Air seat cover competition

I need a new cover for my Miyata air seat as my old Roach cover is coming apart at the seams. I’ve tried to repair it from time to time but it’s coming apart faster now than I can sew, so it’s time to reorder.

There are several replacement options; pricey but luxurious leather, yucky but probably sturdy vinyl, Reecycle nylon, and Roach nylon. My old Roach cover came with the cinch strap underneath that didn’t do a satisfactory job of keeping the cover securely in place so I installed eyelets and used a lace. Worked very well. The new Roach covers have the elastic pockets (?) and seem to fit very loosely on the saddle. I had problems in the past of keeping the top layer of the air tube in place and it seems it would be worse with a loosely fitting cover. Thing is, Russ at says that the loosely fitting cover seems to be more favored by all you out there. I have installed Velcro strips between the two layers of inner tube to keep the layers lined up and it seems to have helped greatly.


  1. Which do you prefer, a loosely fitting cover or a snug fitting cover?
  2. Which is the better quality, the Reecycle nylon or the Roach?
  3. Is the vinyl even worth considering? Seems the first winter would put it to rest.


i used the mid sized leather.

it’s worked well so far. the cord can be pulled really tightly.

all in all it’s kinda snug with a 20 inch tube in with foam at each end.

Re: Air seat cover competition

I have all three. The Gemcrest vinyl seat has about 1000 Coker miles on it and it shows no sign of wear. We have no winter here so I can’t address what cold weather would do to it.

The Roach nylon is on my SH MUni and I agree that the attachment scheme for the old ones is pretty goofy. The Roach shows less signs of fraying than the ReeCycle nylon that I have on Blue Shift which probably has about 200 miles on it so far. The SH Muni, although it has nowhere near as many miles, is subjected to abuse that Blue Shift only sees on the rare occassions when I foray into the sport of high-speed concrete skating.

In my opinion the Roach is more durable than the ReeCycle but the ReeCycle has a much more sensible attachment scheme. For time in the saddle, the Gemcrest is probably more durable than either of the nylon covers. The disadvantage with the vinyl is that it is not as easy to repair if it tears or splits.

Re: Air seat cover competition

I don’t care, as long as the seat’s comfortable. My air seats are definitely looser than my foam seats, but they are the more comfy ones. I think the loose covers are intended for lots of tube, such as with the air pillow that folds over. My own air seats just have a tube in there, with nothing holding it in place and stock Miyata seat covers. So far so good.

No comment on #2.

Cold has never hurt my vinyl seats (remember I’m from Michigan). Occasionally the bumpers would shatter in the cold, but I think they’ve made changes to the material since then.

Back in the early 90s, Constance Cotter’s sister was making covers to fit Miyata seats. She had a range of colors and materials, and they were nice replacement covers. I still have one that she made on my 24" red Miyata, the one I use for racing. It has lots of wear and tear on it and it’s been very durable. If anyone remembers seeing this seat, it’s shiny red vinyl with metal flakes in it, like an old seat from a diner. Very cool.

Recently, Jacquie has moved her company to a new office, and decorated the break room like an old diner. The chairs in there use the same material. She managed to swing a roll of the stuff for me, to be used for unicycle seats! So I have this roll, but I haven’t done anything with it yet. I need someone who wants to make seat covers. Anyone interested?

ive been useing the Gemcrest leather (mid-sized) for awile now.its held up quite well,to bad the price went up to $59 dollars though.

i dont like loose floppy seats.i rode with a floppy one because i didnt know any better.

in search for a perfect seat,i gave up on the 20" tube and double layer air pillow.i now use a 12inch tube with original foam on seat is now lower profile,more stylish and belive it or not more comfortable!

that big fat dbl.layer air seat thing so passe’ (sp?) :o

The muni I spend the most time on has the leather Gemcrest made before they hieghtened it. For me it is perfect. I bought another at a later date and it is way taller and I hate it. It flops all over the place and it would take more air than I would dare to put in there to fill all that space. It’s at least an inch taller than it needs to be. I will probably take it to a shoemaker and have it shortened because I can’t stand the way things slide all over the place. It leans over on it’s side and the loss of control is bad.
I also found the recent Roach cover to act the same way. It is too tall for me and there is no real way to settle it down. I ended up cutting the elastic “sock” off and sewing a seam all the way around the open nylon. It is a nice snug fit now and I like it. It is fastened with the miyata clips.
I will probably buy a vinyl Gemcrest for another uni as it is supposedly shorter than the latest leather incarnation (and less than half the price) and I really like the Gemcrest shape.
My ultimate choice for a cover: snug fit for comfort and control, leather for durability.


I only have a second. I will post later on tonight. I wanted to add some things that haven’t been covered(hahhahah) from my own experience with the fit-on roach seat cover.

gotta get back to the class now.

Bruce -

I have a Reecycle cover on my titanium based saddle. There’s pictures of it here:

I’ve modified the cover quite a bit. The original cinch strap came loose on one end so I cut it off. I removed the front grommets on each side since they were interfering with the handle. I added four grommets (2 on each side) toward the rear and cinched it all up with black wire ties.

Like others that have responded to this thread, I like a lower profile and tight fitting cover. I have a single inner tube with the original foam piece on top of the inner tube. It makes for a very comfortable seat and one that keeps it’s shape and isn’t all loose and floppy.

As for the durability of the Reecycle cover - It’s holding up well so far but I don’t have anything else to compare it to. The cinch strap that came loose was a flaw - it wasn’t sewn correctly but I like it better without the strap anyway.

Steve Howard

I have only the tall Roach type but I have a couple of comments.

  1. I like the way that moisture, especially rain, just disappears into the material with essentially no change in behavior. I imagine that leather would not behave as nicely under wet, or hot and sweaty, conditions. I don’t know for sure, though, so perhaps someone could comment on that.

  2. I too, think that it is too tall. That said, wrapping either duct tape, or broccoli wiiiide rubber bands, around the tube at strategic spots has had a welcome, strongly stabilizing effect on the entire saddle.

I did much the same with my original Roach cover as the elastic strap underneath was useless in obtaining a tight fitting cover. I installed eyelets and used lace. I guess I mentioned that in my original post, didn’t I? It makes sense that a tight fitting cover would lend more to better control much like a seatbelt would during a rough ride in a car.

If I went with the Roach cover, I suppose I could always cut off the elastic banding underneath and install eyelets or grommets again. I think I’m hearing that the Roach may be more durable than the ReeCycle. Can’t afford leather right now so that may be my best option. Only thing is, I agree that the high profile of the Roach/air pillow is a bit unruly and I might like to try the foam and single tube senario. Can the Roach cover support such a setup? I suppose I could yank it tight underneath to obtain a lower profile. I have the leather low profile setup on my Diet Coker and I like it very well.

U-Turn, you mentioned moisture or water and the Roach nylon. I agree but with the added observation though that the air pillow or sock inside tends to hold moisture between the two layers and mildew if it is not allowed to air dry.

I’m putting in an order for several of our club members tonight including my stuff but I’ll wait on what Rod was going share.


I really like the tall Roach cover. I have a new style cover with the fabric on the bottom of the saddle instead of a strap. I don’t have any stability issues with my double layer air pillow w/20" tube. If you get everything arraigned right and keep the pressure up, it shouldn’t slide around. It’s comfortable for hours and miles of MUni. The seams on the cover are starting to come undone after about a year of use. It still works, but may need to be replaced sometime this summer.

I also use a gemcrest vinyl cover. I originally used it with the double layer air pillow, and it didn’t work very well. Not enough capacity to be an effective cushion. After I got the Roach cover, I moved the gemcrest to a Miyatas with a regular 12" tube air conversion. Its much more comfortable than a regular Miyata airseat, because it has more capacity than the stock cover. I have this seat on my trials uni, and it gets a lot of use. It’s more than a year old, and it has a few rips around the edge of the seat base, but its still working fine. Cold doesn’t seem to effect it at all. I would recommend this cover for anyone who wants to make a Miyata airseat a lot better, but I don’t think it’s as comfortable as the Roach for MUni or distance.



thanks for wanting to wait for my response. Though, it does look like most of my thoughts have now been covered.

I have the newer Roach cover with the lycra on the bottom, and the four straps on the front half, two on either side.

When I first put on my Roach cover, I installed it with just the 20" tube. I inflated it and it went really high. The seam where the lycra and the nylon cover meet was forced above the bottom edge of the seat base, specially in the back half of the seat. The seat rolled around a lot and I couldn’t steer very well. That being said, as you have noticed, you have to put at least one grommet on either side of the seat cover just above the seam where the lycra meets the cordura nylon. I ran a cable tie between the two grommets to keep it tight. I think most people use more than just four grommets to attach the seat cover. I was in a hurry when I rebuilt my seat, so I just left it with a total of four.

The front part of the seat has those four nylon straps that you can connect with a cable tie, but I found that you can only really use these if you really want that skyscraper seat cover. I put just two gromets there as well just above the seam. I also didn’t put much innertube or foam in the front inch of the seat cover, I pinched the front of the seat cover underneath the handle by cutting holes into the cordura nylon for the bolts to run through. The result is that the front tip doesn’t sit up as high. This helps me during MUni.

The end result from using the grommets, was as others have said, was to decrease the volume inside the seat cover. I really like it at this volume.

When you buy the Roach expect to be somewhat frustrated as to how you get it on over the seat base, especially if you have the original foam in there as well with the deflated tube. It amazingly stretches over it all. During my rebulding over a month ago, I probably replaced that cover 10 times. The lycra is a little worn now where it meets the cordura. At one time, I almost considered cutting out the lycra that is on the bottom. You might consider doing this. But I liked the cleaner lines it left under the seat. Like Jagur, I used a 12" tube, but used some dense packing foam instead of the original miyata foam. This works for me.

Hope that helps.

I also don’t like floppy air seats.

I use a 16" tube in a single layer air pillow. On top of the air pillow I put the Miyata foam. It all fits very nicely in the Roach cover. In fact it fits perfectly. I have no need for grommets. I use the Miyata bumpers to hold the Roach seat cover on. I also have a shoelace tied in the four loops in the front half of the seat, but I could actually do away with the shoelace bit and the seat cover would still stay in place just fine.

If you have the Roach cover stuffed right it will stay on just fine without grommets.

Air seat cover competition

Bruce, you missed the really important question: “Which seat cover type smells nicest?”

Re: Air seat cover competition

yeah and i forgot to mention how nice that British Gemcrest leather smells,maybe that has somthing to do with the price increase?

check out this pic i got off the German forum,the dude acually sewed in a zipper! no problem fixing a flat there :slight_smile:

saddle zipper.jpg

I bet that eats through bike shorts and skin at an alarming rate…

yeah its a pretty wild riding naked on that seat i guess…

Air seat cover competition

Comments, John Foss?


Re: Air seat cover competition

Huh? Why me, tiny green text dude? It’s not my zipper seat…

I would guess anyone going to the lengh of building a zipper into a seat would figure out a flap of fabric over the zipper, so it might be pretty comfortable, considering. But I, for one, wouldn’t want a zipper on the top corner of my Miyata-style seat.

Air seat cover competition

Why you, John?