I’ve been experimenting with other foam shape combinations, trying to improve the saddle again for 2008. I just got back from a ride with a Freeride saddle where I reshaped the cutaway so that it gradually increases from 10 mm deep (same as current saddle) at the front and back to 25 mm deep in the middle.
No guarantee that it will work for you and it’s a bit hard to do this evenly, but to me it feels like an improvement. I’d be interested in feedback if anyone decides to try it.
There are some manufacturing limitations to doing something like that. However, I’m not sure it would actually be more comfortable.
The main reason is - gel is NOT more cushy than foam; actually it’s the opposite.
The main advantage of gel (in my opinion) is that it is good at absorbing vibrations, and thin gel is better than similarly thin foam at absorbing force (ie a 5mm thickness of gel absorbs force better than 5mm thick foam). These advantages make it good for thinner saddles such as the Fusion Street or Nimbus Gel. But ultimately thick foam will always be the most cushy, which is why I used it for the Freeride saddle.
just the seat stiffener. THAT needs improvement. and the bolts… seriously, tons of people break seats in those ways.
maybe I don’t know how, but i do know that you can make it a TON stronger w/ the rib that you have on it going all the way down it somehow. i don’t know how they are manufactured, but maybe they Could be made 1 2/3 the thickness they are now.
Regarding the shape: Great job with the 2007, a massive improvement in my mind. Would varying the width of the cutaway be possible? Say for example 50% wider in the middle… don’t know if it would be better, it’s just a thought. (You have probably seen how many bike saddles look nowadays.)
I’m not sure that deepening or widening the channel would improve things much. Too much of a channel (wide or deep) and the edges of the channel become chafing points. Maybe making the channel a “V” shape instead of a square shape?
Another idea would be to make two different styles of freeride saddle with different curvatures. Have a flat version that is as flat or flatter than the current Freeride saddle. And have a curved version that is slightly more curved than the current Freeride saddle.
One curvature is not going to suit everyone. People sit on the saddle differently and have different shapes to their anatomy. Having two curvature options might make it so that more people can find what suits them best. But adding options like that does complicate manufacture, inventory, and selling.
Since I deemed my pre07 “undrideable” I modified it to resemble a 07 before that was available. (Thanks Kris for prototype pictures/instructions!)
It was a bit annoing at first trying to cut/shape the foam, but once you get the hang of it it not so hard. I did mine in increments, which took a while longer as far total elapsed time went, but yielded a good result. Still bought the 07 when that came out though, and it was even better than my “home made 07”, perhaps because i didn’t bother with a cutaway knowing that the 07 was just around the corner.
I prefer to not have to have a go at brand new stuff with a knife… and most people seem very reluctant to modifiy their gear.
One of the purposes to having a removable cover was to make it easier to modify the foam shape, recognizing that not everyone is shaped the same, but the market is just too small to make a bunch of different shapes.
I tried widening the channel by 10 mm, but it was too much and felt uncomfortable. I might widen it by 2 mm and change the shape at the bottom of the channel so that it is rounded. Varying the width from front to back didn’t seem to make much of a difference and I think this would make it very specific to body shape.
Here’s an idea. What about putting a plastic wedge between the seat base and the foam to flatten out the curvature of the seat base. Then people who want more curvature could remove the wedge. People who like the flat shape would leave the wedge in.
I definitely agree that finding some way to adjust the curvature for allow for
different people’s anatomy makes a lot of sense.
I like many features of the Freeride however unfortunately it is just too flat for my body specs. I’d love to be able to upgrade from my stock KH so that I can have the removable cover, sleeker profile, better seatbolts, ribbed handle AND a more cushy middle plus a little more curve.
I for one will be staying tuned to find out what the 2008 Freerides will have to offer.
Kris, thanks for all the work and imagination you put into making our uni experience a more comfortable and enjoyable experience!
Thanks for the kind words. Perhaps you should consider deepening the cutout in the middle, by maybe 10-15 mm, because effectively this increases the curvature while keeping support at the edges of the saddle. If the saddle feels too flat, this might help.