Perineal nerve relief tips (saddle and chamois suggestions)

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

Does your local bike shop have any test saddles?

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.

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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.

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.

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@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)

I sure did. Thanks for the catch.

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!

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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!

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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?

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+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.

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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

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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!

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I decided to add to this thread rather than create a new one.

I settled on a saddle about four years ago and it’s worked well. I always assumed that if you’re low on the bike and working hard, that part of riding a bike is your sex-organs going numb and that doesn’t really happen for a good 5+ minutes or so. However, a friend says that’s problematic. I’ve probably been through 25 saddles, bad a pressure analysis, and have a lot of saddles that don’t work. Saddle test-fit programs don’t work because you buy a saddle and they guarantee comfort, but only within their brand.

Do I keep looking or is this what I’m stuck with?

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Just wanted to say - I feel your pain. I’m working with my second bike fitter in a few years to sort out the same issue. I’ve lost count of how many saddles I’ve tried.

Currently using Specialized Power Arc 155mm - but numbness appears to still be an issue. I’ve only done 3 rides (all indoor) but the channel In the middle is the same size as the 143mm Power Arc which I used for 3 weeks and went frequently numb (unless I stood every 10-15mins for 60secs).

I’ve also just changed to Assos Evo bibs - most people seem to say they’re a great option so I formed out and am giving them a try. They’re pretty bulky but lots of padding.

I’ll be interested to see how you go and I’ll let you know how I progress too.

Also - I’m working with an exercise physiologist on core and glut strength issues because he thinks my long history of struggling with the issue more than the vast majority of people do suggests some body strength deficiencies. It’s a little too early in that process to notice huge differences (I’ve been seeing him around 2 months and doing his strength workouts at home 2-3x a week).

I just came across the Bontager Aeolus saddle. Haven’t tested it yet as my Pro Stealth is good enough (albeit not perfect), but it looks promising and the reviews are pretty good as well.

I got this in Dec. Totally cured numbness even riding long intervals on aerobars indoors, but I’m having problems with sit bone pain, particularly after returning from a trip where I took it off to use with rental bike - since returning it’s been impossible to dial back in to a tolerable position despite having measured things up carefully before taking it off. Feels like it digs in top top of rear thighs/hamstrings or something - it flares wider faster as you come back from the nose. Likely going to have to get a whole new bike fit done to resolve this now. Prior saddle was only 7mm narrower, but more traditional shape and no cutout - not even a depression, so sit bones better, but too much center pressure as I’ve been rotating forward/lower.

The number in my screen name reveals my birth year. I often qualify posts with my age since riders 30-50 years younger than me will simply not address issues the same way I do nor will they have the same issues. I don’t view myself as anything special by being on the bike at my age. I just like to ride. That being said, the topic of this thread used to be a significant limiter for me (the last 10 years). Regarding resolution, I decided early on that, over time, I’d learn more about what was going on than a fitter could learn in a static, time limited fit setting. My fitter confirmed that and provided valuable guidance on what to look for. I wasn’t changing what he did, but we both recognized some fine tuning was possible. This was not about me second guessing him. It took a long time to resolve, but along the way I recorded every attempt to address it. Eventually I had a record of what worked for me relative to saddle height, saddle pitch, saddle setback, saddle shape/construction/cushioning, kit padding, etc. The impact of some of these things was very subtle, but these issues were all part of the picture at some level. My most important discovery was that the issue commonly arose when my cockpit form fell apart (even just a little bit) with my pelvis tipping forward thus putting increased pressure on the perineal area. The onset of this condition could always be seen in locked out elbows which permitted the triceps and core to stop working, whereupon the back would become bowed in the lumbar region, rolling the pelvis forward, etc. (Form never fails on the fitter’s stand, but things change 3/4 of the way through a demanding 90 minute workout.) This could be brought on by fit issues and at times it was. While I could often improve things with subtle adjustments, I eventually saw there was no way I could “adjust” my way totally out of the issue. The last part of the equation was to “adjust me”. With conditioning coach guidance, I set to work on shoulders, triceps, and core, very specifically the TVA. (transverse abdominus muscle). I no longer have the issue while on the trainer. It will occasionally turn up while on the road on long climbs. When it does, its always about form collapse brought on by allowing triceps and/or core to take a time out. FWIW.

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I was having some problems & switched to the Specialized Power Comp saddle. I really like this saddle for longer distances.

n=1, but here is what has helped me: I’ve had back problems in the past, so when I ride my bike, I rotate my pelvis forwards so that my spine stays more neutral. But that can result in more uncomfortable pressure on the saddle. I recently switched to the Specialized Sitero Expert Gel saddle, which has been great. I think it’s designed for time trials/triathlon, but I use it on my road bike. It has a large cutout through the whole saddle, so there’s nothing in the middle to put pressure on anything. I’ve also found that bibs with a flat, thinner chamois work well for me, because I think it concentrates more pressure on the bones of my pelvis, rather than the soft tissue.