The narrow area which goes through the scrotum from the anus is called the perineum. If we compare cycling with other types of sports, we realize cycling is actually safe and there is less risk of getting injured from cycling. But there are certain parts of a cycle such as a saddle, the handlebar, and the pedal which can cause injuries.
Most of the cyclists complain about ‘Sore Bum’ which they experience after prolonged hours of cycling. This is actually the perineum that falls victim to pressure leading to trauma. The perineum contains blood vessels, so it is very sensitive. To avoid getting a perineal injury, you should be careful and get proper knowledge first before you are going to buy a new saddle. According to your bike and your riding posture on it, we have created a list of saddles that will prevent this type of pressure.
How to Choose a Bike Saddle
If you are trying to avoid perineum pressure, then select a saddle that we have already mentioned at the top of our discussion based on your preferable type of cycling. Try to consider the following topics if you want a saddle that can prevent perineum pressure.
Make sure you are not cycling with the following types of saddles:
- Your saddle is heavily padded yet narrow at the same time.
- Your saddle has medium padding with a V-shaped groove yet narrow
- A wider leather seat but has minimum padding or unpadded.
- For women, a wide saddle and has medium padding but there is no nose.
Research shows that in spite of having more padding the first saddle produces more perineal pressure than the second saddle while the second saddle has medium padding. Although the third saddle is unpadded or minimum padding, it produces less perineal pressure than saddle one and two. So having a lot of cushioning might not be so effective for preventing perineal pressure.
Although the pressure does not create solely on the design of the saddle. In 2019 researchers have found some significant factors on a study tested with the help of 2774 male cyclists. The factors they mentioned which are responsible for creating genital numbness are:
- The years of cycling. Significantly increasing the number of cycling per year.
- The number of frequent weekly cycling.
- Padded shorts are not using regularly.
- The distance of the rides is comparatively longer.
- If the height of the handlebar is lower than the saddle.
Our Top Picks
8 bicycle seats that can protect your perineum
# Road saddles that protect the perineum
1) PRO Stealth Saddle
For both Men & Women
- Weight(gm): 205
- Dimensions: Width 142m, rail diameter 7mm
- Color: Black
- Cover: PU Material
- Less friction between your thighs as the cover is made of smooth PU material.
- Enjoy a comfortable ride without any pain as the large anatomic recess area is sure to relieve pressure on the perineum.
- The lightweight EVA padding will make sure to provide support and comfort.
- The clutch at the back is capable of holding any necessary accessories i.e. pro camera mount, bottle cage, etc.
- Lightweight Carbon base.
- Not highly padded. So don’t buy if you are looking for a cushy saddle.
- You can find other saddles with stainless titanium rails at a cheap price rather than buying this one.
- Not a practical saddle for all types of users, especially the design.
# MTB saddles that are good for perineum
2) Planet Bike A.R.S Seat
For both men & women
- Weight(gm): Womens = 367, Mens = 391
- Dimensions: Womens = 220 x 155mm, Mens = 250 x 160mm
- Color: Pure Black, Black with White Edges
- Cover: Lycra
- The base is very flexible and enough foam padding for providing support in your soft tissue area around the perineum.
- Its ‘V’ shape cover will easily fit any male, female and senior rider’s butt shape.
- The combination of gel and foam padding will relieve pressure from your perineum.
- The full-length center recess and cut-out is designed for anatomic relief.
- Promotes weather-resistant Lycra cover with abrasion-resistant side.
- Strong and durable rails made from Steel.
- The buying price is fair enough.
- Although the cover is weather resistant it is not waterproof.
- The front nose may sometimes cause chafing.
- Might experience pain as the pressure points are not aligned correctly.
After testing this saddle, we have noticed the anatomical cut-out very useful for supporting your below parts (perineum area) especially for those who prefer an upright position.
This saddle is built for both men and women. But we want to put the saddle in this section as it is a great MTB saddle under your budget for relieving perineum pressure.
3) Selle ITALIA Diva Gel Flow Saddle
- Weight(gm): 225 (Small) – 285 (Large)
- Dimensions: 270×135 mm (Small), 270×152 mm (Large)
- Color: Black, White
- Cover: Full-grain Leather
- A women-specific saddle, built for fulfilling the demands of a female rider.
- A sufficient amount of gel padding will provide comfort yet will not neglect performance.
- Offers Titanium Vanox rails tubular in shape.
- Very attractive cover made from full-grain leather.
- Protects your anus from bumps and shocks with the help of its built-in shock-absorbing elastomer springs.
- Offers 10% Carbon composite shell.
- Need to be careful as the bulbous shape nose can cause chafing.
- For some riders, this saddle may be too flexible and bulky.
- Hard to find the “Sweet Spot” (Sit bones right place).
- Cheap quality plastic below the saddle.
You will understand the saddle’s criteria by this comment made by Selle:
“Selle Italia’s DIVA has a shape that is perfect for the female anatomy and posture. With its unique streamlined shape and sporty style, DIVA is the perfect high-performance comfort saddle for women. For women who ride leaving no one behind.”
Related: Top Gel Bike Seat Covers Reviews
# Triathlon saddles
4) ISM PN 3.0 Seat
For both men & women
- Weight(gm): 294
- Dimensions: 255×120 mm
- Color: Black, White, Black with a pink base, Black with a blue base
- Cover: High-quality Fabric
- For reducing chafing and friction, the basic 5 inches from the front of the traditional saddle is taken off.
- The soft arm system supports your Pubic Rami Bone removing pressure from your soft tissue on the perineum area.
- It helps to maintain a 100% blood flow.
- The auto-racing air vent chassis will keep you cool all the time.
- A unique design with tapered-edge molds to support your hip.
- It offers superb thigh and hamstring clearance by allowing free movement around the seat.
- Stainless Steel Alloy rails.
- Padded with 30-series foam for maximum comfort.
- Offers a 1-year Manufacturer’s warranty.
- Keep that in mind this saddle is specially built for Triathlon cycling. So may not cover the requirements for all types of cycling.
- Relatively narrow with a cutting-edge design which is not appealing to some riders.
- The rider may need to sit further back which makes it difficult to find the right sitting spot.
- You may slip off because the saddle is not densely padded and the cover is not grippy.
“Ideal Saddle Modification”- is the full form of ISM. This saddle can handle possible long-term consequences i.e. circulatory disorders, impotence, and infections. The two split saddle nose reduces perineum pressure ensuring 100% blood flow.
# Leisure/recreational saddles
5) Bikeroo Bike Saddle
- Weight: 440 gm
- Dimensions: 260×190 mm
- Color: Black
- Cover: Synthetic Leather
- Considering men’s anatomy it features hollow core design.
- The deep center cut-out makes sure that there is no pressure on men’s prostate.
- One of the most comfortable bike seats in the market because there is plenty of memory foam.
- A waterproof seat cover, mounting tools, universal fit adapter, and mounting instructions will be provided with the saddle.
- A very cheap saddle compared to other high-quality saddles in the market.
- Universal rails system.
- Enjoy a bump-free ride as the spring suspensions absorb severe and painful shocks.
- The suspension springs are surrounded by cheap plastic which can be easily broken.
- The cover is not so breathable.
- Uncomfortable for bigger riders.
- Not so durable as there is a possibility for the rails to pop off.
6) Bikeroo Bike Saddle
- Weight(gm): 698
- Dimensions: 260×198 mm
- Color: Black, Black & White, Black & Red
- Cover: Synthetic Leather
- A wide and extremely padded saddle to support women’s Pubic Arch.
- Its deep center cut-out can help to alleviate pain from female private parts.
- Provides comfort to women’s sit bones on both long and short rides.
- Also great for off-road as it offers dual spring suspension.
- An ideal choice for medium weighted women with wide hips.
- May need to watch the video that the seller provides first to install the adapter, it quite bothersome.
- Much heavier saddle.
- As it is quite heavy, holding a large woman may bend the rails.
- Substandard quality and durability.
This saddle can be used for both as an indoor saddle or an outdoor saddle. So you can choose the option you like the most. Apart from the cushioning, the deep center cut-out is systematically designed to reduce pressure on the soft tissues around women’s private parts where women are most likely to suffer when they bend in a cycling position.
# Sports touring/Long distance riding
7) Brooks B17 Curved Seat
- Weight(gm): 520
- Dimensions: 275x175x65 mm
- Color: Black, Brown, Honey
- Cover: Vegetable tan Leather
- A cut-out on top of the original Flagship model (B17), has been ruling the market for over 100 years.
- The center cut-out is specially made for airflow so that your private parts remain cool during long tours.
- The center indentation also helps to reduce perineal pressure.
- Handmade in England with original vegetable tan leather.
- After the break-in period, you will only feel tender and soft.
- The saddle has Chrome plating Steel rails.
- Characteristic includes Steel tubular rivets.
- Offers a 2 years guarantee from the date of purchase.
- You may sometimes slip off the saddle at first because it is slippery as butter, which is quite annoying.
- Will face issues with the break-in period.
- Have to be careful on rainy or snowy weather as the saddle is not waterproof.
- Quite expensive.
Like all the Brooks saddle, this saddle is built with quality construction making it so durable that sometimes it will last for 10-12 years. The wider back of this saddle will help you to prevent back pain. At the same time, it is narrower towards the front so that you can easily pedal your bike.
8) B17 Carved Short Saddle
- Weight(gm): 460
- Dimensions: 242x176x58 mm
- Color: Black, Brown, Honey
- Cover: Vegetable tan Leather
- Relieves all types of perineal pressure for its central cut-out designed for women.
- A wide saddle from Brooks for women’s comfort stimulated from the Original model over 100 years ago.
- An original vegetable tan leather on top handmade in England.
- Like other Brooks saddles, it comes with tubular steel rivets.
- Rails are made of Steel reinforced with Chrome plating.
- Guaranteed for 2 years and an extended 10-years warranty will be awarded to registered customers.
- During rainy weather, the seat needs to be covered.
- Some riders slip off the seat when pedaling.
- The leather continues to rub against your pelvic area before it softens.
- Expensive like most of the Brooks saddles.
If you have gone through the company’s 1890 catalog, you will find the following speech at the “registered cutting” section- “a sure preventive to all perineal pressure”
So if you are a woman and still thinking of buying a saddle for long-distance touring, go ahead and buy this saddle. Also, register your product at their official website to get an extended warranty for 10 years.
Perineal Numbness from Cycling
When we usually sit on a traditional saddle, we put a lot of pressure on our perineum. But research has found that it is not proper and the pressure isn’t supposed to go there. According to Dr. Schrader’s suggestion showed in the New York Times reports– We are putting 25%-40% of our weight on the nerves and blood vessels near the perineum.
Dr. Shrader said that- “Within a few minutes the blood oxygen levels go down by 80 percent”.
– When You Realize Perineal Numbness
The time for experiencing perineal numbness basically depends on the type of ride you are taking. Usually short and easy rides will hardly cause this type of situation. In fact, this situation mainly occurs most when you are on a long-distance touring. Sometimes it can happen while mountain cycling where there are frequent jolts on the road and you are cycling aggressively. The time can be also depended on your body structure. If you are thin and lightweight, this thing can take more time to occur than a bigger person whose weight is twice as yours.
– How Perineal Numbness Causes
After spending a prolonged amount of time on your saddle makes your perineum area go numb. You are using your local saddle that comes with the bike and you are cycling for about 6 to 10 hours at a stretch. Then you will definitely experience this situation.
Also, the cause of perineal numbness may differ from a man to a woman. The size of the male pelvis is smaller than a female pelvis. Based on human Pelvic Girdle, this awkward situation can happen. This chart shows a basic difference between a male and a female pelvis
Where Should I Sit on My Bike Saddle
Are you trying to avoid pain and numbness? Then find a neutral position that suits your sit bones and where you should be sitting while riding. A neutral position is a position where you will barely feel any pain or numbness on your perineum.
– What Mistake People Usually Do
People tend to sit back into their trunks and they get quite rounded through their lower belly part which increases to reach the handlebar through the arms and they keep a forward head posture which will create a real hinge point and some compression through this part of the neck. It is common that while cycling people put pressure through the joints in the neck. It will put pressure through the arms and it can have a negative effect on the lower back.
– How Should You Sit
Gently roll your hips and your pelvis a little bit forward. A slight elongation through the upper back would be good. Finally which is really important- keep your elbows nice and soft. This will absorb the shock whenever you hit a hole on the road. The shock will go through the elbows rather than going directly into your neck.
Check out this video to get a better concept.
Bike Saddle Fit Guide
If you do not want to experience perineal pressure, you should adjust your bike saddle first.
No matter how much your saddle can reduce the pressure on your private parts or you may be confident enough that your saddle can handle any kind of pressure, you need to check if it is properly adjusted and match your riding style.
- First, try to properly adjust the mounting of the saddle to the seat post. You will find available tools which can be found in a bike tool kit.
- Then adjust the seat height according to your bike handlebar and your riding position. For inclined or athletic positions it is better to keep your saddle a little bit below than the bar. But for a relaxed position, you will find good results if the height of your saddle and the handlebar is in the same line.
- Tilt the saddle back and forward and give a try each time until you are completely satisfied.
4. Tilt the saddle a little bit forward for a flat saddle and notice the difference. For other types of saddles try tilting back and forward to the right position that suits you best.