Standard bike saddles are bad for you. The protruding front piece, or nose, compresses against your perineum, that small section between your, ahem, front and back equipment. This reduces blood flow to your genitals and can cause decreased sexual function and sensation in both men and women, especially if you spend a lot of time on your bike. There is a solution, however: noseless bike saddles.
Noseless bike saddles are designed to eliminate pressure on your perineum. They position your weight over the rounded bones in your lower butt (your ischial tuberosities to be exact), where it should be. They range widely in design. Some feature nothing more than support for those crucial pelvic bones, while others incorporate a hole or slot where the perineum can rest pressure-free.
Noseless bike saddles remain a niche product that has been embraced by only a small minority of riders, despite the overwhelming evidence that standard bike saddles are bad for your sexual health. Professional riders argue that the nose provides crucial steering control by engaging the inner thigh muscles. For most recreational riders, however, the difference is probably not worth the dysfunction.
If you want to locate a noseless saddle, stick to bike specialty shops or order online. Expect to pay $50 - $100, depending on the model. I've included some useful links below to help you find one that's right for you, as well as some other good information on the topic.
Noseless Saddle Manufacturers: Here's an excellent round-up of links to more than a dozen different noseless saddles from www.healthycycling.org.
A Release Valve for Cyclists' Unrelenting Pressure: An excellent New York Times article that inspired this post in the first place.
“Equipped” is an AMC Outdoors blog, written by Matt Heid.
Labels: Bicycles, Cycling