Endless Saddle Problems...

A light bike doesn't replace good fitness.

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by PSM

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by DividedVolta

Haha thanks PSM.

Any idea how much it weighs?!?

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by PSM

10,5 as pictured. I'll try one next summer.

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by Tapeworm

The...horror. The horror. :shock:
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by 11.4

The onset and the range of saddles you've tried suggests that the problem isn't with the saddle (or by extension, the bike). It looks like you have an unstable positioning on the bike. You get on the bike, can ride for a bit and don't have obvious immediate discomfort, but as you settle into a dysfunctional position, you develop pain, erectile dysfunction, etc.

You may have a physiological issue going on as well, which may easily have been induced by the unstable position. Are you aware that the penis is actually much longer than any self-respecting woman thinks it is, running not just to the torso but under the groin and back into the pelvis a bit? An erection is dependent on performance of the whole thing, and without question you end up sitting on part of it. That's where position on the saddle and choice of saddle are initially critical. In your case, no saddle will work because it either hurts immediately because it's not a fit to your initial position, or it injures you after you let your position destabilize.

By destabilize I mean that you do something like letting your lumbar torso sag forward, or letting your hamstrings tighten excessively so you arch your lower back, or whatever. This can be passive (like letting your lumbar torso sag) or a secondary effect of another problem (such as altering your hip rotation by tightening your hamstrings while riding). In either case, you may end up sitting on a saddle improperly and also causing muscle tension to "reshape" your perineal anatomy. Both can cause these problems you describe.

It's not a simple issue or a simple diagnosis, but it's remarkably common. Trying to define exactly what's happening could require MRIs, a really good fitter with laser diagnostic tools, and frankly a fitter who is a trained kinesiologist, plus a urologist and who knows what else. Definitely try to get an MRI of your pelvic area, looking particularly at any deterioration in your lumbar discs (which can cause your position to destabilize) and at any soft tissue damage in your interior penile tissues and related musculature. That may give you a clue as to what is going on.

After that, work on an extensive regimen of situps and leg lifts to build your hip muscles. Do some weight work -- mostly deadlifts but also some squats. (Read Rippetoe's Beginning Strength for a good guide to how to lift in a way that's the most productive for cycling and also avoids injury.) Work on hip abductors and adductors (usually done with a pair of Cybex machines in which you spread your knees or pull them together while sitting in the machine). Get an EVA foam roll and assiduously roll your IT bands and hips on it to resolve any tightness or scarring there that can induce positional problems. Generally, work on flexibility.

None of these things are bad for your overall progress, regardless of whatever else you might pursue. They should give you results within a month or two of regular work. You may have something else going on that isn't addressed here, but if so you are at least in better shape and have eliminated some possibilities. However, these kinds of issues are the ones that bedevil doctors and coaches who see you for an hour or less and never have the chance to work out the causes of your problems.

I've been through this myself and coached several riders who've done the same. This path worked for about two thirds of them. It helped identify underlying causative issues in all but one of the rest. I don't claim to have an answer, just an approach that gives you some forward progress with no downside. Certainly you aren't likely to find a solution in some panacea saddle that you haven't discovered yet. It's inside you, not in the bike. I hope this resolves quickly for you.

Instead, fix the sources of the problem.

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Something I am seeing in his post is also what I feel is a fit related issue. Yes, you should get a saddle that fits your sit bones, but that bone is also different widths as your hips roll forward.

I think the saddle to bar drop is something that also should be looked at. Lets say you stand and bend over to put your hands on a table. If you hands are down beloe you, your body tends to stabilize with the skeletal structure of your arms and shoulders, and you back stays neutral. Now if you bring your hands up, you will notice that your back can and will start to bow toward your stomach. This is what was stated earlier as Lumbar sag. This actually forces your pelvis to rotate more, which will make you feel like you need to slide back to try and engage your sit bones, but all the while, you are riding on your soft tissue and actually putting more pressure on it. I would drop those bars down and shorten the stem if need be.

Why are the best things in life always the ones you start last?

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by artray

I have never had an issues in this area . I used to ride SLR then switched to a pro edge carbon saddle . No padding . It's very comfy and consistant. Long or short rides . I would imagine that a padded seat has movement. Theres only minimal flex to contend with using a carbon seat.
hope your issues get resolved asap :beerchug:

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by DividedVolta


Thanks for what is definitely the most thorough and honestly frightening assessment of the problems I may be having. While I'd love to approach the problem from a more scientific/medical standpoint, as a broke grad student it just may not be possible. I'm hoping this sort of muscular-skeletal issue isn't the problem, but I obviously can't guarantee that. I will say that I'm rather young and flexible and do quite a bit of lifting as a supplement to my cycling and I do have a roller (plastic not foam). I don't want this to sound dismissive or contradictory, believe me I've definitely filed away the info you've provided as a worst case scenario.

I am trying to invest in the money to get a "legitimate" fit done, rather than the pseudo fittings that are typically done.


I appreciate your post and I would consider it pretty enlightening. I had thought that adding more bar drop could only be a bad thing but I see I was obviously mistaken. I had already been considering adding a bit of bar drop with a shorter stem, but your has given me a bit of additional incentive to give it a try.

Artay, thanks for the kind words and pray you never have this kind of problem haha!

Edit: I will add that I'm cautiously optimistic at the moment. Based off something I read from Steve Hogg noting that some folks sit bone widths don't appear to match up with their preferred saddle and noting that no cut out saddles seem to really alleviate my issues I decided to do a 180. I went and grabbed a Fizik Arione and give it a legitimate chance provided it doesn't make anything worse. Did a a 2.5 hour long ride and thought it only made things worse... turns out I was wrong. Things seem to be improving and I definitely feel like my weight is centered on my sit bones. I'm hoping this isn't a Hawthorne effect (ie. any change in the environment results in a chance in performance), but who knows, maybe this is what I needed?

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by shadwell

To add to the messge...

Please sort your fit from the foot up, before you spend any more money on saddles...

Without a confirmd foundation of the correct fit, any saddle will simply be reducing the root cause of the problem...

You mention you are not financial right now, but consider this. You may spend equal or more on 3-4 saddles chasing the wrong thing..

Having ruined myself, and lost a season due to incorrect fit, and attempted self diagnosis (even with support from Steve Hogg).. i finally went to him.. let me make this clear...

"I SHOULD HAVE GOT THE FIT SORTED FIRST" everything else is secondary... (food and family perhaps accepting...maybe)

Good luck, but please do not ignore or dismiss the great advice others have provided you with. I wish i had access to this quality of advice years ago.

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by DividedVolta

I hear you man, don't worry I'm not ignoring it.

I'm trying to find the best fitter in my area at the moment. Once I determine who that is I plan to get the funds together to utilize it.

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by mec287

+1 for getting properly fitted. Rolling on your saddle due to seat too high / low / forward / back will show up. Best of luck getting sorted though!!
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by DividedVolta

Thanks mec287.

Does anyone have any experience with the Seratta "school" of fitting. It appears that, in my area, it's either this or the BG Fit at a Specialized shop. Anyone have experience with either of these?

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by thisisatest

The fitter is much, much more important than the school he went to. I'd suggest you ask them some easy but insightful questions, like what is their take on KOPS, how long they've been fitting, what kind of questioning and evaluation happens before you get on the bike, etc.. And Google their name, see what comes up.

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by DividedVolta

KOPS? Knee over pedal spindle? I've done my own research about it here and there... essentially it's BS, correct? Or is that an acronym for something different?

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by alui

I think I do suffer from an unstable position as after 2 years riding on my current setup and no change in position I started developing saddle numbness. I think this was exacerbated by spending a year traning on the tri bike for an ironman which likely result in my hip flexors being shortened and causing excessivie anterior pelvic rotation. Hopefully stretching and strengthening will fix this problem.

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