Perineal nerve relief tips (saddle and chamois suggestions)


#1

I’m on a forever hunt to make my “nether regions” (as Jonathan would say) more comfortable on my rides. I’m probably more susceptible to perineal nerve pinching than the next guy. Trainer rides are the worst since I don’t have a rocker plate and the lack of movement makes the problem even worse. To be clear, this isn’t a blood flow issue - this is a nerve issue.

What have you guys found helps specifically with keeping the pressure off of your perineal nerve? I’ve found the Pro Stealth saddle, or any saddle with a large channel makes a big difference. I’m currently on the hunt for bibs/chamois that focuses on the same thing - I’m considering even trying women’s specific bibs because they seem to have more focus on channels in their chamois for a woman’s “nether regions”

Anyone else have any breakthroughs that can help? I’d love to be able to stay seated on my saddle for 30 minutes straight without going numb down there and that’s not an exaggeration. I have to stand every 10 minutes at least in order to provide some relief.


#2

@utahbiker I have found the sqlab saddles to be helpful. They not only have a bit of a recessed channel (I agree that most times this doesn’t seem to help) but the actual design of of the whole saddle seems to make a bike difference as well as the “active” technology. I have six different bikes and a version of an sqlab saddle is on every one of them now. I have a large tub container full of nearly new saddles that didn’t make a difference. They aren’t inexpensive but they seem to work for me. They come in different sizes and they will send you a free sit bone test kit to help determine the right width of saddle. For me I think finding a saddle wide enough for my sit bones was part of the issue. I’m 6’4” so probably don’t fit into the normal saddle range. Here the link for the US/North American distributor https://sqlab-usa.com


#3

This stuff can be pretty complicated to tease out. I’d suggest speaking to a good bike fitter. Get someone to have a look at both you and your set up.

FWIW, I’ve just come off the back of what was effectively a straddle injury caused by hitting a couple of potholes really hard whilst going full gas on the drops with a training buddy. I had the perfect storm of old saddle and old bibs. I’ve thought through carefully saddle options, position and shorts. All the worn out shorts are binned. I’ve replaced my saddle with a S-Works Romin Evo which is very compliant. If shifted it forward and angled it slightly nose down to prevent me sitting on the nose when riding hard. So far, so good👍


#4

I’ve had multiple bike fits, I should have mentioned. They have helped with overall comfort, but finding the equipment to help with the never sensitivity is the current quest. Bike fitter said find a saddle with a channel in it. It helps, but looking for more help since it’s still an issue


#5

Does your local bike shop have any test saddles?


#6

We have at least one local bike fitter / training company that has a saddle demo program. Something to pursue if you have one in your area.

I was having nerve issues with Selle SMP saddle, and swapped it out for a Specialized Power Arc Expert. That improved things, and I can now ride the longer +/- 2.5 hour trainer sessions with only 2 or 3 short breaks (versus 6-8 on Selle SMP).

Ultimately will build my own rocker plate and see if I can improve things further.


#7

Blockquote Does your local bike shop have any test saddles?

Some do, but I’ve found their inventory to be very limited with their demo saddles.


#8

I’d recommend you finding a fitter that also does saddle pressure analysis. Not knowing your riding style or experience on the bike, it could possibly be your posture on the bike, and specifically on the saddle. Your contact points on the bike (saddle, bars, pedals) may be “off” enough that’s causing you to compensate in your posture hence the comment you made about moving forward in the saddle. Without seeing it first hand, this community can help guide but not truly direct you to the best solution. I’d suggest continued patience with your fitter, or network with one that does saddle pressure analysis. Retul has the device in their inventory. However, finding a fitter that knows what they are doing seems to be problematic as well. Good luck in your search. If you’re willing to travel to Texas, I can recommend my fitter. Shoot me a DM and we can connect.


#9

@bigdaddynewt - think you meant to reply to utahbiker, but in case you didn’t I’ve had a Retul fit done and have no problems riding outside (just long trainer rides)


#10

I sure did. Thanks for the catch.


#11

Women chamois? Oh dear. Desperate times…

Two simple things:

  1. Bike fit by a reputable bike fitter.

Don’t skimp. It will take hours and cost a decent amount. It’s worth it to ensure you have the proper bike setup.

  1. High quality bibs.

Don’t be a Roscoe and wear them sh*ts until they are see through. Sure, good bibs cost more but don’t try to stretch there use. Simply put, your taint deserves better. Replace when worn. Wear good bibs/shorts on the trainer as well.

You will have to try a few brands that work for you. I can’t wear bibs that don’t have the proper proportions for my big ole booty. Assos out. Castelli kind of fits but the seams in the front will pull apart. Louis G. Forget about it.

Pactimo, Coure and Rapha Pro (only pro) however works. TrIal and error. If you fit women’s bibs more power to you. Lots of cute colors.

Good luck and long live the pain free nether!


#12

I too suffer badly with numbness on the trainer in a very short space of time and really feel for you.

I got close to sorting it on the road through two things - Specialized Romin (original shape carbon one with least padding, I like a curve at back as tend to push into it) and months of core and muscle activation work.

My fitter (one of the best if not the best in the UK IMHO - her background is physio not a 2 day retul course) told me I was the problem not the bike. An 8 week rehab programme sorted so many things and I ended up super comfy and powerful.
Whole fit cost the price of 2 physio sessions, half the price of a previous fit that I never liked (done by a bike mechanic who had done a 2 day retul course!)

Couple of years on with an injury this summer I am suffering. Terribly on trainer and a little on road. I’m going back to that programme before start spending on saddles - got a box of them that I don’t like already!

My short response - see a physio at least once, have them assess you and see if that’s the issue. It was with me, and is again now!


#13

Probably the cheapest place to start is playing with the tilt of your existing saddle, and in particular dropping the nose slightly.

Saddle tilt is a pretty subtle adjustment - 1 turn of the bolts is plenty to adjust in any one step. If you find yourself sliding forward, then that is too far.

It may or may not solve the problem, but as it costs nothing, why not try?


#14

+1 to this –

When I had my fit for a custom bike, the builder tilted my saddle ever-so-slightly forward – and it was a game changer.

I struggled with perineal nerve issues forever – this fixed it. I also use a Selle Italia superflow and I love it.


#15

I have a similar issue on the trainer, total numbness after 20-30 mins with a variety of saddles.

I’ve bought a Brooke’s cambium c17 carved for long distance riding and stuck it on my turbo bike this evening. Did clarke (1.5 hrs) and experienced no issues what so ever. The saddle is brand new so not even broken into my particular arse shape so I was very impressed. It’s a weighty thing though, so I’ll be continuing to use my Selle Italia SLR for shorter rides


#16

I have also had issues off and on with saddle comfort/numb “nether regions”, particularly on the trainer. I’ve found that getting shorts with a chamois that “seats” well with your chosen saddle can be a game changer! My collegiate team always had Hincapie stuff and I often went numb and changed saddles I don’t know how many times as a result.

Eventually I started racing for other teams and found that the chamois from Louis Garneau and DNA made my Shimano Stealth saddle so much more comfortable. Both have thinner padding down the center channel and have firmer padding under the sit bones so it almost plays off the saddle and creates a hammock effect for your “nether regions”.

Also, don’t be afraid to try the opposite gender bibs, most good brands will have straight black if you were concerned :slight_smile: . I’m a woman and the Louis Garneau bibs I have are mens and the DNA bibs are womens. It’s more about what fits your anatomy and is most comfortable.

Best of luck!