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Using No-nose (Noseless) Bicycle Saddles to Prevent Genital Numbness and Sexual Dysfunction

Categories: Emergency Response/Public Sector, Respiratory Health, Sports and Entertainment

two bicycle-mounted police officersOver 40,000 workers in public safety occupations ride bicycles as part of their job. They include police officers, emergency medical technicians (EMTs), and security staff who patrol by bicycle. Anecdotal reports from bicyclists had indicated that genital numbness, erectile dysfunction, and impotence are a concern.

The traditional bicycle saddle has a narrow nose or horn that protrudes under the groin as the cyclist straddles the bicycle. Ideally, the weight of the cyclist supported on the saddle should be under the pelvic sit bones. However, 25% or more of the body weight is supported where the groin contacts the saddle nose. This percentage greatly increases as the cyclist leans forward in more aerodynamic positions. Bearing weight on this region of the saddle compresses the nerves and arteries in the groin. These nerves and arteries run through the groin between the sit bones to the genitals. Research has shown that pressure on these nerves and arteries over time may lead to a loss of sensation and a decrease in blood supply to the genitals. This can contribute to the sexual and reproductive health effects that have been reported with bicycling.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) recently released a Workplace Solutions document titled No-nose Saddles for Preventing Genital Numbness and Sexual Dysfunction in Occupational Bicycling, which summarizes NIOSH research and recommendations. NIOSH researchers began investigating this issue as an occupational health concern in 2000 when complaints of groin numbness were received from officers in a Long Beach, California police bicycle patrol unit.1 In addition, NIOSH found that those bicycle police officers who exhibited more contact pressure on the saddle nose and who spent more time on their bicycle saddle had erections for a lower percentage of their sleeping time. Erections during sleep are a measure of genital health.2

In 2004, NIOSH conducted a study to examine the effect of bicycle saddle design on groin pressure. The study found that the traditional sport/racing saddle was associated with more than two times the pressure in the perineal region than the saddles without a protruding nose. There were no significant differences in perineal pressure among the no-nose saddles. Measures of weight distribution on the pedals and handlebars indicated no differences between the traditional saddle and those without protruding noses.3

To examine the benefit of saddles without a protruding nose, NIOSH conducted another study where bicycle police officers from five U.S. metropolitan areas used a no-nose saddle for their bicycles exclusively for 6 months. After 6 months, only three of the 90 men remaining in the study had returned to a traditional saddle. The study found a 66% reduction in saddle contact pressure in the perineal region, a significant improvement in penis tactile sensation, and a significant improvement in erectile function. The percentage of officers indicating that they experienced numbness to the buttocks, scrotum, or penis decreased from 73% while using traditional saddles at the beginning of the study to 18% after using no-nose saddles for 6 months.4

NIOSH research has focused mostly on police officers, security officers, and emergency medical personnel who use bicycles as part of their work, rather than on recreational/sport bicyclists. However, one study reported that 21% of sport cyclists reported genital numbness after a bicycle race and 13% reported impotence5 while other research reported a 61% incidence of genital numbness among cyclists and a 19% incidence in erectile dysfunction among cyclists riding more than 400 km (249 miles) per week.6

There is much less research on female cyclists and effects associated with traditional bicycle saddles. Previous studies found 40-70 percent of female cyclists experience genital numbness with a traditional saddle.7,8 NIOSH and researchers from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine-Montefiore Medical Center investigated the relationship between frequent and/or endurance bicycling on neurological and sexual function in women.9 The study concluded that there is an association between bicycling and decreased genital sensation in competitive female bicyclists. Additional research is warranted to further examine these issues among female cyclists.

Contrary to some cyclists’ belief, it is not normal for any part of your body to go numb or lose feeling. Numbness in the groin or genitals is a warning sign that should not be ignored. NIOSH recommends that workers who ride a bicycle as part of their job take the following steps to help prevent sexual and reproductive health problems:

  • Use a no-nose saddle for workplace bicycling. Give yourself time to get used to riding with a no-nose saddle. At first, it may seem very different from the saddle you have used in the past. No-nose saddles may not always be available at retail bicycle shops, but they are readily available for purchase through the Internet.
  • Seek guidance on proper bicycle fit from a trained bicycle fit specialist. Use of a no-nose saddle may require different saddle height and angle adjustments. Be sure that the no-nose saddle is adjusted according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Dismount the bicycle when at a standstill. Do not lean against a post or other object to stay seated on the bicycle saddle when you are not riding.
  • Dismount the bicycle if you begin to have numbness, tingling, or loss of feeling in any part of your body.

While much of the scientific community has reached a consensus about the association between erectile dysfunction and traditional bicycle saddles, no-nose saddle designs have not been universally embraced by many cyclists. Informal discussions with numerous police and security patrol cyclists have revealed substantial skepticism, and often outright rejection, of bicycle saddle designs that do not incorporate a traditional narrow protruding nose. One reason for this is that some cyclists believe that the absence of the saddle nose compromises stability, maneuverability, and handling of the bicycle. A recent study10 has shown that cyclists initially have a perception of decreased stability when beginning to use a no-nose saddle. However, the most recent NIOSH study4 showed that 96% of bike patrol officers who tried a no-nose saddle continued to use a no-nose saddle beyond the study completion, suggesting that these individuals were able to overcome initial perceptions of decreased stability.

As we continue our research, we would like to hear about your experiences with no-nose saddles. More information on no-nose bicycle saddles can be found on the NIOSH Bicycle Saddles and Reproductive Health topic page and in the new NIOSH Workplace Solutions document, No-nose Saddles for Preventing Genital Numbness and Sexual Dysfunction in Occupational Bicycling.

The NIOSH Research Team has been studying bicycle saddle pressure and reproductive health since 2000.

Dr. Schrader leads the Reproductive Health Assessment Team within the Biomonitoring and Health Assessment Branch in the NIOSH Division of Applied Research Technology (DART).

Dr. Lowe is a Research Industrial Engineer in the Human Factors and Ergonomics Research Team within the Organizational Science & Human Factors Branch, DART.

Mr. Breitenstein is a biologist in Reproductive Health Assessment Team within the Biomonitoring and Health Assessment Branch, DART.

References

  1. Schrader, S. M., M.J. Breitenstein, and B. Lowe. 2001 City of Long Beach Police Department, Long Beach, CA HETA 2000, 0305-2848
  2. Schrader, S.M., M. J. Breitenstein, J.C. Clark, B. D. Lowe, and T. W. Turner. 2002. Nocturnal Penile Tumescence and Rigidity Testing of Bicycling Patrol Officers. Journal of Andrology 23:927-934.
  3. Lowe, B., S. Schrader, and M. Breitenstein. 2004. Effect of Saddle Design on the Perineal Pressure of the Bicyclist. Sports Medicine. Med Sci Sports Exerc 36:1055-1062.
  4. Schrader, SM, MJ Breitenstein, and BD Lowe. 2008. Cutting Off the Nose to Save the Penis. J Sex Med. 5:1932-1940.
  5. Andersen, K.V. and G. Bovim. Impotence and Nerve Entrapment in Long Distance Amateur Cyclists. Acta Neurol Scand 95:233-240. 1997.
  6. Sommer, F, D Konig, C Graf, U Schwarzer, C Bertram, T Klotz and U Engelmann. Impotence and Genital Numbness in Cyclists. Int J Sports Med 22:410-413. 2001
  7. Buller, JC. Female Cyclists and Perineal Symptoms: An Experimental Bicycle Seat. Clinc J Sprts Med 11:289-290. 2001.
  8. Slaimpour P, M Doursounian, J Catney-Kiser, M Adelstein, SS Gliolami, CC Wen, M LaSalle, CA Kim, B Goldstein, L Goldstien, K Hablow, S Viatones, S Levinson, RJ Krane, and I Goldstein. Sexual and urinary tract dysfunction in bicyclists. J Urol. 1998;159(suppl):30
  9. Guess MK, KA. Connell1, SM. Schrader, S Reutman, A Wang, J Lacombe, C Toennis, B Lowe, A Melman, and MS Mikhail. 2006. Genital Sensation & Female Sexual Function In Cyclists And Runners: Are Your Feet Safer Than Your Seat? Journal of Sexual Medicine 3:1018-1027.
  10. Bressel, E, Bliss, S, and Cronin, J 2009. A field-based approach for examining bicycle seat design effects on seat pressure and perceived stability, Applied Ergonomics, 40(3), 472-476.

Public Comments

Comments listed below are posted by individuals not associated with CDC, unless otherwise stated. These comments do not represent the official views of CDC, and CDC does not guarantee that any information posted by individuals on this site is correct, and disclaims any liability for any loss or damage resulting from reliance on any such information. Read more about our comment policy ».

  1. April 22, 2009 at 12:41 pm ET  -   Joe Andruzzi

    The one issue that has risen with officers riding a no-nose saddle is wrist pain and/or hand numbness. This can be directly associated to improper seat angle. Once properly fit these issues are usually alleviated. Generally speaking, most cyclists are not “professional” riders. Many are ignorant to the importance of saddle angle and without the nose of the saddle they tend to want to tilt the saddle forward to compensate. While the benefits of using a no-nose saddle can not be overstated, it is equally important to ensure a rider has proper seat angle. To do otherwise only creates the situation for other health problems to arise.

    Link to this comment

    • AUTHOR COMMENT April 22, 2009 at 3:40 pm ET  -   Steve Schrader, Brian Lowe, and Michael Breitenstein

      You make an extremely important point. Pain and/or numbness are medical warning signs. Pain and numbness are never normal and should never be ignored whether in groin, the wrist, or any other part of the body. Proper bicycle fit is extremely important. As you indicate, the saddle angle is very important when using no-nose saddles. Professional police bicycling organizations or local bicycle shops can help ensure proper bicycle fit.

      Whether you ride a traditional saddle or a no-nose saddle do not ignore pain or numbness in any part of your body. Thank you for your comment. We encourage others to respond with their experiences and expertise in using no-nose saddles.

      Link to this comment

  2. April 22, 2009 at 1:51 pm ET  -   Lauren

    Using a no-nose saddle has changed my life…truly! I can ride for hours in comfort now and race triathlons with no discomfort. It’s wonderful. Prior to getting my no-nose saddle, I was miserable after the first 30 minutes on my bike. I would stand while riding, even on flat roads and flat bike trails, just to give myself a break from the discomfort. The no-nose saddle was the best purchase I have made for my road bike and my body. I wondered when I bought the no-nose saddle if it would be hard to get used to, but it wasn’t. In fact, it took less than a day before it felt completely natural and I’m not the most coordinated person I know.

    All I can say is don’t wait to consider a no-nose saddle until you’re in pain, numb or worse! Be proactive. Get one now, before you need it or it’s too late and damage has been done. I was fortunate, I got my no-nose saddle long before there was any damage to my body. It was the right decision and I cannot tell enough people how great these saddles are.

    There are a wide variety of no-nose saddles on the market. Some seem to be made more for recreational riders and mountain or hybrid bike owners, others for athletes or road bike owners. Some are made for smaller, narrow framed riders and others are made for taller, and wider framed riders. If the first on you try doesn’t work for you, keep trying. I’m convinced you’ll find one to fit you and your riding needs. And once you find the right saddle, you will wonder why you didn’t get one sooner.

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  3. April 22, 2009 at 10:17 pm ET  -   Mike

    I know this article raises concern over bicycle riders, but I have suffered numbness numerous times on the expensive exercise bikes at the local gym. I am sure this applies to them also. I will be sharing this information with my gym management to educate them of the these issues. If this is affecting healthy individuals, imagine the effects on the overweight people in gyms accross the country.

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  4. April 24, 2009 at 1:12 pm ET  -   Dinara Strikis

    Besides the effects of pressure, is there any strong evidence of negative effects of heat on reproductive health in occupational bicyclists? Of course modern bicycle saddles and bike shorts used by competitive bicyclists are designed for some ventilation and moisture reduction in the groin area. However, it seems that patrolling on a bicycle for several hours a day will generate much heat in the groin area regardless of the material of the saddle or clothing worn. Moreover, I have seen several images of policemen patrolling on bicycles wearing loose fitting pants or shorts, perhaps for the sake of modesty, which are conducive to trapping heat and moisture. Does heat play a roll in reproductive problems in occupational cyclists?

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    • AUTHOR COMMENT April 24, 2009 at 5:57 pm ET  -   Steve Schrader, Brian Lowe, and Michael Breitenstein

      NIOSH does not have any data on this topic. Generally, trapping of moisture and heat can lead to chafing in the groin area. There have been some concerns that heat may cause fertility problems; however, the studies conducted on male fertility parameters and biking are inconclusive.

      Link to this comment

  5. April 25, 2009 at 11:23 pm ET  -   Brian M.

    Noseless saddles might make sense for people who cannot find a regular bicycle saddle that fits them, just like having a bicycle frame custom made to your size would make sense—if you cannot find a stock size that fits because of short torso, unusually long legs, etc. But to advocate it as the first choice does not appear to make sense. For most people, many of the supposed benefits will be nothing that could not have been achieved through proper bike fit, and what is given up is the intuitive control of the bike that, in traffic, could be the difference between avoiding the car that runs the stop sign and becoming a fatal statistic.

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    • AUTHOR COMMENT April 27, 2009 at 2:19 pm ET  -   Steve Schrader, Brian Lowe, and Michael Breitenstein

      NOSH has always advocated proper bicycle fit and has recommended that occupational cyclists seek the assistance of a bike fit specialist. However, bicycle fit alone can not eliminate pressure to the groin from a traditional nosed saddle. In the more upright position of a bicycle patrol officer on a mountain bike, it has been shown that 25-35% of the body weight will be on the saddle nose. If a cyclist leans forward to a more aerodynamic position this percentage typically increases due to the shape of the pelvis. As mentioned in the Workplace Solutions document, a no-nose saddle will feel different. The document recommends taking some time to acclimate to the feel of a no-nose saddle. The 2008 study showed that after a 6-month period of no-nose saddle use over 90% of the police officers continued to use the no-nose saddle. None of the 90+ police officers reported losing control of their bicycle. If there were a control problem with these saddles, we believe that police officers would not have continued their use.

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  6. May 2, 2009 at 8:58 pm ET  -   Jeff C.

    I would like to try a noseless saddle but my local bike shop doesn’t have them. Are there many different styles available? How much are they? Where can I compare them? Where can I buy them?

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    • AUTHOR COMMENT May 4, 2009 at 11:37 am ET  -   Steve Schrader, Brian Lowe, and Michael Breitenstein

      There are several styles and manufacturers of no-nose saddles which can be found on the Internet by searching no-nose or noseless saddles. The price range can vary from $25-$275.

      Link to this comment

  7. August 17, 2009 at 1:42 pm ET  -   Howard

    I am a fairly serious sports rider and use a no-nose saddle. my friends all kid me about the lack of control but that is nonsense. I can still maneuver as well as ever by using my body weight more during turns. Vertical stability is not compromised at all.

    I would be ineterested in what no-nose seats you tested and which you feel are best.

    Link to this comment

    • AUTHOR COMMENT August 17, 2009 at 4:56 pm ET  -   Steve Schrader

      Thank you for your posting. Bicycle control seems to be the biggest concern expressed when cyclists are considering a no-nose saddle. As you have indicated, within a short time of using no-nose saddles, there is very little, if any loss of control.

      Our study was designed to evaluate the concept of no-nose saddles and not to compare the various saddle brands or designs. Nine saddles which were available on the Internet were used and the police officers were allowed to select the one that worked best for them. So our research and conclusions are based on saddles without a protruding nose and not a specific brand or design. Looking at the various no-nose saddles available, one should select a saddle that fits them and their riding style. Some saddles promote an upright position while other will promote a more forward aero position.

      Link to this comment

  8. September 3, 2009 at 10:54 am ET  -   Bill Bartmann

    Great site…keep up the good work.

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  9. November 23, 2009 at 6:27 am ET  -   Jay Wallace

    I have been racing pushbikes for 8 years and have won numerous state championships. After spending hours upon hours in the saddle i am happy to report that i have no problems of any kind. My latest seat is split down the center to relieve pressure and is ultra comfy.

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    • AUTHOR COMMENT November 23, 2009 at 3:03 pm ET  -   Steve Schrader

      Finding a saddle that is comfortable for you is important. We all recognize that no disease or aliment affects everyone. I hope you continue to be free of any adverse effects. It should be noted that several scientific studies have shown that split or holed saddles do not improve blood flow or alleviate the pressure for most cyclists. The blood vessels do not run down the center of the groin but instead off center. Some published scientific studies have actually shown some split saddles increase the pressure on the blood vessels because the edge of the groove aligns with these vessels. No-nose saddles continue to be the only saddle scientifically proven to remove the pressure from blood vessels and nerves in the groin.

      Link to this comment

  10. November 28, 2009 at 4:16 pm ET  -   Jack

    I think the noseless bike seats are a great idea! They should have started equipping bikes with these types of seats a long time ago, or at least give you an option?

    It is very uncomfortable as a man with short legs, and trying to balance the bike, while both feet are planted flat on the ground.

    Another great idea are foldable bikes, everything (including the seat) are adjustable. I bought one and take it with me everywhere I go. It fits perfectly in my back trunk of my car. You can take to the park, on the bus, to the mall. It’s so light weight; it’s about the weight of a backpack.

    Peace,
    Jack

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  11. March 12, 2010 at 3:23 pm ET  -   Greg

    What particular noseless seat is recommended for cyclists with ED? Has anyone with ED recovered health while still biking when using the no-nose seat?

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    • AUTHOR COMMENT March 15, 2010 at 12:57 pm ET  -   Steve Schrader

      If a cyclist is experiencing erectile function problems, he should verify the cause of this health problem with a physician and rule out other serious conditions. ED has a wide definition to the general public and is more specifically defined by the medical community. The medical definition is not having an erection rigid enough for penetration. Many men have sexual function issues that would not be defined as ED.

      The only data I am aware of that evaluated changes in health function with noseless saddles is the study mentioned here. There were improvements in penis sensation and erectile function but none of the men were experiencing ED by the medical definition. Our study used several different noseless saddles and there was no attempt to compare and contrast the effectiveness of individual saddle brands.

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  12. April 17, 2010 at 11:13 pm ET  -   Jon

    I’ve been riding for several years in triathlons and always used the “stock” seat on both my road bike and mountain bike with no problems.
    I’ve recently started commuting on my and now I am getting an achy soreness in my testes and groin. No numbness, no ED, just soreness. I am thinking that nose-less seat may be the way to go, given that I want to keep riding. Also I am middle aged so have more to worry about w/ those issues. Should I try a more expensive or “split” seat, or try one of these (odd looking) noseless seats? I have been looking at one called a “spongy wonder”.

    Link to this comment

    • AUTHOR COMMENT April 21, 2010 at 9:55 am ET  -   Steve Schrader

      Soreness in the testes, groin, or any other part of the body, should be evaluated by a medical professional.

      When choosing a new bike saddle, please note that several scientific studies have shown that split or holed saddles do not improve blood flow or alleviate the pressure for most cyclists. The blood vessels do not run down the center of the groin but instead off center. Some published scientific studies have actually shown some split saddles increase the pressure on the blood vessels because the edge of the groove aligns with these vessels. No-nose saddles continue to be the only saddle scientifically proven to remove the pressure from blood vessels and nerves in the groin.

      We cannot recommend a specific brand. Our study used several different noseless saddles and there was no attempt to compare and contrast the effectiveness of individual saddle brands. When looking at the various no-nose saddles available, one should select a saddle that fits them and their riding style. Some saddles promote an upright position while other will promote a more forward aero position.

      Link to this comment

  13. May 8, 2010 at 4:42 am ET  -   newfoundl

    I worry about ability to put power into my bike on a saddle with no nose.

    I haven’t spent much time on them but I feel awkward using them. Isn’t there an alternative to this?

    Link to this comment

    • AUTHOR COMMENT May 11, 2010 at 11:00 am ET  -   Steve Schrader

      There are no published scientific studies of other alternative methods or equipment which removes the harmful pressure from the groin. Just like learning to ride your bike, with practice you will readily adapt to the no-nose saddle.

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  14. May 8, 2010 at 9:32 pm ET  -   Alberto

    What about just making an angle in a normal saddle? Putting the saddle nose pointing a bit to the floor seems that helps. I just did that and will test.

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    • AUTHOR COMMENT May 11, 2010 at 11:00 am ET  -   Steve Schrader

      There are no published scientific studies showing that saddle angle can completely alleviate the harmful groin pressure. Certainly, a tilt downward is better than upward. If the saddle nose is supporting part of your body weight, you are compressing blood vessels and nerves in the groin. Our data and that of other indicates that a rider in a upright position puts about 25% their body weight on the saddle nose. As the cyclist leans forward into a more aero position, this percentage increases, thus increasing the pressures on the blood vessels and nerves.

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  15. May 9, 2010 at 8:36 pm ET  -   Ann

    I tried the spongy wonder and the easy seat to get away from the “nose”, but found that my 74-yr-old sit bones did not like the pressure. So, now I am going to try the Planet Bike 5018 ARS anatomic seat which is shorter than most women’s saddles, and has more padding. On women, the nerves run along the sides of the vagina so unless the “hole” is wide enough, it doesn’t work. And so far, the “hole” has not been wide enough.

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    • AUTHOR COMMENT May 11, 2010 at 11:15 am ET  -   Steve Schrader

      The actual nerve location in men and women are very similar. The reason a split or holed saddle does not work and causes women discomfort is the location of the internal bodily structures. The internal structures called the crus of clitoris runs along the pelvic arch and the vestibular glands run just off the midline of the perineum. An internet search will show the location of these structures. These structures are blood filled erectile tissue. There is no place for a saddle nose to apply pressure without compressing these structures regardless of the size of the split or hole in the saddle.

      There are more than a dozen different no-nose saddles available. I would suggest you continue to look for the one that best fits your body structure and riding style.

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  16. August 4, 2010 at 7:50 pm ET  -   George

    I am a recreational rider who uses a light road bike and likes a moderately aerodynamic body position (not extreme aero bar time trial position). In several internet searches, I have not been able to find a noseless saddle that looks like it was designed for an aerodynamic road bike position. Most of the noseless saddles seem to be designed for a more upright body position, some ads explicitly state that they are for upright positions. They all look like if you are in a semihorizontal aerodynamic position, the front edge of the saddle will cut into the back of your thighs when at the bottom of the pedal stroke, and your arms will have to support much more weight. Also, I have not seen a listed saddle weight under 600 grams, more than double what a good road bike saddle weighs. Are you aware of any noseless saddle designs that would be comfortable when riding in an aerodynamic position?

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  17. September 8, 2010 at 12:26 pm ET  -   Kevin Megan

    I believe manufacturer of bike companies should redesign there bikes

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  18. December 27, 2010 at 9:01 pm ET  -   Evan

    Great study! i’m so glad this study was supported and published. I am preparing to prototype saddle designs which provide comfort while maintaining handling (cornering) capabilities-as a commuter, my handlebars are at saddle level. Unfortunately for me, handling and body english frequently employ a saddle nose. Some sporty aero cyclists actually pedal positioned on the nose at times-can’t be comfortable. I am hoping through custom, individual fitting, focused on isolation and support of sit bones, that I can produce a steering nose that never requires (25%) seated weight.

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  19. May 4, 2011 at 2:21 pm ET  -   Diane B. Lees

    I am a professional bicycle fitter. Our shop fits, designs, and builds custom bicycles. I also perform upwards of 165 re-fits per cycling season.

    Numbness and pain are almost ALWAYS a function of improper fit and placement of the pelvis on the saddle.

    I have fit over 1500 riders in the past 10 years and only 1 has had a consistent problem that, in the end, forced him to stop riding long distances because of penile numbness.

    Noseless saddles, in my opinion, do not usually offer enough support at the front of the saddle; instead, the rider is perched on the bicycle in an awkward position.

    95% of all the fittings I do require that I move the saddle forward on the rails from 1/2-3cm; this tucks the saddle up under the rider, doing away with the constant pushing back that we almost always see.

    Best regards,
    Diane Lees
    Co-Owner HubBub Custom Bicycles
    Chesterland, Ohio
    hubbubcustom.com

    Link to this comment

    • AUTHOR COMMENT May 6, 2011 at 10:23 am ET  -   Steve Schrader

      Thank you for your post. We need to continually remind cyclists the importance of proper bicycle fit. This is also part of recommendations of the NIOSH Workplace Solutions Document.

      Our experience with noseless saddles is difffernt than yours. In our study, only 3 of 91 bicycle police officers returned to traditional saddles indicating a wide acceptance of the noseless saddle. There are many different noseless saddles designs offering the cyclist many different saddle positions.

      You also need to be aware that the elimination of urogenital numbness and/or pain is not an indication that the cyclists are safe from urogenital damage. In fact some individuals presenting with sexual dysfunction have not indicated urogenital numbness or pain. Cyclists put 25% or more of their body weight on the saddle nose. This pressure is great enough to constrict the nerves and blood vessels because this area of the body was not “made” to be weight bearing.

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  20. June 29, 2011 at 10:29 pm ET  -   Kevin

    My saddle with a nose seems to be of a much more modern design than the one you chose, why should I beleive that a saddle which is raised in the center is representative of saddles which have a valley through the center?

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    • AUTHOR COMMENT July 6, 2011 at 11:54 am ET  -   Steve Schrader

      While bicycle saddles with troughs, grooves, or center cut-outs may feel better because the internal penis fits into this area, the nerve and blood supplies to the penis lie along the sides of the internal penis, therefore the pressure on these key structures actually increases along the edges of the trough restricting blood flow. Although your particular model may not have been tested, studies suggest that grooved, cutout designs may not be better, and may be worse, than a solid saddle nose seat.

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  21. August 7, 2011 at 8:59 am ET  -   John Shannon, M.D.

    Nice discussion. It’s good to see NIOSH responding to comments, even the more controversial ones. That is great!

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  22. August 19, 2011 at 8:25 am ET  -   EMEL

    Saludos, desde que leí estos estudios de NIOSH en diciembre de 2010 inicié el uso de “Sillin sin nariz”. Para mi fue la solución para el entumecimiento genital que lo sentia durante todo el tiempo que permanecia montado en la bicicleta. llevo estos 7 meses montando regularmente y paricipando en competencias recreativas. con la silla sin nariz me he aliviado del entumecimineto genital y mi comportamiento erectil y sexual ha mejorado.

    English Translation: Greetings, since I read these NIOSH studies in December, 2010, I started using the “No-nose Saddle”. For me it was the solution for the genital numbness I had always felt while I was on my bicycle. For the past 7 months I have been riding regularly and participating in recreational competitions. The no-nose saddle has relieved the genital numbness and my erectile and sexual functioning has improved.

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  23. February 10, 2012 at 1:08 am ET  -   Sexual & Reproductive Health Thousand Oaks

    Wow, great article, I really appreciate your thought process and having it explained properly, thank you!

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  24. February 12, 2012 at 10:25 pm ET  -   Sarah

    This is super helpful information. I know several cyclists who have invested in a Spongy Wonder which only has pads for your ischial tuberosities but without the nose of the saddle. They rave about the absence of pain and they skillfully ride hundreds of miles over diverse terrain. Bicycling without a nose certainly takes some getting used to but the long-term benefits have been well articulated above. I plan on passing this article along to all the cyclists I know! Thank you for your post!

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  25. February 21, 2012 at 5:13 am ET  -   Terry

    The links between reduced sperm count and bike riding have long been known. I remember even decades ago, it being raised and heavily debated as part of my science degree. What is enlightening here is the the use of well documented research data that you have provided. Even more encouraging, is the effort being made to provide practical measures through the use of changed seat design. This is particularly timely bearing in mind the increase in the number of bike riders seeing bikes as an alternative, environmentally friendly ( but perhaps not conducive to good sexual health) form of transport.

    One problem which still needs to be addressed however, is the impact of the clothes worn by the cyclist. Sperm production has been shown to peak around 94 degrees and so the use of looser clothes, perhaps by switching from briefs to boxers and finding alternatives to “lycra type” specialist bike clothing, can make a worthwhile difference also.

    Webmaster of parkpcs10

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  26. April 27, 2012 at 12:06 pm ET  -   Robert Farr

    Dear Centre for Disease Control and Prevention,

    I live in the UK, I have really enjoyed looking at your information. Cycling seems like such a good idea and I hope that the idea of using a nose less saddle becomes more wide spread. I used to cycle to work. Cycling is encouraged in the UK. Yes, pain in the groin was a huge problem. There certainly is a lot of pressure to go faster. One solution to saddle soreness is to ride a BMX. For a larger rider, like myself, a BMX provides a bike which one does not have to sit down upon. A BMX is a cheap and cheerfull solution for short journeys but, by the time one has dressed for cycling. You may as well have walked there. This nose free saddle is a great development in research.

    Many Thanks

    Robert Farr (UK)

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  27. May 21, 2012 at 3:53 pm ET  -   Ann Barbiero

    What bicycle seat is recommended for an Interstitial Cystitis patient, recreational rider, on a 2012 17″ (product name removed) upright hybrid bike? I am 5’3″. I get burning bladder pain from my traditional (name removed) bicycle seat. I was diagnosed with IC in 1994. Bicycle riding sets off a flareup of the IC.

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    • May 22, 2012 at 4:10 pm ET  -   Steven Schrader, Brian Lowe and Michael Breitenstein

      Noseless saddles reduce pressure on the perineal area. You should consult with your urologist to determine if changing to a noseless saddle would be beneficial to you.

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  28. August 12, 2012 at 3:17 pm ET  -   andy

    Loss of sensitivity is also a big problem for female cyclists too from what I’ve read. Although not to the extent of affecting reproductive health as in males.

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  29. September 12, 2012 at 5:48 am ET  -   Stuart Burge

    Bike set up is a very personal thing in my experience, and can take an age to get right. I partake in triathlons now and, only just recently have I perfected my ride position. The nose of the saddle has always been an issue in the tri-position on the bike, and lowering it only raises your rear end due to the sea saw effect. I actually managed to perfect it by being brutal with my seat height in the end, i lowered it by 10 mm and found that all pain disappeared. I still get a little numbness in the perennial area in longer rides though. I think I would definitely have had a professional bike fit in the future, especial if I buy a new bike. By the way I couldn’t help thinking of Lance Armstrong and his fight with testicular cancer reading this…

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  30. November 15, 2012 at 7:41 pm ET  -   Farmer

    I read with interest the infomation posted and am wondering if the traditional bike seat can be responsible for inflaming nerves, can it also have some bearing on Prostate i.e. raised PSA levels?

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    • November 16, 2012 at 11:40 am ET  -   Steve Schrader

      We did not look at PSA levels in our research. The studies that have been done in this area offer conflicting results.

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