Summary report on the sellOttO DUAL range, report prepared by Dr Gabriella Mirabile Urologist - Andrologist and expert in UroGynaecology, as well as amateur cyclist, Marco Redaelli - fitness instructor and expert in biomechanics, Gabriele Emiliozzi bicycle mechanic and expert in biomechanics (Fig. 1). More details in the original document .
Created in the early 1800s, the bicycle has undergone several modifications up to the present day. Almost always, however, these innovations have concerned the means of transport in the strict sense, leading us today to have bicycles that are very different from the first in terms of models, geometries, manufacturing materials and technological devices; think of the use of carbon, electronic gearing, disc brakes, assisted pedalling.
Few, however, have addressed the relationship between user and medium, between cyclist and bicycle. SellOttO in our opinion is one of these, one of those innovations that probably won't radically change the use of the means of transport, but which brings with it a vision of cycling in a global sense, putting the cyclist and his relationship with the means of transport in the foreground, We could call it a 'holistic' saddle.
When we were asked to test the prototypes of SellOttO Dual, we didn't know exactly what kind of saddles they were. We knew that they appealed to women, and to those people, both male and female, who are looking for an alternative to traditional saddles which, for various reasons, make everyday or sporty cycling impossible, harmful or difficult; We thought we could get by with very little, but we immediately realised that this is a truly innovative product. We took a little more time and tried to fully understand its merits and flaws; we realised that although there are many different types of saddle on the market, this one has some peculiarities that make it unique. To analyse the range in every aspect, we worked as a team, drawing on the expertise of Dr Gabriella Mirabile Urologist, Andrologist and expert in UroGynaecology, as well as an amateur cyclist, Marco Redaelli fitness instructor and expert in biomechanics, and Gabriele Emiliozzi bicycle mechanic and expert in biomechanics. We would like to specify that the test carried out is not the result of any commercial agreement, and we have been completely free to point out any negative aspects we have found.
Materials and quality
The saddle is entirely conceived, designed and made in Italy, a small tricolour flag reminds us of this, which is certainly a boast and synonym of care and quality also because of the possibility of having direct contact with the manufacturer if necessary.
This, in our opinion, is the biggest sore point. Fitting is difficult, but be careful, not in a purely mechanical and manual sense, but in an interpretative and philosophical sense, I will explain. SellOttO is an innovative saddle and should not be treated or fitted like a standard saddle; even a good mechanic generally mounts the saddle according to the user, following standardised parameters, some of which in this case must be reinterpreted. This saddle has more adjustments than a standard saddle, it really can be adapted to our biometric measurements (and I'm not just talking about the distance of the ischial bones), to the type of use, to the confidence with the bike, to the type of pedalling, and possibly even to the user's medical criticality. So summarising all these parameters, interpreting them and then placing them in the exact position of assembly is not simple, clearly the saddle will be equally usable even in the case of superficial assembly, but it will lose some of the advantages that it can instead ensure.
We know that there will be very detailed assembly instructions as well as an explanatory video, nevertheless the advice is to have the saddle assembled (if you do not have specific knowledge) by a specialised mechanic or biomechanic, explaining exactly why you chose this product and providing the assembly instructions and videos (Fig. 2).
The first time you get on the saddle you are astonished, it is definitely something new, not pleasant, it feels like you are sitting on a ball, it seems to sway, the first thought is to take it off immediately, but almost immediately, after not even five minutes of pedalling the sensations change completely, the covering seems to adapt to us, our pelvis locks and settles and you have a whole new sensation that is then confirmed by prolonged use.
First of all, the feeling of coolness, the saddle lets air pass through, the pad stays dry and there is no sweat in the groin area; we tested the saddles even in the summer heat and this peculiarity was evident.
If the saddle is well positioned, and this is not easy, it manages to perfectly isolate the support of the ischial bones and lock us in that position since the more porous upholstery fabric with more grip than usual also makes it difficult to slide forwards or backwards and to rotate the pelvis, thus locking us in a 'perfect pedalling' position. We therefore need to reflect on this by analysing the pros and cons.
On the plus side, the manufacturer's primary objective is to isolate the support area in such a way that only the ischial bones bear vibration and weight, thus totally freeing the perineal and genital area (in both males and females), so that certain overt or latent, diagnosed or predisposed pathologies avoid creating discomfort and limiting the use of the bicycle. In addition, we remain, as mentioned, locked in a biomechanically perfect position for pedalling; we are pleasantly forced into an efficient and rounded pedal stroke, working all the muscles of the leg and buttocks extremely effectively, a bit like on time trial bikes in which only the perfection of the pedalling movement is sought.
This advantage, however, intrinsically brings with it a disadvantage, which is that of loading for a long time and with more pressure 'only' the ischiatic; as pointed out we have difficulty, either because of the covering, or because the support is really small, to rotate the pelvis, to find rest positions, to vary the pressures, to change our set-up when going downhill or uphill, and we are forced to get up more often on the pedals to stretch or lengthen the muscles and the back. In addition, while the leg and gluteal muscles are enabled to pedal perfectly, lumbar, back and abdominal muscles are forced into immobility, which can cause some soreness at the end of the day.
All in all, to sum up, we really like the saddle and find it excellent for sports/amateur use, but we have some doubts if you have to ride for more than four to five hours or for distances of more than a hundred kilometres. Considering, however, that most sports/amateur or simply amateur cyclists rarely have these daily mileages, it seems to us to be a perfect saddle and suitable for (almost) everyone (Fig. 3).
From the Uro-Andrological point of view
Let us be blunt and clear, SellOttO Dual in this respect deserves an Applause.
Let's start with the premise that, based on scientific publications, cycling and amateur sport cycling do not cause pathologies, but prolonged use of an unsuitable saddle or seat or incorrect posture can predispose to disorders or exacerbate latent uro-andrological problems.
The saddle examined has the first undoubted advantage of being extremely cool, as the adjustable channel is very wide and allows air to flow into the area, thus helping to keep the temperature of the testicles and perineum down. The other advantage is the almost total elimination of pressure in the genital area; the testicles and penis are freer and not squeezed in unnatural positions. This, combined with the absence of compression, brings considerable advantages in protecting us from erectile deficit, lower urinary tract disorders, and safeguarding the perineal, prostate and urethral area.
We must point out that there are many 'anti-prostate' saddles on the market for men, but at the moment none seem to us to bring together all the advantages we have seen, and certainly none can boast such a high degree of possible customisation.
From the Uro-Gynaecological point of view
If from the male point of view the saddle deserved applause, from the Uro-Gynaecological one it deserves a Standing Ovation.
At last, a company is also thinking about women, amateur and sports cyclists, and those who have simply had to give up cycling as an everyday means of transport due to medical problems.
SellOttO Dual is evidently designed from the outset with the female anatomy in mind, in fact of the two rails on offer, the wider one seems clearly designed in this direction.
The central groove can also be adjusted and extended to an extremely generous size to increase the unloading of the genital area, and the support points are then further apart ready to accommodate the wider ischial bones typical of the female pelvis.
In addition, the possibility that the spheres give of adjusting the two tips far apart means that contact with the saddle is avoided or is minimal along the entire genital area, not only the rear, but also anteriorly up to the clitoris.
Another strong point is the freshness of the saddle, which for a woman is extremely important because her genitals are more exposed and in direct contact with the underwear or the pad of the cycling shorts or dungarees; the moisture and sweat in this area predisposes to the proliferation of germs and bacteria, which if kept dry instead remains more aseptic.
Last but not least, in addition to the absence of pressure on the soft tissues, urethra and clitoris, the generosity of the recesses also significantly reduces friction that could create urological and vulvar irritation or pain (Fig. 4.
In short, a new, revolutionary saddle, complicated to understand but absolutely interesting, to be considered and that everyone (or almost everyone) should try.
Marco Redaelli - Fitness instructor and biomechanics expert
Gabriele Emiliozzi - Professional bicycle mechanic and biomechanics expert
More details in the original document and related biliography
(1)(Johan de Hartog J, Boogaard H, Nijland H, Hoek G (2010) Do the health benefits of cycling outweigh the risks? Environ Health Perspect 118(8):1109–1116. doi:10.1289/ehp.0901747 2.
(2)Warburton DE, Nicol CW, Bredin SS (2006) Health benefits of physical activity: the evidence. CMAJ 174(6):801–809)
(3)(Cycling-Related Sexual Dysfunction in Men and Women: A Review Caner Baran, MD, Gregory C. Mitchell, MD, MS, and Wayne J.G. Hellstrom, MD Department of Urology, Tulane University School of Medicine, New Orleans, LA, USA DOI: 10.1002/smrj.32)