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  1. #1
    Senior Member rabbitt's Avatar
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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

  2. #2
    Humvee of bikes =Worksman Nightshade's Avatar
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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.
    My preferred bicycle brand is.......WORKSMAN CYCLES
    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?

  3. #3
    Recumbent Evangelist
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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.
    www.rebel-cycles.com

    The official Canadian dealer of TW-Bents recumbent bicycles!

  4. #4
    Humvee of bikes =Worksman Nightshade's Avatar
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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.
    My preferred bicycle brand is.......WORKSMAN CYCLES
    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?

  5. #5
    Senior Member rabbitt's Avatar
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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?

  6. #6
    horizontally adapted bentrox!'s Avatar
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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.
    I'll gently rise and I'll softly call
    Good night and joy be with you all.

  7. #7
    Cycling Anarchist Trsnrtr's Avatar
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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:





    Last edited by Trsnrtr; 08-08-06 at 07:06 PM.
    Dennis T

  8. #8
    Recumbent Evangelist
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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.
    www.rebel-cycles.com

    The official Canadian dealer of TW-Bents recumbent bicycles!

  9. #9
    Senior Member rabbitt's Avatar
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    you do seem to have a point: leather doesn't seem to be too breathable.

  10. #10
    Opt-in Member GreenGrasshoppr's Avatar
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    I know a guy who uses a wood beads seat cover

  11. #11
    Senior Member rabbitt's Avatar
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    wood beads? is that a brand name, or does he really use wood beads? that seems odd and perhaps inappropriate.

  12. #12
    Opt-in Member GreenGrasshoppr's Avatar
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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


  13. #13
    Recumbent Evangelist
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    I suppose that wood beads would at least breathe pretty well...
    www.rebel-cycles.com

    The official Canadian dealer of TW-Bents recumbent bicycles!

  14. #14
    Humvee of bikes =Worksman Nightshade's Avatar
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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!!!!!!!
    My preferred bicycle brand is.......WORKSMAN CYCLES
    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?

  15. #15
    Senior Member atombikes's Avatar
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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
    atombikes

  16. #16
    Doomsled funbun's Avatar
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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.
    Check it out:

    Blog The Travelogue

  17. #17
    Senior Member BlazingPedals's Avatar
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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.

  18. #18
    Si Senior dbg's Avatar
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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?
    David Green, Naperville, IL USA "The older I get, the better I used to be" --Lee Trevino

  19. #19
    Doomsled funbun's Avatar
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    Prolly. Remeber, even a trash can will fly if you give it enough thrust.
    Check it out:

    Blog The Travelogue

  20. #20
    Senior Member BlazingPedals's Avatar
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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.

  21. #21
    Si Senior dbg's Avatar
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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.)
    David Green, Naperville, IL USA "The older I get, the better I used to be" --Lee Trevino

  22. #22
    Senior Member BlazingPedals's Avatar
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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.

  23. #23
    Senior Member Shaman's Avatar
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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.

  24. #24
    ram
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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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