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Bike saddle nose necessary? Thinking about going noseless.

Old 10-21-09, 09:50 PM
  #26  
gumbyy
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Originally Posted by cyclezealot View Post
Due to surgery , my wife has a special needs saddle. Noseless. When I ride on it, i don't feel secure.. Who would ride a bike atop a bar stool. The nose gives one stability as they peddle. So I think.
But, then I don't share her problem as a result of her surgery....Her saddle is the ISM touring saddle. Pretty much nose less. You might find something of interest at this site should this be what you are looking for..
.
.
https://www.ismseat.com/products.htm
I read one review of that saddle on amazon, i think. The reviewer said that the two pronged "nose" on the ISM Touring saddle was too wide and chafed his thighs, making the saddle unusable. does your wife have this problem? I'm quite interested in that saddle as it seems like a design that could work for me. But I wonder if they should redesign it to put those prongs closer together, making the nose narrower.
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Old 10-21-09, 10:02 PM
  #27  
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Originally Posted by StanSeven View Post
I don't think you understand how saddles work. A wide seat doesn't add comfort. In fact, it can causes discomfort. A saddle is designed to support your weight on the sit bones. Your legs should extend down your side to the pedals must like running. If you have a wide saddle the saddle with irritate and chafe your sides.
I've read this argument many times and don't buy it. If you have a 6 inch wide saddle, it might indeed support your sit bones, but that alone does not translate into comfort. Sit bones holding up your entire weight without the assistance of your naturally padded butt to distribute the pressure over a larger area will become very sore sit bones.

I don't know how wide the average butt is, but it's probably at least 12 inches. A saddle that is 12 inches wide in the rear, and narrowed rather quickly toward the front, would be perfectly wonderful for casual riders and not restrict the thighs. Some wide saddles do make the mistake that they don't narrow quickly enough toward the front. The rear very wide portion should only exist for a few inches, then narrow, cutting a concave arc as it progressed toward the front, to avoid chafing. I haven't seen a big saddle yet that got this right.

I think a lot of this Sheldon Brown type talk about big saddles being bad is really machismo in disguise, or puritanism. Comfort and pleasure are bad. Pain is good and manly. That kind of thing.

Another big impediment to the adoption of comfortable seats is that people are afraid they will appear dorky to others. This is so silly. They only appear dorky because they are doing something different to the norm. If most new bikes came with intelligently designed comfort saddles instead of wedgie torture devices, then everybody would have them and one would no longer have to worry about being seen as a nonconformist weirdo.

Last edited by gumbyy; 10-21-09 at 10:11 PM.
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Old 10-21-09, 10:03 PM
  #28  
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I rode a Rans DYNAMIK a few months ago and was fairly impressed. https://www.ransbikes.com/
It is almost like riding a 'bent. The geometery is close to a low bottom bracket long wheel base recumbent, but the handling is more responsive. Once the saddle is set up it is secure and it doesn't feel like you will slide off.

I had looked at it because of hand numbness. I switched to wing grips on my hybrid and didn't need to go the new bike route.

Last edited by MikeWinVA; 10-21-09 at 10:06 PM. Reason: bad speling
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Old 10-22-09, 12:10 AM
  #29  
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Originally Posted by NoRacer View Post
Have you ever fallen off of a bar stool?
Yes.

You wouldn't if it had a nose.
You have it all wrong. I wouldn't have had I not been in a bar.
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Old 10-22-09, 12:31 AM
  #30  
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Originally Posted by gumbyy View Post
I've read this argument many times and don't buy it. If you have a 6 inch wide saddle, it might indeed support your sit bones, but that alone does not translate into comfort. Sit bones holding up your entire weight without the assistance of your naturally padded butt to distribute the pressure over a larger area will become very sore sit bones.

I don't know how wide the average butt is, but it's probably at least 12 inches. A saddle that is 12 inches wide in the rear, and narrowed rather quickly toward the front, would be perfectly wonderful for casual riders and not restrict the thighs. Some wide saddles do make the mistake that they don't narrow quickly enough toward the front. The rear very wide portion should only exist for a few inches, then narrow, cutting a concave arc as it progressed toward the front, to avoid chafing. I haven't seen a big saddle yet that got this right.

I think a lot of this Sheldon Brown type talk about big saddles being bad is really machismo in disguise, or puritanism. Comfort and pleasure are bad. Pain is good and manly. That kind of thing.

Another big impediment to the adoption of comfortable seats is that people are afraid they will appear dorky to others. This is so silly. They only appear dorky because they are doing something different to the norm. If most new bikes came with intelligently designed comfort saddles instead of wedgie torture devices, then everybody would have them and one would no longer have to worry about being seen as a nonconformist weirdo.
If your saddle supports your sit bones (ischial tuberosity) properly you can ride in comfort for hours upon hours upon hours... a saddle that is too wide interferes with your ability to pedal.

Sheldon Brown knew more about cycling than most and as a long distance rider knew a great deal about what made a bicycle comfortable.

As an experienced bike fitter I have helped a lot of people deal with saddle issues and I have never recommended a saddle that was 12 inches wide... my gf has a very wide ischial span and needs a wider saddle to support her sit bones and if it was not for Brooks she would be stuck riding overstuffed cushions instead of a saddle that offered proper support.

I am not a very big person but have a ischial span that is wider than that of people who are much larger than me so ride a wider saddle... and I can stay in the saddle all day.

I too prefer leather saddles.

You do not want to support your weight on your soft tissues... over short distances this is not a problem but over longer distances can result in a great deal of pain.
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Old 10-22-09, 01:24 PM
  #31  
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After 20k miles of riding on a conventional saddle (most of those miles on a B17), I've come down with saddle related nerve pain/issues, so I either have to go noseless or switch to a recumbent. For the last month I've been riding 3 noseless saddles, the Spiderflex, Spongy Wonder, and the Moonsaddle (the ISM Touring is in the mail, it's the last one I'll try). Anyways I don't like any of them, noseless feels unstable and the arms have to work a lot harder to help balance you on the bike, and my hands are aching after only 15 minutes or so. Your hands have a lot more weight on them (compared to a conventional saddle ) to hold you from sliding forward. Yes I know you can tilt the saddles to help hold up your body more, but then they really start to dig into your hamstring muscles.
I think the Spiderflex is a bit more comfortable than the Spongy W, but I think the SW has a better look, more low key. The moonsaddle is interesting, but it feels like it still puts some pressure on the perineum, so it's going back.
If you don't have a need to go noseless, I don't recommend them. To me they have seriously reduced the fun of cycling. I'm renting recumbents now to find the one I like most.
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Old 10-26-09, 08:57 AM
  #32  
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This is going to be long. I apologize in advance, but I really wanted to give you as much information as I could along with reference links. Thank you for any time you take to read this.

Originally Posted by gumbyy View Post
I don't know how wide the average butt is, but it's probably at least 12 inches.
The average is much lower than you think. The women's ischial tuberosities (sit bones) are (on average) 134 mm apart center to center, while mens are 115 mm. That's about 5.28 inches for women and 4.53 inches for men. A 12 inch wide saddle is pretty much never correct.
https://bikeandbody.blogspot.com/2009...-and-hand.html
(ctrl-F or command-F for 115 to find the section)

Some good information on the dangers of overly wide saddles from Dr. Underhill is in this FAQ:
https://www.mcmwin.com/faq.htm
(ctrl-F or command-F for Underhill to find the section)

That FAQ also covers a lot of the questions in this thread, assuming the Sheldon Brown page isn't enough (and it isn't if you're looking for detailed information and reasoning).

If you're going to respond and say you meant the measurement from the left side of your left butt-cheek to the right side of your right butt-cheek, then please read that FAQ I just linked to read some detailed information as to why the soft tissue outside of the sit-bone area is not useful for sitting.

I don't ride a leather saddle, but the more I research this stuff the more I'm convinced it might be the best thing going. Leather is dried skin, and it makes sense that we are most comfortable on a substance similar to our own skin, especially when it is suspended. It's like sitting on someone's lap without the bones. I need to get some experience on them to make a decision for myself.

(And really, that's what you should be doing, trying different saddles, even the ones counter-intuitive to you, to find what works best for your own personal butt. This shouldn't be cost prohibitive, as you should be able to find a good bicycle shop which will let you go out for a few miles on each seat without cost.)

Originally Posted by gumbyy View Post
I think a lot of this Sheldon Brown type talk about big saddles being bad is really machismo in disguise, or puritanism. Comfort and pleasure are bad. Pain is good and manly. That kind of thing.
As for Sheldon Brown, I'm inclined to disagree with your comment. Many of his articles discuss the worthlessness to him of sacrificing comfort. He pokes fun at the people who ride uncomfortable racing bikes and think they should recommend racing bikes to everyone. He talks extensively about fitting and choosing parts for your bike based on what works best for you and meets your goals.

Big saddles being bad is a proven truth. Sheldon Brown made his assumptions based on experience and intuition, but if that's not good enough for proof (and when looking for proof, it shouldn't be good enough) there are many articles out there by medical professionals to bolster the fact.

Originally Posted by gumbyy View Post
I'm a casual rider, not a racer, and I NEVER lean into turns. Since I was a kid, I've always been too nervous to lean into a turn, fearing I'd fall off the bike.

So...do I need a nose on my saddle or not?
As a final note, I just want to re-address the original issue here. Does a saddle need a horn (nose)? It seems to be understood by you that it is for stability, but you say your concern is not about stability since you never lean into a turn.

You, whether your body or bicycle or both, will always lean into a turn, even slow ones.

"The center of gravity of a bicycle/rider must lean into a turn; this is required by the laws of physics. There are three ways you can do this. One way is to keep the bike more-or-less upright, but to lean your upper body into the turn. Another is to keep your body more-or-less upright, and lean the bicycle under you. The third, and usually correct technique is to keep your body in line with the bicycle frame, lean the bicycle and rider together as a unit."
https://www.sheldonbrown.com/brakturn.html#bikeculture

Slow turns have the benefit of very little lean, so it is seen as acceptable deviation to you. However, I think it may be beneficial to at least take a moment to re-think your stance on leaning into turns, perhaps even slowly increasing your accepted speed for a turn. As support, I offer this video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8H98BgRzpOM

When a wheel spins, it wants to stay within its plane of rotation. It doesn't take much speed at all for this effect to be demonstrated. However, the faster it spins, the more effort it takes to get the wheel to leave its plane of rotation.

This is how bicyclists easily ride without their hands on the handle bars, the spinning wheels help keep them upright. When riding without my hands on the handle bars, it then becomes easy to turn simply by leaning. When you lean a rotating wheel, it turns itself due to angular momentum. Since this is true, it starts to intuitively make sense that when you turn, you have to lean, even if it is ever so slight.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Angular_momentum
https://www.sheldonbrown.com/brakturn.html#leaning

There is little to fear and much to be gained by leaning into a turn. Perhaps explore this a bit, at your own pace.

In the end, you may notice the usefulness of the horn (nose). Even without the horn, your body will still attempt to control the bike in a turn, and since there is nothing for the thighs to press against you will have to rely on the friction between your butt and the seat (since without a horn it is no longer a saddle). This may be no big deal to you, and that's fine, but having had the opportunity to try it out myself I find it less comfortable.

Usually discomfort on a saddle is not caused strictly by the horn. If the horn is causing pain, it is more than likely the current adjustment of the position of the saddle or the overall fit of the bike causing you to sit incorrectly on the saddle without realizing it. It is also highly possible that you need a saddle with a more pronounced cutout so that you still have the sides of the horn to help you out, but without the middle to put pressure on your sensitive soft tissue.

Perhaps look into a saddle which properly supports your sit bones and has a cutout through the middle and along the horn to relieve pressure in the sensitive zone. You don't want to eliminate the stabilizing sides of the horn, you want to eliminate the pressure caused by the middle of the horn and possibly mal-adjustments of the general position of the saddle.

The Selle An-Atomica is what I'm currently looking into:
https://www.universalcycles.com/shop...s.php?id=28768

Although I'm also still looking around. I'm tempted to get a Brooks and modify it myself.

Originally Posted by Sixty Fiver View Post
a saddle that is too wide interferes with your ability to pedal
That's very true, and I see that advice a lot. Unfortunately, it's not a strong enough argument for people who don't care much about pedaling efficiently. Wide saddles cause aggravated hematoma over long periods of use. All that pressure on the soft tissue at the outer edges of your backside breaks blood vessels and damages nerves.

You and I care about comfort AND efficiency, so either argument is convincing to us. It's a bit harder to dispel bicycling myths for people only convinced by comfort and relying on couch experience to inform themselves.

Last edited by antiaverage; 10-26-09 at 05:48 PM.
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Old 11-04-09, 12:33 AM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by antiaverage View Post

If you're going to respond and say you meant the measurement from the left side of your left butt-cheek to the right side of your right butt-cheek, then please read that FAQ I just linked to read some detailed information as to why the soft tissue outside of the sit-bone area is not useful for sitting.
Thanks for the response, antiaverage, and sorry for my delayed reply. Yes, I meant the distance between the left side of the butt cheek and the right. I don't agree that the entire butt is not useful for sitting. Why were we given wide butts in the first place? If they weren't necessary, we would all have butts no wider than our sitbones and toilet seats would need to be redesigned so that we wouldn't fall into the toilet.

Clearly, we have wide butts to distribute the pressure from sitting over a wide area so it doesn't hurt.

Originally Posted by antiaverage View Post
That's very true, and I see that advice a lot. Unfortunately, it's not a strong enough argument for people who don't care much about pedaling efficiently. Wide saddles cause aggravated hematoma over long periods of use. All that pressure on the soft tissue at the outer edges of your backside breaks blood vessels and damages nerves.
Do you have any documentation for that claim? It seems to me that narrow saddles are more likely to break blood vessels, as they concentrate your weight on a smaller area.

I have used a wide saddle that I modified myself, and it is a pleasure to ride on, except that it's too soft and I sink in too much which causes the upward-arching nose to put pressure on my perineum. If I could fix that problem it would be perfect. It has a wide cutout area in the foam.

I agree that noses should be completely cut-out, but most of the attempts I've seen don't do this. They cut out in the middle but not at the front of the nose. The entire nose should be concave, so that the sides of the thighs can press on it but the top won't put pressure on your perineum. Also the nose should be low so that it doesn't press into your crotch.

I am limited in what I can attempt to try by the fact that I live abroad and don't have bike shops here with anatomically designed saddles or fitting experts. I have to import any saddle I buy, and that is expensive with no practicality to return it if I don't like it.

My experience is, 3 years ago I rode a bike for the first time in many years, with a standard saddle. i rode for about 10 miles, and, several days later, I was stricken with excruciating pain in my crotch that lasted for 2 weeks. It turned me off completely to bike riding and that's why I'm trying to find a compatible saddle now.
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Old 11-04-09, 02:51 PM
  #34  
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Originally Posted by gumbyy View Post
Right, well, I never turn at speed. I always slow down.
To what? 1 mph? You may not feel like you're leaning, but watch other cyclists. You have to lean in order to turn. If you didn't you'd fall over.
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Old 11-09-09, 10:03 AM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by gumbyy View Post
Thanks for the response, antiaverage, and sorry for my delayed reply. Yes, I meant the distance between the left side of the butt cheek and the right. I don't agree that the entire butt is not useful for sitting. Why were we given wide butts in the first place? If they weren't necessary, we would all have butts no wider than our sitbones and toilet seats would need to be redesigned so that we wouldn't fall into the toilet.

Clearly, we have wide butts to distribute the pressure from sitting over a wide area so it doesn't hurt.
We were not given wide butts for sitting. In fact, historically speaking, we started out pretty small compared to our modern frame. Being thin was common as food was scarce. If a butt was big, it was because you lived in a northern climate where packing on fat evolved to become necessary for warmth. The butt is also a larger part of the body because it has the largest muscles in the body connecting to it, the ones used for walking and running. The fat and muscle has never been there to aid in sitting. Sitting has never been a survival skill.

Clearly, you are basing your thoughts on assumptions with little historical or anatomical perspective.

Originally Posted by gumbyy View Post
Do you have any documentation for that claim? It seems to me that narrow saddles are more likely to break blood vessels, as they concentrate your weight on a smaller area.
Yes, I linked to the documentation in the above post. I provided links in my post for a reason. The article which included information from Dr. Underhill specifically covers this. It also explains why using the sides of the thighs for sit support is a bad idea.

Originally Posted by gumbyy View Post
I am limited in what I can attempt to try by the fact that I live abroad and don't have bike shops here with anatomically designed saddles or fitting experts. I have to import any saddle I buy, and that is expensive with no practicality to return it if I don't like it.
Yes, I can totally understand that being a problem. I'm sorry to hear how difficult this is for you.

I wish you could try out one of the cut-out leather saddles. I finally got to use one for an extended ride this weekend (a century, 100 miles), and didn't even notice it. I linked to a company who makes these in my last post. The suspended leather matches your skin, and it flexes just enough to match the natural irregularities in your sit bones and alter shape throughout your pedal stroke. The cutout completely removes pressure from your perineum.

The Selle An-Atomica or a modified Brooks are the saddles I think I would most recommend to people looking for a distance saddle. If you're going to try another saddle, maybe take this one plunge and give it a shot. If I'm wrong, then return the saddle and send me an angry letter.

If you do consider trying one out, go with these people: https://www.mcmwin.com/
They have put quite a lot of research into their product, and have made the data available to you on their site. If you want some facts about saddles backed by impartial doctors, that's a good place to look.

Originally Posted by gumbyy View Post
My experience is, 3 years ago I rode a bike for the first time in many years, with a standard saddle. i rode for about 10 miles, and, several days later, I was stricken with excruciating pain in my crotch that lasted for 2 weeks. It turned me off completely to bike riding and that's why I'm trying to find a compatible saddle now.
Ack, that sounds horrid. Bad saddles are far too abundant, turning people off of cycling. I'm sorry you had that experience.

Originally Posted by deraltekluge View Post
To what? 1 mph? You may not feel like you're leaning, but watch other cyclists. You have to lean in order to turn. If you didn't you'd fall over.
You should read the thread before posting. Or, at least read the post directly above yours which already covered this, and in greater detail. Also, no, he wouldn't fall over. He would simply not turn. If you don't lean, either your body, your bike, or both, then you don't turn. If you turn your front wheel, you, or your bike, or both are going to lean and you're going to turn. It's not something you can fight. I submit yet another video as evidence:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eLRFsy0fOTE

Last edited by antiaverage; 11-09-09 at 10:08 AM.
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Old 11-11-09, 02:30 PM
  #36  
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I've gone noseless. It took a little while to adjust -- it feels very different at first, and a bit counterintuitive somehow. But after a while, I got used to it and enjoyed it. Now I would have to say that I prefer it.
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Old 11-11-09, 04:12 PM
  #37  
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Originally Posted by Niles H. View Post
I've gone noseless. It took a little while to adjust -- it feels very different at first, and a bit counterintuitive somehow. But after a while, I got used to it and enjoyed it. Now I would have to say that I prefer it.
which saddle did you choose?
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Old 11-12-09, 12:58 PM
  #38  
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It was from a small company in California. I'm not sure they are still in business, but will try to check on it.

At the time, when I was considering different designs, I spoke with Dan Henry, a very inventive cyclist who was then living in Solvang. He developed an interesting noseless design that he enjoyed riding on, and he described how to make one. It's simple.

You just take some old drop bars (he used the quill-stem type), and insert into the seat tube rather than the head tube. Just turn the bars upside down, and lace a seat between the drops. He used the material that comes on some of the outdoor lounge chairs sometimes seen around swimming pools; but he said that there are various other materials that would also work.
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Old 05-13-10, 06:10 PM
  #39  
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I ride a MoonSaddle.

I've been riding it for about 7-8 years. I use it in triathlons and touring. I have not tried it mountain biking yet, but I have been meaning to, although there isn't as much time in the saddle.

There's no numbness or discomfort. I also feel I can go into a good aerodynamic position. With a standard saddle I feel that I have to jam my crotch forward into the nose to get into a good position.
Also there is the occasional poster who claims to have E.D. from cycling... best not to take chances.

The nose does not do much for turning, your handle bars do the turning.
Although it does hinder stability, if you ride without holding the handle bars.

It is wider than necessary. However, I cut off the foam tips to make it more aesthetically pleasing.
I did try a couple other noseless saddles years ago, but they were bulky. The moonsaddle is light and simple.

PLEASE try it out!
I'm promoting it because I don't want to be the only serious cyclist out there with an unusual saddle.

Last edited by countrytoad; 05-13-10 at 06:12 PM. Reason: typo
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Old 05-13-10, 07:23 PM
  #40  
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Originally Posted by gumbyy View Post
Clearly, we have wide butts to distribute the pressure from sitting over a wide area so it doesn't hurt.
Wow! I wasn't expecting to read a quote straight out of Recumbent Philosophy 101! I would say if this is true for you, then you need a SEAT not a SADDLE.
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