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  #1  
Old 05-11-2007, 06:04 PM
WF Tomba WF Tomba is offline
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Purpose of "horn" on bicycle seat?

What exactly is the function of the anterior protuberance on my bicycle seat? All it seems to do is punch me in the nuts. Freudian anxieties aside, is there any reason I shouldn't just saw the damn thing off?
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  #2  
Old 05-11-2007, 06:26 PM
R. P. McMurphy R. P. McMurphy is offline
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It's there to make you sterile. It's a conspiracy by the automakers to limit the procreation of bicycle riders.



Aside from that, good question. Have you tried sawing it off and finding out what the riding experience is like?
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  #3  
Old 05-11-2007, 06:44 PM
NinjaChick NinjaChick is offline
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I would assume it's to allow you to slide forward a bit (eg, while climbing), without effecting your legs as much (thus the narrow width).
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  #4  
Old 05-11-2007, 06:48 PM
Mindfield Mindfield is offline
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I've never seen a bike seat with a pommel. Perhaps to keep you from sliding forward and on to the frame if you brake suddenly? I'm thinking a metal bar in the junk is probably more painful than a plastic/vinyl pommel.
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  #5  
Old 05-11-2007, 06:58 PM
WF Tomba WF Tomba is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mindfield
I've never seen a bike seat with a pommel. Perhaps to keep you from sliding forward and on to the frame if you brake suddenly? I'm thinking a metal bar in the junk is probably more painful than a plastic/vinyl pommel.
I should clarify. I'm not talking about any vertical projection, just the narrow front part that all bike seats seem to have. Maybe I sit wrong, but my weight seems to be coming down on the middle of the seat, through my "sit bones". What's the point of having anything forward of that?
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  #6  
Old 05-11-2007, 07:13 PM
WhyNot WhyNot is offline
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I thought it was for stability. When I ride (which is admitedly not often), I sort of "grip" with my thighs, lightly, especially on turns and such. I'm afraid if there was nothing there, I'd lose control of the bike.
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  #7  
Old 05-11-2007, 07:16 PM
Mindfield Mindfield is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WF Tomba
I should clarify. I'm not talking about any vertical projection, just the narrow front part that all bike seats seem to have. Maybe I sit wrong, but my weight seems to be coming down on the middle of the seat, through my "sit bones". What's the point of having anything forward of that?
Ah, right. In that case, I'd also nominate "slide room." The narrow width would naturally be so that it doesn't get in the way of pedaling, and you have room to slide forward a bit of need be -- also when braking hard, for example. Also, if you stand on the pedals while you coast, sitting down is made easier by the fact that there's more seat there so you don't misjudge your trajectory and end up "hot-dogging" the frame.

*wince*
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  #8  
Old 05-11-2007, 07:27 PM
Patty O'Furniture Patty O'Furniture is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WhyNot
I thought it was for stability. When I ride (which is admitedly not often), I sort of "grip" with my thighs, lightly, especially on turns and such. I'm afraid if there was nothing there, I'd lose control of the bike.
I agree with this. The protuberance in question makes the seat sort of T-shaped and therefore difficult to slide off (to the left or right) of without raising one leg or the other.

That's why the extra-scary rides at many amusement parks use bicycle seats as part of the passenger "compartment", so you can't just slide out to the left or right since the seat sticks out beneath your naughty bits.
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  #9  
Old 05-11-2007, 07:32 PM
Harmonious Discord Harmonious Discord is offline
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They would be a lot better with a seat that removed the front piece and made the back piece twice as wide.
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  #10  
Old 05-11-2007, 07:43 PM
Zambini57 Zambini57 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WF Tomba
What exactly is the function of the anterior protuberance on my bicycle seat? All it seems to do is punch me in the nuts. Freudian anxieties aside, is there any reason I shouldn't just saw the damn thing off?
If your bicycle seat is causing problems, may I suggest "The SEAT" at www.thecomfortseat.com? I use one and it is the most comfortable bike seat I have found yet, and I've tried a few.

It is basically a seat of regular width but no "horn".
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  #11  
Old 05-11-2007, 07:49 PM
WF Tomba WF Tomba is offline
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Thanks, Zambini57, that looks like something I might be interested in. I still wonder why the conventional design got to be so standard, though. Who ever looked at that shape and thought it would be a good thing to sit on??

Edited to add: the anti-sliding idea is quite plausible, but I'm not convinced it's a major issue for the casual, everyday cyclist. I don't usually ride at terribly high speeds or make very sharp corners.

Last edited by WF Tomba; 05-11-2007 at 07:51 PM..
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  #12  
Old 05-11-2007, 08:09 PM
Squink Squink is offline
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Originally Posted by WF Tomba
I still wonder why the conventional design got to be so standard, though.
I think it's a holdover from the racing bike craze of the late 60's-70's. You weren't supposed to actually sit on them much, but rather lean forward and reach down to grab those low handlebars. When handlebars went back to a sane design, the seats didn't follow.
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  #13  
Old 05-11-2007, 09:32 PM
Harmonious Discord Harmonious Discord is offline
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Maybe it's vestigial from when they had unicycles, and the seat needed to ride up between your legs as you angled the bike under you.

Mounting unicycle with pictures.
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  #14  
Old 05-11-2007, 10:55 PM
R. P. McMurphy R. P. McMurphy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zambini57
If your bicycle seat is causing problems, may I suggest "The SEAT" at www.thecomfortseat.com? I use one and it is the most comfortable bike seat I have found yet, and I've tried a few.

It is basically a seat of regular width but no "horn".
I looked at this and the design is intriguing but why not build one made with leather and of solid design? A "soft" seat is not necessarilly a better seat. There's a reason why serious cyclists don't use soft seats. Vinyl is an inferior material to leather for that application. I would try one but I'm afraid it would be a POS made for someone that doesn't ride a lot of miles.
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  #15  
Old 05-11-2007, 11:03 PM
scotandrsn scotandrsn is offline
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Great, now I have a Max Splodge earworm.

"Life would be oh, so sweet,
If I was a bicycle seat.
Ride, Ride, little cheek!
Sit on me, I'm a bicycle seat!"
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  #16  
Old 05-11-2007, 11:14 PM
Chasing Dreams Chasing Dreams is offline
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The more correct term here is "nose of the saddle" instead of calling it the "horn". The nose of the saddle is there to (1) keep you from sliding forward and off the saddle; (2) give you room to move along the saddle during various types of riding. It shouldn't really be crushing your nuts. If you have this problem, you need a bicycle fitting to get your bike set up to fit you.

The Comfort Seat that was linked to may be fine for casual riding but you will find that you tend to slid off the front of the saddle, especially during hard efforts on flat ground. If you are an experienced rider, you will tend to sit more forward on the saddle when you are trying to ride fast on flat ground or do a sprint for the finish line. This is caused by the rider trying to use the upper body to try to keep the body seated. Sitting further forward also emphasizes the usage of the quadricep muscles. When climbing a hill, you will want to sit further back to emphasize the usage of the muscles on the back of the thigh. This will allow you to use different muscle groups to try to minimize fatigue.

Additionally, the nose of the saddle gives you more control over your bike if you ride no-hands. This is important if you are trying to eat or change clothing with both hands on the bike.
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  #17  
Old 05-12-2007, 12:44 AM
Santo Rugger Santo Rugger is offline
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When I'm going around a corner, especially on my mountain bike, I keep my outside foot close to the ground so my inside pedal won't catch the ground. I use my outside thigh on the "horn" to keep the bike under control, giving me two points of contact on the bike frame instead of just one (counting the handlebars seperately). Especially on tight turns or when you're going downhill, you can control how much your bike is leaning and how tight the turn is vs. how far the handlebars are turned. The seat Zambini57 linked to would be great for casual rides and commuting, but I guarantee you'll never see it on a competition bike.
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  #18  
Old 05-12-2007, 08:00 AM
Spoke Spoke is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WF Tomba
Purpose of "horn" on bicycle seat?
Well, if you're out roping dogies, you need a place to anchor your lariat.
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  #19  
Old 05-12-2007, 08:57 AM
Kevbo Kevbo is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WF Tomba
Edited to add: the anti-sliding idea is quite plausible, but I'm not convinced it's a major issue for the casual, everyday cyclist. I don't usually ride at terribly high speeds or make very sharp corners.
Sharp corners don't matter in the least. When a bicycle makes a turn, it leans to the angle needed to cancle any sideways thrust, otherwise the whole bike would topple to the outside of the turn. To get any sideways force, you'd have to "hang off" to one side or the other.

This is NOT true of tricycles, which is why they are prone to tipping over.


The intention of the horn is to prevent you from dropping onto the top tube of the frame, should you slide forward on the saddle.
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  #20  
Old 05-12-2007, 09:39 AM
Princhester Princhester is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevbo
Sharp corners don't matter in the least. When a bicycle makes a turn, it leans to the angle needed to cancle any sideways thrust, otherwise the whole bike would topple to the outside of the turn. To get any sideways force, you'd have to "hang off" to one side or the other.
This is an oversimplification. You are quite correct that the net of all the forces is always as you say and, were that not so, you'd fall over. However, there is a great deal of movement, and consequently complex dynamic forces, between bike and rider, particularly when pedalling hard and cornering hard, and even more so if the corner is complex or bumpy.

Last edited by Princhester; 05-12-2007 at 09:41 AM..
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  #21  
Old 05-12-2007, 01:10 PM
The Controvert The Controvert is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mindfield
I've never seen a bike seat with a pommel. Perhaps to keep you from sliding forward and on to the frame if you brake suddenly? I'm thinking a metal bar in the junk is probably more painful than a plastic/vinyl pommel.
As a male, I ride only bikes with a sloped frame bar (i.e. the female bike design that accomodates skirts). All bikes should be designed that way, as it's nearly impossible to hurt yourself in the way you describe.
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  #22  
Old 05-12-2007, 09:14 PM
Rick Rick is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Controvert
As a male, I ride only bikes with a sloped frame bar (i.e. the female bike design that accomodates skirts). All bikes should be designed that way, as it's nearly impossible to hurt yourself in the way you describe.
Which from a structural point of view is much weaker. Trade offs, there are always trade offs.
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  #23  
Old 05-12-2007, 10:44 PM
scr4 scr4 is offline
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Here's what I think:

Try removing the saddle+seatpost from the bike, and riding the bike that way. It's possible, of course, but difficult because the only thing keeping the bike upright (in relation to your body) is your hands, and perhaps differential pressure on the pedals. Now put the saddle back on - it's much easier to keep the bike frame upright, and to control the angle of the frame relative to your body. This is because your thighs can now push on the nose of the saddle, exerting a lateral force.
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  #24  
Old 05-12-2007, 11:50 PM
The Controvert The Controvert is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick
Which from a structural point of view is much weaker. Trade offs, there are always trade offs.
I base my choice on the relatively likeliness of the two events: hitting oneself vs. bike frame structural failure. I've never heard of anecdotal evidence of the latter... have you?
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  #25  
Old 05-13-2007, 01:51 AM
Chasing Dreams Chasing Dreams is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Controvert
I base my choice on the relatively likeliness of the two events: hitting oneself vs. bike frame structural failure. I've never heard of anecdotal evidence of the latter... have you?
Bike frames/components can fail just like anything else.

In all my years of riding, I have never managed to nail myself in the nuts. And this is with quite a bit of racing. How do you do it? I think this is something that falls into the area of skill if you are on a properly sized frame.
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  #26  
Old 05-13-2007, 03:35 AM
Princhester Princhester is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Controvert
I base my choice on the relatively likeliness of the two events: hitting oneself vs. bike frame structural failure. I've never heard of anecdotal evidence of the latter... have you?
It's also not just a question of failure: in order to make a ladies bike style of frame strong enough not to fail it has to be heavier components. Because the standard frame is a very strong shape, you can use lighter structure.
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  #27  
Old 05-13-2007, 04:40 AM
Patty O'Furniture Patty O'Furniture is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Controvert
As a male, I ride only bikes with a sloped frame bar (i.e. the female bike design that accomodates skirts).
What do you ride as a female?
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  #28  
Old 05-13-2007, 04:43 AM
Patty O'Furniture Patty O'Furniture is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chasing Dreams
In all my years of riding, I have never managed to nail myself in the nuts.
I've only ever heard one person complain about nut pain and I tell him it's because he doesn't dress properly. He wears gym shorts with boxers underneath. Total lack of nut support.
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  #29  
Old 05-13-2007, 07:06 AM
Telemark Telemark is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Controvert
I base my choice on the relatively likeliness of the two events: hitting oneself vs. bike frame structural failure. I've never heard of anecdotal evidence of the latter... have you?
Bikes without the top bar flex under load, such as when climbing hard. You can feel the difference and it ain't good.
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  #30  
Old 05-13-2007, 12:43 PM
Colophon Colophon is offline
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I cycle ~80 miles a week and I couldn't imagine using a saddle with no "front bit". I'd feel like i was going to slide onto the crossbar. I have never found the standard saddle shape uncomfortable.

If you find the nose of the saddle is interfering with your dangly bits, then I would suggest you have the saddle tilted too far backwards. Adjust the angle so it is sloping very slightly down at the front.
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  #31  
Old 05-13-2007, 08:11 PM
WF Tomba WF Tomba is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Colophon
If you find the nose of the saddle is interfering with your dangly bits, then I would suggest you have the saddle tilted too far backwards. Adjust the angle so it is sloping very slightly down at the front.
Actually, this could be the problem. I just noticed that the seat is slightly loose; I think maybe when I ride, my weight tilts it back. Thanks.
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  #32  
Old 05-14-2007, 02:13 AM
Rick Rick is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Controvert
I base my choice on the relatively likeliness of the two events: hitting oneself vs. bike frame structural failure. I've never heard of anecdotal evidence of the latter... have you?
Anecdotal evidence my ass, I have seen the broken frames.
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  #33  
Old 05-14-2007, 03:59 AM
Princhester Princhester is online now
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Lose some weight you fat bastard! *


Edited to add: *in Aust. speak, the formulation "[adjective] bastard" is strictly a form of affectionate ribbing not actual abuse. Have to watch the cultural differences

Last edited by Princhester; 05-14-2007 at 04:02 AM..
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  #34  
Old 05-14-2007, 06:51 AM
Sublight Sublight is offline
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If you're doing very relaxed, low-speed, short-distance riding on a bike that puts you in more of a sitting position (back upright, knees still fairly bent even at maximum extension), then the seat Zambini57 linked to could be a good idea. If you're riding a bike that has you leaning further forward and extending your legs closer to vertical, then you'll need that nose on the saddle to keep you from sliding right off.

A pair of bike shorts with padding in the crotch could also help, if you don't mind people pointing and laughing as you walk by. I got used to it.

Last edited by Sublight; 05-14-2007 at 06:52 AM..
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  #35  
Old 05-14-2007, 07:40 AM
N9IWP N9IWP is offline
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Or get "mountain biking" shorts. These have the same lycra and "chamois" (padding) as regular bike shorts, but have an outer short that looks just like normal person shorts.

Brian
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  #36  
Old 05-14-2007, 09:43 AM
Frylock Frylock is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chasing Dreams
Additionally, the nose of the saddle gives you more control over your bike if you ride no-hands. This is important if you are trying to eat or change clothing...
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