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Experiencing Numbess in Groin, different saddle?

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Experiencing Numbess in Groin, different saddle?

Old 06-28-12, 04:09 PM
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v639dragoon
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Experiencing Numbess in Groin, different saddle?

I'm new to cycling. I got a 2012 Trek 2.1 and got fitted at the LBS, they took a while fitting me and whatnot. I've ridden almost 600 miles over the past month and a half. However, every time I ride, I experience numbness in my penis and whatnot. I'm not talking about the soreness of my sitbones, which does not seem to happen anymore.

I'm 23 years old, athletic and in shape, weigh 166 lbs, 5' 10". The numbness can happen anywhere from 20 minutes into the ride to an hour. I'll stand up to adjust and whatnot, which seems to help, but it just is a temporary fix for a few minutes. I use good cycling bibs and whatnot, so I know it's not that. Do you think it's the saddle? Or am I just throwing money at this? It scares me when it goes numb down there!

Anyone else experience this problem and fix it? Thanks!
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Old 06-28-12, 04:17 PM
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rearviewbeer
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I had the same thing happen to me. Got a new saddle with a cutout in middle, did not 100% clear it up, but 95% better now.

What type of saddle do you have now? Many more will comment soon.
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Old 06-28-12, 04:19 PM
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AndyK
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Hard to say (no pun intended), without seeing how your saddle is tilted, what kind of saddle, saddle height, etc.
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Old 06-28-12, 04:30 PM
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v639dragoon
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Originally Posted by rearviewbeer View Post
I had the same thing happen to me. Got a new saddle with a cutout in middle, did not 100% clear it up, but 95% better now.

What type of saddle do you have now? Many more will comment soon.
It's the stock saddle that came with the trek 2.1 . I believe it's a Bontrager Affinity R.
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Old 06-28-12, 04:37 PM
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What I learned from online research (not scientific fact), is that the numbness comes from pressure on the perineum (some call it taint). If there is too much padding hitting this area on your saddle the idea is to relieve this pressure in some form. Cutouts, harder seats, proper tilt, etc. all come into play here. From looking at that saddle, it would appear that there might not be enough relief in the area where you need it. A softer seat with more padding will not help as your sit bones will go to far into the padding, and the excess padding will hit the perineum more.

It is scary when you can not feel your junk for a while, but it seems to happen to many and there are ways to correct it - good luck!
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Old 06-28-12, 04:48 PM
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Unless your fit is way off, it's probably a saddle tilt issue. Adjust it in small increments until you feel the difference. Many men prefer either a flat or slightly tilted up position. Not all. Find what works for you.

There might be some certain people who really need specific saddles to correct the problem. But think about it...all saddles are so darn similar in size and shape. To say one is magic is akin to counting angels on the head of a pin. So little contact area. I've had saddles with and without cutouts. None of them caused numbness. But tilt did...in every one of them. And I corrected it...in every one of them.

Try the tilt before swapping saddles. And make sure your fit is correct.
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Old 06-28-12, 06:50 PM
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Having had both an Affinity R as well as an Affinity RL (and many others over the past year), I can say that the Affinity is a good design for someone who sits fairly upright. As I lost weight and assumed a more aggressive riding position, I started having numbness issues and the search for relief began. If you want to stay with Bontrager, the inform series might be a better choice if you are flexible,in shape, have a low hand position, and/or ride in the drops a bit. I have had good luck with the Romin and Selle SMP Lite 209 as far as solving numbness issues with hips rotated a bit forward. With the numbness issues solved, I am still trying to find the perfect saddle/position for long term comfort on a shortly upcoming 200. Good luck in your search.

Last edited by LeeRoySD; 06-28-12 at 06:51 PM. Reason: sp
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Old 06-28-12, 08:30 PM
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You need a saddle with much more relief. Try a Specialized saddle. Probably stay away from Fizik. Don't be tempted by the super cushy saddles. Your chamois should have all the padding you need. Once a cushy saddle deforms, you're left with a bunch of padding trapped between your legs and your penile cavity (this is a real medical term).

Once your wiener pain goes away, you may start developing sitbone pain, and will have to adjust accordingly. First is saddle positioning, forward/rearward. I like mine as far back as the saddle will allow (to the "max" marking on the rails).

Next is tilt. Like others, I like mine slightly tilted up. It relieves a lot of pressure on my sitbones for unknown reasons. I have a Thomson seatpost with degree markings on my tandem bike, and 1 degree is night and day.
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Old 06-28-12, 09:11 PM
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I rode a Selle Italia "gel flow" saddle with a central cutout for a year and a half without problems - and then started getting numbness and eventually pain issues. I managed them for a while by tilting the saddle just slightly forward, but have now invested in a new saddle (Specialize Toupé expert) that seems to work fine. As alluded to above, the switch to the new saddle gave rise to some initial pain in the sit bone area, but that has now (two weeks later) subsided. Works for me, ymmv.
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Old 06-28-12, 09:50 PM
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Tilt the nose of the seat down. Move the seat back & forth to find a spot where your sitbones take the weight with no pressure on the "taint". It will take a few rides to get accustomed to a sore butt. Would you rather risk PERMANENT DAMAGE to your trouser snake? Dude, you're 23, protect your unit.
On one of my bikes I even went to one of these, it took about six or seven rides before I could stand it, now I don't even notice it. I also bought the sport model & cannot get comfortable on it.
There are number of companies trying to help protect your unit. Here. Here. Here. Here.
Suggest you read this.

Last edited by 1FJEF; 06-28-12 at 09:56 PM.
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Old 06-28-12, 10:01 PM
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Check that the saddle is level, then check that it's straight. If it's both those things, try lowering the saddle height 2-3 mm. Also, don't forget to wear cycling shorts with a chamois.

Tilting your saddle nose down is generally not considered a fix for your problem.
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Old 06-28-12, 10:04 PM
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I had the same problem and tried a few different saddles. The one that solved the problem for me was SMP. The SMP saddle had the widest cut out of any saddle that I tried.
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Old 06-29-12, 11:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Minion1 View Post
Check that the saddle is level, then check that it's straight. If it's both those things, try lowering the saddle height 2-3 mm. Also, don't forget to wear cycling shorts with a chamois.

Tilting your saddle nose down is generally not considered a fix for your problem.
Worked for me yesterday, tilted down a bit and helped a lot. I have a pretty aggressive drop though.
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Old 06-29-12, 12:09 PM
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Look into different saddles. Everyone has different preferences and needs for "their region."
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Old 06-29-12, 12:40 PM
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EDIT: realized most "advice" was personal anecdote and not "do this, do that" hence the strike...

[strike]Without singling any posts out there is a lot of bad or at least uninformed advice in this thread. I'm sure everyone is well meaning but[/strike] Without knowing the specifics of what you the OP are dealing with any "do this, do that" advice is usually pretty awful. What you do need to know is that numbness is very often as much a fit problem (ie your setup) as it is a saddle problem. Starting point should be finding a saddle with a width that fits your sit bones properly. Your current saddle may very well do that. If not then a new saddle may be in order and an anatomical cutout is a no-brainer.

After that it is important to get the saddle and the rest of your bike fit setup correctly so that your weight is properly distributed. Multiple adjustment possibilities to your stem/bars, seat post, and saddle ALL combine to result in proper or improper fit. The goal is to get you actually sitting on your sit bones rather than being forced to place the pressure on your perineum which results in numbness. Too long a reach and you will roll forward at the hips and place undue weight on the perineum. Tilt the saddle forward and you tend to place undue weight on your front end, wrists, and arms while you may still be placing undue pressure on your perineum. Slam your saddle forward to alleviate this and you may fix the numbness but lose efficient and healthy orientation for pedaling.

What I'm getting at is that your setup and comfort are an amalgam of all your different components and adjustments. So advice on how to fix a problem is useless if the helpful person does not know what the CAUSE of the problem is and what OTHER considerations there are. Your best bet is probably to return to the LBS and get some fit help if they are of decent quality. Make sure 1st that your saddle is sized right (ie measure your sit bones and match to a saddle width) and then address the entirety of your fit. More often than not this starts with a level saddle and setting up your fore/aft/height in relation to the pedals. After that address the reach/drop/rise to ensure you can keep appropriate weight on your sit bones rather than your tender bits. MOST of the time this solves the numbness problem but with more aggressive fits an anatomical cutout definitely helps.

I know it seems complicated but it really isn't. You will soon learn and hopefully enjoy many pain/numb free miles. Saddle sore is OK but numb is not OK at all

Last edited by HokuLoa; 06-29-12 at 12:49 PM.
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Old 06-29-12, 12:59 PM
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I agree that there is well-intentioned but factually incorrect information here.

Saddle makers are pretty smart. Most of them have done a lot of engineering work and test fitting. Unfortunately, their marketing groups sometimes lose the path, or their salespersons (online or in stores) lack the knowledge to put you on the right saddle. Also, riders can misdiagnose their problem or one person who feels 'flexible and racey' might actually be sitting fairly upright.

The hip angle at which you sit on a saddle has a massive impact on how that saddle should be designed. Saddles made for upright riding positions often place a lot of weight on your junk if you use them with a low riding position. This isn't 100% true as people will have their preferences. But it's very often true, and the Affinity saddle is made for upright riding as others have said.

Go to a Trek or Specialized store and use their butt-o-meter. It will get you into the ballpark of how wide a saddle to ride. Next, show them how you ride and explain your problem. Then make sure they have a 30+ day exchange/refund program for saddles.

Test ride the saddle and bring a hex wrench to adjust the angle as necessary. Wear bike shorts while testing. If you hate the saddle right away, despite angle adjustment, it's never going to work for you. But it does often 10-20 hours in the saddle to fully adapt to a new one so you should buy one you think you like and then use the exchange program if you have to.

Good luck!
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Old 06-29-12, 03:26 PM
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Thanks for all the advice. I'm going to go to the LBS this weekend, bring my bike in, and sit on the butt-o-meter and whatnot. I'm thinking a cutout saddle is most likely going to be the solution. I don't mind having sit bone pain (bruise like pain on sit bones), but getting numb down there is not fun at all and is scary.
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Old 06-29-12, 04:26 PM
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Originally Posted by v639dragoon View Post
Thanks for all the advice. I'm going to go to the LBS this weekend, bring my bike in, and sit on the butt-o-meter and whatnot. I'm thinking a cutout saddle is most likely going to be the solution. I don't mind having sit bone pain (bruise like pain on sit bones), but getting numb down there is not fun at all and is scary.
Just to note, sit bone discomfort takes a bit of adjustment and is not a bad thing. Your rear must adjust to cycling no matter what and your sit bones and the tissue sandwiched in b/w will adjust w/o damages. Numbness is not a "get used to it" problem. It CAN cause damage and IS NOT EVER normal or OK.

Also, keep an open approach rather than just "cutout will do it." The new saddle/cutout solution is a very common "fix" (read, "sell gear and get out the door") for many LBS. As I mentioned, as long as the saddle width fits your body correctly overall setup can impact numbness as much or more so than cutout/no cutout. They do/can help but they are also a common marketing gimmick used in lieu of properly addressing the real fit issue that is causing the problem.
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Old 06-29-12, 04:46 PM
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Selle San Marco Concor Light.
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Old 06-30-12, 09:20 AM
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Just buy a Selle AnAtomica and you'll never have to buy another saddle ever again. They're even on sale right now, bringing them in at a pretty unreal price.
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