Cobb saddles – a revolution in saddle comfort
This is the first in a series of articles about bicycle equipment we stock here at Winning Position. We only sell a few brands and each one has to earn its place through proven effectiveness at addressing one of the elements of bike fit .
Before we dive in, I want to stress that one of the biggest factors in saddle comfort is an optimal bike fit. If the saddle is not in the right place relative to the bottom bracket (saddle height and saddle fore-aft) and the handlebars (saddle to handlebar drop and reach) then there is a good chance that even the saddle best suited to your rear end will not deliver the comfort it should. It’s just one of the reasons why you should get a bike fit.
A saddle is a part of the bike that should not be noticed. Is this really possible I hear you say? Let me tell you a story…
When I started out as a cyclist, I experienced several seasons of saddle discomfort. I was convinced that I simply I had to “toughen up” and get used to it. I soldiered on, only to find the problem worsening when I ventured into time trialling with its even more aggressive riding positions. I was continually suffering from saddle sores caused by the saddle literally rubbing me up the wrong way.
I was fortunate that I had a close friend who, sick of my complaining, pestered me into trying any and every saddle I could get my hands on. It took a while but eventually I found The One and discovered that riding could in fact be a comfortable experience.
I believe that there is an optimal saddle for everyone out there and I endeavour to help you find yours. I am very keen to see riders of all cycling disciplines not repeat the same mistakes that I made.
One of the saddle brands that I stock at the Winning Position studio is Cobb.
Founder John Cobb has been active in the industry since 1972, working with pro teams and triathletes to develop innovative products such as saddles and shorter cranks.
Cobb saddles have been among the top 5 saddles used at Kona Ironman for the last several years. The models available encompass a range of different widths, shapes, cut outs, and levels of padding.
One of the unique features is the width of the saddle nose which on Cobb saddles is narrower than most: 55 mm compared to 63 mm which is more typical of other brands. Close attention has also been paid to the positioning of the seams, ensuring that you never sit on a line of stitching.
For the ladies
John Cobb saddles are unisex and there are plenty of men who ride them with great success.
That said, one of the things which initially peaked my interest in the brand was the discoveries that John has made in relation to designing saddles for women.
Following a great deal of research John landed on one simple question to determine the best saddle shape for a female’s body: “are your ‘lady parts’ an ‘Innie’ or an ‘Outie’”?
The women’s sexual anatomy, the vulva, labia, and clitoris in particular, make up the women’s soft tissue that cause the most concerns and discomfort for female riders. For the women who are considered ‘Outies’, the vulva and the labia are much more pronounced and exposed, often showing as a physically larger area. The clitoris also may be a physically larger area. In other words, there is more fleshy surface area to the external genitalia for those who are considered outies. For the ‘Innies’, the vulva, the labia, and the clitoris tend to be more enclosed or drawn up internally so that the crotch area is smoother. The innies will have a smaller exposed soft tissue surface area around the opening of the vagina.
John Cobb, Innie or Outie
All riders are individual but Cobb remarks that there are some clear trends that have emerged. “We have found that the “Outies” tend like the wider nosed saddles such as the “Max” or “fifty-five” models while the “Innies” consistently like the “Plus”, “V-flow” and “Randee” models, with their narrower noses.
At Winning position, I have all of these models for a rider to trial firstly during the fit session and then with the option of a 1 week on road trial period. They are excellent, comfortable saddles that have come highly regarded for cyclists of all abilities and disciplines so I’d encourage you to check them out.