I’m sure they’re really nice and all… but what about a CF seat justifies its cost? would a stiffener plate do the same job?
I have found that the CF seat bases are stiff, light and trouble free. I have many unicycles and if I could I would have a CF on all of them. The CF seat bases are, most certainly, worth the money - if you can afford/justify that luxury of having the best.
If your a serious unicyclist at a high level of the sport and have the money you pretty much want the best equipment. Hopping that 1 inch higher makes you… able to hop 1 inch higher than you previously could?
The GB4 stiffener plate is a very good way to strengthen a seat. It takes a lot of the flex out of the seat when pulling or pushing on the handle. It also greatly increases the life of the seat.
But the metal stiffener isn’t a perfect fix. It’s heavy. But more importantly it doesn’t protect the entire seat. The back part of the seat is still un-reinforced and it’s still possible to crack the back part of the seat. It’s also still possible to crack the front half of the seat even with the stiffener. The stiffener will lengthen the life of the seat, but will not last as long as the carbon fiber seat base.
The carbon fiber seat base isn’t without it’s problems. You have to drill your own holes. It would sure suck to drill the holes off center, or otherwise mess up, and be left with a $90 unusable seat base. The CF seat base also is not indestructible. It can still break. Just ask Ryan Atkins.
The CF seat base is the best thing we’ve got right now for a strong durable seat base. It’s worth it in the long run, but in the short term a GB4 stiffener will be a lot easier on the pocketbook.
In another thread someone was asking about how you keep the bolts from spinning in the CF seat base. The trick is to drill an undersized hole, then use a small file to file the hole square. Make the square just big enough to fit a carriage bolt. Presto. No spinning bolts to worry about. But it sure is a pain filing the holes square by hand.
Some people have gotten creative and mounted a T-nut in the CF base. Then you use a low profile allen head machine screw up through the bottom of the seat to secure the handle and seatpost. But I’m not sure how they are able to secure the T-nut in the carbon fiber. T-nuts are designed to sink in to wood. You can’t get the prongs to sink in to carbon fiber. They must be doing something tricky.
But yeah, getting the holes and bolts in the carbon fiber base is a pain.
When I ordered my muni last december, I got a miyata with a GB4 stiffener plate. It was good for me then, but you really notice a weight difference on somebody else’s seat with a CF base. After a couple months, I was sorry that I didn’t put in the extra $60 and get the CF. (The miyata seatbase was $10, GB4 was $10) Now that I have upgraded, my Muni is unstoppable. The rigidness and lightness combination of the CF base cannot be beat.
If you are worried about drilling holes wrong, just spend a long time drawing the holes on, and figuring out where you want them. The key is: Have a lot of time when you are drilling your holes. Take your time. Don’t rush.
Re: Carbon fiber seatbase - Why buy?
“john_childs” <john_childs@NoEmail.Message.Poster.at.Unicyclist.com> writes:
> Some people have gotten creative and mounted a ‘T-nut’
> (http://tinyurl.com/2gmbs) in the CF base. Then you use a low profile
> allen head machine screw up through the bottom of the seat to secure the
> handle and seatpost. But I’m not sure how they are able to secure the
> T-nut in the carbon fiber. T-nuts are designed to sink in to wood. You
> can’t get the prongs to sink in to carbon fiber. They must be doing
> something tricky.
I have used a sort of t-nut with small holes instead of prongs (though
not on unicycles) by simply gluing them in place with epoxy.
Presumably the holes are for small nails, but I didn’t bother. This
was in a lighter-duty setting than a unicycle seat, but I would still
consider using them for this purpose. Depending on the thickness of
the seat base, I’d consider adding some small screws into or stiff
wire threaded through the base.
what I like about them is I never have to worry about my seat breaking. just the seatpost. But Im ok with that. Of course, I got them several years ago when they were a bit cheaper than they are now. But before getting my first, I broke (on the back unreinforced section) two miyata seat bases (japonese made, not chinese) in one week. That’s when I knew I needed something better.
I also have mine imbedded with t-nuts. and it works wonderfully. what we did, was drill a main hole, and one small hole for one of the prongs. then we bent the other 3 prongs out of the way, and epoxied the whole thing in place. Never had a problem with it.
I’d also recommend buying one of those cheap disposable dust masks that painters and doctors sometimes use, and wear it when you’re filing the round holes square. That process produces a lot of CF dust, which isn’t all that much fun to breathe.
Logically, the CF base has ONE advantages.
I used to chase weight. I thought my Profile cranks were sooo heavy.
I thought my Kris Holm seat was too heavy.
Then I actually WEIGHED the unicycle compared to other unicycles.
According to the scale, my unicycle was at or below the weight of the ones that “felt” lighter by hand. Seat height or tire pressure changes will probably help more than one pound of weight. Think about HOW MUCH weight is actually saved by the CF base. I can put that much weight on (my body) in a week. Might as well look to save weight in my leg armor, shoes, socks and - gee toss that water pack as well. I use the “heavy” Kris Holm foam in my seat also (but if I really got “weight anal” I could shift to an airseat config).
Before buying the ‘weight’ argument for $90, you may want to just spend a little time building muscles to handle that whole extra pound!
So the back of your seat has less chance of cracking. Show of hands, how many of you with CF bases have previously cracked the BACK of the seat off downward? Self-preservation issues are raised here. That little bit of flex (which I haven’t felt yet - even though I weight 250 pounds) in the back of the seat may just help your body and back from getting beat to death.
john_childs raised some valid points about this issue, but he stopped short on the math.
Think about it . . .
How much does it cost to completely REPLACE a Torker LX frame?
The point is that you can replace the part that breaks for $10.00!!!
Oh, and if you are the one individual who breaks a GB4 stiffener AND the guarantee that is offered does not apply, you can REPLACE the stiffener for a whopping $10.
Think about this friends . . . . . you can have 4 GB4 stiffeners AND 4 replacement frames for the cost of ONE CF base. Economics highlight the truth of the matter.
(It could be remotely argued that if your seat fails on the trail, it’s not fun. And, that the LX frame has more chance of failing. For that remote senerio, it is acceptable to pack a replacement frame )
Perception boosts Performance.
The true advantage/benefit of the CF base lies in one word: Perception.
The owners believe it is DRAMATICALLY lighter, stronger and “cheaper in the long run.” Whether or not they did a detailed comparison or not, they really believe they have the “best solution.”
Perception can make you ride better, and hop higher.
Dang, what a naysayer!
Yes, you can replace a GB4 stiffener plate for $10. How much time is involved each time you have to replace it? How much is your time worth? Cha-ching.
Also, the carbon bases are noticeably stiffer than the plastic/nylon ones. This will make a difference in performance. Seat flex used to matter to me mostly for racing. A stiff seat meant better acceleration off the line. And that would mean the difference between winning and losing some races.
I have mostly bypassed the whole carbon seat base thing. I didn’t break seats as much as I broke Miyata posts. A stiff seat would just make me break the post that much faster. So I had some gusseted posts made that connected up to the front bumper bolts. Seat is super-rigid, small weight gain from gusset, seat and post will never break.
I am not Max or others who have broken the back end of the seat, but I can see this as being an issue for hardcore Trials riders. The gusset method can be applied to the back end as well.
Even if you have custom welding done, it will still probably work out cheaper than a carbon seat base.
Re: Carbon fiber seatbase - Why buy?
In article <ChangingLINKS.com.18shs9@NoEmail.Message.Poster.at.Unicyclist.com>,
ChangingLINKS.com <ChangingLINKS.com@NoEmail.Message.Poster.at.Unicyclist.com> wrote:
)Think about this friends . . . . . you can have 4 GB4 stiffeners AND 4
)replacement frames for the cost of ONE CF base. Economics highlight the
)truth of the matter.
What’s the value of your time? Perhaps nothing. But my time is worth a
lot, so not having to fix the seat pays for itself, the first time I’d
have to fix the seat.
The situation was very different a couple years ago when I got my carbon fiber seat bases. The GB4 stiffener didn’t exist. If you wanted a seat stiffener you would have to get one custom made and that would end up costing more than a CF seat base. You also couldn’t buy just the plastic seat base for a Miyata saddle. You would have to buy the entire saddle. I’ve still got a box full of Miyata saddle parts from brand new saddles that I cannibalized to replace the parts that were breaking on my muni. At about $40 a pop for a new seat, I was spending a lot on Miyata seats. And to top it off, there wasn’t a reliable supply of seats back then. Miyata saddles got shipped to the US once a year and when the saddles were gone, they were gone till the next shipment. I would buy 2 or 3 saddles at a time just so I would have some on hand for when the inevitably sold out.
The situation back then was quite different from now. Back then the CF seat base made a lot of sense. Now is a different story. The exchange rate was also better back then so the CF seat base was somewhere around the $60 range instead of the $80 range it is now.
CF seat bases are also very good for freestyle riders doing seat busting skills like side ride.
If someone is looking for a strong and stiff seat the CF base is still the best option. But the GB4 stiffener gives a good option for those looking to spend less.
The farther the thread goes the more irrational the argument:
Tom Holub: “not having to fix the seat pays for itself, the first time I’d
have to fix the seat.”
Tom forgot that this is a thread in a RECREATIONAL unicycling forum. The way I have my seat setup, I can litterally change any part within 5 minutes. Really. 5 minutes.
Not only does that make Tom’s time extremely expensive, but it contrasts the fact that he is on FREE TIME when doing unicycling related things. An insult to all of our intelligences, I must say. Tom goes on to imply that having a carbon fiber frame means being “maintainence free.” That is far from the truth:
- Tom forgets you have to drill your own holes to a certain size AND file those holes - which takes more time than slapping together parts that already work together.
- Tom omits the fact that according to unicycle.com, I’m the only one who would have matched the Kris Holm foam (specifically) to the carbon fiber frame/GB4 upgrade. That means a lot of people are running custom variations (like the air seat) that take much more time to set up.
- Finally, Tom omits the fact that unicycle maintainence is PART OF THE SPORT. You are going to have to pump up tires, tighten bolts, change components, shop, dream, design, modify parts of your unicycle. To say that taking 5 minutes to replace the seat is burdensome is . . . .
- Finally, Tom omits the fact that something CAN go wrong with the CF frame. For example, those holes that are drilled and filed - well, they could wear lose (expecially if you have a tendency like me to over tighten things).
Not gonna happen with 1/4 thick steel - you’re more likely to snap the bolt or strip the threads.
Time being Tom’s only consideration leaves me to assume the remaining points were, well, common sense.
john_childs: “A stiff seat meant better acceleration off the line. And that would mean the difference between winning and losing some races.”
Unicycling is not that serious. Unicycle Racing isn’t even an Olympic sport, (where this type of thing would matter) is it? Also, it raises the question about how many unicycling races were lost by a fraction of a second. Need more speed, get more skill, eat a better breakfast, change your tire pressure, change the tire, have a “good” day - but change the frame of your seat? That is in the same catagory as sanding the paint off of your unicycle so that it is lighter.
john_childs: “I am not Max or others who have broken the back end of the seat, but I can see this as being an issue for hardcore Trials riders. The gusset method can be applied to the back end as well.”
It was noted that Ryan broke a CF frame. If he replaced that seat frame with carbon fiber it will take twice as much time AND more than twice as much money.
Finally, some unicyclists run “seat post shock absorbers” to dampen bumps. The minimal flex (which I haven’t felt at 250+ pounds, counting hydration pack) is in line with the use of shock absorbers and lower tire pressure. Think about it: you need a extremely stiff seat, covered by an extremely CUSHY innertube? That is not logical in anyway whatsoever. It is like the "pea under the mattress story (Princess and the Pea). How can you feel the seat flex under AIR?
Contrarily, ultra stiff seats would be inline with:
- Not using any padding whatsoever.
- Using extremely high air pressure in the tire.
- Not using a seat post shock absorber.
john_childs: “The situation back then was quite different from now. Back then the CF seat base made a lot of sense. Now is a different story.”
a lighter seat is also better during a UPD. i dont like a heavy seat to come hammering down into my ankle or pounding my brake lever into the dirt. lighter is better for more than just the scale.
and the more arrogant you become.
John Foss said that not John Childs.
dude? the seat flexes up as well as down.dont you feel the flex when you grab the handle and power up some thing? its not about your butt feeling pea’s its about getting power to the pedals. a stiffer seat transfers more power and a significant amount at that.
maybe its enough for a frugle person such as yourself but for those willing to spend the money… they will soon discover a CF base makes for a stronger, lighter and more effeciant tool.
Man, such strong opinions over a seat. I would hate to see you guys discuss politics.
Oh, and I personally cant stand the flex in miyata/KH seats. Im not talking about below the ass, I mean in the handle.
Edit: Even with a stiffner plate.
Shoot, ChangingLINKS.com, in the time it took you to type up that whole diatribe, you could have gone out, etched the plates for your counterfiet bills, printed the money, ordered the CF base, drilled the holes, squared them out, and changed your setup over. Or the opposite, if that’s what you were railing against.
See “takeavalium.com” for suggestions on next steps…
That would be nice!
There seems to be an inverse relationship between experience and the amount of verbage spewed forth.
I just found out that a few weeks of intense playing of Wff ‘N Proof <http://www.wff-n-proof.com/> can raise your IQ by 20 points, probably by learnin’ 'bout reasoning in the English language.
Personally all I know about carbon fiber is that I adopted a KH muni with one attached. I kind of like the checkered pattern on the base of the seat.
Jagur’s comments regarding lightness sound good enough for me to consider the same for my freestyle. How many times has my seat pecked me on the achilies tendon? Oh, and then I can start practicing side ride, that must be what is holding me back.
I think the mentality expressed for ‘break and replace’ is great if you work for or represent a mass marketer of cheap products, or maybe auto bumpers. Great unicyclist were not born of cheap equipment. Having the thought of equipment failure in you mind when you are trying to practice some cool skill just doesn’t work.
I’m enjoying the bantering over something as simple as a unicycle seat-base. I’m glad there is a place to vent and become so impassioned over CF verses plastic. Stiff verses flexible, breakable verses repairable, its all fun. However, the thing that immediately struck me when I became engrossed with unicycling was the absolutely ridiculous poor quality of components available. That was only 3 years ago! Since that time we have had individuals (such as George Barnes and Steve Howard) and companies like Torker, Bedford and Unicycle.Com step-up to create and provide some outstanding quality products and services.
The first time that I tried to replace a Miyata handle only to discover that the bolts were spinning in the seat base my avocation and source of joy became a source of frustration and contempt for who would produce and sell (for good money) such a poorly designed product. I even enjoy the time that I spend working on my unicycles but dealing with design flaws is not how I, personally, want to spend those precious few, free moments with my beloved unicycles. For me, and you may be different, it is worth the extra money to have quality products that are not $40, disposable pieces of plastic that take a week of down-time to replace.
I’ve been working on a lighter stiffener by asking George Barnes to make me some thin stiffeners, then having them hardened here in CT. I have a batch here. One such stiffener was put in Ben Plotkin-Swing’s 24 Endurance seen in an album here. It is a little flexier, but a lot lighter, and so far has withstood the extra torque of the handle and of 24-hour endurance racing. Ben also has one on his trials machine.
They are probably going to be available for about $25-30, which reflects a lot of extra time, trips, shipping, and expense to go through the extra stages of processing.
I don’t have exact weights and weight comparisons yet.
- much lighter than original stiffener
- probably equally as strong as the original stiffener
- much easier and less risky to install than CF
- half the price of CF (depending on how you calculate it)
- still allows retrofit of existing Sustek saddles
- permits those who like the Miyata saddle shape to have a strong, yet still light, seat
- a little flexier than both the heavy plate and the CF
- does not extend back past seatpost adapter bolts (yet)
I’m past the point where I can hand these out for free, but people who are willing to take a risk with $25-30 + shipping are welcome to contact me, knowing that there is no warrantee. Of course, you also know that the batteries will never need replacing!