The Journal of Sexual Medicine recently conducted a study and found that men who switched from traditional bike seats to noseless saddle seats reported improved penile sensation and a reduction in erectile dysfunction.
Cycling police officers in five areas of the US were the subjects of the study, swapping their conventional seats for the noseless designs. The 90 participants spent six months riding on the seats, with those saying they had not experienced penile numbness rising from 27% to 82% as a result. It was also reported that 97% of the participants continued to use the new seats after the study.
The main author of the study, Dr. Steven Schrader of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health in Cincinnati, said, "For a long time there has been this thing 'Oh it doesn't happen, cyclists don't have this problem. And many men are shy about talking about the numbness or impotence, even the officers in the study.’”
Lengthy periods spent on a bike seat have often been associated with penile numbness due to the pressure exerted on blood vessels and nerves within the perineum, but there are other schools of thought on effective solutions. Training manuals stress a number of techniques to stop problems arising in the first place such as periodically standing on the pedals to relieve pressure, sloping the saddle forward and wearing padded cycling shorts.
UK retailer Cyclesense of Tadcaster have recently introduced the crescent-shaped Moonsaddle into their range of products and have reported mixed reactions from customers. Owner Dave Stainthorpe, speaking exclusively to BikeRadar, said ‘We’ve only had a few Moonsaddles returned because people didn’t get on with them, but this is the same with just about every saddle on the market – saddles are very individual things. We’ve had both positive and negative feedback."