I’ve an accomplished uni-cyclist friend ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ffLt7gBwvv8 ) who has been told by his doctor that he cannot unicycle anymore due to the stress on his testicles from the uni seat. He’s tried lots of the usual options all to no avail. He needs something with no force applied to the testicles.
I’ve agreed to try and design and 3D print a seat for him, for free, that would keep his body safe while he rocks his sport. The result would be a seat for him, and an open source design that anyone could use, or sell. We’d do experimentation to see what works.
I am posting to do due diligence on this beforehand, to see if anyone has solved this. I’ve looked online, and don’t see a lot. There are people “adjusting” after mounting. There are those using athletic tape or a “suspensory” device. The best info I have seen is Men and unicycle seats. A practical solution! .
The question for any of you, is, do you know of any men’s seats out there that are really safe for guys testicles specifically? Do you know of anyone that would know?
In terms of seat design, I am thinking something that would rest in the front on the left and right sides of the groin. Something like padded rails or a big loop in front.
If not, we will likely go forward with this and try designing a seat.
Good to hear someone might finally come up with a “safe” unicycle seat/saddle! Fot fifteen years I’ve been riding “unsafe” unicycle seats. I use to sometimes worry that the stress may be causing irreparable damage.
I spend a lot of time riding unicycles. I have days when I’ve exceeded 22 hours of unicycle seat/saddle time. I’d be willing to express my thoughts about options I’ve tried and methods that I find work toward limiting immediate and long term damage risks.
I’ll PM you contact information.
P.S. I’ve three ball juggled on unicycles on that same section of bicycle path in Corvallis.
For most riders getting pressure off the testicles using modern off the shelf unicycle saddles is very easy to do. Modern, especially flatter saddles put no pressure on the testicles. Even saddles with some curve can usually be adjusted keep the sensitive body parts free of pressure. That was not always the case, some older saddles (50 years ago) were quite a nut crusher.
Now getting pressure off the perineum is harder to do and most riders just take a break every so often or stand up and pedal every so often to keep the blood flowing in that area. Also some newer saddles are cut out in the center to help to eliminate pressure in the perineum.
An ideal saddle would put only pressure on the sit bones but for a unicycle without handle bars keeping a saddle in place and providing the necessary steering control presents a problem
Here is a fifty year old nut crusher. Note the relatively uniform curve from front to rear and uniform width.
Short answer: No seat is safe for guys. As long as we bring our balls with us, we’re in some sort of danger.
I don’t know enough about our subject rider to have an informed opinion, but based on the one video, I would recommend upgrading to some proper bike shorts (padded). This may help.
But the problem you describe is not something I’ve ever heard of for another unicyclist. My next question would be to the doctor. More information of what’s happening to him, please? What is his background on unicycling damaged to mens’ crotches? Most likely only his imagination. Get a second opinion.
Beyond that, let’s allow for the patient to possibly have “unusual proportions in the crotch area”. This could be in the form of an unusually shaped pelvic area, or just really big balls. It happens. I knew a guy who always complained of discomfort in that area do to his cohonical size.
But if there’s nothing unusual going on down there, I’d start with some decent bike shorts, and more information about what saddle he’s currently using.
Thanks for the info. Much food for thought. I will:
Check with Bill on his seat curvature. He may simply be using an old “nut crusher” highly curved seat. That change in design over the years was new knowledge to me.
I don’t know much about Bill’s personal geometry. I’m a bit uncomfortable asking about “size” or “enormity…” We are friends, so maybe I will broach that subject.
As far as the doctor is concerned, a second opinion sounds like a good idea. The doc’s a garden variety type as far as I know, not some godlike uni fiend. The issue Bill has does stop when he stops doing the uni. So there is some connection between the uni and his difficulties. The problem is in the testicle area not perineum I am told.
bungeejoe, I’ll connect with you PM as you suggest.
With the possibility of the flat seats doing the job, I’m a little less interested in doing the project. Why re-invent something that might be solved? We are considering doing all this pro-bono and as we are (or at least I am) feeling kind of lazy here, why work at it? On the other hand, maybe we have the chance to make the next big leap in seat concept. Whoooaaa!
I’m going to check into all this, and at the same time, maybe connect a little more with the mechanical engineer I am working with this on, Dave. Dave has one concept, and I have come up with another. Basically, together it would look like the bottom and back of the seat just the same as the very best modern seats. Meaning spots for the sitz bones, perineum groove, sides curve in and out, as today.
The front is where we are thinking big differences would happen. Where guys nads live would be an opening. It would be big enough for most of us! The seat would curve outward to the left and right (fork) into padded rails on either side that would provide pressure between the uni and the person’s groin (where leg meets pelvis). Kind of like the perineum groove but gone HUGE!
The concept is that most of the time, the rider would rest on the sitz bones pads on the back of the seat as ideal today. That’s where our bodies are adapted to sit (at least it seems so). Sometimes the rider also applies pressure to the middle of the seat.
The front “rails” would then be rested on occasionally, as needed, with no force on the nads.
Since you don’t sound from your posts like a uni rider yourself and I’m not sure if your friend is familiar with the specific saddles now available, I would recommend you specifically check out a couple of the current popular high quality flat-ish saddles for unicycles:
Kris Holm KH One - a nearly flat saddle with center channel - fits similar to a bike saddle:
These saddles are both much more comfortable than the stock saddles that come on many unicycles. Their flatter shape and better firmer foam concentrates pressure on one’s sit bones ( like a quality bicycle saddle). Both saddles can be purchased in the US at unicycle.com
Also, it doesn’t appear that a handlebar would work for the type of riding your friend is doing, but there are a couple of handlebar options that allow you to shift some of the weight onto your hands - good for distance riding and crotch comfort. Unicycle.com has these as well.
I think your concept makes sense in some ways, but consider the following as well:
The saddle should be rigid enough handle twisting loads that a unicyclist puts on it with their hips to turn.
The saddle should probably be compatible with some kind of front handle as these are often used for control and many maneuvers
The current wave of saddles ( mentioned above) benefitted from a lot of development and experimentation with comfort and fit of the past 10 years. Some of the innovative saddle developments have been captured in the threads here on the forum (search for “saddle modification”, or “flat saddle”, or “custom saddle”).
I would be very surprised if the doctor had any knowledge of what “stresses” a unicycle seat puts on a man’s testicles.
I think most men would notice stress to the testicles quickly and without medical advice. If they’re being squashed, they hurt.
I suspect that, at best, the doctor is speculating and being overcautious.
I have spent hours in the saddle without a dismount on various unicycle seats without discomfort to that part of my anatomy — seats ranging from the heavy and clumsy old Viscount, to the light and barely padded Miyata, to various KH and Nimbus saddles. Nerve damage to the area around the sit bones or perineum, I could understand, but only if someone rode extraordinary distances day after day.
I figure it also depends on how slim or heavy you are. Currently I should lose some weight and my thighs are fatter, giving me less space around the seat. After 20km riding my Nimbus 29" gel stock seat, I have chafing to the side and sometimes I feel numb at the crotch area, also like Klaas Bil described in one of his threads.
Once I get serious about not eating so much sweet stuff and lose some weight, Im sure the seats will become more comfy too.
I have a variety of Nimbus and Freeride saddles and a fairly flat one with a carbon fibre base. I don’t have interference problems with any of them.
The key to protecting “the equipment” is cycling shorts. The stretch fabric is meant to hold things where you put them so you put it all up out of the way of the saddle. The shorts need to be very close fitting to work properly.
I like climbing hills so I ride long stretches out of the saddle. Settling back only to encounter delicate obstructions that have slowly descended during the climb is a demount-demanding predicament best avoided.
Bib shorts are what is really called for because the over-the-shoulder design ensures that gravity does not prevail. Then I back this up with cotton shorts and braces. I only use ordinary bike shorts if I am just riding around on flat areas.
Yep it reminds me of the concept saddle developed by Mad4One: Trials Saddle
You’re free to pad it the way you want. The original idea was not to protect privates but to provide different/additional ways to grab the seat whilst doing tricks. Some people are starting to use it in freestyle, and they’re now developing a version that has a longer front to act as a handle for muni/road touring.
Here’s a first look at the design we are looking at. We will likely print it this week, and then just try it out for feel. It will have foam padding added to it. I’d add the STL model file to provide a 3D look, but the forum won’t allow that kind of file.
This is a copy of a seat we have now. It is, I believe, a “nutcrusher.” Net steps would be to flatten out the front to make it non-nutcrusher, add curves (a radius) to the top of the sidewalls for comfort.
I broadly agree, but the original question referred to seats being safe testicles, by which I assume the OP meant not crushing or damaging them.
Unicycle seats are not going to crush your nuts in normal riding, by which I mean mounting with reasonable care and skill, and riding long distances mainly sitting down.
Yes, of course a rider may briefly trap or otherwise hurt his nuts if he mounts inexpertly, or does some sort of a hop or drop landing clumsily, but no design of seat, or anything else that goes between your legs, will ever eliminate that risk.