Hi all. I recently purchased a Nimbus 36" with the gel saddle. Riding continually for more than 30mins makes everything go numb. I have tried changing the angle of the seat which doesn’t seem to make much of a difference. I wear shorts with a chamois which is very comfortable on the MTB (which I can all day without any problem.
A few questions.
is there any way of making this seat more comfortable (I have heard of people cutting the seat to make it flatter)
When you tried changing the angle were you using a rail post or the standard four bolt attachment to the saddle? A rail post gives far more angle adjustment and may be worth trying if you don’t have one already.
Also remember that people’s bodies and personal preferences vary hugely. I love the Nimbus gel but other people may find it is not the saddle for them. You may like to try something else like the KH fusion freeride.
For road riding it helps to have both hands on the handle so that you can push down every now and then. This allows you to adjust where your weight is apportioned on the saddle. I often ride like this for a few minutes, supporting most of my weight on my arms, rather than my rear. This helps prevent or relieve numbness.
I have that seat, with rail adapter, on my Coker. Seat angles significantly up in the front. Made a huge difference in comfort for me. My sitting weight is not concentrated on the big flat part of the seat.
Something else that has helped us on longer rides: I set my watch to beep every 5 minutes. When it does, we’ll slow down and stand on the pedals while we ride. We bob up and down for 20 or 30 seconds, looking like idiots (the duration of the beeping) thus massaging the crotchal zone and allowing nerve relief and blood flow. This technique works almost as good as dismounting and walking around for a bit.
Spread your weight
Basically if you are road unicycling for any period of time, you should set up the seat more like a bike seat. Bicyclists can ride for hours at a time because of the ability to distribute their weight evenly between their handlebars and the seat. A unicycle handle should be used to distribute some of your body weight, so bend down and lean on your handle. I tend to ride with quite a low posture (like a bicyclist), with my back at about 45 degrees when I’m riding hard. It also lowers your centre of gravity and lets you go faster.
Get off your seat
Another thing you can do is get off the seat every now and then (eg when climbing) to ease those pressure areas. Just like a bicyclist
Flatten your seat
Ever seen a bicycle seat curve upwards to squash your squishy bits? No, bicyclists wouldn’t tolerate curved bike seats, neither should you. I think unicycles seats developed the curve because, historically, there have not been any good handles to rest your weight on.
Also, unicycle seats originated from freestyle use, where you kept your hands off the saddle and let your crotch do the steering/control. There is no reason to do that on a road unicycle. Sit on your saddle, not in it!
Use the shortest cranks possible.
Unicycles tend to run a very low gear, hence causing a lot of bouncing force when pedalling fast. In contrast, bicyclists are generally pushing against more force on their pedals, which gives them a small amount of lift off the saddle*. You can mimic this on a unicycle by using the shortest cranks that you can comfortably pedal for the terrain. Greater force to turn the pedal (due to less leverage from shorter cranks), mean that you get some of this “lift”. As a bonus, there will be less chopping (and chafing) of your limbs flailing up and down on long cranks, you will track in a straighter line, and you will also go faster and in better control.
Just my 2c worth,
*try riding a bike in very low gear (not just spinning fast), but rather stick it in a ridiculously low gear and see how fast you can pedal. Now see how far you go before getting sore in your squishy areas from all that low resistance bouncing force.
You can add another wedge of foam under the stock foam in the middle and it will push up the center of the foam and make the seat flatter overall. I had tried this but I found that I liked it without the extra foam even better. Just angle the front of the saddle up and make sure you pull the boys up in front so that you aren’t crushing them
Switching to even just 125mm cranks makes a huge different in comfort when going the distance.
Sorry - dastardly typo. I meant to say the weight is NOW concentrated on the big flat part of the seat.
Say the seat is pointed way down in front. Then none of your weight would be on the big flat part of the seat. All of your weight would be focused on the crotchal zone. So, if you angle the front of the seat dramatically up, so that the big flat part is on a horizontal plane, your weight will be off the twins. Gravity pulls you straight down and presses you mostly on a horizontal surface. Make sure the horz surface is beneath the spot you prefer to press. You’ll sit on your butt bones not on the twins or the area behind them.
Gizmoduck’s #1 handlebar advice sounds good. I don’t have a handle other than the tip of the seat, so I haven’t been able to adjust my riding in that manner. Makes perfect sense though.
Best advice is give the crotch a break. Either while riding or hop off every now and then.
What sort of seat do you use? Most of the time I ride on a Std KH seat handle, and occasionally with a GB4 handle. Neither of these are ultra long extensions like the T7. The seats are pretty long, so you can still sit right back on the seat and rest both hands on the handle, even if it’s just the std KH plastic handle. I’m sure a T7 or longer extension would be better though, but they look a bit too upright for my tastes.
Not very clear in this pic, but you get the idea. I was using a GB4 extension. I think it would be much better if I had a longer extension though, as it was not the most comfortable position to hold for several hours- I was taking alot of weight on my arms.
For shorter rides, this position does spread your weight between your arms and bottom quite well.
I use a KH carbon seatbase with a fusion type removable cover. I had some older 1st generation ultra thick KH saddles- so I just took the foam out and cut it with a breadknife so that it sits as flat as possible. The newer KH styles seats have much thinner foam (thankfully!), but it means that there is less to trim. I’m sure you could put a wedge of foam under the stock KH fusion saddle (like BrianO suggetsed) to reduce the curve. On the other hand, I think the KH new fusion freeride saddles are much flatter than previous versions.
Are these carbon seatbases commercially available, or was that a special deal? I looked at all the KH saddle options on UCD (USA), and couldn’t find any mention of a carbon base. And checking the saddle components section turned up on the gemcrest CF base, which is really curvy. I’m looking for CF, but relatively flat profile CF.
I just use the garden variety Nimbus Gel which has a molded plastic sort of handle stuck on the front. Nothing fancy. Yesterday I rode some, per your instructions, leaning forward and pressing one and then two hands on it. With two, its kind of crowded – and my hands get tired. But it definately relieves pressure. It also seemed to make me go faster/easier. I can see how the technique would help.
The biggest jump in comfort that we noticed was by standing in the saddle every so often.
sorry this might be stupid but since the carbon bases have exactly the same shape (the one rodger makes at least - i have one on my trials) as the plastic/metal KH ones how would changing to one make it any different for seat confort?
I never said it did, I just said that I used a carbon seat base. It’s the foam that you can flatten by various sculpting techniqes and bread knife . I would love it if Roger could make a flat KH carbon seatbase, but I understand the molds are pretty expensive to make.