After putting more then 100 country road miles on a noseless saddle I have a better idea of what works well.
Update number 2: I put the off-the-shelf noseless saddle back on my bicycle and made a noseless saddle from scratch. I made it out of some ridge foam with a ½” layer of closed cell foam padding on top. The rigid foam was shaped to match my butt with the idea that if the harder foam was shaped correctly; very little soft padding would be needed. It worked better then the off-the-shelf saddle and fit me well. If the off-the-shelf saddle was three times better then a normal unicycle, maybe the built from rigid foam saddle is five time better then a normal saddle. That is I could ride about five times longer before it started to bother me due to pressure on my sit bones. Maybe I could improve the shape some but the problem is more likely the fact that a rider does not sit in one position when pedaling. The legs are moving all the time and getting one ideal saddle shape may not be possible.
Update number 3: I made an air supported noseless saddle. After looking at many factory made seat cushions for motorcycles and general use I noted that air cushions were quite popular and highly rated. Many unicyclists know that air saddles were tied and sold in the past. Even though some reported that they were fine, it seems that most riders did not like them. I believe there are two reasons they are not popular today. 1. Many reported problems with the inner tube sifting and not staying in place. This could likely be fixed but there was a bigger problem 2. I believe the very idea of a normally shaped air unicycle saddle is/was flawed. With an air saddle equal pressure is put on all areas in contact with the saddle. That is there is equal pressure on the sit bones, butt cheeks and more sensitive perineum area. With the general idea of removing pressure from the sensitive areas and adding more pressure on the less sensitive areas, the idea of an air unicycle saddle just does not work. I see one report on this forum, “I made one a while back, actually turned out perfect, looked good, the tube stayed where it was supposed to stay while riding. However… they suck. after not longer then 5 minutes my entire crotch area was numb due to pressure being applied to just…everywhere. The first 5 minutes are fine, the saddle is actually more comfy than any other saddle at the beginning of the ride.” I also saw that Ed Pratt tried an air saddle and reported initially that is was good. However after some time, he was back in pain again, as he was essentially on his whole round the world trip.
However with a noseless saddle there is absolutely no pressure on the sensitive perineum area and the idea of an air saddle makes a lot of sense. An airless saddle uniformly distributes the pressure on the sit bones/butt cheeks and maintains the uniform pressure under the legs as they move up and down. The air saddle I made is 10” wide and about 6” long. Just considering the pressure due to the contact area, it is clear that there much less pressure on this saddle. And the pressure that is there is where it belongs.
To date I’ve rode the air saddle as long as 2 ½ hrs on a single ride with no break. After that time the noseless air saddle felt as comfortable as the instant I started. I had absolutely no adverse effects from the saddle. Based on saddle comfort I could have rode much further and even then I’d be limited by leg fatigue or being late for dinner.
So to date I’d rate the comfort of saddles in this experiment as:
- My favorite road riding unicycle saddle - Fully serviceable with a break now and then.
- Off-the-shelf noseless saddle without handlebar – Not rideable.
- Off-the-shelf noseless saddle with handlebar and no groin support – comfortable but not recommended due to the force requited staying on the saddle.
- Off-the-shelf noseless saddle with groin support – About three times more comfortable then #1.
- Homemade rigid foam noseless saddle – About five times more comfortable then #1.
- Homemade air noseless saddle – Much greater then 10 times more comfortable then #1.
For now I’ll leave the air noseless saddle on the Coker and my normal saddle on my 36” Nimbus. Maybe I can come up with some alterative to the groin support thingy.
Rigid Foam Board Saddle:
Air saddle with cover:
More pics here.