Bicycle Seats that Protect the Perineum in 2021

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If there’s one thing that is guaranteed to stop you from doing a 60-minutes plus session on an indoor bike trainer, it is genital numbness. 

The number of sessions that require you to do 60 minutes or more means that this can be pretty grueling. And it has nothing to do with your legs.

Here we have gone through the best seats that protect the perineum for indoor cycling. Very specific to what a rider faces on the road. 

We have gone through all of the main ones to find a selection of what you should go for depending on how big you are with your man or woman et cetera. And stop that unpleasant numbness.

However, be aware, everyone’s bottom/ ass is different and saddles are the most personal choice you can get on the bike. If it’s not comfortable after 10 miles, send it back.

One last note, any purchases through this site does result in a bit of affiliate income. Hope that’s cool. However, this has no impact whatsoever on the choice of these saddles.

Top 4 Saddles for Indoor Cycling 

Best Split Nose
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Best Female Saddle
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ISM PN 3.0 Saddle - Men's Black, 120x255mm
Selle Italia Diva Gel SuperFlow Road Bike Saddle - Comfortable Road or Mountain Bike Seat for Women - 270 x 152mm, Women, Black
Fizik Argo R5-150mm - Tempo, Black (F1935150)
Selle Italia Max SLR Gel SuperFlow Road Bike Saddle - Comfortable MTB and Road Bike Seat for Men and Women - 275 x 145mm, 280g, Black
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Best Split Nose
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ISM PN 3.0 Saddle - Men's Black, 120x255mm
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Best Female Saddle
thumb-spacer Bicycle Seats that Protect the Perineum in [currentyear]
Selle Italia Diva Gel SuperFlow Road Bike Saddle - Comfortable Road or Mountain Bike Seat for Women - 270 x 152mm, Women, Black
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Fizik Argo R5-150mm - Tempo, Black (F1935150)
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Selle Italia Max SLR Gel SuperFlow Road Bike Saddle - Comfortable MTB and Road Bike Seat for Men and Women - 275 x 145mm, 280g, Black
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Indoor cycling problems with perineal pressure 

When TurboCyclist ran a survey earlier this year looking at the biggest problems an indoor cyclist faced. Numbness in the lower regions, i.e. perineal pressure was one of the biggest issues.

Saddle comfort is a general issue in cycling. But indoor cycling this is especially acute. The reason is,  when you are on a turbo trainer, you are stuck in the same seated position for most of the time. When you are on a road bike outside you are continually up and down and side to side.

If you are on an application program like Zwift or Trainerroad. A lot of what you do is on the bike saddle (especially Trainerroad).

With that in mind we have looked at specific saddles that can help with that type of riding, i.e. in the seat for long periods of time. 

How do I stop perineal numbness when cycling

It is estimated that as much as 90% of cyclists get some sort of numbness issue around the genital or perineal area. Some even – around 20% – experience some sort of erectile dysfunction! 

As you’ll agree, that’s not a cycling side-benefit. 

A key way to sort this out is to look at the key causes of genital numbness on a bike saddle. This is actually caused by pressure on the pudendal nerves and the arteries that go into it. For men (obviously) the pudendal nerve is responsible for sensation to the penis, erection, and bowel control.

‘Simply put, the lack of blood flow that comes when you’re in the same seated position for so long. This is the same for men and women cyclists.

Reduced flow through the blood vessels can be caused by a narrow bike saddle – and that counts for many of the road saddles that we use these days. 

The best solution for this is a saddle with either a cutout or that is structured so it relieves pressure on this area.

It’s is not about being tough, being like the pros, and putting up with this sort of thing. As well as discomfort numbness can bring infections like cystitis and other issues. So get a comfortable seat – your soft tissue’ area will thank you for it. 

Here’s some more on how to avoid saddle pain while indoor cycling.

What types of bike saddles could help prevent perineal pain?

As we have already said, saddles are a personal choice. With your man woman or beast everyone’s bum is designed in a slightly different way.

With that in mind we have broken these numb fighting saddles into a number of different categories of saddle design. 

Centre slit saddles – effectively this is a saddle but the end that is closest the steering wheel is split into two. The idea is to create a space where the blood flow would normally go. 

No nose saddles – in the more extreme form these saddles are designed for your sit bones only. The closest here in the ISM. The benefit is there is physically no way to put pressure on the sensitive areas.

Gel saddles – many of the saddles we use these days are designed to be quite hard and allow you to move back and forth on the bike. Gel inserts allow you to have a more comfortable ride as many endurance saddles accommodate the site bones to stop you from resting on the front of the seat. 

Padding cover – if you don’t want to get rid of your old saddle, a cover with a gel insert is a good idea. For example, some of us actually use the same bike on the road and you don’t want to be moving saddles every time you want to go on a ride.

Get the right bicycle seat setup 

Before going out and buying a new saddle it is always worth checking that you have the current one set up properly. When you’re doing a ride out on the road a poor fit can be hidden as you’re moving around. But indoors it is going to be exacerbated.

Basically, use a saddle that minimizes pressure on the perineal area and rests you onto your buttocks or sit bones. Also ensure the saddle is not pointing upwards as this add additional perineal pressure. 

Lastly, even if you do all of these things, and it still hurts then it just be that you are not getting out of the saddle enough. Don’t worry about what Zwift or Trainerroad says about power and cadence. Just get out of the saddle every 10 or 15 minutes, pull the chamois out of your ass, and just let the blood get moving again.

Top 4 Bike Saddles for Indoor Cycling

Best Split-end Saddle – ISM Pn3.0

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The ISM Unisex’s PN 3.0 is one of a series of split-nose saddles – designed specifically to create space for better blood flow. 

There are a couple of things to point out on this saddle. One of the downsides that is pointed out is that it’s a bit on the heavy side at 449 grams. But we’re riding indoors so who cares.

Do be aware though, that this saddle has quite an aggressive position and there’s less space for width. But in terms of releasing the blood vessels and relieving numbness – it can’t be beaten. 

Pros

  • Split or no nose design to allow maximum flow through the blood vessels. 
  • Designed for time trial riders – who spend a lot of time in the saddle. So ideal for indoor.

Cons 

  • The split nose design may take getting used to.

Selle Italia Women’s Diva Gel Superflow Bicycle Saddle

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Selle Italia Diva Gel Superflow

Lets be honest – there’s nothing original in picking out this one. It’s a favorite on-road or on a trainer. 

The Selle Italia Diva Gel Superflow comes with plenty of padding. The manufacturer – well-known for its comfy bike seats – uses a system that focuses on the distance between the sit bones. There are two sizes – large and small. 

Pros

  • Shock-absorbing for road surfaces (if you want to use it on the road too).
  • Central cutout for increased flow – tapered towards the back. 
  • Lightweight – just 277g. 
  • A lot of gel cushioned protection for extra comfort. 

Cons

  • Getting the right fit might be an issue. Take a measurement first. 

Selle Italia SLR Max Gel Flow Saddle

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Selle Italia SLR Max Gel Flow

The Selle Italia SLR Max Gel Flow is designed for long-distance bike rides, which suits our indoor cycling needs. 

Its main attributes are the gel cushioning inserts and a 14cm cutaway down the center of the seat. 

Pros

  • Light – if you want to ride it on the road. 
  • Artificial leather cover over gel padding. 
  • 14cm cutaway to improve flow. 
  • Elastomers between the seat rails to reduce vibrations.

Cons

  • Non-aggressive position. Designed for comfort and endurance rides rather than racing and time trialling. 

Fizik Tempo Argo R5

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Fizik Tempo Argo R5

Fizik’s Tempo Argo R5 is the budget version in its Argo range – designed for endurance riding. 

Unlike the Selle Italia Max SLR, the Argo has a shorter front and wider at the back. It is available at 160mm wide. 

One benefit of the shorter-nose seat, is it removes weight from the front area. On the downside, you are held into a more static position. So if you like moving up and down, you might be better trying the SLR. 

In terms of cushioning, the Argo uses a foam insert under a nylon shell. 

Pros

  • Short-nose to reduce pressure in the front seat area. 
  • Good value for a Fizik saddle. 
  • Designed for endurance. 

Cons

  • The shorter nose can seem odd at first. 

Conclusion 

Indoor cycling is a great way of competing with others, keeping in shape, and especially training. You can get access to pro-like training plans. 

However, it can be hard going sometimes. You are not moving around and, let’s be honest, often you are just pumping out the watts. 

Getting a decent saddle and making yourself comfortable, could make the difference between getting on the bike and getting off it. 

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