Normal or Flat(ish) Seat?

Looking at the recent flurry of interest in the new KH fusion seat, I was wondering what the advantages/disadvantages are regarding the normal banana seat and the flatter seats?

I am mainly interested interested in riding firm paths and asphalt.

I’ve been riding for a couple years now (but still consider myself a beginner). The seats I used so far are:

  1. The basic plastic-ish saddle that came on my 20" learner. This is so hard and uncomfortable it’s hard to believe they manufacture and sell them.
  2. A KH Air saddle that came with my 26" Numbus muni. This is the type that has a small inner tube inside that you inflate to adjust firmness. People don’t seem to care for this saddle, but I like it.
  3. KH Fusion that came with the 36" Coker. This is OK for a while, but gave me pain and numbness after a few miles.
  4. The saddle that came with my Imapct Gravity. This is thin and firm, meant for street/trials riding. I wouldn’t care for riding any distance on it.
  5. Qu-Ax Air saddle. I bought this for the 32" uni I built. This doesn’t have an air bladder in it like the KH Air, but has a hole in the center and a pronounced cut-out going from the hole to the front. Although the theory on this is great, I didn’t find it very comfortable in its stock condition.
  6. KH Fusion Freeride saddle, flattened by Nurse Ben as one of his group of a dozen or so flattened saddles. This is now my regular saddle on the Coker. I like it much better than the previous curved saddle.
  7. The Qu-Ax Air saddle that I “moderately” flattened (it still has a little bit of a curve to it), and enlarged the groove to provide a bit more space. This is now my regular saddle on the 32". I like it a lot. I can ride it for quiet a while without discomfort.
    The farthest I’ve ridden are several rides of about 20 miles on the 32", and several of about 30 miles on the 36". None of these have been non-stop, they have been road rides, so there are street lights to dismount and wait for occasionally.
    I have not yet ridden the KH Fusion Zero, but I’m planning on it. I like the whole concept – the flattened shape, the narrow profile, and the built-in adjustability.
    For me, the biggest advantage of the flattened saddle is that it doesn’t put as much pressure on the gonad/prostate area. The traditional curved shape is quite uncomfortable to me after a relatively short ride. The flattened shape is much more comfortable to me on longer rides. The regular curved shape on my muni doesn’t bother me much, because I’m typically not in the saddle for a long time when riding off-road. Lots of off-and-on keeps things fairly comfortable.

Thanks Lance for your very informative and useful post.
Exactly what I was hoping for.

I have found the discussion on the Nurse Ben DIY flattened seats, and I may try this.

Although I briefly started learning late in 2013, I had a long layoff for various reasons so have only returned to it the last few weeks. Total time learning is around 25 hours so far.

Would you say that there are any disadvantages for a relative novice using a flat saddle, and would you advise waiting a while before trying one?

I wouldn’t say that using the flattened saddle by a novice rider would have any negatives, but you may not notice many benefits at this stage either, since most of the benefits come with longer rides (not sure how long your rides are at this point). Some people report handling differences, but to me there wasn’t a whole lot of difference in that respect. So yeah, go ahead and flatten away if you feel so inclined. Just be VERY careful with the heat. It’s REAL easy to go overboard and completely melt the seat base (ask me how I know this :astonished: :o) You will also need access to some rudimentary tools (vice, drill) to re-form the interior metal plate to fit the new shape of the saddle base. If your saddle has one of the easily removeable covers, that will make it that much easier. I had to un-staple, re-glue, and re-staple my Qu-As saddle cover, which was kind of a hassle.
Good luck!

Thanks for your review on all of the seats you used LanceB. I am really interested in your comparison of Nurse Ben’s flat seat and the new KH flat seat. I use the Nurse Ben seat exclusively,I was in that group that he made the seats for as well. I think it’s great. I don’t plan to replace the seat anytime soon, but It would be nice to know how they compare.