pudendal nerve issue - saddle question

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Anonymous's picture

Anyone out there had any problems with their pudendal nerve? I am in search of a saddle that takes the pressure off this nerve as much as possible. I know saddles are a very personal thing, because we are all built differently, but sometimes the wisdom of the crowd can get you pointed in the right direction faster than if you go it alone.

My bike guy and I have changed my seat positioning recently (in response to the pain, it's not the cause of the pain), flipped my stem and I have invested in a really good pair of shorts.

I have tried three different saddles and none of them seem to help.

Anyone using a split rail saddle (fully split, like the trico sport?) it's totally adjustable or using something like it?

If I can't resolve this, the doc says I will have to turn in my wheels and this would be really sad.

Please feel free to contact me off line if you prefer at [email protected]



Anonymous's picture
Tom Laskey (not verified)


Tell us exactly which saddles you've tried and couldn't use. That will give us a better idea of what hasn't worked for you.

Anonymous's picture
Katie (not verified)
saddles tried

Tom I have tried the following saddles:

Selle Italia Flite Trans Am (the stock seat that came w/bike)
Fizik Alante
Terry Butterfly (for women)

Seats with a hole of some sort seem to be more favorable then ones that don't. I discovered this after trying the Alante.


Anonymous's picture
lucy's mom (not verified)

I highly recommend the Fizik Vitesse. I'm on at least my third or fourth. I know many, many women who swear by it. Guys, too. It isn't sold in many of the usual catalogs.

I tried the Aliante once, but my ass was killing me after five minutes.

Anonymous's picture
Tom Laskey (not verified)

"You might want to give the Selle Italia Prolink TransAm Gelflow a try. The ProLink is wider at the back than the Flite which I think takes some of the pressure off of places where you don't want pressure and the GelFlow model has a cut out as well.

A couple of other things. You mention your ""Bike Guy."" Is he a pro of some sort? You might want to think about going to Craig Upton who many consider the best bike fitter in the city. Your position might still be part of the problem and it might pay to get a second opinion. Also you mention you invested in a really good pair of shorts. Like saddles, there are many types of good shorts, it might be worth it to experiment there as well. I'm a Pearl Izumi Microsensor fan but Castelli, Giordana and Assos (big bucks!) all make really good shorts, you might find one of their designs more favorable than what you are using.

Good luck!!"

Anonymous's picture
Katie (not verified)

Tom - thanks for this. My bike guy is a pro but it doesn't hurt to get a second op. and a more precise fit measurements as the measurements we did were ranges for when I was shopping for my bike. I did sink some bucks into the Assos, will try them and see if there is more $$ to invest there. As for the saddle I will take a look at that too. Thanks again!!

Anonymous's picture
Jeff Robins (not verified)

Another good saddle to try is koobi. They are split along the full length of the saddle and have a good size split. They're a bit hard to find in shops (though Toga had a couple last time I looked) but can be found online at www.koobi.com or at some of the bargain e-tailers. Their customer service is pretty good (at least it used to be when I bought from them) and I believe they let you try out a saddle and swap for a different model if it doesn't work out.

Good luck.

Anonymous's picture
don montalvo (not verified)
i'd have craig set your position

i raced for years and whenever i had butt pain it was usually because my position was off.

Anonymous's picture
Robert Rakowitz (not verified)
Trying to decide too...

I am currently using the Specialized Body Geometry Comfort Plus saddle. I recently increase my saddle height for added leg extension.

At this stage, I feel like the saddle really doesn't fit as well as it used to (I think it has over 1500 mi on it at this stage). I am thinking that with the higher position I am transferring more weight to the saddle from the bars and pedals.

1) Is it normal to encounter this?
2) As I am considering changing saddles (based on saddle weight and comfort) does anyone have any positive experience with the Selle Italia SLR Gelfolow, Specialized Avatar Gel Saddle or the Tricosport Split Rail?

p.s. Has anybody seen the Specialized saddle 'fit kit'? Interesting in concept, anyone have any experience with that?

Anonymous's picture
Heath (not verified)
I had to look this one up

"I had no idea what this was, so I looked it up on line. I found this as one of the causes.

""PNE is common in high mileage bicyclists who do not stop cycling when the pain starts. It's so common in this group it's nicknamed Cyclist's Syndrome. The prolonged sitting pressure, the continual nerve rubbing and stretching from pedal pumping, and the extremely high seat pressure on the ischial spine and perineum all combine to form the ideal conditions for PNE. Similarly susceptible groups are those using rowing machines or doing lots of situps. The human body was simply not designed for these behaviors.""

I had never heard of this before. How do I know if my ass is just getting sore or if I am doing permanent damage on a long ride?

When I got back into cycling two years ago I bought a used bike. The guy had had prostate cancer and could no longer sit on a typical saddle. He was really into bicycling and found out he was comfortable on a recumbent. He was heading to philadelphia over the weekend to a bike shop that sold recumbents.

I hope you can find a solution."

Anonymous's picture
Katie (not verified)

Heath in response to your question about how do you know if you are doing permanent damage or just sore...this I can't answer but I can tell you if the pain gets great enough and CONSISTENT enough and you can't take it anymore, you are forced to investigate with a good doctor. In my case I finally found a good doctor who could think outside of the box and I now know it's a nerve thing.

Anonymous's picture
art (not verified)
Pudendal nerve - It ain't no pain in the butt Don Montalvo.

Didn't know women could be affected by this this syndrome. I had this some years back. Split saddles are best. Try the widest, firmest saddle you can accomodate. Saddles which are flat and wide at the back. Stay away from a Flite. They are too narrow for many, even the Trans Am version. Whatever you do, do not ride gel, as the gel will deform under your weight and make matters worse.

A good start would be a Brooks, or a man's Selle Italia Pro Link Trans Am (ungelled version). I have seen quite a few women ride these. They are wide and flat at the back. Fizik's are too rounded.

Anonymous's picture
don montalvo (not verified)
yeah, you're right...

...i had no idea what a pudendal was...i was close, ey? :) whichever saddle the original poster buys, i'd still get craig to work on the position. pays to be thorough. the better position will also help her drop us fat guys on the hills. ;)


Anonymous's picture
Yogi (not verified)
>flat and wide at the back

Here is a saddle that fits the description.

It looks a little heavy, but it'll keep the boys warm for those STS rides.

With on-the-fly, dialed-in settings. for only $70


I think it might be a cheap knock off of those ($300) flat San Marco carbon saddles.

Anonymous's picture
Neile Weissman (not verified)
My 2

Was having similar trouble, so I tried different saddles; soft, hard, padded, leather, etc.

Had a feeling the problem wasn't the saddle but my riding position.

So I went to Sid's and asked Allen to observe me on a trainer.

He thought my seat was a bit too high, so I lowered it.

He thought that I could benefit a more laid out position (I have good upper body strength), so I bought a longer, lower stem.

As a result, my legs and arms take a greater percentage of my body weight rather than my butt.

Now all my saddles work.

PS> I have a Terry Liberator -- for men. You're welcome to try it if you like.

Anonymous's picture
Judith Tripp (not verified)
I like the men's Terry Liberator also (the women's never worked)
Anonymous's picture
bike man (not verified)

I assume you have tried, but I find the tilt of the saddle very important. I ride with mine totally flat in the middle. (On some saddles the nose rounds down and the tail flairs up, but the contact area is the important part.)
If the tilt is up, the front pressure kills me, and if it is down, I feel like I slide to the front get painful pressure.
In the end, pressure should be on you sit bones, and not really anywhere else. (There is some comfort trade off between rock hard and all weight on the point of the bone, and a little flex where the bone sinks into the saddle. But too much sink and other things start to support your weight.)

Anonymous's picture
Christian (not verified)


I have a Brooks B.17 that you can borrow for a few weeks to try. It has a wide (170mm), flat rear end and is sometimes popular with folks who have trouble with modern saddles.

- Christian

Anonymous's picture
dB (not verified)
no need to turn in your wheels

just swap'em


Anonymous's picture
Neile Weissman (not verified)
Not that easy

"With due respect, and as someone who has coveted and plans to get one someday, 'bents have their own issues:

The riding positon on some types can exacerbate back or foot problems.

If you ride in traffic, the lower position presents a two-way visibility issue for you as well as cars/other bikes.

As you head through an intersection, your eyes are 4' back (and down) from where they'd normally be on an upright bike.

Unless you're leading or sweeping, riding with a group may prove awkward, as bents are generally faster on the flats and downhills and slower up the hills.

Larger ones are not be allowed on Metro-North, LIRR, PATH.

And if you do find a 'bent group, the membership be will either be Green or Libertarian so you'll need to update your political vocabulary.

That said, the ""high-roller"" style may address many concerns:


Since they're about the same height as regular roadbikes, you may gain new popularity as others will now want to draft you."

Anonymous's picture
dB (not verified)
all true

all true.
all better than turning in the wheels.

Anonymous's picture
alan resnick (not verified)
HELP ???

One of your advisers said to try other shorts-I've been riding forever and the best shorts I have ever had(regardless of price) are the newish Performance Ultra!! I haven't tried the woman's model(sorry) but for $49.95 on sale-give it a try-p.16 current catalogue item #10-4644G.
The other suggestions sounded good that were on your email responses also-but would also keep a double check on saddle height and play around with up-down angle-do this indoors so you can keep changing-and then trying etc. Other-next trial and error might be to use 2(two pair of shorts) I DO KNOW people who used this in years past for similar(but men) issues. good luck Alan

Anonymous's picture
Ken Weissman (not verified)

Marilyn has been using a bisaddle for years; she has one on each of her bikes. Check out their web site.


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