In the last years cycling has gone through specialization in every aspect of the discipline. You can find a lot different kind of bikes, dedicated for easy seaside rides to hard downhills, in the middle we have bikes for long distance road races, for stage races, for track sprints o triathlons. This is only from the bikes side, also you have specific clothing for long or short rides, for sunny or rainy days, along with clinchers (or tubulars) built for comfort or performance, for extreme grip or improved fluency.
The rider is connected to the bike in three key points, and also these have different carachteristics depending on the final use of the bike.
Particular attention should be given to the pad choice, a wrong or low quality pad can transform a lovely ride in a trip through pain and discomfort. Lots of studies report a high correlation between ciclyng and genital numbness (Leibovitch found that 50 to 91% of riders reported this discomfort in a rewiev of 62 articles in 2005), with an incidence on erectile disfunction of 13-24%. Problems on femminine population needs to be looked deeper.
What we do at Dr. Pad is creating high performance pads, but sometimes, even with a high quality pad the saddle ca cause the problem. Be sure that your saddle is the right saddle for you and that is properly fitted, this can be done through a professional bike fitter. Here at Dr. Pad headquarters you can also find a technical analisys that helps you. Schwarzer et. Al. Demonstrated that the shape of the saddle has an influence on perfusion and tissue oxygenation.
If we take in account the classical riding posture and we think about saddles we can split pressure distribution in two big categories:
- Traditional saddle: load is distributed through the biggest area possible, loading soft tissue
- Anatomical saddle: load is focused on particular points, mainly on bones, relieving soft tissue from pressure. This is typical also of no-nose saddles
That said, we have the need to support in different ways this different kind of stand to keep pressure under the safe threshold for our physiological functions. Sitting on ischial tuberosities requires more support in this area for comfort because saddle itself modifies the pressure distribution (Guess et. Al. 2011, Schreder et. Al. 2008). Support doen’s mean “volume”, lots of riders think more material means more comfort (frequently also fro saddle padding) but this is not true (Schwarzer et. Al. 2011).
What makes the difference is density and quality of the padding. Too much material in a small zone makes the material deformable, losing his mechanical carachteristics. And this happens more after a medium-long time on the saddle with the rider load working on the material. To have the same comfort at the beginning and at the end of the ride, with no change on tissue pressure we need a quality material with adequate density and non-deformable mechanical carachteristics.
This is what we do at DP Research, using technology to find were the riders need more support and how to improve it with the correct material. Moreover we know that every one of us is different from each other and so we offer the chance to customize pad position through a deep individual analysis of pressure distribution.
- J Sex Med.2008 Aug;5(8):1932-40. doi: 10.1111/j.1743-6109.2008.00867.x. Epub 2008 May 7. Cutting off the nose to save the penis. Schrader SM1, Breitenstein MJ, Lowe BD.
- J Sex Med.2011 Nov;8(11):3144-53. doi: 10.1111/j.1743-6109.2011.02437.x. Epub 2011 Aug 11. Women’s bike seats: a pressing matter for competitive female cyclists. Guess MK1, Partin SN, Schrader S, Lowe B, LaCombe J, Reutman S, Wang A, Toennis C, Melman A, Mikhail M, Connell KA.
- Med Sci Sports Exerc.2003 Feb;35(2):327-32. Bicycle seat designs and their effect on pelvic angle, trunk angle, and comfort. Bressel E1, Larson BJ.
- Appl Ergon.2015 Jan; 46 Pt A:124-36. doi: 10.1016/j.apergo.2014.07.010. Epub 2014 Aug 13. Identifying factors of bicycle comfort: An online survey with enthusiast cyclists. Ayachi FS1, Dorey J2, Guastavino C3.
- Eur Urol.2002 Feb;41(2):139-43. Cycling and penile oxygen pressure: the type of saddle matters. Schwarzer U1, Sommer F, Klotz T, Cremer C, Engelmann U.
- Eur Urol.2005 Mar;47(3):277-86; discussion 286-7. Epub 2004 Dec 30. The vicious cycling: bicycling related urogenital disorders. Leibovitch I1, Mor Y.
- F.P., F. Dagnese, J.F. Kleinpaul, A. Martins Ede, and C.B. Mota. 2009 Bicycle saddle pressure: Effect of trunk position and saddle design on healthy subjects. Urologia Internationalis, 82: 8-11