Air saddles versus other saddles

I only had about 100km on my KH air seat before I switched it out for a KH freeride. I found the air seat to be comfy for short rides and did a good job of taking out some of the bumps but it would get uncomfortable after only half an hour. I like the Fusion Freeride but I prefer my older KH seat with the firmer foam cut down to a shape surprisingly similar to the freeride.

I think when it comes to saddles we can learn a thing or two from bike riders. All of the nice saddles (like the one on my bike) are quite firm but are shaped to support properly instead of being soft so it squishes into whatever shape your but happens to make it.

Harp - I ran an air saddle for about two years. I never really liked it…always just seemed too squishy, rolled around, etc. A month or so ago the tube went bad so rather than fix it I decided to get the KH Fusion Freeride. At first it beat my ass (literally) and I was thinking that I made a mistake…seemed so hard compared to sitting on air. Maybe that’s because it was, duh! Anyhow I got used to it pretty quickly and now I find it to be darn comfy. The other major plus is that I feel more in contact with the uni on the Fusion than I did on my air saddle. Now I’m using it for mUni not touring but still I’d go with the Fusion if I were you.

Why not bike seats?

Maybe this is a stupid question, but somebody has to ask it.

I assume that the reason why unicycle seats are so different from bike seats is so that your legs can ‘grab’ the seat to give you control. With long distance riders routinely using handlebars I wonder whether that need is diminishing. Has anybody tried putting a bicycle seat (narrow front) on a unicycle with a handlebar and riding it for long distances?

I’ve been thinking about doing this experiment but my current handlebar is incompatible with my bike seat – I’d need to get a handlebar that attaches to the seat post.

seen a coker with bicycle seat on here before so somebody does it…

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I have a KH Freeride and I like the flat saddle, but the foam is overly soft and I don’t feel like it is supportive enough, esp in comparison to the Nimbus Gel which is too stiff and “swoopy” for my body type :roll_eyes:

I’m thinking of adding some 1/4" minicell at the “cheeks” to add some depth to the saddle, maybe cut down the soft foam a bit. Anyone else do mods on their Freeride?

I rode my KH Fusion Freeride into work today. That’s right, I’m no sissy, I just rode the saddle; I don’t need the unicycle. Initially I thought this is going to be bad, I’m riding on a plank. After a mile or so the new sensation drifted into the background and I no longer noticed it. My discomfort endurance was about equal to that on the air saddle. The Freeride seemed heavier (because it is) but also it was more stout. It offered more control than the squishy air saddle and the handle, unlike my plastic Miyata springboard, was quite firm and afforded a sure grip. I was able to ride the 200 yard curbs of Ravenna Blvd. on the first try and idling was noticeably easier to do. Lots of control. At least equal comfort.

I did some shopping around with saddles this year during all that training for RTL. I started out with an air seat with Roach cover and carbon base, that was originally made up by Chris Reeder. I’ve had it on there for years and it was great, except for really long rides. And flats.

It only went flat once on me, but it had really bad timing. It went flat the night before the longest ride I’ve ever done (Lake Tahoe; 72 miles). I started the ride not realizing the problem (I thought I chose the wrong pair of shorts), and during the ride I couldn’t find the leak! I ended up riding about 40 miles on an innertube and a tiny triangle of foam. This is the downside of an air seat. Even if you have a patch, it’s hard to fix if you can’t find the leak.

The other downside of air seats is that they spread even pressure everywhere. This is good for the pressure points that usually get abused, but bad for general circulation and cooling. I think a foam saddle lets a little more air get in there to keep the temps under control.

Then I tried the Fusion Freeride, which didn’t impress me. I think it’s the right idea, with a flatter surface and center channel, but it didn’t seem to agree with my own crotch. It lasted slightly less time than my air seat before getting uncomfortable (though it might work better on super-long rides).

Then I tried the KH Fusion Freeride air. I was very disappointed to learn that it’s nothing but an innertube inside an air pillow, and nothing else in there. I thought it was some innovative mixture of foam and air, but it’s not. If flat it would be even less comfortable than my old Reeder/Roach combo. I should have read the description more carefully, but I guess I focused on the “considered the most comfortable seat by most riders!” part. I’m not most riders. It as lopsided and I was unable to even it out without taking it all apart. To be fair though, I should experiment with various air pressures. While some air seats are best with really low pressure, some seem to work better when a little more firm.

Then I tried the Nimbus Gel. This is my saddle of choice for the moment. It’s a little heavier, but my crotch seems to last a little longer on it. It’s what I used on my Coker for RTL. Mind you, all saddles start to suck equally if you ride too many miles without stopping. I had this notion reinforced for me at the Unicon Marathon, which many of us did nonstop. OUCH!!!

Let’s not forget to mention the plain-old KH seat. Originally I replaced the Fusion Freeride (on my borrowed Nimbus 36 with Schlumpf hub) with the old KH seat off my 29er. This is like a 2nd-generation KH seat, from before there were multiple variations of it. It works great for me! As does the Coker-branded Velo/KH saddle on my new Coker V2. I’ve gone on long rides with both, and they’ve been just fine. I think the equivalent of the old KH seat would be today’s Nimbus Hi-Top ($39 from UDC).

The best way to be kind to your crotch on long road rides is to stop every once in a while. Some people call this a circulation break or crotch break. Even a few seconds of being off the saddle can make a world of difference. Handlebars can help with this too. If you can ride out of the saddle for a minute or so, it’s almost as good as stopping for a minute.

I know Scot Cooper did this for a while on one of his older Cokers, but now he’s riding a different setup and I think he’s back to using unicycle seats. For the bike seat to work there are two basic requirements:

  • You need a handlebar system you can really put your weight on. If you’re just holding onto it, rather than leaning on it, there won’t be enough support for you to ride a narrow bike seat and not keep sliding off the front. And you won’t want to angle the bike seat up, because then it starts pressuring sensitive parts again. It has to be a balance between seat and handlebars.
  • You need to hold your handlebars all the time for it to work well. If you have multiple handlebar positions, such as a stretched out and a more upright one, it still has to provide that balance in either position, or one or the other won’t be comfortable.

But I think bike seats can definitely work for road unicycles with the proper setup.

I started off with a Torker LX and the standard seat. It gets uncomfortable pretty quickly, and the solution is to just take a break every few minutes.

I bought a used unicycle that came with an air seat. My son has used it a fair bit, but I didn’t care much for it. With the Torker LX seat, it is most comfortable when I am shifted back on it, where the wide part of the seat begins to support my sit bones better. The air seat feels cushier at first, but is applying pressure to the wrong places.

It seems to me that the ideal seat would be kind of a combination of a unicycle saddle and a cruiser seat off a bicycle. Specifically, take something like a Torker LX seat, and make it wider at the back.

I get no discomfort on my current seat set up, especially if I am riding it with a guni. On a geared uni you put more force into the pedals and it takes some pressure off of your crotch.

I am currently running a KH Fusion Freeride with a carbon fiber base and GB4 handles. It doesn’t flex at all and is extremely comfortable.

Air seats are not the way to go if you are going to be doing long distance rides, they are alright for short distance though.