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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
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    Unhappy noseless saddles and the quest for comfort?

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    Hello folks,

    I'm new and am perusing the posts on saddles, but haven't found info on noseless ones yet. I'm riding a 2008 Trek 7.5 WSD and recently ditched the stock saddle for a Planet Bike ARS saddle after even short rides were making me numb in my soft tissue area. The ARS is better, but yesterday I biked a mere 6 miles (although I was with my 6-year-old son, so it was a lot of time on the bike) and today I'm STILL in pain on the outer soft tissues. Before purchasing the ARS I tried the EasySeat noseless seat but it jammed into the backs of my thighs no matter how the (very patient) guy at the bike shop adjusted it. I was pretty discouraged about this, and since noseless saddles tend to have to be ordered online, I'm reluctant to try others, although I'm interested in the Moon Saddle, maybe.

    My question is: does anyone actually like noseless saddles? Are they dangerous? How does one actually find a pain-free saddle? I adore biking and love my bike; it's a treat to be on the road after so many years and my son is VERY into it too. I just can't take the soft-tissue (that's where all the pressure is) pain anymore. Any help is appreciated, and I'll keep reading!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
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    I understand you have a loss of control because we use our thighs a lot more than we realize for balance and steering.
    However there are those that swear by them.


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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Posts
    2

    I love my noseless saddle

    Wolfgirl,

    I have been a triathlete and cyclist for about four years and I wouldn't ride my road bike without my noseless saddle. Prior to getting it, I was in serious discomfort on short rides, and long rides were miserable. I was standing on the bike on flats just to give my soft tissue relief. I no longer have that problem, thanks to my noseless saddle and I can ride for as long as my legs are willing. I will tell you that some people may say they can tell a difference in noseless vs. traditional saddles. I'd disagree. I am not very coordinated and my balance is not good (I'm not one of those cyclists that can ride hands free...if I did, I'd be on the ground), so if anyone would have issues adjusting to a noseless saddle, I'd suspect it would be me. But that wasn't the case. I found the bike cornered, climbed and did all other cycling activities just the same. Within a couple of short rides, I didn't even notice the nose was missing. I'd suggest you have a professional bike shop that specializes in fitting riders mount the saddle. I did that and was glad I did (vs. mounting it myself). Also, the bike shop fit expert told me that if I did have any issues adjusting to cornering, to use the top bar and I wouldn't miss the nose on the saddle. I never have needed to use my top bar. The bike rides the same for me as it did with a traditional saddle, minus the pain, of course.

    A Google search for noseless saddles will likely get you to a variety of sites that sell a range of shapes, sizes, etc. What I will tell you about noseless saddles, is that it's very much like dating...you may have to check out a few styles/models before you find true love. I did that, and fell in love with the SpiderFlex. You can find it at www.spiderflex.com. For me, this saddle was the perfect fit. Here's why. I'm a small woman, 4'10" with a narrow/thin frame. This saddle is ideal for my body style, but I think a taller and wider woman might find it comfortable too because it gives good support but isn't extremely wide like some versions made for recreational riding that look more like a tractor seat. The other thing I like about the SpiderFlex saddle is that it works for road and mountain or hybrid bikes by adjusting the angle of the saddle when you mount it to the bike. Many noseless saddles seem to only work for road or mountain/hybrid, but not both.

    I cannot say enough good things about the noseless saddle I have, how my cycling enjoyment benefited and how my body comfort/soft tissue benefited from this purchase. Frankly, even if you don't have soft tissue pain, I'd recommend a noseless saddle. I just can't imagine all that pressure being good for that area of your body, especially if you ride for any length of time or distance.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    54
    I don't ride them but I would check out ISM:

    http://www.ismseat.com/products.htm

    I've heard favorable things about them and seen them in use by other racers. Dunno where you live but check out the dealer link, they list dealers which have demo programs.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    SW Ohio
    Posts
    145
    I absolutely love my ISM Adamo. It solved my soft tissue pain issues on my first ride on it, though it took some further adjustments to eliminate the SI joint issues it brought on. Now I'm riding without any pain other than tired legs, and I love it!!
    “Hope is the thing with feathers, that perches in the soul, and sings the tune without words, and never stops at all.”
    - Emily Dickinson

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
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    I'm the only one allowed to whine
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    I bought a noseless one.

    It nearly killed me.

    Perhaps you should measure your sit bones, and try a saddle or two that fit your sit bones before you try another noseless?

    A regular saddle that actually FITS YOU should be no more uncomfortable than sitting on a hard wooden chair. (if sitting on a wooden chair causes you numbness and soft tissue problems, then you want to be looking for a saddle that both fits your sit bones - 1 or 2 cm wider than your outside measurement, and with saddle cheeks that match your center-to-center measurement - AND that has a cut out.)

    A saddle that fits you will have you weightbearing on your sit bones, with no weightbearing on the soft tissue. If someone is weightbearing on soft tissue, they are perching on a saddle that is too narrow.
    Last edited by KnottedYet; 06-08-2010 at 09:18 PM.
    "If Americans want to live the American Dream, they should go to Denmark." - Richard Wilkinson

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by trichick View Post
    c

    I cannot say enough good things about the noseless saddle I have, how my cycling enjoyment benefited and how my body comfort/soft tissue benefited from this purchase. Frankly, even if you don't have soft tissue pain, I'd recommend a noseless saddle. I just can't imagine all that pressure being good for that area of your body, especially if you ride for any length of time or distance.
    Both of the posts you've put here on TE have been excellent sales pitches for your particular noseless saddle. But the basic issue is that saddle pain is from saddles that don't fit. There shouldn't be pressure on soft tissues with a normal saddle IF it fits.

    Unfortunately, most women do not realize that saddle shapes and sizes are as individual as shoe lasts and sizes.

    Expecting a woman with size 10 feet to love a pair of size 6 shoes as much as the woman next to her is just as silly as expecting a woman with 190mm sit bone span to love the Selle Italia Ldy Gel (and no, I didn't forget the "a", there isn't one on the saddle I'm looking at) as much as the chickie with the 135mm span.

    We live in a world where saddles for women still start from a model of saddles made for men, except in the rare cases of bike saddles that were designed and made for women based on experience with women's equestrian saddles. Men, believe it or not, have different pelvises. For one thing, they are dramatically narrower at the sit bones. And their sit bones don't flare posteriorly even a smidgen as much as ours do.

    Right now, to stretch a metaphor, all of us with size 10 feet are surrounded by a plethora of size 5, 6, and 7 shoes. They HURT. Saddles that are too narrow HURT as much as shoes that are too small.

    Rather than throwing out the baby with the bathwater, start by getting both of your sit bone spans, then do the cut-out test, then make your best guess about pear vs. T shaped contour. If you want a 6 month no-questions-asked trial of a saddle take a look at www.wallbike.com Really, no matter what you do, you must start with your measurements, just like you would when going shoe shopping.

    (And no, hip size or body size have almost NOTHING to do with sit bone span. You can't guess based on the size of your butt. You have to boldly take command of your life, find those bones, and measure them!)
    Last edited by KnottedYet; 06-08-2010 at 09:36 PM.
    "If Americans want to live the American Dream, they should go to Denmark." - Richard Wilkinson

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    WA State
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    4,364
    Quote Originally Posted by trichick View Post
    Also, the bike shop fit expert told me that if I did have any issues adjusting to cornering, to use the top bar and I wouldn't miss the nose on the saddle.
    ?!?!?!?! I'm sorry...... I wouldn't trust any "expert" who told you to corner on your tops for more control..... For optimum control of your bike you, especially in a fast corner you always corner in your drops.

    Most of the control you have over turning your bike comes from your body, not from turning your handlebars. If you are going to consider a noseless saddle you best be very careful when adjusting to it and be even more careful if you plan on taking any fast corners. Some of them look very dangerous to me.
    "Sharing the road means getting along, not getting ahead" - 1994 Washington State Driver's Guide

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  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
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    1,057
    Quote Originally Posted by KnottedYet View Post
    Right now, to stretch a metaphor, all of us with size 10 feet are surrounded by a plethora of size 5, 6, and 7 shoes. They HURT. Saddles that are too narrow HURT as much as shoes that are too small.
    I love that analogy. Your saddle information is always the bestest of the best, but this analogy really drives home the point. Ooooo...perfect.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eden View Post
    ?!?!?!?! I'm sorry...... I wouldn't trust any "expert" who told you to corner on your tops for more control..... For optimum control of your bike you, especially in a fast corner you always corner in your drops.
    I assumed she meant using (pressure against) the top bar of the bike frame, instead of the nose of the saddle. Or doesn't that make sense?

    I'm one of those who can't really imagine not having a nose on my saddle. I'm used to riding a mtb, and I'm up and down and in and out of my saddle all the time, and I use the nose quite actively. I don't actually use the nose to sit on or lean forwards onto, but I use it for steering, and it keeps the rest of the saddle together

    I suspect how happy you are with a noseless saddle may have quite a bit to do with riding style. For me, I was happy with finding a saddle with a large enough cut-out that doesn't give pressure on the soft parts. I have had too narrow ones, that felt like sitting on an axe.
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by lph View Post
    I assumed she meant using (pressure against) the top bar of the bike frame, instead of the nose of the saddle. Or doesn't that make sense?

    I'm still with Eden on this one, even if the "expert" meant top TUBE rather than top BAR. Anyone who would recommend that kind of contortion and distortion of proper form, ESPECIALLY while cornering, is worrisome.

    (The lack of control and the need to stay in the saddle to maintain contact with the bike is why I had to give up on the noseless I bought. I don't sit like a princess; I haul the bike around with my body and shift weight all the time and am in and out of the saddle, and am generally like a monkey in a tree on my bikes.)
    "If Americans want to live the American Dream, they should go to Denmark." - Richard Wilkinson

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    SW Ohio
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    Quote Originally Posted by KnottedYet View Post
    A regular saddle that actually FITS YOU should be no more uncomfortable than sitting on a hard wooden chair. (if sitting on a wooden chair causes you numbness and soft tissue problems, then you want to be looking for a saddle that both fits your sit bones - 1 or 2 cm wider than your outside measurement, and with saddle cheeks that match your center-to-center measurement - AND that has a cut out.)

    A saddle that fits you will have you weightbearing on your sit bones, with no weightbearing on the soft tissue. If someone is weightbearing on soft tissue, they are perching on a saddle that is too narrow.
    My problem with a nosed saddle (personally) stems from the way I am built. I cannot maintain a road position with a nosed saddle without major pain in my soft tissue, stemming from the way my pelvis is built and how my weight gets distributed on a nosed saddle (and yes, I tried many nosed saddles in various widths/shapes, adjusted to various angles, etc etc.. I used to adjust my saddle every 5 miles on longer rides to see if I could eliminate the soft tissue pain. I rode with soft tissue pain for months, including tearing, bleeding, and missing skin. For me, it stems from the tilt of my pelvis in the road position (I experience similar problems when riding at a sitting trot on a horse in a forward hunt-seat position for extended periods of time, too.. part of why I switched to dressage), because I don't experience the same problems with a nosed saddle on my mountain bike that I ride in a much more upright position.

    While, yes, it is possible that I could find a nosed saddle that eventually would work for me.. eliminating the nose (or, in my case, going to what looks more like a split nose) immediately eliminated the soft tissue problems. I would much rather lose a tiny bit of maneuverability by having a noseless saddle than experiment for another 6 months and come up still mostly-uncomfortable on a nosed saddle. The fact that I can now ride 50 miles and be fine (other than tired legs and tired sitbones from being in the saddle for hours) rather than riding 15 miles and crying because my labia have been torn and I am miserable and want to go home is enough for me to stick with my noseless saddle and recommend at least TRYING them to someone with similar soft tissue issues.

    If you're going to experiment with nosed saddles of different shapes, sizes, and adjustments.. why not add a noseless saddle or two to your experiments and see if they work? It's really all trial and error, isn't it?
    “Hope is the thing with feathers, that perches in the soul, and sings the tune without words, and never stops at all.”
    - Emily Dickinson

  13. #13
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    No-where did I say someone shouldn't use a noseless saddle.

    She already tried one, and hated it.

    I suggest she measure herself and try a nosed saddle that fits before giving up on nosed saddles entirely and trying yet another noseless saddle.

    You are clearly the build that needs a split nose or cut-out. (remember my comment about sitting on a hard chair? There you are!) They have a purpose, which is why there are so many varieties out there. I've recommended your split nose saddle to several people.

    Edit to Add:

    Remember there are three basic things to know before shopping for saddles-
    1. Sit bone measurements (outside and center)
    2. Cut-out vs. Solid
    3. Pear contour vs. "T" contour

    There are a bazillion threads giving detailed instructions of various techniques to use to get these three pieces of info. Trying saddles without knowing these is kind of like trying on shoes randomly; you might get lucky, and you might end up spending a lot of money and getting frustrated.
    Last edited by KnottedYet; 06-09-2010 at 08:43 AM.
    "If Americans want to live the American Dream, they should go to Denmark." - Richard Wilkinson

  14. #14
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    Sep 2008
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    Quote Originally Posted by KnottedYet View Post
    I don't sit like a princess;
    I disagree. you DO sit like a princess
    I like Bikes - Mimi
    Watercolor Blog

    Davidson Custom Bike - Cavaletta
    Dahon 2009 Sport - Luna
    Old Raleigh Mixte - Mitzi

  15. #15
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    Oct 2009
    Location
    SW Ohio
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    Quote Originally Posted by KnottedYet View Post
    You are clearly the build that needs a split nose or cut-out. (remember my comment about sitting on a hard chair? There you are!) They have a purpose, which is why there are so many varieties out there. I've recommended your split nose saddle to several people.
    The hard chair test is actually not a very accurate test for me. My butt and thighs provide enough padding that I can't find any angle on a hard chair that hurts the same way a saddle does. Weird, huh?
    “Hope is the thing with feathers, that perches in the soul, and sings the tune without words, and never stops at all.”
    - Emily Dickinson

 

 

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