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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Question to the Gods of cycling.
Why do saddles have such long noses/extensions in front???
This feature does not seem practical to me. I recently dropped my
handlebars a bit, and "I am feeling it" in my kennarkees. I am tilting my saddle
forwards in increments until the feeling goes away.
Some saddles have straight/flat noses. To make matters worse,
some noses are contoured upwards in front??? Why and how did this evolve?
I would not be surprised to have someone tell me it was for styling.
 

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They are made that way because racers need to change their position on the bike, in relation to the bottom bracket. Sometimes your almost off the back end of the saddle, sometimes you're "on the rivet".
Touring saddles usually have a shorter "nose" than racing saddles. Saddles that come on "comfort" bikes usually have a very short "nose" because you usually sit rather upright on them.
 

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I'm a recreational/fitness cyclist over 50. The nose on the saddle supports me when I am in the drops. I prefer a longer nose for it gives me more positions to sit in. It helps bring different groups of muscles into play while cycling. This lets me continue while resting some groups while other work harder. All butts are different and saddles are personal. For me, after years of trying different saddles, I've finally got one I really like. It's a Brooks, B-17 model leather saddle. It's one I can sit on for hours without getting sore.

Another practical matter. We move our legs while cyclling. That nose has to be narrow or we will chafe the inner thighs. Some folks run into that problem with saddles that have a wide nose. The nose has to be wide enough for your body and it wants to be long enough to allow you to rotate your hips as you go from the hoods to the drops. For me, that is just more positions I can be in, allowing other parts to rest and to keep circulation going in my crotch. So, to answer your question, no, there is nothing concerning style in the different shapes of seats; it's simply that people come in such a wide variety of shapes and sizes.
 

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But the nose of the saddle supports nothing, really.
The saddle nose supports the perineum. Many serious cyclist support their upper body on that part of the anatomy for long periods of time, especially when riding in the drops as pointed out by Insight Driver. Even when riding on the hoods, the perineum will press into the saddle nose when tilting the pelvis forward to achieve a flat back.

From personal experience, I can tell you that I would feel very much out of control if I would have to rely on sit-bone contact alone to control my bike. Supporting one's weight on the perineum and having thigh contact on the sides of the saddle nose is crucial for good bike-handling. If you drop the saddle nose down too far or even eliminate it, the lack of perineum- and thigh contact will make it difficult to ride fast and always remain in control of your bike.
 

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Exactly.

In addition, many of today's saddles are of a design where the flex in the shell is built in to give comfort (SLR, Arione, etc.). The flexy shell needs to "hang" from two solid ends, including the tip of the nose. Like Nelson said, just go try one of those nose-less saddles and you will know the importance of the nose.
 

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elviento said:
Exactly.

In addition, many of today's saddles are of a design where the flex in the shell is built in to give comfort (SLR, Arione, etc.). The flexy shell needs to "hang" from two solid ends, including the tip of the nose. Like Nelson said, just go try one of those nose-less saddles and you will know the importance of the nose.
Hm. just a short in the dark but when you're really mashing, your knees probably rotate alot... wouldn't a nose on the saddle help direct your knees, such that removing it would make you bash your leg into the top tube repeatedly?
 

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Old flame had a no nose saddle.

Just two independent cushions that moved up and down with her hips. She liked it much better the few times she rode, always in the easiest gear, never more than 15 miles. I tried it once. I was surprised at how much I use the nose of the saddle to steer the bike on descents and how much the nose keeps my weight back and off my hands.

For me the key to happy cycling is feeling centered and balanced on my bikes. With the nose slightly up, I can settle into the saddle, bars and pedals without putting so much weight on any one spot that it hurts.
 

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It all depends on cadence. Lets say you're riding at 20 mph at a cadence of 80 rpm. You will find that you have more power if you slide back a little. On the other hand, if you are riding at the same 20 mph at 105 rpm, you will find that you have better leg speed when near the nose of the saddle. It's the same for climbing. If you can spin up a hill like Armstrong, you will tend to ride foreward. If you climb like Jan, or LeMond, you will sit well back on the saddle. Neither way is "better". If you have the time to train your body to spin for 4 hours, you too can climb just like Armstrong.
Most people use both methods. Each method uses different muscles, so when you change your pedaling style, you "rest" those other muscles.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
MR_GRUMPY said:
It all depends on cadence. Lets say you're riding at 20 mph at a cadence of 80 rpm. You will find that you have more power if you slide back a little. On the other hand, if you are riding at the same 20 mph at 105 rpm, you will find that you have better leg speed when near the nose of the saddle. It's the same for climbing. If you can spin up a hill like Armstrong, you will tend to ride foreward. If you climb like Jan, or LeMond, you will sit well back on the saddle. Neither way is "better". If you have the time to train your body to spin for 4 hours, you too can climb just like Armstrong.
Most people use both methods. Each method uses different muscles, so when you change your pedaling style, you "rest" those other muscles.
Well, I guess I prefer the later method for climbing when on the saddle, because I like to pull and push on my pedals. I think sitting back on my saddle makes it easier for both.
I will never be like Armstrong:(
BTW, thanks for your input and everyone else's.:)
 

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Road cyclist said:
Question to the Gods of cycling.
Why do saddles have such long noses/extensions in front???
This feature does not seem practical to me. I recently dropped my
handlebars a bit, and "I am feeling it" in my kennarkees. I am tilting my saddle
forwards in increments until the feeling goes away.
Some saddles have straight/flat noses. To make matters worse,
some noses are contoured upwards in front??? Why and how did this evolve?
I would not be surprised to have someone tell me it was for styling.
The nose, as others have mentioned is there to support a range of positions, as well as to provide a way to keep you on the bike - it's something for your thighs to hold onto. Noseless saddles make it hard to control a bike if set up for "serious" cycling. If they are set low enough to allow them to function well, the pedaling is too inefficient. OK for cruisers, not good for road bikes.

Your approach of lowering the nose of the saddle might be exactly backwards. Often, raising it just a tiny amount allows you to ride with the wider part of the saddle supporting the sit bones without sliding forward; and so the pressure on the huevos is avoided. Further, a forward tilt can end up putting more pressure on your hands, shoulders, etc, as you need to keep rearward pressure to keep you on the saddle. In the end, the lower nose usually increases discomfort at both ends - one from trying to stay back, and the other from not succeeding.
 

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So in my time working for a bike shop here in town, I have learned a vital thing about saddles. The best way to set up a saddle is within 2-3 degrees from level, whether that be tilted slightly up for slightly down is up to the rider. Beyond that you loose major comfort.

The more important thing is that each person likes a different style of saddle. I ride the Fizik Arione which is long, narrow, and light on the padding. I find the Fizik Aliante to be uncomfortable, despite it being wider, shorter, and softer.

This preference varies from person to person. The best way to find your saddle is to test out different ones. I know most bike shops don't do this, but mine allowed a 30 mile test ride period to determine if it fits you or not. Your problem of the numb nuts may have more to to with you not having the right saddle than anything else.

Be careful how much you tilt the saddle. The ideal position is to have yourself sitting on your taint (between your tackle and back door). This is also what gives cyclists that increased stamina and endurance in the bed room (the pressure on the prostate through the taint toughens the prostate) . It is uncomfortable at first but you toughen up pretty quickly. I don't notice much pain or soreness down there any more, and I have gotten some complements :) / complaints :( about the increased endurance and stamina.
 

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I find that when sprinting out of the saddle the nose gives me leverage to throw the leg down. Same principle w/ compression shorts in swimming & power suits in weight lifting. It’s all physics.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Anyone ever see that Selle SMP strike evolution saddle?
With the turned down nose, it reminds me of a Concorde taking off
or landing. A bit pricey at $220 but thats what I am talking about.
Most saddles come out straight to a point, ouch.
I could care less for the cut-out along the center to prolong my kinarkes.:eek:
 

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For me, riding on a Brooks leather saddle, the longer the nose is, the more pliant the leather is. My Brooks Team Professional, while not the widest or softest, is certainly the most comfortable. I assume it's because the hard parts of the nose aren't banging into my nutszack.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Dave_Stohler said:
For me, riding on a Brooks leather saddle, the longer the nose is, the more pliant the leather is. My Brooks Team Professional, while not the widest or softest, is certainly the most comfortable. I assume it's because the hard parts of the nose aren't banging into my nutszack.
Man, alot of people like these saddles. This is the first saddle I started out using a long
time ago. Maybe a little harder seat support at the rear elevates the seat bone structure slightly so the pressure felt at the nose of the saddle is less. But, if a longer leather seat
is more compliant and one sinks into their seat, then my theory/idea gets shot down.
Just wondering what you think about reducing saddle nose pressure in the drops?
BTW, this was my main purpose for starting this thread.:mad2:
 
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