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Numbness continues(13 posts)

Numbness continuesGMS
Sep 15, 2002 10:05 AM
I am beginning to think that my numbness may be caused by too much material in the shorts bunching between me and the seat, and creating a pressure point. I don't know how I would go about fixing this though.

I wear Voler team shorts and Performance Elite shorts, mostly, and I have a small in both. I have a 30 inch waist. I have not tried a Voler extra small, but they say a small is the right size for my waist.

Has anyone else had a similar problem with bunching material? Is it possible that this is really the problem, or should I just keep trying new saddles?

re: Numbness continuesfiltersweep
Sep 15, 2002 11:15 AM
I don't know exactly how Voler are sized, or whether you have bibs or shorts... I have a 32" waist and wear a Euro large bib... mediums are usually too short and the bib straps create way too much tightness in the crotch. Also they usually end up being too tight in the legs. At a two inch smaller waist, I can't imagine a small would be too large. I don't really think it is the shorts, though... I have three bikes, each with a different saddle, and they all feel very different even when I wear the same bibs on each.

Bunching material? The lycra really doesn't "do anything" when you are sitting on the pad other than hold the pad in place, if you know what I mean. The pad does not stretch, so I do really see how this "bunching" can occur. Shorts/bibs are too large if the back of the pad sticks out like a diaper (isn't held against your butt).

What type of saddle do you use? Does it have any gel or cutout? Those saddles have caused more problems for me than a minimalist seat like the SLR. Probably most significant is your riding posture- in my opinion. If you are seated too upright, or have your weight too far back, there will be more weight placed on your butt and soft tissue. If you have a cutout or gel, the edges surrounding them can really dig into your butt.

There are a "bunch" of variables to consider... for example, I don't know how comfortable my SLR would be if I didn't have a carbon frame and seatpost...
Sep 15, 2002 12:51 PM
The saddle I have now is a Koobi Xenon, which has a cutout. The previous one did also. Both were comfortable other than the numbness.

I don't think I sit too upright, but I do sit far back enough that there isn't a lot of weight on my arms. If I push my seat way forward (almost time-trial like) and share my weight with my arms, then it helps the numbness part, but I don't think that is a good idea for a lot of reasons. It puts stress on my arms, I get less power, etc.

Interestingly, I've considered that I just sit on the seat incorrectly... like I sit too far forward and don't use the seat like it was intended. So, I move the seat forward to feel what it's like to sit towards the back of the seat more. Well, it doesn't happen. I naturally sit in the exact same place on the saddle, but my body is just closer to the bottom bracket now. So that doesn't work, unless I really force myself to sit on the back of the saddle. It very well may help if I were to force this all the time, but I shouldn't have to do that, should I?

I might try a non-cutout saddle like a Fiziks. I'd like to find somewhere I can return it if it doesn't work. That's why I bought the Koobi. I'll see.

Have you tried adjusting the tilt?Look381i
Sep 15, 2002 1:55 PM
If the nose tilts at all down, you'll not only have trouble staying on the saddle correctly, but you might also be contributing to numbness.

You probably know this already, but two things about saddles are counter-intuitive:
(1)a level or slightly uptilted saddle can put pressure where it should be--on the "sit bones"--and off the wrong parts; and (2) less saddle padding will often be more comfortable than more, at least with a good pair of shorts (like the Volers or Performance Elite).

I wear those shorts and find the SLR to be very comfortable, so long as the tilt is correct. The worst saddle mistake I ever made was falling for the impotency scare and trying a Specialized Body Geometry Comp: way too much padding, way too soft, major numbness and pain.
Have you tried adjusting the tilt?GMS
Sep 15, 2002 5:26 PM
Yeah, I've never been a fan of lots of padding. The Xenon is Koobi's firmest saddle. It is more comfortable than my last saddle, which had more padding.

I ride with my saddle level, and tried all positions with my last one. I'm going to try tilting this one back a tad.

Sep 15, 2002 4:42 PM
It doesn't help that a new saddle is usually "slippery" and it is easy to slide around.

I'd ditch the cutout- I had a Body Geometry as well, and I HATE it... it is dangerous. The edges of the cutout chewed me up.

I don't think that seat fore/aft adjustments need to be made in extreme changes (ie. moving the seat "way forward"). As others have said, I'd try angling your saddle nose up a bit- most saddle shapes create an optical illusion of being "level" even if they are pointed down.

One other question... is your seat too high? Are you rocking your hips and grinding/pivoting on your soft tissues?
Bingo. Saddle too high. I think that the fitters of the worldbill
Sep 16, 2002 7:26 AM
are encouraging people to have their saddles too high, which will cause you to sit forward on the saddle even before it causes hip rocking. There seems to be this idea that a full extension gives more power, but I don't buy it. I was professionally fit, encouraged to raise my saddle, did, and found that my butt was constantly crawling forward on the saddle. Did a century and was numb until the next day.
Then I lowered my saddle, got MORE power (feels like it, anyway; I think I'm using the hamstrings, lower back more than just the quads), and was much more comfortable. No more sliding forward onto the nose of the saddle; no more numbness. Bike actually felt as if it handled better, too.
BTW, I said "bingo" with more confidence than it deserves. You could have a lot of things going on. For me, though, absolutely level saddle works, with a saddle height based on planting my heel on the pedal (the accuracy of which would depend on the pedal height, the shoe thickness, and god knows what else).
Bingo. Saddle too high. I think that the fitters of the worldGMS
Sep 16, 2002 8:47 AM
I had convinced myself that my saddle was not too high because I've had it a centimeter higher than it is currently without my hips rocking, and this seat is also thinner than my previous one (thus lower for the same seat post position).

That said, I haven't tried lowering it, and I should. There is definitely a problem somewhere, and it is quite possible that this is it. I will try it.

I also have to try tilting it up a little bit, sitting differently, wearing different shorts, and all permutations of these factors in a somewhat controlled way. It will probably take me a few months.

Thank you.
For what it's worth, here's another vote forscottfree
Sep 16, 2002 9:21 AM
tilting the nose of the saddle up a bit. It worked wonders for me years ago, when I almost had to quit cycling altogether because of chronic intractable numbness. Twenty five years later, I'm still at it with nose proudly pointed to the sky.
How to sit on a saddleKerry
Sep 15, 2002 3:23 PM
Your body weight should be on your "sit bones" rather than on your crotch, as you seem to do. You say that you just naturally move forward on the saddle, regardless of its fore/aft position - this seems to be your problem. Perhaps this (and previous) saddles were too wide in the rear for you, and so you naturally move forward. At any rate, you either need to develop the habit of sitting properly, or get a saddle that encourages you to do so. Sitting forward on the saddle is most likely your problem, and will not be corrected by saddle tilt or by different shorts (unless your current shorts are hideous, which they are not). You also need to learn how to distribute more weight to your hands (what's wrong with this?) to take a bit of weight off the rear end. It will take some getting used to, but your hands can and should carry some weight.
How to sit on a saddleGMS
Sep 15, 2002 5:35 PM
I think my natural position is (mostly) on my sitbone for the following reasons:

1) If I move forward more than I naturally do, I immediately notice that almost 100% of my weight is on soft tissue. It doesn't feel good, and this is not how I sit.

2) When I artificially sit farther back than my natural position, I am basically sitting on my tailbone or something. And, I think my legs rub against the saddle. I haven't experimented a huge amount in this unnatural position. It might solve numbness but still isn't necessarily the correct way to sit.

Many people have mentioned that Koobi saddles "taught them how to sit," so I thought this might be the one. I didn't notice a radical difference (Koobi says your sit bones might need to adapt because they are taking more of the weight, but I was fine), but it is comfortable, and even more comforable than my previous one. Still, after 10 miles or so... (or whenever I notice. Sometimes I don't noticed until the end of the trip). As I said, it's quite comfortable, actually, but comfort doesn't mean circulation.

Thanks for your help, I'll try to pay attention to what position utilizes my sit bones the most.
re: Numbness continuesfbg111
Sep 15, 2002 4:42 PM
fwiw, I had the bunching problem too. I've been using a hard, unpadded, saddle. Strangely, the less padded shorts I wear with it, the more comfortable it is. When I wear my Nike dri-fit biking shorts with padded crotch, the pad tends to bunch up, creates a pressure point as you described, and after a few miles it becomes very uncomfortable. But wearing thin, unpadded shorts elminates this problem.
what type of saddle?GMS
Sep 15, 2002 5:37 PM
Did the saddle that contributed to your problem have a cut out, or not? I wonder if the material gets bunched in the cut out.