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  1. #1
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    Brooks saddles and the Prostate

    I have tried many saddles since my first tour, ten years ago, which introduced me to horror of going numb.
    I now have a pretty decent foam saddle which is about 5 inches wide and has a center cutout. I tend to slide my butt way back so that my sit bones are on the back of the saddle and there is no scary pressure in the middle. I also sit mostly upright as I go through Brooklyn and Manhatten to work, school, groceries etc. about 20 miles a day.

    Other riders seem to be so psyched about the comfort and overall superiority of Brooks saddles, but I never hear anyone talk the numbness issue. When I look at a Brooks saddle, it seems that the back of the saddle, where I like to position my sit bones, is supported by hard metal. It seems to me the sweet spot on a Brooks is somewhere in the middle.

    Am I sitting on my bike all wrong? Can someone explain how a rider should use a Brooks to protect the prostate?
    slowride

  2. #2
    The Site Administrator: Currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes,please contact my assistnt admins for forum issues Tom Stormcrowe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wallace125
    I have tried many saddles since my first tour, ten years ago, which introduced me to horror of going numb.
    I now have a pretty decent foam saddle which is about 5 inches wide and has a center cutout. I tend to slide my butt way back so that my sit bones are on the back of the saddle and there is no scary pressure in the middle. I also sit mostly upright as I go through Brooklyn and Manhatten to work, school, groceries etc. about 20 miles a day.

    Other riders seem to be so psyched about the comfort and overall superiority of Brooks saddles, but I never hear anyone talk the numbness issue. When I look at a Brooks saddle, it seems that the back of the saddle, where I like to position my sit bones, is supported by hard metal. It seems to me the sweet spot on a Brooks is somewhere in the middle.

    Am I sitting on my bike all wrong? Can someone explain how a rider should use a Brooks to protect the prostate?
    Hammock effect, the pressure is on the ischium rather than the perineal area. The saddle bows down in the middle a tad, easing pressure on the tender bits.
    on light duty due to illness; please contact my assistants for forum issues. They are Siu Blue Wind, or CbadRider or the other 3 star folk. I am currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes. I am making good progress, happily.


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    Many different models available,I'm just now getting familiar with them through here and sites that sell them. There are many many Brooks fans in this forum,give it a few minutes,you'll get responces.Iclick-on many new posts here.Perhaps try the 50+ forum to post,it may get more feed-back.Big following,Brooks has !

  4. #4
    59'er Mariner Fan's Avatar
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    Sounds like you already have a saddle that works for you. No need to get another. BTW, Tom is right.

  5. #5
    The Site Administrator: Currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes,please contact my assistnt admins for forum issues Tom Stormcrowe's Avatar
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    I should menion though, that for it to work, the saddle needs to be at the correct angle, as well as the right width. You also need to place the butt on the saddle right. You don't want to be on the back end of a Brooks, or any other leather saddle, you are right there. The frame will never break in!

    Once you have the saddle position tweaked right, and the break in done though, you will never ride another saddle!
    on light duty due to illness; please contact my assistants for forum issues. They are Siu Blue Wind, or CbadRider or the other 3 star folk. I am currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes. I am making good progress, happily.


    . “He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.”- Fredrick Nietzsche

    "We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals." - Immanuel Kant

  6. #6
    sth
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    For what its worth and based on my completely uneducated lack of knowledge, me thinks you arent going to cause any "prostate" problems from a bike seat. Its a gland that is inside you. Numbness is just that, numbness. A bunch of years ago someone decided that numbness led to erectile dysfunction and thus was born the split seat. Since then I think the jury has decided that ed is either a medical or genetic problem had generally has little to do with bike seats. Numbness "down there" is still a disturbing thing (I had it for the first time last year after more than 30 years of riding, and the first year on my new Brooks). I think I had the saddle too nose high. Now it is level. I havent had the little tinglies but then I havent done more than about 60km since leveling. Tomorrow I plan on doing about 100 to 120 km so we will see if the issue "arises". I love the Brooks and am thinking it will be ok.

  7. #7
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    A Brooks saddle can give you numbness just as with any other. The comfort that most refer to with a Brooks is in the way it supports your tail once it is broken in. But in the beginning when it is new, it is fairly slippery and you can easily slide forward and off the wider supportive part, ending up on the perineum. Hence the need to tilt it up slightly - to prevent sliding forward. After awhile it gets better, and your sit bones develop the divits that tend to hold one in place. but they are still hard saddles and if you have prostate issues it might not be the saddle for you.
    Specialized Roubaix SL4 Disc, Cannondale T2000 (touring), Stumpjumper M5 (Mtn - hardtail), Cannondale Rize4 (Mtn - full susp)

  8. #8
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    Thanks for all the responses. The perineum is an artery that allows blood to flow to the "unit" right? Blocking that blood flow can lead to the numbness right? Maybe that has little to do with the prostate, I am not sure.

    Tom said that the saddle bows in the middle a tad, easing pressure. I had it in my head that the idea was to take ALL pressure off the middle area, and put it all on the sit bones? Do I not understand this correctly?
    slowride

  9. #9
    A long distance Newbie wiles9's Avatar
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    My brooks is new, only clocked up about 50k on her so far. As has been said, i slip forward quite a lot, yet the angle isnt downwards, seems pretty level, if not slightly up.

    Should i try tilting it a slight bit more to prevent me slipping, and therefore hopefully breaking it in, in the correct places ???

    Im not sure. Also.. btw, how much does the treatment they sell cost roughly in Europe, and is it worth getting, or does a good dose of any oil based polish/treatments do the trick ???

    Thanks!! Sorry for hijacking the thread, but since were all talking about Brooks!!!

  10. #10
    jcm
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    Quote Originally Posted by wallace125
    Thanks for all the responses. The perineum is an artery that allows blood to flow to the "unit" right? Blocking that blood flow can lead to the numbness right? Maybe that has little to do with the prostate, I am not sure.

    Tom said that the saddle bows in the middle a tad, easing pressure. I had it in my head that the idea was to take ALL pressure off the middle area, and put it all on the sit bones? Do I not understand this correctly?
    The perineal area is located 'tween the fruit basket and the dookey-schute, so to speak. It is not an artery. It does have vessels and nerves running through it to and from the, well... you get the picture. The blood flow and nerves can be compressed, causing some numbness. By itself, this has nothing to do with the prostate, which is an internal organ, like mentioned earler.

    The sitbones are talked about so much, because they happen to be the first contacts with a new Brooks saddle. Thus, there is alot of interest concerning what happens at those two points. They will eventually sink in to form the indents that every body is so proud of. But, the fitting process continues, because leather saddles form to the individual until maximum weight dispersion is achieved. Then, if all is well, and you haven't over softened the thing, it will stop. The result is a perfect custom fitted form of your entire derierre, not just the ischials.

    Once this occurs, the saddle will take your weight and pressure evenly, with no high spots, like with gel or thick padding (minimum padding on some quality saddles seems popular with many people). The effect is kind of like one of those antebellum wood rocking chairs that you never want to get out of.

  11. #11
    jcm
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    Here's a pic of one of my B17's at 1000 miles. Although I use SnoSeal on my other saddles, this saddle has had no treatments of any kind. That form isn't just sitbones, it's the whole tub-o-lard.

  12. #12
    jcm
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    Quote Originally Posted by wiles9
    My brooks is new, only clocked up about 50k on her so far. As has been said, i slip forward quite a lot, yet the angle isnt downwards, seems pretty level, if not slightly up.

    Should i try tilting it a slight bit more to prevent me slipping, and therefore hopefully breaking it in, in the correct places ???

    Im not sure. Also.. btw, how much does the treatment they sell cost roughly in Europe, and is it worth getting, or does a good dose of any oil based polish/treatments do the trick ???

    Thanks!! Sorry for hijacking the thread, but since were all talking about Brooks!!!
    Slightly up in front is very normal for a Brooks. Slipping forward is an adjustment issue. Raise the front and move the saddle forward til you stop slipping onto the peak. The purpose of the peak is help keep you back there. Also, the slickness is a good thing for keeping you dry and comfortable.

  13. #13
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    I thought the numbness resulted from pressure on the nerve, not blocked blood flow, predominantly.

    Going back to the 70s it was not unusual to see Brooks, or similar leather saddles, that were cut out centrally, to accomodate both male and female needs. Not claiming it worked, but that the same range of problems we have today where present before the ergo saddles. I have used a lot of saddles over the years, including modern technical brands, and the Brooks is my favorite. I would buy a B17 from a cheap provider like Nashbar where they occasionally go on sale, and try one out.

    I hit the sit-bone areas and it breaks the saddle in for the first ride. One way or another you have to fit the saddle, and it is possible to do it at length or with tools in a short period. same deal with heavy leather boots.

    You don't need to use the provided Proofhide to maintain the beneficial character of the saddle. But you should sellect a product that is not designed to saturate, oil, or break in the leather. Oils can reduce the structural lifespan of the leather. The best products are beeswax with no more thinner than is required to render it a shoe polish consistancy. There are leather products, possibly gloves, where as soft and compliant a product as possible is the aim. There are products like older alpine climbing boots, holsters, briddles, saddles, etc... where the structural performance (mostly lack of stretch) is important. These different classes need to be understood. You should not confuse second skin type materials that need to be as soft as possible, with materials that need to maintain maximum stiffness, and mix up their respective care products. In most case you could use stuff like a beeswax shoe polish (beeseal) on any of them). You should not use the oils on saddles.

  14. #14
    A long distance Newbie wiles9's Avatar
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    Thanks jcm, ill try adjusting my saddle before my next ride, see how it goes. And cheers peterpan, i would have probably just Kiwi shoe polish or something, as i swear by it for my boots....

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    jcm
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    Quote Originally Posted by wiles9
    Thanks jcm, ill try adjusting my saddle before my next ride, see how it goes. And cheers peterpan, i would have probably just Kiwi shoe polish or something, as i swear by it for my boots....
    I occasionally polish the tops with Kiwi shoe/boot polish to keep the slickness. Just haven't done it on the B17 in the pic yet. Maybe today... The SnoSeal is beeswax, and I only apply it underneath. It never softens the leather. Proofide is made by Brooks, and is good stuff. If you use it, obey the instructions to the letter.

  16. #16
    sth
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    Well I did a 100km ride last Friday and no numbness. Last year my Brooks was way too high at the nose. Now its level and I am finding that just right for me. It did take some time to break in as I am a bit of a lightweight. Someone here on BF suggested "helping" the break in process a bit with some gentle, encouraging taps with a ballpeen hammer. It seemed to do the trick. It now has a pair of nice, cute little dimples and should only get better with age. A regular massage with a bit of Lexol and some Snow Seal on the underside once a year or so is all it gets.

    Numbness would not be from restricted blood flow. No that would make "willy" turn black and fall off. The numbness would be from the compression of nerves. Just like when your arm or foot falls asleep.

  17. #17
    A long distance Newbie wiles9's Avatar
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    Ive adjusted my seat, needed to move it ALL the way foward, which is making me think maybe the stem on my bike is too long. Again im not used to such a riding position, and have been getting a sore neck and shoulders from it, maybe something that will eventually go away...

    But on the seat, the position is much more comfy, and i can already start to see the seat beginning to take shape.... thanks for that advice....

  18. #18
    jcm
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    Quote Originally Posted by wiles9
    Ive adjusted my seat, needed to move it ALL the way foward, which is making me think maybe the stem on my bike is too long. Again im not used to such a riding position, and have been getting a sore neck and shoulders from it, maybe something that will eventually go away...

    But on the seat, the position is much more comfy, and i can already start to see the seat beginning to take shape.... thanks for that advice....
    A sore neck and shoulders will not go away til you fit the bike. How long is the stem? 130mm? I have a fairly long reach but had to go to a 90mm X 14degree stem on my 61cm Sequoia to get a comfortable long distance fit. My B17 is all the way forward as well, tilted slightly up until only the seat portion is level with the ground. Plus I have a 0 setback seatpost.

    In other words, think about compacting your body on the bike. It will sit you up a little, getting your pelvis underneath you, tucking in your tail. Then you'll have a slight arch to your spine which helps absorb road shock and discourages shoulder hunching. Moving the bars up and closer to you will help keep your arms slightly crooked at the elbows and will discourage 'stiff-arming' the bars. Your neck will thank you.

    You are planning a tour. You have no need to stretch out like a racer.


  19. #19
    Gone, but not forgotten Shiznaz's Avatar
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    Brooks saddles are actually set pretty far forward as it is, and some people actually complain that they can't push it back enough. I may end up getting a setback seatpost to deal with this fact. Then again my frame is a little small for me so take it with a grain of salt.

  20. #20
    A long distance Newbie wiles9's Avatar
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    If you look on the last page of the thread, pics of your loaded rigs, my bikes in there, side view of it. Seat has been changed since that photo. I sadly dont even know the length of the Stem, seems big though.

    I have heard lots go on about adjustable stems, are they worth it? I seen one for 30 euros, dont know how much they normally cost..

    We found a good LBS, less commercial, everything is old season, but they were happy to order the new stuff in for us, and are very helpful, so i might take the bike back to them tomorrow, and see what they think. Most of the other places just took a quick glance and told me it was fine, but NONE of them are tourers, all racers..

  21. #21
    Gone, but not forgotten Shiznaz's Avatar
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    oh come on just post the pic again, its way easier for everyone else! People only seem to do this on the touring forum... Maybe your sideways avatar explains it...

  22. #22
    A long distance Newbie wiles9's Avatar
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    yeah i cant seem to get the avatar to turn around , no matter what way i load it onto the computer, its always sideways haha...



    There it is... saddle has been altered since, handlebars/stem not moved or changed yet...

  23. #23
    A long distance Newbie wiles9's Avatar
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    Maybe just try turning them up a bit ???

  24. #24
    jcm
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    Scoot the saddle forward. Tilt it up a notch or two. If you can't get a shorter/high angle stem, then definitely turn the bars up til the ramps are level with the ground. Reason: You will be holding the tops and the ramps/hoods alot more than the drop grips. So, get comfortable up there and forget about the drops for now. Those drop bars look like there is a long reach from the tops to the drops. Shallower ones would serve you better for a tour.

    The stem looks like a 120-130mm. I suggest a 90-100mm with a 14degree angle. Even if you get the new stem, rotate the bars til the tops/ramps are level, like in my pic above. If you don't like it, you can try a different position, but I think you'll keep it that way as you pass 60+miles every day on tour.

  25. #25
    A long distance Newbie wiles9's Avatar
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    Ok cool, ill load another photo tomorrow if i get a chance to come to the library again. Thats if i can manange to loosen the ortleib handlebar bag so i can get at the screws to adjust....

    FYI, i changed the pedals to shimanos, what a difference, so much easier to adjust and use. Also got the shop to chuck in free padals with them, so i can still choose to pedal in normal shoes...

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