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Recumbent What IS that thing?! Recumbents may be odd looking, but they have many advantages over a "wedgie" bicycle. Discuss the in's and out's recumbent lifestyle in the recumbent forum.

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Old 08-08-06, 01:51 AM   #1
rabbitt
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best seat material?

for best power transfer, obviously a hard shell seat is best, but what material is best? the ones i know of are carbon (extremely stiff for power transfer) and fiberglass reinforced plastic (from Actionbent's seats). are there any other materials, and what type of padding feels best and/or looks best? (I don't like the way the open cell foam on the stock Bacchetta Aero seat looks). Thanks
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Old 08-08-06, 08:16 AM   #2
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The best seat material is still, and always has been, LEATHER.

This is one of the reasons Brooks is still so well respected and sells so
well. Even the best man made seats/saddles mimic leather in texture
and appperance often.

You can spend yourself broke looking for a better seat/saddle but unless it's
real leather you're wasting your money.
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Originally Posted by krazygluon
Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
Aluminum: barely a hundred, which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?
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Old 08-08-06, 08:29 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tightwad
The best seat material is still, and always has been, LEATHER.

This is one of the reasons Brooks is still so well respected and sells so
well. Even the best man made seats/saddles mimic leather in texture
and appperance often.

You can spend yourself broke looking for a better seat/saddle but unless it's
real leather you're wasting your money.
Yeah, but that's for a saddle. We're talking about recumbent seats here, where leather has no place.

A hard shell seat is better for power transfer. The padding varies, from soft memory foam to no padding at all. AB seats used to have a stiffer foam seat, now they are mostly open-cell foam (for better breathability). I've got a few "air mesh" pads on the way, which I hope will be a good compromise between comfort and airflow.
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Old 08-08-06, 01:06 PM   #4
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"Yeah, but that's for a saddle. We're talking about recumbent seats here, where leather has no place."

Hmmmmmm..........No, I don't think that this correct just uncommon. A custom made hard leather
seat is by far the best for both comfort AND power as it moves with your body. I kinda doubt that
you've have much exposure to custom leather work but a visit with a leather craftsman will change
your mind if the craftsman is worth a damn. A hard leather seat is wonderful to sit in for hours.

Any compentent leather worker can make a seat just for your A$$ to ensure supreme comfort.
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I dislike clipless pedals on any city bike since I feel they are unsafe.

Originally Posted by krazygluon
Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
Aluminum: barely a hundred, which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?
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Old 08-08-06, 02:27 PM   #5
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Sir Tightwad, have you tried sitting in foam seats? if so, how do they compare? what kind of bike do you ride? So the ultimate would be a carbon hardshell seat covered with leather?
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Old 08-08-06, 03:17 PM   #6
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My riding buddy rides a Baron lowracer. He will be soon covering his padded, carbon-fiber seat with perforated leather. The tan-colored leather is as soft as butter, the stuff they use in automobiles, not hard like a Brooks saddle. I'll post pictures if anyone is interested.
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Old 08-08-06, 06:58 PM   #7
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My favorite material is ZoteFoam. A couple of guys around do a nice job with it. Mine came from Don Smith in Michigan. What I like is it's very firm yet comfortable. I need extra lumbar support and the extra firmness of the pad allows the lumbar mold of the seat support my lower back better than the standard filter foam.

I have ZoteFoam on both my Volae and my Baron:





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Old 08-09-06, 06:34 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tightwad
"Yeah, but that's for a saddle. We're talking about recumbent seats here, where leather has no place."

Hmmmmmm..........No, I don't think that this correct just uncommon. A custom made hard leather
seat is by far the best for both comfort AND power as it moves with your body. I kinda doubt that
you've have much exposure to custom leather work but a visit with a leather craftsman will change
your mind if the craftsman is worth a damn. A hard leather seat is wonderful to sit in for hours.

Any compentent leather worker can make a seat just for your A$$ to ensure supreme comfort.
I've no doubt that the leather seat would be soft and form-fitting. What I'm concerned about is how well it breathes. With the rider's entire back resting on the seat, sweating buckets, I'd be afraid of sliding right off a leather seat! Sweat would collect and pool right at the rider's tailbone, which is not comfortable at all, and bad for the leather, too.
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Old 08-09-06, 08:13 AM   #9
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you do seem to have a point: leather doesn't seem to be too breathable.
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Old 08-09-06, 08:26 AM   #10
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I know a guy who uses a wood beads seat cover
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Old 08-09-06, 08:35 AM   #11
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wood beads? is that a brand name, or does he really use wood beads? that seems odd and perhaps inappropriate.
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Old 08-09-06, 08:57 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rabbitt
wood beads? is that a brand name, or does he really use wood beads? that seems odd and perhaps inappropriate.
real wooden beads, the type used by cabbies

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Old 08-09-06, 09:07 AM   #13
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I suppose that wood beads would at least breathe pretty well...
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Old 08-09-06, 11:42 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GreenGrasshoppr
real wooden beads, the type used by cabbies

Yep, THIS bead seat is EXACTLY the same kind I use on my trike. I prefer the hard
surface for my lowwer back but also enjoy the cooling this seat offers......and all
for about $5 bucks!!!!!!!
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I dislike clipless pedals on any city bike since I feel they are unsafe.

Originally Posted by krazygluon
Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
Aluminum: barely a hundred, which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?
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Old 08-15-06, 09:49 AM   #15
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anATOMic Seat

Don't dismiss the wood recumbent seat (natures carbon fiber)!!!!

I have versions of the anATOMic seat that I sell that are at (or under) 2 lbs after finishing.

I list 3 lbs on my website to be conservative, but most come out of the mold at around 2-1/2 lbs, then with trimming, etc.. they get pretty light!

http://www.geocities.com/atombikes/seat.html
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Old 08-16-06, 08:24 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by atombikes
Don't dismiss the wood recumbent seat (natures carbon fiber)!!!!

I have versions of the anATOMic seat that I sell that are at (or under) 2 lbs after finishing.

I list 3 lbs on my website to be conservative, but most come out of the mold at around 2-1/2 lbs, then with trimming, etc.. they get pretty light!

http://www.geocities.com/atombikes/seat.html
Atom's seats are pretty comfortable. I'm using one on my highracer. Although I haven't finished the seat, here some pics:
http://biketour.blogspot.com/

I just rounded off the corners with my friend's jig saw after I took the photos.
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Old 08-16-06, 09:51 AM   #17
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For power transfer, Carbon is the way to go. For breatheability, the Optima open cell foam pad is better than the Bacchetta or Volae ones, IMHO. It compresses down to almost nothing under the rider's weight, so you're not compressing the foam with each pedal stroke. Yet there's just enough material there to hold your back off the shell and let moisture get away. The drawbacks: 1. it is a bit expensive for something that only lasts a couple of years 2. it's not light 3. it's coarse and scratchy if you don't wear a shirt. Next for power transfer is the Zotefoam pad like Trsnrtr has on his bikes. They're very light but they don't breathe well. The B/V pads combine some breathability and a fair amount of cushioning, but still feel hot to me.

If you're willing to forgo a little power transfer, a mesh-back is very comfortable. Unfortunately the only one I have experience with is the standard RANS seat, which is quite heavy.
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Old 08-16-06, 07:49 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trsnrtr

I wonder if I could get one of those fancy seats on my burley canto? Is it possible?
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Old 08-16-06, 11:07 PM   #19
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Prolly. Remeber, even a trash can will fly if you give it enough thrust.
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Old 08-17-06, 05:56 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dbg
I wonder if I could get one of those fancy seats on my burley canto? Is it possible?
You might have to get inventive to mount it, but sure you could. Not that I'd recommend it; it might create problems with weight distribution and reaching the handlebars.

If you don't already have the Burley sprint braces, then the first thing to do in your quest for efficiency is to add them. That might make a big enough difference for you. If it doesn't, maybe you're outgrowing the bike. As someone on another list once wrote: "You can train a pig to race, but it'll never be a racehorse - just a fast pig." Meaning, don't try to make the bike something else, it'll just suck a bunch of money and effort, and you'll still end up upgrading when you finally learn that you really need is something that's designed to be faster.
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Old 08-17-06, 07:47 AM   #21
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I'll have to try one out. I'm thinking it will give a greater total spine support and somewhat leave my glutes with less compression. So comfort is 60% of my reason. Some performance advantage would be nice too, but I'm OK working a little harder than everyone else. Learned that from my son. see below.

(My hotshot soccer playing son goes on our annual Wisc. trip riding a 7 speed internal geared "city clunker". Almost every day the hard core climbers tell me how he powers up the hills blowing by everyone and never even shifts gears. I've offered to outfit him with a sleek road bike but he says he likes the workout.)
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Old 08-17-06, 08:21 AM   #22
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If you want to try a hardshell on a Canto, the Swanson seat might be the way to go because its butt area is larger than on other hardshells. Most carbon seats have a very small butt area because they're designed to be very reclined, which puts most of the rider's weight on the hips and back.

OTOH, if you're just experimenting, a fiberglass hardshell would only run around $100, vs $250+ for the Swanson.
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Old 08-17-06, 01:50 PM   #23
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I have the open cell foam on my Actionbent tadpole trike. It really does not breath well but maybe better than others. It is also a little poor in support for the significant areas of the back and that ZotaFoam seat looks quite narley for the hardshell bent seats. Do they make this cusion for the Actionbent FRP seat? Please link me up on this if they do.

One thing I noticed immediately with the foam over the original Actionbent pad is that the foam holds you in the seat much better. I was sliding of the original sponge seat and, being tall, it just pushed me in all the wrong places. It is just not comfortable.

If anyone would like to buy my seatpad, make me an offer... Linked here... just the pad

As for leather, yes, leather breathes very well as it also wicks moisture. If you want a hardseat (think horse riding saddle) custom fit to your form, that would be fantastic but probably a bit weighty. If you just want to cover a pad, there is some very lightweight and supple pigskin that is super tough and durable (use to do leatherwork with this and it is very thin and tear-resistant).

Personally I was thinking of having my wife sew up a terrycloth cover that is sinched down around the hardshell seat to hold the open cell foam pad in place. This would make cleaning a breeze, still maintain some of the "sticking to the seat" feel with the terrycloth texture, and add that finishing touch.
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Old 08-19-06, 09:40 PM   #24
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Seat cushion options

Check out this site www.ventisit.nl for another comfortable option that breathes very well. We use them for seats (carbon fibre and fibreglass) in the various velomobiles we offer at bluevelo.

The manufacturer has also offered to make custom shapes for us, so if you're having trouble finding a cushion to match your seat just send us a photo along with your request and we'll pass it along.

On another note, we'll also have fabric wheel covers for both 20" and 26" wheels available shortly. We're stocking them for our velomobiles (see photos of the Mango on our site, for instance), but they'll also work in other applications.

Thanks.

Ray
www.bluevelo.com
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