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Paul Probst of Minneapolis will soon be bringing to market a saddle with an inbuilt oscillation device. This "stimulates neuro/musculo-skeletal structures, reducing soreness and rejuvenating muscles and anatomy around the sitting haunches," says Probst, who has 20 years of experience with patented urological medical devices. Oscillation technology is already used in sports training and Probst says his vibrating saddle, six months away from post-prototype sampling, alleviates bum discomfort and prevents erectile dysfunction.
'Vibration training' is defined as a "recurrent change of position" which is one reason why a vibrating saddle could work. In effect, it forces cyclists to shift position, a key factor in staying comfortable on a bike.
Probst's prototype saddle doesn't bounce the cyclist around the saddle, the vibrations are of an amplitude that allow full control of the bicycle and are almost imperceptible once moving.
Vibration training is not a modern fad. To treat athletes, ancient Greek sports trainers used saws wrapped in fabric to transmit mechanical vibration to the muscle groups requiring treatment.
Dr. John Harvey Kellogg - founder of the cereals company that bears his name - used vibrating chairs in his early 20th century sanatoriums.
In the 1960s, Professor Biermann, an East Germany scientist developed a muscle vibration technique later used in the 1970s by Soviet Union Olympic athletes to improve performance (see, it wasn't just steroids) by increasing muscle strength, aiding flexibility and reducing recuperation time. This technology was perfected in the 1990s by Guus van der Meer, trainer to the Dutch Olympic team. His Power Plate vibration device - think Segway without the wheels - is available worldwide and is used in gyms and by pro athletes.
In 2004, BikeBiz.com carried a story on a vibrating saddle patented by US inventor Bob Turudich.
This has yet to make it to market, although Italian saddle companies were said to be interested.
Paul Probst's Shiver Saddle is close to market.
"My patent attorney and I are aware of the Turudich patent," Probst told BikeBiz.com.
"Our patent submission discloses this patent. There are major differences where Turudich is a non issue for Shiver Saddle."
Probst says the Turudich patent involves a saddle that vibrates at an unsafe frequency for the body
His Shiver Saddle "looks like a sport saddle and not a larger, unusual looking design often necessary when using material and configuration changes."
The saddle "is designed to prevent occlusion of pelvic floor structures that results from body weight on saddles. Shiver Saddle proactively stimulates blood flow and oxygenation while facilitating lymph node drainage. Most importantly, Shiver Saddle delivers a more comfortable ride. Research has shown that with Shiver Saddle oscillation technology, 63 percent of riders did not experience any soreness after more than two hours of riding," said Probst.
Probst has been receiving help for his concept from US bike industry consultant, Jay Townley.
MEDICAL RESEARCH PAPERS ON VIBRATION TECH: