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Whats the fix for a seat "numb crotch" effect?
#1
Hi from Kentucky.

I bought a new bike and would like to put some hours on the road but the flat seat has a strange effect on me after some time. I'm guessing with a riders weight concentrated one area the blood flow is restricted. The springer seat is comfy but maybe I should look for one with a center "valley".

I would wonder if female riders also experience this or just the guys. I figure it must be the male anatomy that makes this happen.

Thanks......................Tom
2011softcruise


“Striker, listen, and you listen close: flying a plane is no different than riding a bicycle, just a lot harder to put baseball cards in the spokes.”
Airplane (1980) – Rex Kramer (Robert Stack)

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#2
Have you had the bike fitted? Such that the seat alignment allows your legs to function correctly?

Alex has a video on seat positioning: http://bicycletutor.com/adjust-seat/

REI also has a nice page with some videos. Check http://www.rei.com/expertadvice/articles/bike+fit.html

Chances are all you need to do is to move the seat up or down a bit, and also forward or backward.

Also, getting a nice pair of padded bike shorts can do wonders. These come in all sorts of chamois quality, from plain old sponge, to closed cell padding, to gel pads. I myself prefer the gels for my 50+ mi treks. Bike shorts will vary widely in prices, from $20 to $150. Often times, you get what you pay for.

Many places also sell liners (basically, padded underwear) that you can wear below baggy shorts in a comfortable way.
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#3
The biggest problem with the wide comfort seats is that they force your legs to pedal at an angle, even if the seat height is adjusted correctly and you are riding with riding shorts. That's because the nose of the saddle is also wide. This will cause you to tire faster because the legs are not putting all the pressure on the pedal on the downward stroke. The optimal leg angle is parallel to the center of the bike's top tube. If you plan to do anything over 10 mile rides, I would suggest looking into a road saddle or an MTB race saddle. These saddles are usually grooved or slotted to relieve the stress at certain anatomical areas. They are also narrower and have a long, narrow nose that allows your legs to be in a more optimal peddling position.
HCFR Cycling Team
Ride Safe...Ride Hard...Ride Giant
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#4
Hi again.

I had requested to have the bike fitted during pick up but the shop that assembled the bike rushed me out the door. I had the impression that my bike wasn't worth their time. The leg angle brings up a good point. I'm 6' and feel a little cramped even though the seat is at max height. I'm considering to install a set back seat post to allow more leg room but this may put the crank ahead of my seating position.

I'll take a look at those seats and clothing mentioned earlier. The ergonomics of my bike don't fit me like I would like so I'm thinking a lay back seat post, seat and perhaps riser-handlebars would change the riding angle to fit me.
2011softcruise


“Striker, listen, and you listen close: flying a plane is no different than riding a bicycle, just a lot harder to put baseball cards in the spokes.”
Airplane (1980) – Rex Kramer (Robert Stack)

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#5
The important part of the fit is height of the seat (among others). When you are at the bottom of a downstroke, your leg should be fully extended, unless you are doing BMX style riding. This, along with the angle of the leg (mentioned above) will make the bike fit you and help keep you from getting tired faster, unless you are totally out of shape. If you don't fully extend your leg when in the downstroke, you will feel it in the knees.

Quote:I'm considering to install a set back seat post to allow more leg room but this may put the crank ahead of my seating position.

If you do this, again, you want your leg to be fully extended when you are in the downstroke. In this case, you will want the saddle lower and more to the rear, such as the seat on a recumbent bike. Now your issue becomes handle bar reach and safe control.
HCFR Cycling Team
Ride Safe...Ride Hard...Ride Giant
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#6
as i said in your other post, i like your bike. you might like the pedal forward geometry of a laid back seatpost.
Get on your bad pedalscooter and ride!
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#7
It makes me feel better about my purchase to get the "thumbs up" from other bikers. Once the riding position is figured out I'll be able to cover some mileage.

Thanks for the positive observations.

Here are some parts I'm debating on trying...
2011softcruise


“Striker, listen, and you listen close: flying a plane is no different than riding a bicycle, just a lot harder to put baseball cards in the spokes.”
Airplane (1980) – Rex Kramer (Robert Stack)

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#8
9 times out of 10, the main reason for numbness in the gentleman's area is an incorrect saddle angle. The angle means that most of your weight will be on the base of your wedding vegetable, crushing a lot of the blood vessles in there and causing discomfort and sometimes performance loss in "other" areas Wink.

I got a book, "Bike for Life: Ride to 100*" that recommends the saddle is flat, or a few degrees downwards for men. you'll have to experiment. Too far up and it will cause the discomfort you're getting. Too far down and you'll get pain in your backside.

A layback seatpost won't do that much for relieving crotch pain, you need one only if you cannot get your saddle far back enough so that when your cranks are in the 3'00 position (viewed from the drive side); your kneecap, the ball of your foot and the pedal axle fall in a vertical line (a common cause of knee problems). Obviously if you cannot get your saddle high enough, get a new one.

As for bars, once you've got the saddle right, change them to whatever you think is more appropriate for a comfortable position. Bear in mind that riser bars will reduce the percentage of your bodyweight over the front wheel.

*a good read, and its doing wonders for me already.
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#9
Thanks JonB, finally we get to the nut of it. :-))

Its the seat and mostly nothing else that causes unwanted pressure causing numb nuts.
The Terry Liberator Y saddle solved all my problems. Good price for a leather covered saddle too, used to cost a lot more.
Your sprang saddle is useless. Right size bike and set up help with fit.

http://www.nashbar.com/bikes/Product_10053_10052_522820_-1___

PS You cant fool me that photo is not in Kentucky.
Never Give Up!!!
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#10
Ahhhhh, somebody did notice the splendid beach in the background. Yep, it's the ad photo. I do have a quality camera but the scenery is better from the ad photo. I have some plans for improvements and will take some pics along the way.

I've never been to California but the pic makes me want to endure the three day drive.

The seat is a problem area I have to upgrade. I hate to stockpile a bunch of parts so when the "dust" settles, I'll list and sell the whole box of unused goodies. I should expect to make little $$$ from doing so and just be grateful they may find a use elsewhere.
2011softcruise


“Striker, listen, and you listen close: flying a plane is no different than riding a bicycle, just a lot harder to put baseball cards in the spokes.”
Airplane (1980) – Rex Kramer (Robert Stack)

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#11
Ye OK here is are shoots from my turf. Venice CA.
Never Give Up!!!
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#12
Hi Everyone! I am repeating this post everywhere I can because I have solved this problem for myself!

I experienced this problem for many years. It got the point where I became very concerned that I would have to quit riding. Sometimes it would happen very quickly, within minutes.

But never fear, there is a solution for you! I ride with zero numbness even on long rides. As a bonus, my fatigue level has been greatly reduced.

Now I am not saying that this will be your solution, just that you can find one. Here is my story.

First of all, I don't have a specific riding style. I love to climb, with fast downhills. I also ride single track and technical stuff sometimes. I have been riding for 25 years.

First step: Saddle and saddle position. I tried several new "ergonomic" saddles, none helped much and some made it worse. The best was the Specialized Romin Expert, which I still ride. The impact was modest, but better was better. I also experimented with saddle position and height. It turns out the saddle was a little too far back. Good for climbing power, but bad for the groin. Again, this was only modest help, still got numb, just a little less.

Second Step: Pedal position. Tried several. In the end I found that just behind the ball was good. Between the ball and mid-foot. Helped me overall, but not numbness.

Third step (aka Eureka#1!): Handle bar length/rise. BE SURE TO READ THE CAVEAT AT THE BOTTOM. For 20 years I had my set-up very narrow, straight 420mm bars with no rise. No one would ever set a bike up that way now, but the idea was to have strong climbing and it was great for that. I had no problems with downhill speed.

I read that wider handlebars are generally better for a number of reasons, including this. Stem rise is also a factor. I moved to wider, 730mm riser bars and it helped right away! It was night and day! Almost no numbness!

Fourth step (aka Eureka#2!): Stem length: AGAIN BE SURE TO READ THE CAVEAT AT THE BOTTOM. I had been riding with a 120mm flat stem for 20 years. I had no idea it could have any relation, but I was wrong. I moved to a 100mm 30 degree rise and it was great. Problem solved!

It seems that being more upright was the real key to resolving the issue.

CAVEAT: BE CAREFUL CHANGING BAR WIDTH AND STEM LENGTH. Everyone gets used to a bike fit/set-up. This warning is especially true if you have been riding a long time like me.

Control of the bike changes dramatically with bar width and stem length, so take it one step at a time. I made a huge mistake moving too far to fast. I changed to 720mm riser bars and 100mm riser stem at the same time. Fatigue and numbness was improved immediately, but handling and climbing was VERY different. Lots of steer wander and harder to keep the front wheel on the ground when climbing steep in seated position (standing was improved).

I decided that what I needed (based on reading articles, etc) was a shorter stem. I went with a 50mm. Huge mistake. On the first ride I was unable to keep the front wheel down and fell backwards and broke my wrist.

Moral of the story: Make changes one at a time. Ride easy and figure out what works. Bars can be easily trimmed with a pipe cutter. Start wide and narrow until it feels right. Get used to it and work on the stem.

I now ride a 680mm riser bar and 100mm 30 degree stem. I am much more upright on the bike, which relieves numbness and I also find I am less fatigued. I gave up a little climbing power, but there is no doubt it was worth it!

Good luck!

Travis
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