After you read the release below, click through to this link:
It's a potted history of cycling's love-hate relationship with the bicycle/bottom interface and a round-up of 'comfort saddles' and their claims...
For a historical timeline of 'comfort saddles' read this excellent article:
Author Jim Langley writes: "Pity the poor bicycle seat. Few products in the history of sports have taken such a bum rap. Prostate problems. Numbness. Boils. Infections. Chafing. Even impotency! You name the malady and its likely been blamed on the pedalers perch."
Study Proves New Bicycle Seat More Healthy
Cylindrical Shape Eliminates Sexual Dysfunction Associated With Traditional Design
FT. LAUDERDALE, Fla., Nov. 12 : A traditional bicycle seat is more likely to cause male sexual dysfunction and a variety of other health problems than a new seat with a revolutionary design, according to Medicine & Science In Sports & Exercise, the official journal of the American College of Sports Medicine. Results of the 2004 study concluded that the typical sport/racing saddle with a narrow protruding nose causes twice the pressure in the perineal region as the Solution Bicycle Seat, a unique new model without the nose.
Previous studies linked perineal pressure to difficulties resulting from bicycling, including numbness, urinary track and yeast infections, prostate inflammation and impotence. That is because sitting on a typical bike saddle for long periods of time compresses the artery that provides blood flow to the area, according to Dr. Irwin Goldstein, a prominent urologist from Boston University.
For the study, 33 bicycle police patrol officers pedaled a stationary bicycle at a controlled cadence and workload, sitting on a variety of bicycle seats. Previous evolutions of the traditional seats were tested, including the split-horn design with gel-strips said to reduce shock resistance and make the horn softer. Yet even these seats did not eliminate the pressure to the perineal region. The study concluded that it is the seat design, not the padding that makes the difference.
Goldstein, who treats about 15 men a week who suffer from temporary impotence due to cycling, first drew national attention to the problem with a 1997 article in Bicycling magazine. Some say he crusades against the seats like some doctors crusade against cigarettes. And for good reason. In a separate study of 1,709 randomly selected Massachusetts men, conducted by The New England Reproductive Institute, five percent of those who bicycle reported at least temporary impotence. Only one percent of other groups, such as runners, reported similar problems. The problem with bicycling, Goldstein claims, is the seat.
Yet, the alleviation of sexual dysfunction associated with bicycle riding is an unexpected benefit of the Solution Bicycle Seat. It was originally created by a cycling enthusiast with a good case of saddle soreness.
"After a painful day of riding, followed by Advil-induced sleep, I had to try to create a bicycle seat that wouldn't cause men such pain," said Solution inventor, Wayne Trotter, a resident Ft. Lauderdale, FL. "The result is a cylindrical shape that allows the fatty portion of the buttocks to absorb the pressure."
Bicycle shops did not initially beat down Trotter's door for the unconventional design. Instead, serious bikers became believers in the product and their word of mouth testimonials fueled sales.
And leisure enthusiasts are not the only buyers. Police officers in Miami Beach, Ft. Lauderdale and Los Angeles have replaced their traditional bike saddles with the Solution Bicycle Seat.
"Since I obtained the Solution Bicycle Seat, it's easier for me to go for an extended period of time on my bicycle without discomfort," said Scott Hickey, a south Florida Bicycle Patrol Officer. "My bicycle is much more comfortable to ride and my job is more enjoyable."
Approximately 50,000 police officers in this country patrol on bicycles, spending as many as five hours a day sitting on a bicycle saddle.
END OF RELEASE
Effect of Bicycle Saddle Designs on the Pressure to the Perineum of the Bicyclist.
Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. 36(6):1055-1062, June 2004.
LOWE, BRIAN D. 1; SCHRADER, STEVEN M. 2; BREITENSTEIN, MICHAEL J. 2