Saddle physics...

OOOOhkay, You know how you can get a “FIT” on a bicycle?
I know this topic is all over the place but I did my first trail ride today and… whoa… I thought I had the seat pretty comfy but I was wrong.
I can sit on a bicycle seat just fine half the size, if not less, than my nimbus gel for a couple of hours.
After I got done today I noticed the very center of the muni seat had the only signs of stress.
A bike seat is made to support the tail/hip bones prone and the same bones should support your a$$ on a uni too, right? so I would figure the rear most (widest) part of the uni seat should be the supportive part. However, that would shoot the grab handle straight up for me and that still squeezes the lemons after I “settle.”
I guess what I’m wondering is: If the Unicycle and Uni-saddle have been around as long as bikes, there has to be a “fit chart” for uni’s like bikes have. There needs to be some reason to these logs which is why they haven’t changed shape much over the years.
Am I right or wrong? the “just give it time” way can’t be the only one…

Well, many have tried and the design has remained unchanged, so maybe it does work as well as can be expected?

I think the comfort thing has more to do with your sex, ie guys have too much hanging down there, so it gets a little squished.

A good pair of lycra shorts, maybe trim the seat foam in strategic places, try adjusting the seat angle so you are resting on the best part of your laurels…

I would like to think a better seat could evolve, esp if people are willing to pay $2000 for a two speed hub, that makes $200 for a comfortable seat seem like a deal.

I have some ideas, but I need a spare seat base…

I’ve got all the cycling gear but thats not cutting it. It’s suppose to be a seat but in actuality its like a crotch mount…
Never have I had a new interest be so painful… There this certain accidental rearward dismount where the tire will bounce of whatever’s infront and the seat will come ramming back at you…that can happen with anything i guess but dang…

Are you referring to a bicycle-fitting system you can use at a bike shop?

The main difference between the bike and uni “interfaces” is your body position. On a bike, your pelvis is tilted more forward, and your hands are usually on some low handlebars. This takes part of your weight off your crotch.

Nope. A better question would be “why not?” First part of the answer is back at the bike shop. What’s in the bike shop? Hundreds of bikes. Maybe one unicycle. That kind of sums up the major difference. Though unicycles have been around as long as bikes, they are not used as much. Literally millions of times less than bicycles.

It’s only in the last 15 years or so that unicycles have “exploded” into a variety of types and designs, and really only since then have they been made specifically for adults rather than just for kids. The science will eventually follow, but it’s all still kind of new.

The design has not remained unchanged. Early unicycles came with bicycle seats. Ever tried that? Ouch! My Loyd uni from the 1960s has a pretty standard-looking, leather saddle. As did my Langenberg indoor model from 1982; it came with a high-end Ideale saddle. I later sold that to a cyclist who would appreciate it; so much for keeping that cycle “original”.

Schwinn’s saddle was an innovation when they introduced it in 1967. I think it was the first one that wasn’t just a rectangle or other non-ergonomic shape. But drops destroyed it. Drops destroyed all the other kinds on the market then too. We’ve come a long way.

The basic shape of unicycle saddles hasn’t changed much over the years, this is true. Since we do a lot of steering and control through the seat, it can’t be as minimal as a road bike seat and still stay between your legs. You need more there. And because we sit more upright (on most unicycles), our sit bones and pelvis are at a less-comfortable angle, as I understand it.

I don’t know what you’re riding on now, but there are differences in the saddles available. What works for many riders can be a torture device for others. Saddle choice is a personal thing. The best thing you can do is try to test ride some other types and see how they feel.

Lately I’ve been wondering if you could build a comfortable saddle with this idea in mind:

While the general shape of the unicycle seat hasn’t changed over the years, the evolution of the unicycle seat has been quite dramatic.

Since my last order, I’ve now three different generations of KH saddles in my collection and the differences between the three are quite notable… especially in comparison to my 4th saddle: the Gemcrest CF base with dog-bone air pillow cushion. :slight_smile:

I’ve only spent 10 minutes in the KH Fusion Street saddle on my Coker, but I’m already loving it’s narrowness and lower profile in comparison to the Fusion Freeride. Kris did a great job with this saddle!

Yes, OP, unicycle saddles suck. There’s no way around it. But there are varying degrees of suckitude, and ways to adjust the amount of suck (varying saddle angle, shaving the foam to custom fit your crotch, etc.). And for that, I am grateful!

The other thing I think been missed is your comment about your first trail ride

I am still only about 4 months in to riding but ride regular long ish 10-12 mile rides, when I started riding offroad my butt and bits was getting hammered badly and I was getting chaffing and bruising.

As time has gone on I have toughened up and with a few tweaks to my saddle height and angle and a big increase in skill improvement I have no issue at all.

Skill plays a part as well as you will be shifting your weight more offroad to absorb bumps etc which cushion the impact as well as give you a brief respite from the weight on the saddle.

I currently ride KH freeride but am keen to try a Slim or maybe a street as I do find the freeride foam a bit thick so it bulges out at the sides causing more rube than necessary.

Keep at it chap and tweak that saddle position and all will come good!

I agree with that, but still think Uni saddles could be narrower than they are without losing any of that. I’m another one who uses a really minimalist saddle on a bike, and I find my Nimbus Gel far too big and bulky - not only does it rub, but it also feels like there’s just too much there.

I definitely plan to try something different, but it’s just so hard to tell what will make a difference and what I’ll get on with - there’s also the worry that ulktra-minimal may not be best on a uni for the reasons you mention, so a KH Slim may not be ideal either. I suppose I’ll just have to spend the money and try something. Of course now there’s also the Nimbus Flat to consider along with the KH Slim and Street - I’m assuming I’ll have the same issues with a KH Freeride as with my Gel (would probably go for a Naomi, but I’m becoming convinced by the idea that a T bar would be a good idea).

This is exactly how the problem has been somewhat alleviated for many. Kris started using extremely tilted saddles many years ago. Your expectation of the result of tipping the saddle is understandable however in practice quite a different thing happens. When the front of the saddle is tilted up the hips rock backward so that the hip bones rest on the wide back part of the saddle. This also rocks the crotch away from the now upright front of the saddle.

I find the U-shaped seats to be uncomfortable. With the U-shape it seems harder to spread my weight on the saddle, even if the front is tilted up. It pinches me too much and cuts off circulation really quickly.

I have an air seat which is flatter on top and the seat post is tilted so I can rest most of my weight on the back part of the saddle. It’s more comfortable than anything I tried so far. It’s basically an inflated bicycle inner tube that’s been duct-taped to the seat base, with a cover to hold everything together. They used to sell these – the Roach Air seat – but they are no longer made, so I put one together myself.

I bought the Slim last summer and can ride all day on it. I still get numbness in my crotch after longish rides, but there’s no element of pain or chaffing. At first, the saddle was painful and required some getting used to, but once I got past that stage it was the best saddle I’ve ever ridden.
Word of warning though: if you do a lot of off road riding, it may not be ideal. You’ll also want a handlebar.

It’s supposed to be uncomfortable, that’s all part of the appeal, get it?

John, what I meant by the seat design being relatively unchanged is recent history, not old history; we all know you’re old as dirt :stuck_out_tongue:

Narrower would be wonderful and I would be more than pleased if I could get a narrower base, since trimming back the foam can only go so far, but molding a new seat base is not cheap, so maybe it’ll have to be done in glass or aluminum.

I’m not a big seat tilter, previously tried “super tilting” but ended up with my seats flat at the rear half since when I go any steeper I start to lose “seated stability”.

You can trim the foam at the waist, I do this in all my seats. I am thinkin about building up a minicell foam pad to go onto a current design KH seat base, flattening out the center section like Naplam did with balsa wood. Minicell foam is nice because it is easier to shape with a Sureform file and it is more durable than the closed cell foam that comes OEM.

Air seats were very popular not too long ago, and they’re great for shorter amounts of riding. I think they came in around the same time more and more people started doing longer and longer rides.

What an air seat does well is spread the pressure around very evenly. But what it does badly is spread the pressure around evenly. That is, the pressure along the centerline of your crotch, which squeezes some of those nerves that lead to numbness.

I am reminded of this over these last few days, as I ride my old (2002) Coker with an air seat in a Roach cover. It’s great for miles, but then my crotch starts getting pretty tired of it, and then my feet start going numb. I have to stop more with my air seat. On short rides, though, It’s fine.

Hey, I know lots of dirt that’s waaaay older than I am.

I haven’t tried any of the latest generation of flat & narrow saddles. I love the speed at which new designs are hitting the market these days and I’m sure there is still much room for innovation and a betterment for all our crotches. :slight_smile:

Uni saddles have been around a long time, but Muni and long distance road riding have only taken off since mountainbikes and big wheels (36") came about.

I think the original U shape saddle was designed before the advent of good handles to rest your hands on (and distribute weight). The U shape wedges against your crotch and is more useful for freestyle and short duration hands free unicycling.

Then along came the airseats for early Muni and distance riding.

Someone could correct me if I’m wrong, but the first generation of KH and Nimbus seats must have been modeled on them…they look like an airseat with foam, and were like bricks.

Every generation of saddle seems to be getting thinner/slimmer…I think as we start riding longer distances, the most comfortable shape will be closer to a bike saddle (bicyclists ride many times the distances and duration of unicyclists, so they must know a thing or two about support).

Well, I’ve been playing around with certain things since the first post.
One thing, When wearing bike shorts, my boys just get held in place to get smashed over and over again, and it’s almost impossible to “re-arrange” things after the first squeeze. I ride with them on mtn bike rides but like we have discussed, the seats are totally different. So I’m going to give them up unless chaffing becomes a problem.
When biking, the tail/hip bones are stuck out more because you’re sitting. Being more upright on the Uni causes my ass to cover those bones more and things aren’t as firm. So no matter what, if the seat is wider, I find myself moving and sliding around.
My first Torker LX seat SUCKED but was narrow. I noticed a lot of thigh rubbing but no real pain on the guys. My LX PRO seat is very firm and narrow. Once I positioned it to be as level as possible, I’ve had the most luck on that. My new Nimbus Muni with the nimbus GEL seat is noticeably wider all around. I’m going to try and level it out again, without the bike shorts, and see how long it takes for some squishing to occur. The rear widths are all the same.

For me I think the narrower the seat (in the center section) the better. I’m not sure about the air seat quite yet. I may go back to a wider saddle once I start doing distance but for a couple of hours at a time (on and off), I think its narrow for me all the way.

Paded bike shorts work on bikes because the seats are narrower at the nose, so the boyz have a place to go, but on a uni saddle the nose is wide so they get squished unless they are kept “high”, above the seat. Also, why do we need more padding, uni seats are well padded already…

I have tried a number of different shorts, two of which have a built in “jock”, more like a boyz hammock that keeps your stuff centered. They are made by Sugoi and Pearl Izumi. I prefer the Sugoi Turbo Jammers, but the edges of the hammock chafe me, so now I am using some Sugoi Tri shorts that have the chamoi removed, this works better, though at time I get excess material in between the boyz and my thighs, which leads to chaffing.

I think the answer is a narrower and firmer seat, let the experiments begin…

So what do we reckon? A bike seat with an upturned nose bit added on? I’m thinking not too extreme a thing (like the SLR I use on a bike) - but I have some good old fashioned, narrow bike seats in my bits bin if anybody can suggest how to modify one. I have to admit I am still thinking that I’d want a bit more cushioning in a saddle on a uni than on a bike though.

FWIW I do wear bike shorts when riding a uni - I find they do help to reduce chafing compared to other things I’ve tried. Though actually quite often I’m in tri shorts with minimal padding, as I tend to mix riding a uni in with other stuff (like playing with my kids) where the tri shorts are less obtrusive (I do actually prefer to run in tri shorts as well - I find they rub less than anything else).

I’ve probably tried most of the saddles out there…and there is good and bad in all of them…I was looking for the magic comfort seat…but I don’t think it exists.
I carved up a coker saddle trying to make it fit me…nope…I really like the fusion freeride except for the stretchy material on top …its like cloth sandpaper. but bike shorts takes care of most of that…but I can ride a long ways before I get really uncomfortable and then I just pull over and stretch… the Quax air saddle is nice the material feels really nice …if they would put that stuff on the fusion freeride I think they would have something… but the Nimbus gel that I just got with the 26 muni. is kinda growing on me… I can ride for hours and not get tired of it…the Quax air saddle is nice to…but I still think that magic saddle is out there someplace…

I went for a 4-5 mile ride today on my Torker 26" with the BRICK of a seat. Its narrow tho like I mentioned before. Without bike shorts and boxers I felt a little chaffing about halfway. That may have been a good thing tho because I learned the importance of leaning on the handle for some relief.
That seat can easily be compressed and the plastic can be felt easily. I found with the front and back heights almost equal and sort of tilting my pelvis up a bit, using my ass more relieved tension on the boys.
It’d be nice to find some shorts with padding that isn’t so tight like bike shorts or just around the ass/thighs that don’t “tuck” my junk, but maybe the padding on the seat will make up for that.
This probably didn’t give anyone any information but that’s just what happened today.
I never thought I’d be involved in a forum like this, haha…

I’ve found that the best padded shorts for unicycling would be one where the padding could act as a “shelf” for the twig and berries to keep them up and out of the way. I experimented with some old bike shorts by cutting out the padding at the top but it would work even better to create a “twig and berries sock” so that everything sits in its own vestibule, supported by the padding underneath (taint). I think it would be a good idea to come up with a prototype. It was nice not to have to keep grabbing everything and pulling it up and awesome not to have my junk squashed by the padding. :smiley: