Saturday, March 15, 2014

Noseless Bicycle Saddles - What You Need To Know


Those who know me in person know that I really enjoy riding my cruiser bike around the Vancouver seawall and the downtown core - our city is filled with beauty and it is truly designed for the ultimate comfort of bicycle fanatics like me. Riding brings back memories of the freedom I  used to experience in my childhood while exploring my neighbourhood in my bike along with my friends. We live in a society in which we spend progressively less time communing with nature and biking is a great alternative to let go of our tech filled lives (besides the occasional Instagram post as we ride of course) - plus, can you think of a better feeling than the warm ocean breeze caressing your face?

As we grow older we need to be aware of the benefits but also of the potential side effects any activity we choose to engage in so we can protect our bodies. Biking is no exception. I have a very small testicular cyst and as such riding had been uncomfortable for me over the last couple of years. Riding would lead to swelling, epididymitis and sometimes even prostatitis. At first I thought it was all attributed to the pressure of the saddle on my cyst but after doing more research I came to understand that I was not alone and that in fact anyone (cyst or no cyst) can be affected by the negative effects of a traditional "nose" saddle.

These videos are great at explaining why it is so important to look at other saddle alternatives in order to protect our reproductive organs:







Now that you understand the importance of the issue at hand I would like to leave you with what I have discovered while researching this problem. First of all, there are a TON of noseless saddle designs and companies who produce them. Finding one for you can become truly overwhelming. Here is a website that lists all of the most popular noseless saddles along with links of where you can purchase them:


After reviewing the available noseless saddle options I would encourage you to take a look at some YouTube videos of the actual saddle you are considering in order to see it in action. Amazon.com is also a great resource for finding the saddle you want to buy at a cheaper price and to look at actual consumer reviews of the product. 

After much research and consideration I narrowed down my search to a single manufacturer and to two specific bike seats. The company is ISM - a manufacturer of high-end bike saddles used by athletes all over the world. Their seats are also used by police officers who spend most of their day on a bicycle. Something I really enjoyed about ISM's website was their Saddle Selector tool - an online tool that helps you choose a saddle based on your activity level and bike type. 

The two saddles I was considering were the ISM Sport and the ISM Touring. Both seats are meant to be used by casual riders like me. 



Another factor that impressed me about ISM was their customer service. Since I couldn't decide between the two seats (very similar seats except for firmness and gel versus foam filling) I contacted ISM's customer service department via email. Within two hours I had a very friendly response from one of their rep's - Dave. The rep was extremely friendly and helpful and he asked me further questions to narrow down my seat choice even further. Since I prefer to have a softer seat and because I ride less than 75 miles per week Dave recommended for me to purchase the Touring model. 

I have just ordered my ISM Touring seat through Amazon and I will post an update to this article once I receive it and have ridden on it. 

Were you aware of the health issues a traditional bike saddle can create? Are you a female rider?

Feel free to leave a comment with your questions. 

Happy riding! Happy SAFE riding!

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