Manta saddle, independent blood flow analysis, pressure distribution
From the start of the Manta bicycle seat project one key benchmark was to satisfy medical, healthcare and human motion professionals that the new saddle would eliminate or at least greatly reduce well known problems with conventional nosed saddles. These are the restrictions to blood flow in the groin area, also imposing severe pressure (multiples of body weight on impact) on soft tissues not evolved to bear pressure.
We’re very grateful for the number of specialists, including urologists, motion analysts, therapists and trainers, who provided advice and encouragement throughout development. The Manta saddle is a better product for their expertise.
We welcome active collaboration with researchers. We were given reason to believe the Manta saddle has therapeutic potential, from informal tests at Dundee hospital (post-operation patients, during IMAR research), and rider’s reports.
Two significant medical development milestones were:
Evaluation of a pre-production prototype by Dr Laurence Berman of the Department of Radiology, University of Cambridge, Addenbrooke’s Hospital. He reported:
‘…blood flow and other vessel pressure effects do not need to be measured as this design does not make contact with the areas I would be involved in testing. Furthermore this means that it is not possible to test in the same way as classic saddle designs, as ultrasound analysis techniques require physical contact in these areas.
It is obvious from inspecting this design that there is no contact in the areas that are proven to be problematical with conventional designs. I would suggest that the blood flow analysis for a cyclist using this saddle would probably approximate to that of a person exercising other than on a bicycle; that is, a general increase in blood flow as opposed to the pudendal artery specific restriction found in riders using conventional saddles.
This means that – with this particular design – long-term damage caused by lack of blood flow – and hence oxygen to the tissues – otherwise supplied by the pudendal arteries, is unlikely to happen nor will the more abrupt potential damage from compression/crushing of the arteries be expected.’
(Pressure distribution of a prototype (left) and a conventional padded saddle. Red indicates peak pressure)
Comparative performance testing of a range of bicycle saddles including the Manta seat, by the Institute of Motion Analysis and Research (IMAR) at the University of Dundee.
IMAR researcher Nicholas Cotton, supervised by Professor Rami Abboud, analysed the blood flow levels a rider would experience in the groin area while riding each saddle. This extract from the research findings, to be published as Cycling and impotency: the way forward, notes that:
‘Due to providing an anatomically natural seating area, providing an increase in blood-flow in use, and “near-perfect” pressure distribution, the Manta saddle provided the best performance of the test subjects. Unlike broad, ‘comfort’ saddles, there is no restriction to movement, or trapping of the pudendal nerve (at the join between leg and glutes).’
Significantly, IMAR had to use specialist equipment to test the Manta because, unlike conventional saddle designs, no part of the Manta saddle pressed against the pudendal area at all, giving nothing on which to mount the sensor normally used with saddles.