Cobb Saddles - The Best of the USA in the UK.
John Cobb is famous for his wind tunnel antics and the amazing athletes he works with to make them super speedy. However John noticed that the women particular where suffering with pain and pain as everyone knows will slow someone down both physically and mentally quicker than any marginal gain you can offer to offset this.
So we had women (they are much more aware of the body and listen to themselves than any man) Who would only ride on a saddle as it was 8 grams lighter than the other saddle - why - marginal gains / bike lighter/ streamlining. All this as opposed to comfort. John and his team very quickly worked out that getting the right saddle to fit the women's female anatomy (Innie or Outie) would far outweigh any marginal gains they where trying to add - ignoring the saddle fit.
So lighter wheels / more areo set up all just added to "the saddle comfort" making the hugest difference. The gain was as much as 48% improved effort in some women by just getting the saddle correct.
All Cobb saddles are based around the real truth that the female body is different to the male one which most saddles are deigned on. Many women fall into 2 categories (Very broadly) one appears to have more forward hip sockets had flatter rear ends and more foreword protruding pubic bones. The other group of women with more rearward hip sockets had more pronounced rear and very little public bone protrusion. This then has an impact on whether the women is an "innie or Outie" so if the labia are protruding and going to be causing more of a soft tissue pain or perhaps the more innie style of some labia which would then present as more skeletal pain and need some support.
Cobb saddles and in general female specif saddles seem to have 2 clear camps in terms of the nose section of the saddle. “Some women would really like a narrower nose section, while another group of women would absolutely hate that design and completely love a wide nose section design. There was very little middle ground, it was love it or hate it.
“Because women’s sexual anatomy is lower in the pelvic region, and cannot be “adjusted” like men’s sexual anatomy, finding comfort can be more difficult on a bike saddle.” The men can just tuck it away and be done with it - this really isn't possible with women.
2020 has seen a real resurgence of people getting back on the bike ! According to ACT (Association for the Cycle Trade) In July 2020 you could not buy a new bike for a female adult new in the UK - the soonest arrival date was August.
We need to as a society grab this and welcome these people back and for the ladies I speak with, its keeping them on the bikes and not being put off by pain on the saddle.
Cobb explains: “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. The vulva and labia are the outer exposed soft tissue areas around the opening of the vagina. Because women’s sexual anatomy is lower in the pelvic region, and cannot be “adjusted” like men’s sexual anatomy, finding comfort can be more difficult on a bike saddle. Putting direct pressure on any of this soft tissue area can soon lead to pain, unhappiness, and short bike rides.”
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. Either one can be found with either pubic bone style, but it is beginning to show that the forward hip socket location combined with the protruding pubic bone, tends to be an ‘Outie’ more often, while a less pronounced pubic bone tends to be an ‘Innie’.”
Though saddle preference does have its own unique factors, Cobb have found a clear trend: “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 and V-Flow and the new narrower nosed models.”
The Seat Post would suggest that determining if you’re an ‘innie’ or an ‘outie’ could help you get a clearer idea what shape of saddle you should look for.