My previous posting was geared to educating others about the issue of numbness associated with cycling. It also provided several top tips on how to help alleviate the issue, which one of the tips stated saddle choice was an important one for all cyclists. This posting is a review of one of my sponsor products - Selle SMP
A 2005 study, published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, found that SMP saddles have a new geometrical conception for maintain the vascular perfusion of the genital-perineal region. The study stated:
“The true innovation brought about by the SMP saddle is its capacity of interfering scarcely on the blood perfusion of the penis…. It is the geometry of this saddle, by redistributing the body weight onto the buttocks, prevents the squashing of the neurovascular structures that run medially to the ischial tuberosities. Furthermore, the depression in the rear part prevents the coccyx from touching the saddle, thus preventing repercussions caused by the un-evenness of the ground that may affect the spine”
The study showed that the SMP saddle was the “most efficient in protecting the blood perfusion of the penis compared to one of the saddles most frequently used by professional cyclists”
When I first saw the Selle SMP Strike saddle, I was doubtful that it would comfortable enough to do long training rides on, let alone do road and criterium racing due to its peculiar shape and hardness. I was also skeptical that the saddle would eliminate my numbness issues I frequently get during longer or easy training rides. I was pleasantly surprised. As mentioned in my previous posting, racers are less affected by blood flow issues. The same is true for me as I seldom experienced numbness during racing events; it was just during training that my issue emerged. The Selle SMP saddle seemed like it might be the saddle that could solve my problems.
I was supplied with a nice looking Strike Composite saddle that is shown here in the picture and had this mounted in conjunction with a bike-fit and raced on during the US racing season and when I represented New Zealand at the Deaflympics. I was amazed at how snug it felt during my first race. When I was on the rivet, I was able to slide forward into a position that is more conducive to power riding. SMP claim that the beak of the saddle nose is “designed to supply a flat base for efforts when sitting for long climbs that have to be faced and as a help in downhill slopes, offering greater thigh control of the bicycle”. When you actually try this saddle out, you will realize that the claims by Selle SMP have a very solid foundation with their award-winning design and function.
The Strike Composite saddle has no padding, only has thin leather covering, and one would think this would add to the discomfort. However my experience with this saddle, provided it is fitted correctly, is that it is very comfortable. Since my conversion to SMP, I have not experienced any numbness during training due to the central channel of the saddle. This area is big enough to slide your whole hand through. The rationale behind this is that it “prevents crushing of the anus, prostate, vanae pudendae, deep dorsal vein and artery of the penis, scrotum and testicles in men, and the labia majora and minora and the clitoris, in women”. You can investigate for yourself and see the difference if you are still searching for that perfect saddle for long rides and racing.
Based on the research in the field and the product innovation of SMP, they have come out with a cutting edge saddle that will amaze anyone who has not yet tried it. There are other saddle manufacturers that do well, such as the Specialized Body Geometry saddles, but they do not compare to the quality and performance of SMP. Provided the SMP saddle is fitted correctly, you should eliminate problems with numbness and enjoy your long rides. In fact, I just completed a seven hour ride today on the Composite saddle and was comfortable the whole time although my legs were feeling quite shattered by the end of my epic ride.