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Old 04-20-06, 01:36 PM   #1
Sir Lunch-a-lot
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Alternate Seat Design

Several years ago, I recall seeing a video in school about paradigm shifts, and one of the examples that was discussed was that of a particular saddle design for bicycles. It talked about how nobody thought that this particular design would be comfortable, but apparently it was more comfortable than any other design out there.

Basically, it was like an ordinary, gell-less saddle, but it had only the part where the sit bones rested on (that is to say, the frontal, narrow part was totally absent. I honestly don't know what to call that part, but it seems to be the part that gives us guys the most problems).

Does anybody know what kind of seat I'm talking about? Does anybody produce these? More specifically, does anybody in Canada produce or sell these? Because the more I think about it, the more I'd like to try it.
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Old 04-20-06, 02:04 PM   #2
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I have a Specialized Oasis saddle that I bought in 1999 based on a reccomendation in Mens Health Magazine. It was suppose to be orthepedically designed. The front narrow part is still intact but it has been hollowed out. Also, the rear extents out wider so more weight is on the bones. I like it very much. Specialized no longer makes the Oasis but they make a new generation one. There are also generic knock offs of this that I have seen at Nashbar.

I say more about this and posted some links in the following thread.

advice on new handlebars/seat?
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Old 04-20-06, 02:22 PM   #3
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I used to ride The SEAT saddles (with these sort of properties) made by Ergo LLC (http://www.ergotheseat.com). Then I put one on a fixed gear, or rather changed a bike with one to a fixie. Let me just tell you that a fixed gear really quickly tells you if something on your bike sucks or if you've misconfigured something. I've since then replaced all the saddles with standard ones. Although The SEAT allows easier getting on and off, you do slide off, put more pressure on your hands. And if you tilt it too much back your quads will hit The SEAT. As I said, all these things become more apparent on a fixie.

Last edited by jakub.ner; 04-20-06 at 02:29 PM.
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Old 04-20-06, 03:13 PM   #4
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Well, perhaps the guy on the movie thought they were more comfortable because he didn't ride a significant distance with it (kind of like most people who say these inch or more thick gel seats are comfy. yeah, they are comfy... for half a mile)

But Holy Zarquon Singing Fish! I looked at a lot of the links in the other thread, and saw nothing but gel-padded saddles!!! Tell me, does anybody other than the uber expensive companies (such as brooks) make any non-gel padded seats anymore? I can't say that I have seen them in Walmart or Canadian tire (the closest thing I've got to a LBS. The nearest real LBS is 300+ Km away). What I should do is see if I can figure out how to craft my own seat. Start off with a wood block, carve it up, use it to make a mold, or just use it by itself... I wonder, if I were to strip down some of these gel-padded seats, if there would be much of anything left?

Well, anyway, thanks for the input. I guess I'll just stick to my old touring saddle and screw around with the angle then. It's just that I had been meaning to ask about the mentioned saddle type for a while now. Maybe I will attempt to build one... someday...
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Old 04-20-06, 06:59 PM   #5
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My LBS tryed to set me up with a racing toilet seat. Yes that was the name of the thing. It only had the back end of the seat left and a U cut out of the front so the boys hung free. I hated it either my sit bones were falling off the edges or i'd have to sit so far back my legs were hitting the sides of the seat. I returned the damn thing the next day. If you want Sir Lunch-a-Lot I can swing by and find out who makes the saddle and yes the seat was pretty hard no gel.
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Old 04-20-06, 10:30 PM   #6
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That's alright, Silverserpent. There's no need to go out of your way for that. Besides, the one I saw wasn't toilet seat shaped any way. And besides that, I have come to the realisation (it's amazing what one can realise by simply posting questions, regardless if they get an answer or not. And then messing around after seeking an answer yourself also helps) that by simply tilting the seat forward, I can achieve the same basic effect that I was looking for (without trying out a bunch of other seats). So for now, I will stick with my ancient seat with a thin layer foam padding and tight springs that don't have a heck of a lot of give (That seat has been on practically every bike I have ridden within the past year).

Perhaps your reasons for hating your toilet seat were similar reasons for the other kind of seat not really catching on. Perhaps, like gel seats, it's only comfortable for short duration, leasurly rides through the park.
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Old 04-20-06, 10:59 PM   #7
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While touring I had a serious problem with chafing, and mentally designed a seat along the lines you've suggested. But before actually spending the time and effort to make the seat, I decided to just try adding a foam pad to the rear (sit-bone)part of my present seat. Not only did it eliminate the chafing, but it's so comfortable I enjoy sitting on it for many hours, day after day.

It's about 2 1/2" thick and made of very stiff foam (a discard from an upholstery shop). I cut and shaped it with an electric meat carving knife; it was very elegently attached to the existing seat with multiple wraps of duct tape. I covered it all with a stuff sack and it doesn't even look too bad. I love it! And the price was right too....
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Old 04-20-06, 11:17 PM   #8
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Interesting... well, I imagine that stiff foam certainly wouldn't give the same problems this jelly gives. Well, thanks for that tip. I'll have to keep it in mind just in case it ever comes in handy. Might give it a try if I actually decided to rip apart and reupholster my relatively new gel touring saddle.
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Old 04-21-06, 03:37 AM   #9
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The nose of the saddle plays an important role in bike control, esp on fast descents and no-handed.
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Old 04-21-06, 04:42 PM   #10
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I had to give up riding conventional bikes 18 months ago for medical reasons and was forced to ride on a recumbent trike with it's wide mesh sling type seat. A short time ago I began researching alternate bike seats on the internet and found one made in Canada called the Spongy Wander. I bought one and have put almost three hundred miles on it in the last three weeks. It's great and has allowed me to go back to riding a conventional bike again. The people who put down seats like the Spongy Wander probably did not really need one to begin with. I have ridden for 21 years including racing road bikes, multiple centuries and one America by Bike tour from Memphis to New Orleans in eight days (580miles). I did not wimp out but literally was no longer able to ride a regular seat. I gave up riding for ten months before puchasing the recumbent. The limitation of riding venues for the trike caused me to find another solution.
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Old 04-21-06, 05:02 PM   #11
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Well, I decided to go ahead and tear my my "new" touring saddle. I've had it for about half a year now, and hated it's excess gel. So, I made my way over to the recycling depot and scrounged up some foam that I figured would be ideal for the seat. Then, disassembled the seat, removed its 2 inch thick, wet, gel layer, and proceded to cut and tape until I had a bicycle seat shaped padded layer. However, I do think I could have gone a little bit thicker on it. But, for now, the seat doesn't look bad, but it feels hard. So, only time, and longer distances, will tell me for sure if it is much better.

Chafing... is that where your legs are rubbing against the seat? If so, then my old touring saddle gives me that problem, and my newly modded one does not.

It might be kind of late to ask, but how do you guys find hard saddles on the butt? I'm thinking if this is too hard, I may have to add one more layer of that foam I found.
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Old 04-21-06, 05:20 PM   #12
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Why not just go with a Brooks? They aren't that exensive (the B-17 is only $67) and will last you a lifetime! Plus, if you order it from Wallingford bicycles, you will get 6 months to try it out to decide if you like it or not.

http://www.wallbike.com/index.php
http://www.wallbike.com/brooks/standardsaddles.html

After you've ridden a Brooks for about 1000 kms (less than a month) it should start to conform to your shape, and will become a custom saddle comfortably fitted to your sitbones and anatomy. What more could you want in a saddle?
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Old 04-21-06, 05:47 PM   #13
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Enigma198, you are perhaps right about me not using my Ergo LLC seats as intended. I.e. I simply replaced my seats on bikes that I use everyday. My handle bars are usually level or lower than my seat. This is probably not the intended riding position for these sort of seats.

Do you ride more upright with the spongy wonder?

I remember especially having difficulties if I used fairly slippery nylon pants.
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Old 04-21-06, 06:34 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sir Lunch-a-lot
Several years ago, I recall seeing a video in school about paradigm shifts, and one of the examples that was discussed was that of a particular saddle design for bicycles. It talked about how nobody thought that this particular design would be comfortable, but apparently it was more comfortable than any other design out there.
I saw that same video (when the co. I was working for was in trouble and hired a consultant ). Being a non-cyclist at the time, I was along with all my colleagues laughing at those "idiot cyclists who have to have a horse-like saddle" on their bikes. Since then I have seen saddles exactly like that in the video come up in these forums many times, and the prime problem is that without the horn part in the middle, bikes are more difficult to control especially riding no-hands. There are riders who use them, though. If you search hard enough you will find them. And they may be fine for a casual occasional cruise on a bike path.

One of the problems with the video article was, the chap did not know the exact issues with bike saddles. One of them is that if you used a saddle like that for an extended amount of time, the tissue that gets used for sitting gets all numbed up because they were not designed for sitting on. Sitting is supposed to be done with sit bones. This is also the reason that excessively padded saddles may feel comfy at first but using them for several hours is a PITA, pun intended.
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Old 04-21-06, 06:52 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jur
One of them is that if you used a saddle like that for an extended amount of time, the tissue that gets used for sitting gets all numbed up because they were not designed for sitting on. Sitting is supposed to be done with sit bones. This is also the reason that excessively padded saddles may feel comfy at first but using them for several hours is a PITA, pun intended.
I guess the point I was trying to make about the orthopedic seats got loss in the gel because these seats happen to have gel. These seats were designed with autonomy in mind, that is, they are wider and put more pressure on the bones and not on the soft tissue. Don't get caught up the gel. It really is not that important.
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Old 04-21-06, 07:03 PM   #16
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Quote:
bikes are more difficult to control especially riding no-hands.
Has almost nothing to do with the seat.
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Old 04-21-06, 07:18 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by operator
Has almost nothing to do with the seat.
I admit to not having experience in this, merely parroting what others have said. Going against my own grain.
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Old 04-21-06, 09:41 PM   #18
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jakub.ner, I do ride with my bars slightly above the seat. I began doing this because as I get older my hands and wrist get numb. I can handle the discomfort of low bars but am afraid my hand will fall asleep and slip off the bars causing me to crash. I ride a rigid frame Cannondale mountain bike almost exclusively on the road. I also ride pretty moderate speeds (15mph) and this seat make not work for an aggressive racer or technical sigle track. It's working great for the casual 90 miles per week that I ride.
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