getting a shorter stem. The problem is though that regardless of how far I am reaching forward I am still putting pressure on my perineum, so for now my #1 goal is taking pressure off of the perineum, then I will figure out if my handlebar position is accurate.

I've been told by many people that your core strength should do most of the supporting of your torso NOT your arms/hands on the bars. I am putting too much weight on my hands and arms because I CAN'T put much weight on my saddle (for the reasons stated in the original post)
the look of a brooks is counter intuitive.
they are not for everyone...
wall bike has a great return policy.
looking and riding are 2 different things.

and, yes, core strength is huge in helping.

what is your saddle to bar drop?
how many miles a year do you ride?
what type of events are you doing?

maybe consider a terry woman's saddle... or a bent?

and in the end, you'll have to choose.
a thousand internet posters will never really get you comfortable on the bike, nor be able to magically tell you what saddle will work.

i solved my issues with a brooks - and i tried a specialized, selle, the anatomica, etc. etc. probalby 5 saddles over a year. all of which didn't have a return policy save the specialized - and that was due to a great LBS.
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Old 07-22-09, 10:53 AM   #7
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and note, are you sure the saddle is wide enough for your sit bones?
you could be crushing into the saddle and mashing things that don't need mashing.
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Old 07-22-09, 11:06 AM   #8
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I am going to get measured tomorrow and we will see, but my sit bones are definitely right on the saddle with my 146mm Serfas.

what is your saddle to bar drop? around 3 inches
how many miles a year do you ride? I have only just started distance riding in the past couple months, but right now about 50-70 miles a week
what type of events are you doing? none yet. sprint tri in september, but then i will focus on riding only.
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Old 07-22-09, 11:11 AM   #9
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I have never ridden a brooks, and the reason I won't is because just by looking at it I can tell that it will touch my perineum. I don't want anything touching it at all. It is way too sensitive.
Too sensitive? Man up!.

Seriously though, I'm guessing your bike fit is wrong in some other aspect. Maybe the saddle to bar drop is severe, or the top tube reach and/or stem longer than ideal for you.

I actually have my B-17 special tilted every so slightly upward to keep my sit bones stationary. I have noticed that if I don't sit in just the right position while hands down in the drops I get a tiny bit of perineum pressure. As the saddle broke in, this became less of an issue.
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Old 07-22-09, 11:16 AM   #10
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I have only just started distance riding in the past couple months, but right now about 50-70 miles a week
getting more mileage and experience under your butt, working on your core, and adjusting your fit will be helpful.
experimenting with saddles will also give you experience as to what does and doesn't work.

have you had a fit done for the bike? something a bit more involved than the 'stand over and reach the bars / pedals' at the LBS?

did the saddle you are riding come with the bike?
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Old 07-22-09, 11:17 AM   #11
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That's all he did at the LBS. So, no.


did the saddle come with bike? no. it had the factory saddle on it when i bought it.
2001 specialized allez. 60" seat post, 58" straight tube. i am 6'1.5" 203 pounds.
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Old 07-22-09, 11:19 AM   #12
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You can man up. I'd rather maintain my ability to get my dick hard.
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Old 07-22-09, 12:16 PM   #13
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I am riding the SMP Strike Extra (2008 model) which is kind of like the new Strike with a TEENY bit more padding and a poly covering. It is the first saddle that gets me right in the sit bones without touching any of the bits that make my junk go numb. I just did a metric on it and all my bits were A-OK as soon as the buzz from riding chipseal for 6 hours calmed down.

Just a vote for that one, from someone who had a lot of numb issues over the last 8 weeks!
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Old 07-22-09, 01:14 PM   #14
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Here's my story:

After more than about 10-15 miles I was getting numb-dick, and numb-hands, too. I was riding a stock WTB saddle. I tried a Selle Anatomica which was extremely comfortable, but the leather stretched out in just a few months. I then tried a Brooks B-17 which was excutiating. Nose up, nose down...didn't matter: the dam thing felt like I was riding on a baseball bat. I don't care how it was going to feel when it "broke in" if I couldn't ride it enough to get there.

I did go for a professional bike fit. They actually lowered my handle bars and recommended a woman's model Terry saddle. The hand numbness improved, but not the crotch numbness, so I went back to the fitter and they changed the Terry for that exact Selle Italia SLC. I was able to ride that saddle for about forty miles before going numb.

Well, forty miles is better than ten, but it's still not going to allow all day rides. I ended up taking the Brooks that was sitting on my closet shelf and sending it to Monarch-McLaren and having them cut a Selle Anatomica slot in it. I also laced it so the top stays a little firmer.



That saddle is extremely comfortable (for me), and it's a good bit stronger than the original SA I purchased. I paid something like 80 bucks for the Brooks and fifty for the surgery.

So, IMHO, of the two you listed, the SLC worked OK for me, but it was pricey. I think the SA altered Brooks is the better deal.
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Old 07-22-09, 01:16 PM   #15
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@stark23x:

great thank you. that is a saddle i am considering.
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Old 07-22-09, 01:17 PM   #16
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Here's my story:

After more than about 10-15 miles I was getting numb-dick, and numb-hands, too. I was riding a stock WTB saddle. I tried a Selle Anatomica which was extremely comfortable, but the leather stretched out in just a few months. I then tried a Brooks B-17 which was excutiating. Nose up, nose down...didn't matter: the dam thing felt like I was riding on a baseball bat. I don't care how it was going to feel when it "broke in" if I couldn't ride it enough to get there.

I did go for a professional bike fit. They actually lowered my handle bars and recommended a woman's model Terry saddle. The hand numbness improved, but not the crotch numbness, so I went back to the fitter and they changed the Terry for that exact Selle Italia SLC. I was able to ride that saddle for about forty miles before going numb.

Well, forty miles is better than ten, but it's still not going to allow all day rides. I ended up taking the Brooks that was sitting on my closet shelf and sending it to Monarch-McLaren and having them cut a Selle Anatomica slot in it. I also laced it so the top stays a little firmer.



That saddle is extremely comfortable (for me), and it's a good bit stronger than the original SA I purchased. I paid something like 80 bucks for the Brooks and fifty for the surgery.

So, IMHO, of the two you listed, the SLC worked OK for me, but it was pricey. I think the SA altered Brooks is the better deal.
wow thanks for all the details. i will definitely keep this in mind.
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Old 07-22-09, 01:28 PM   #17
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Oh, yeh...forgot to add that I completed a metric century charity ride on the bike with that saddle last Sunday without any numbness, and I'm scheduled for a hilly imperial century this Saturday.
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Old 07-22-09, 02:09 PM   #18
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FWIW, I get numbness from any saddle when it's set too high. I'm also a little tender thru the taintular area myself, and finally found comfort with my Brooks when I tilted it nose up at an angle that seems impossible to ride comfortably on, but isn't. It cradles my buttpoints without bearing upon the grundle.
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Old 07-22-09, 02:12 PM   #19
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I agree with the others, seems like more than a saddle problem, more of a fit problem. I'm not sure what kind of headset you have, but if it is threadless (which I'm assuming it is) couldn't you buy one of those dorky adjustable stems, and play around with it for a week or so? Then, when you find your comfort level ditch the adjustable and buy a stem with those measurements?

I had to move my bars a touch higher than my saddle to get the ultimate comfort level (which required me to purchase a Nitto Deluxe Quill stem since I have a threaded headset). Did a fast century on Sunday and nary a numb part of my body (just riding in gym shorts, not bicycle shorts). My saddle is a swallowized/chopped B17N.

Oh, and as Truman says, the nose needs to be a few "clicks" up to give the best comfort level.
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Old 07-22-09, 03:46 PM   #20
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I ride a B-17 Imperial (similar to the AnAtomica cut Brooks shown above) and couldn't be happier. Well, until recently I thought I couldn't... Then I bought a Thompson Elite 2-bolt post and really dialed in the fit. It's angled somewhere between the two "clicks" on the previous micro-adjustable one I had. The one I was set on ended up being too far back after some saddle break-in, but the next notch forward tilted it too far and I was sliding towards the bars. No such issues with the Thompson.
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Old 07-22-09, 04:43 PM   #21
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russellthegreat: This can be an amusing forum. On a brevet around here, I'll see about 5% Brooks saddles. On an ordinary long group ride, 60-200 miles, I'll see probably less than 1% Brooks. This is not due to the stupidity of all bike riders who do not use a Brooks. For some reason, however, Brooks users seem to include a high proportion of True Believers. If my taint even looks at a Brooks, it goes numb.

I've just been through this because my upper thighs changed shape, so after 10 years of saddle satisfaction I had to do another saddle search. I pretty much tried them all. I need a really sizable cutout to avoid going numb. At the same time, a large cutout will make the base of the nose wider. The wider nose may rub in your crotch/top of your thighs. Some people it does, some not.

For your short list: Specialized Toupe (not the gel), Specialized Alias Gel, Selle SLK, SMP Evolution, and the lowly Performance Forte Classic. None of these saddles made me numb on a century, however the only one to pass the friction sore test was the Forte Classic. FWIW, I ride a fairly aggressive position and use aerobars.

What you really don't want to do is change your bike position to meet the demands of your equipment. That's backwards. As soon as the bike starts doing some pedaling, I'll rethink that.
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Old 07-22-09, 04:46 PM   #22
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I ride a B-17 Imperial (similar to the AnAtomica cut Brooks shown above) and couldn't be happier. Well, until recently I thought I couldn't... Then I bought a Thompson Elite 2-bolt post and really dialed in the fit. It's angled somewhere between the two "clicks" on the previous micro-adjustable one I had. The one I was set on ended up being too far back after some saddle break-in, but the next notch forward tilted it too far and I was sliding towards the bars. No such issues with the Thompson.
+1 on a 2 bolt micro adjust seat post. I got one with long set back from Velo Orange.
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Old 07-22-09, 05:17 PM   #23
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russellthegreat: This can be an amusing forum. On a brevet around here, I'll see about 5% Brooks saddles. On an ordinary long group ride, 60-200 miles, I'll see probably less than 1% Brooks. This is not due to the stupidity of all bike riders who do not use a Brooks. For some reason, however, Brooks users seem to include a high proportion of True Believers. If my taint even looks at a Brooks, it goes numb.
I think that's probably because if a Brooks works for someone, it works REALLY well. For those of us that don't have a Brooks ass, no amount of fine tuning/adjusting/break in is worth the pain (and yes, I was in pain with the stock B-17).

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What you really don't want to do is change your bike position to meet the demands of your equipment. That's backwards. As soon as the bike starts doing some pedaling, I'll rethink that.
I'm not sure what you mean by this statement. How do know what position is right for you if you don't change it to see what works and what doesn't? As I sit here I can see five different stems in my "shop area" that I've tried which have put my bars anywhere from about an inch below my saddle to about three inches above it. I also have a stem riser that I tried in an attempt to get more comfortable. I finally settled on a position that's about where the fitter had me a few months ago.

Shouldn't the quest for a comfortable long distance ride include finding the right saddle AND the right riding position?
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Old 07-22-09, 06:40 PM   #24
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What you really don't want to do is change your bike position to meet the demands of your equipment. That's backwards. As soon as the bike starts doing some pedaling, I'll rethink that.
I don't think the great one has his position dialed in yet, by his own admission. When you get it down to the MM, have records of how things change, and can feel when things are off, then yes - this is true.

(and, didn't you change your position to use aerobars?)
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Old 07-22-09, 07:08 PM   #25
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I have the Selle Italia SLC Gel Flow and it works great.

Before swapping out your saddles though you may also want to check the fit of your bike. In particular check if your handlebars are too far for your arms to reach. If they are then you'll probably want to replace your stem.
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