Airseat or Foam? Problems with flat seats...

So, yesterday I went on a ride with Mike Middleton, and this being the first ride I’ve done on my new seat, I was happy with pretty much everything. It provied great padding on a nasty 5-6’ drop to flat. But, about 3/4 into the ride, my seat got a flat. I didn’t have anything to repair it, si I wjust repeatedly pumped it up and kept going. This is all too common for me now, so I’m wondering, does anyone have a solution for this airseat problem. I’m using a KH seatcover, 12" innertube, and cf seatbase. Should I just carve up the foam padding from my Kh seat and use that? Or should I salvage the rock hard padding from my miyata? I can’t decided if it’s worth it to me to continue using an airseat if it can pop so easily.

Thanks for reading.

Re: Airseat or Foam? Problems with flat seats…

Do you have any sort of a “pillow case” for the inner tube? That wasn’t listed above in your parts list. If you don’t have the inner tube protected inside some sort of a case, I’d imagine it would puncture quite easily. Run a search on threads by John Childs and you’ll find a link to his air pillow gallery. Sew something like that…or buy the pillowcase sold by…and you should be in business. I have one, and have only had one leak in several hundred miles (although I don’t do your kind of riding and dropping).

If you have a pillowcase and are still getting punctures, look to other sources. Do you have duct tape over all your bolt heads and other sharp edges on the CF base? That could be another contributor.

Airseats are worth it…you just need to identify and fix the root cause of your punctures.

did you cover the tops of the bolts on the inside with duct tape so the tube isnt sitting on top of medal…?

track down the hole in the tube, then match it up to the base to see the general area it puntured.

edit: tom stole my thunder… you can also wrap the tube itself in duct tape, thats what i do. it keeps it in the shape of the seat very well.


I don’t have a pillowcase. I did put ducttape over all of my boltheads. It seems as if the puncture is in an odd place-the back of the seat, near a hole in the seatcover. I guess I’ll just have to take it apart and patch it. So the verdict is go for the airseat and don’t use the foam from my KH seat? Just checking.

Opinions will differ, but I’d say first go buy this:

Then stuff (neatly) your inner tube inside of it, fold the airpillow in half, stuff it inside your seat cover narrow end facing the front, and slowly add air while gently manipulating things until it falls into place and feels right. That may take you a couple of attempts, but it’s worth it and the pillow case will greatly extend your tube life.

Some folks do all that and then STILL use some foam from an old seat–shaved thinner–to place on top of the pillow to help provide additional shape to the seat. Go look at that john_childs gallery for detailed shots on this process.

You can always sew your own pillow case, which I think John did (purist), but to me it’s a pretty easy justification to spend the $15.

you could get a pillow, that’ll help

Check out my Airseat gallery for the details on how I make my muni seats. It makes for a very comfy muni seat. Squishy enough to take away the bumps and jolts. Firm enough so it doesn’t feel like you’re sitting on a bowl full of jello.

I really like the combo of an air pillow and the Miyata foam. The KH foam is also very good. If I had the foam from a KH seat handy I’d experiment with that too.

A comfy air seat requires some experimentation. Find what works for you.

Putting the tube in some sort of pillow case should solve the puncture problem. It’s really easy to make one yourself. It will take an evening and is a good home ec project. A couple of socks and some duct tape might also make for a suitable pillow case.

yeah, the next time i take my seat apart im going to stick my duct taped shaped tube into a nice big wool sock.

For off-road I use the Torker LX frame, GB4 stiffener, KH foam, leather cover, Steve Howard handle and it works excellently.

I just stopped by on vacation and picked up a pillow/innertube because riding my setup for 20 miles is not comfortable enough.
I still get saddle sore for some reason.

It’s like I need a 2nd unicycle:
145mm, 26" wheel, Hookworm, airseat (for distance on road)
and 170mm, seat as listed above, knobby tire for everything else.

if you are using a tube 12" a think you can stay in that configuratin and you don’t wont to change to 20". when you make one lyre air pillow it will separate the tube from the inside parts of your seat. try to see how the tube looks and in what place it had been cut. maybe some part of the seat was not isolated properly.

I had trouble with my home made airseat going flat, but I couldn’t find the hole by putting the inflated tube under water. I’ve worked on bicycles for 30 years, so I know how to fix a flat. I figured that the hole only opens up when the tube is bent at an odd shape.

Anyone else experience this?

oh, the mystery :thinking:


Could it be the valve core that is leaking?
The valve core in a schrader valve can loosen up and very slowly leak air. There are special tools to tighten the schrader valves and you can even buy a replacement valve core. Most auto parts stores will have the schrader valve tool and the replacement valve cores.

I use an air pillow to help protect the tube. With regular riding I’m finding that I can expect a tube to last a little over a year before the chafing causes a leak in the tube.

Hey John, I was just looking through your airseat gallery, and have two questions on the foam work. First, did you do your carving to shape it on the topside, or underside. I’m assuming underside, but not sure from the pic. Second, the foam looks broken off in the front…is this because the piece you had to work with was broken, or is there some comfort reason to have it stop short like that?

My muni seat is still intolerable…I’m going to rip into it tomorrow or Tuesday, and try to rearrange the airpillow, plus add a foam insert. Now if I can only find my electric carving knife. I hear they’re great for carving foam :slight_smile:


One of those squishy gel serfa inserts cut to shape works great too. that’s what i use.

I cut the top side of the foam, but it really shouldn’t matter. Top or bottom, it shouldn’t make a difference.

I cut an inch or so from the front of the pad to get it to fit in the Roach/KH seat cover. The foam pad is about an inch shorter than a stock Miyata foam pad. Try to stuff a stock Miyata pad in the top of a Roach/KH seat cover and you’ll see what I mean. There just ain’t enough room.

Tuesday…? why Tuesday…just do on the ski lift at Northstar.

Yes…spliff first, then reconstruct using only stone tools. Chairlift is the timer. If I lose, I ride the seatpost down a black diamond. If I win, you’re buying that muscatel previously discussed in our under the bridge thread.

i’ll cheat because i always carry a Leatherman and i only drink Thunderbird, but i’ll share it.

T-bird works, and is actually preferred. When engaging in serious athletics, it’s important to drink only Fortified beverages…