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  1. #1
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    Experiences/suggestions with noseless saddles

    Has anyone here tried one? What brand do you recommend for a road bike (Fuji Newest 1.0 2009)? Do you think it is possible to slip off the saddle and land on the sissy bar because there is no nose to catch you? Overall, how has the noseless saddle worked for you?

    My story (aka whine, skip if not interested):

    I rode 75 miles about a month and a half ago and loved it until I took off my bike shorts and found I was totally numb, lasting a good three days. I recovered at a "good enough" level, but I'm really not confident I recovered 100%. The more I read about biking and ED the more I can't bring myself to get on my bike, leaving me with a $800 wall decoration that I love to ride but am afraid to touch.

    I was fitted by a professional at a bike shop before the ride, and I wore bike shorts. I am interested in noseless saddles because they can't compress the perineum but I am worried that I would just slip off the saddle, land on the bar, and end up limp for the rest of my life anyhow (I'm 24, by the way). Any suggestions?

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    No, I have not used one. And I would not use one. Noseless saddles are dangerous. Not only can you fall off the saddle (especially when turning), but the nose is important for controlling the bike (especially when turning).

    There are many ways to resolve your issue. Some will suggest trying other saddles. Some will suggest experimenting with saddle tilt. I will suggest something much simpler, and that is to pedal out of the saddle for at least 20 seconds out of every 10 minutes (i.e., get off your butt every once in a while).

  3. #3
    Senior Member bobframe's Avatar
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    I'm not sure if the Selle SMP saddles qualify as "noseless", but they offer an alternative to the typical saddle design in that they have a very generous cutout and a radically down turned nose...so its kind to the central plumbing, but still gives your legs something to latch onto. Rode one cross country and loved it.

    Selle SMP here: http://www.sellesmp.com/en/ready_to_strike.htm

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    Senior Member Cyclebum's Avatar
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    I tried one of those noseless saddles a few years ago long enough to know they weren't for me. Felt like I was about to slid off and put too much pressure on my arms and hands to stay on. It might work ok if you ride in a very upright position.

    Bout all I can suggest is to try a saddle with a lot of central cutout and/or stand for a minute or two before the pressure gets to much.
    The bicycle is one of the great inventions of mankind. Delights children, challenges young men to feats of daring, and turns old men into boys again.--Me

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    Hey John, the standing is good advice and when I do ride these days, I make sure to do that. I never ride more than fifteen minutes at a time anyway, though (that will change if I get a seat I am confident will not cause problems). Even riding ten minutes into school I notice a small amount of soreness in the perineum, although obviously no numbness for that amount of time.

    bobframe, I like the Sella saddle but couldn't find a price. Do you know what they charge? A similar model I found online was $230, which is way too much money for me to spend just to find out if such a saddle works for me (student life, it is what it is).

    The turning issue with a noseless saddle worries me, I am wondering if it is something you would get used to or if wrecking your bike because you don't have the thigh control that a nose gives is pretty likely in the long run. Seems like there are drawbacks to every saddle type.

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    Here's a recent thread on the topic if you missed it:
    Bike saddle nose necessary? Thinking about going noseless.

  7. #7
    Senior Member bobframe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bartleby19 View Post
    bobframe, I like the Sella saddle but couldn't find a price. Do you know what they charge? A similar model I found online was $230, which is way too much money for me to spend just to find out if such a saddle works for me (student life, it is what it is).

    The turning issue with a noseless saddle worries me, I am wondering if it is something you would get used to or if wrecking your bike because you don't have the thigh control that a nose gives is pretty likely in the long run. Seems like there are drawbacks to every saddle type.
    All I remember is that they are on the pricey side.....$200+ as I recall. But for me, it put an end to my collecting new saddles (I have a box with very lightly used and deeply hated saddles). In other words, I finally stopped spending money on saddles. I think the huge cut out was what did it for me- the turned down nose was icing on the cake.

    Since this came up in the Touring section, have you glanced at the Brooks Imperials? Nice big cutout and I think they are under $150.

    A noseless saddle seems like a really bad idea to me...kind of like trying to walk without a big toe- I think the nose of the saddle does more than we think it does.

  8. #8
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    i think you're jumping the gun here. it sounds like you went from barely riding/not riding to a 75 mile ride fairly quickly. it takes time for your body to adapt to cycling. i would stick with a standard saddle and make small adjustments to it and increase time on the bike incrementally.

    i have been riding and racing for over 25 years and when i spend some time off the bike like when i got hit by a car this summer and broke my pelvis it takes time for the saddle to feel comfortable again.

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    All that^^, and your bike might not fit.

    Just because you paid someone doesnt mean doodley squat (in the words of vonnegut). I would say that the 3 days of numbness is probably a better thing to listen to than a fitting pro. your saddle might be too high, at the wrong angle, etc etc etc. but you should be able to ride 75 miles and not be numb at all. play with a standard saddle first.

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    I'm surprised so few people like noseless saddles, I thought there would be more division on the issue.

    Hey Will and positron, thanks for the advice. I definitely did not train up adequately for a 75 mile ride, I just did 10-15 mile rides for exercise on occasion and then went for it. That said, what would doing 30, 40, 50 mile training rides do for me? The numbness comes from damaging the pudendal nerve and the arteries that serve the penis, so doesn't it seem more likely that lots of shorter training rides would just do a lot of smaller bits of damage that could add up over time? I had the endurance to make it the whole way, but I'm not sure how training would stop the arterial/nerve damage.

    You have a point about making more adjustments on the factory saddle. I have tried pointing the nose downward but couldn't really figure out how to do it (my seat doesn't work the same way as online video instruction seats do), but I will try finding someone to show me how to do that. I may also drop the seat a little. The major pro is that it's free! The big drawback I can see is that each time I experiment with it I run the risk of causing more damage. I know I probably sound paranoid, but that episode scared the crap out of me! I actually wonder how so many people can take something like that in stride--- why aren't more guys freaking out when they go completely numb from damaging the structures that enable erections?

    Thanks for the info bobframe!

    bokes, thanks for the link! I tried a search, don't know how I missed that one but there is some useful discussion there.

  11. #11
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    would you run only 5 miles at a time and then go out and run a marathon? you could, but it it would hurt like hell! it's kind of the same thing with what you did with your ride. 30, 40 and 50 miles will definitely help build up to longer times in the saddle. your whole body has to take time to adapt to cycling, not just your legs and lungs

    i've never had a problem with numbness that outlasted the ride and am still batting 1.000 in well over 100,000 miles, if you know what i mean.

    your terrain may have something to do with it, if it's really flat and and not a lot of stops you might spend a lot more time seated than an area that's hillier and/or more urban where you will spend more time out of the saddle relieving the pressure as others have mentioned

  12. #12
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    One thing I can suggest is getting better at listening to your body as you go. Can you not feel yourself getting numb? Then you can stand up and stretch. I went through a similar thing with back pain years ago, and simply learning to listen to my body made the biggest difference.

  13. #13
    Senior Member bobframe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bartleby19 View Post
    I definitely did not train up adequately for a 75 mile ride, I just did 10-15 mile rides for exercise on occasion and then went for it. That said, what would doing 30, 40, 50 mile training rides do for me? The numbness comes from damaging the pudendal nerve and the arteries that serve the penis, so doesn't it seem more likely that lots of shorter training rides would just do a lot of smaller bits of damage that could add up over time? I had the endurance to make it the whole way, but I'm not sure how training would stop the arterial/nerve damage.

    You have a point about making more adjustments on the factory saddle. I have tried pointing the nose downward but couldn't really figure out how to do it (my seat doesn't work the same way as online video instruction seats do), but I will try finding someone to show me how to do that. I may also drop the seat a little. The major pro is that it's free! The big drawback I can see is that each time I experiment with it I run the risk of causing more damage. I know I probably sound paranoid, but that episode scared the crap out of me! I actually wonder how so many people can take something like that in stride--- why aren't more guys freaking out when they go completely numb from damaging the structures that enable erections?

    Thanks for the info bobframe!

    bokes, thanks for the link! I tried a search, don't know how I missed that one but there is some useful discussion there.
    I should have read your original posting more carefully.

    Most new riders cannot do 10-15 mile training rides and then jump to 75. Those are some huge and unusual demands to place on your body without properly training for them. I would suggest that while your saddle may be (and probably is) a problem, the training regimen needs an overhaul. When I got back into riding a few years ago I started with 10 mile rides and then increased them ever so slightly until my body told me I was ready for more...my legs felt fresh, butt felt fine, etc. I then increased my mileage to 15 for the next few rides (maybe 3-4 times a week for week or two), then 18-20 (repeat for a couple weeks), then 25, then 30, etc...until the 56-60-70 and 100 mile rides made sense. The whole process took me 3-4 months, maybe more, to get to the point where a long distance (50+ miles) made sense and I was confident about what I was getting myself into. Your ass, feet, legs, shoulders, back, neck and hands need time to strengthen and toughen. I would think that it would take several months of regular riding (3-4 times per week, every week) to get to the point where a 75 mile ride could be comfortably taken on.

    Having said that, I strongly suggest that you and the bike get (back) into a qualified bike shop and see to the fitting issue. There is nothing but discomfort and injury in store for one who tries to ride an ill fitting bike long distances. The adjustments should be made by somebody who knows what they are doing and you'd be surprised how seemingly minor tweaks can make a big difference in how you perform and feel on the bike. While there, ask the bike shop to show you how to adjust your saddle and seat post and handlebars so that you can make minor tweakages after you leave to fine tune the fit.

    While we're on the topic of "fit", I would suggest that the saddle needs to fit you as well as the bike. Specialized has a nifty device that they make available to their dealers that I call an "Ass-O-Meter". It consists of a board with a piece of closed cell foam on it. You place the device on a seat bench and then sit on the device. When you get up your "sit-bones" will have left two indentations in the foam. The dealer measures the distance between the indentations and then knowing this distance they can be sure that your saddle width is adequate to provide a resting point for your sit-bones. What I found out was my first saddle was way too narrow. Using the dimensions of my sit bones I was able to measure subsequent saddles to be sure that my sit-bones were going to be accommodated. Made sense to me.

    While you are there I'd take a hard look at some saddles with cutouts. I, for one, have a tough time with a saddle that is not cut out.

    Good luck- a comfy ride is out there waiting for you!!
    Last edited by bobframe; 11-17-09 at 05:55 AM.

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    Hey stevage, surprisingly I didn't feel myself getting numb. I didn't even think about the possibility, so I guess I thought I was just getting used to the saddle until I stopped and took off the bike shorts. Next time I will definitely watch and take breaks.

    I ride on hilly terrain, but I still spent a lot of time just kicking to a lower gear and staying in the saddle.

    I will get back into the bike shop (they give free adjustments for life with a new bike purchase anyhow), get the saddle adjusted, and maybe buy a wider saddle. I have never measured the width of my sit bones but I am a stocky-built 6'2" guy so I expect a slightly wider saddle might be necessary to keep the pressure on the bones and off the soft tissue.

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    Also bobframe I will definitely test a cutout, that sounds like it might be the best reasonably-priced compromise.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by bobframe View Post
    While you are there I'd take a hard look at some saddles with cutouts. I, for one, have a tough time with a saddle that is not cut out.
    while i despise saddles with cutouts.

    to the op, are you having problems on your shorter rides or just on the long one?

  17. #17
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    I sometimes get a little sore after a 10 - 15 mile ride, but never numb. The 75 mile trip is the only time that has happened.

  18. #18
    Senior Member Thulsadoom's Avatar
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    What saddle made you go numb? What bike are you riding?

    Your problem is bike fit, and the wrong saddle. A noseless saddle is not neccessarily going to fix your problem and you'll probably end up hating the thing. I doubt you'll slip off of it, but your inner thighs like to have something to push against when you turn corners. The nose of a saddle is really only there to help you steer, you're not supposed to sit on it. There are lots of saddles out there that can solve your problem if you fit them up correctly.

    Basically, your goal is to get a saddle and get your bike fit up so that the tissue over your sit bones is taking almost all of your weight. There should be no real pressure on your perineum. The saddle tilt has to be just right, and saddle height is equally important. If your saddle is too high you will rock side to side and pinch off blood vessels and stuff. If your bike has you in a very aggresive position it might be causing your problem, the furthur forward you lean, the more pressure it puts on your perineum. You might have to change the stem or get a different bike altogether, it might be the wrong size for you.

    I ride a Specialized Avatar saddle and have had good luck, but there are lots of other saddles that might work for you. The Avatar is not going to have the sit bone comfort of a leather saddle, but you won't get the perineum pressure either. You just have to develop callouses on your butt.

    More padding on a saddle will not neccessarily make it more comfortable. The padding can bunch up underneath you and pinch off your tubing. A firmer saddle will be more comfortable in the long run, but again you have to develop a tough butt to really be comfortable on one.

    When you find the right saddle, you should be able to get on the bike, roll off and feel no pressure anywhere but those two nubs on your butt. When you hit a bump, you should feel it bump into those sit bones and not into the tubing underneath you.

    Think of the saddle as a perch, it's just a ledge to hang your sit bones on. And the nose is only there to help hold you in place when you are turning corners or whatever.

    I would recommend that you try some modern split center type saddles before you go noseless. If you feel that you have to eliminate the nose altogether then there's something else wrong.
    Last edited by Thulsadoom; 11-18-09 at 05:10 AM.

  19. #19
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    Hey Thulsadoom, I ride a Fuji Newest 1.0 with the stock saddle. I can feel what is probably my sit bones making contact with the outer part of the saddle but I feel a lot of pressure down the middle as well. I am pretty sure the saddle is too narrow. I have some time off for Thanksgiving and I plan to go check out wider saddles with cutouts to see how thsoe feel.

    For bike fit I think I am doing okay, I have the XL model (which is the largest) and I stand about 6'2". Based on what I have seen online the frame is about right for me. For seat height I can fully extend my leg with my heel on the pedal but I still have a bend in my knees while pedalling normally. I also moved up my handlebars to ride in a somewhat less agressive stance.

  20. #20
    Senior Member bobframe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bartleby19 View Post
    Hey Thulsadoom, I ride a Fuji Newest 1.0 with the stock saddle. I can feel what is probably my sit bones making contact with the outer part of the saddle but I feel a lot of pressure down the middle as well. I am pretty sure the saddle is too narrow. I have some time off for Thanksgiving and I plan to go check out wider saddles with cutouts to see how thsoe feel.

    For bike fit I think I am doing okay, I have the XL model (which is the largest) and I stand about 6'2". Based on what I have seen online the frame is about right for me. For seat height I can fully extend my leg with my heel on the pedal but I still have a bend in my knees while pedalling normally. I also moved up my handlebars to ride in a somewhat less agressive stance.
    Sounds like your bike fit is in the ballpark and that your problem will be (blissfully) solved with a cutout saddle.

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