Excerpts From

No-nose Saddles and Bicycle Patrols

Steven Schrader and Michael Breitenstein,  National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health

Nunzio LaMaestra and Stephen Prescott, San Antonio Police Department

New Report On Saddles and Sexual Dysfunction

If there is a problem, why don’t professional bicycle racers complain?

Numbness is a Warning Sign


1. A nerve is being compressed or

2. Blood flow is being restricted

Recent Research on Bicycling

  • 94% bicycling officers studied reported genital numbness

  • Bicycling officers studied had a 25% reduction in erection quality

  • Bike saddles with a nose caused an 80% reduction in oxygen in the penis

  • Twice as many long distance cyclists have impotence than swimmers

  • 50% reduction in blood flow to the penis vein on saddle with a nose.

  • Increase impotence when using a cutout saddle

  • 1 in 3 men who ride a bike as part of their occupation reported impotence

Results of Oxygen Pressure Study

Percent Sleep Time Where There Was An Erection

Problem is more then bicycle fit

Distribution of Weight on the Bicycle

small surface areas:

  1. bicycle saddle

  2. pedals

  3. handlebars

Nerves and Blood Vessels

Nerves and  Vessels of the Perineum

Nerves and  Vessels of the Perineum

Saddle Nose Pressure

Nerves and  Vessels of the Perineum

Nerves crushed by seat


Distribution of Body Weight


Sitting in a Chair


Sitting in a Chair

Distribution of Body Weight


Sitting on Bike Seat


Sitting on Bike Seat

Distribution of Body Weight


Leaning Forward on Bike Seat

Leaning Forward on Bike Seat

Weight Distribution on Various Saddles (in Percent)


The Pressure of the Bicycle Saddle Nose is Compressing Nerves and/or Restricting Blood Flow to the Penis


NIOSH Recommendations


  • Minimize pressure from Saddle Nose

    • Consider seats without a nose

  • Dismount to take rest breaks

    • While talking

    • While observing

  • If numbness occurs dismount until it subsides

  • Ensure proper bike fit

Does It Happen to Everyone?

  • Does every smoker die from smoking?

    • 50% of smokers will die from a disease related to smoking

  • Does every tennis player get “tennis elbow”?

    • 40% of tennis player get “tennis elbow”

  • Does every Major League Pitcher get Rotator Cuff Damage?

    • 22% of pitchers have symptoms

Is Every Male Cyclist Impotent?

  • Frequency of impotence in men aged 18-59

    • 11% of men report impotence

    • (about 2 out of every 18 men)

    • 16% of bicycling men report impotence (about 2 out of every 13 men)

    • 28% of men bicycling as part of their job report impotence (about 2 out every 7 men)

  • Do the Math

    • A police unit of 36 of non-cycling men 4 would be impotent

    • A bicycling unit of 35 men, 10 would be impotent

Cycling Greater Than 3 hours/week

60% increase in impotence in men who ride more than 3 hours per week over non-cyclists

Traditional Saddle

Use or Display of Seats or Equipment does not imply Endorsement by NIOSH

Split Saddle

Use or Display of Seats or Equipment does not imply Endorsement by NIOSH

No Nose Saddle

Use or Display of Seats or Equipment does not imply Endorsement by NIOSH

Are No-Nose Saddles A Solution?

Use or Display of Seats or Equipment does not imply Endorsement by NIOSH

Research with No-Nose Saddles

Oxygen Concentration in Penis

IPMBA Study (May 2003) Do “No-Nose” Saddles Increase Pressure to Other Body Parts?


1. The Pressure from the Nose is Removed with No-Nose Saddles

2. There were no significant changes to pressure to either the hand or the foot while using the traditional and the “no-nose” saddles.

Implementing No-nose Saddles in Police Departments

  • Study is underway

  • Preliminary results

    • 17 of the 19 officers (89%), used only no-nose saddles both at home and work for 6 month study

    • 2 officers who had stopped using the no-nose saddle blamed the saddle breaking

      • 1 asked for a new no-nose saddle

Try A No-Nose Saddle

Saddles available for trial