Saddle-time: Is there a 30 minute limit?

Well, I just returned from a 45 minute, 4.5 mile ride on my lovely
KH-equipped Yuni 29er. Actually, to be truthful, my time (and
distance) really represents the sum of two shorter excusions, one of
which was 23 minutes and the other 22 minutes, separated by a
10-minute rest interval.

The upshot is that I’ve tried and tried (over 130 miles worth of
‘distance-pedalin’, both on the 29er and the 24, to consistently break
that 30 minute barrier for saddle-time. To me honest, I have actually
surpassed the half-hour barrier twice, but twice is not enough for me.
I’m on the cusp of believing that I’ll never realize my ambition of
using the unicycle for any sort of serious distance-commuting or
touring. Having to hop off the ‘uni’ every 20+ minutes (to relieve
the burning and accompanying numbness) really limits the unicycle as
tool for transportation, I think.

Now having said that, I’m well aware that saddles are a source much
discussion among unicyclists. From what I’ve read on this forum, the
more comfortable saddles seem to be either the KH or Torker models.
Air saddles, the modified Torkers and Miyatas, rank right up there
among the ‘gotta-have-saddles’ for those who Coker-their-way through
40-80 miles days, day-after-day, on extended tours. And, yes, the GB
handles are known to help, allow one to scoot around, wiggle a bit,
resulting to prolong saddle-time. But, I wonder, for how much longer?
I don’t know.

And then ther are the people who just hop on a unicycle and pedal long
distances without giving muc thought to saddle comfort. What about
Patrick, the fellow who is going coast-to-coast, riding
day-after-grueling-day on what seems o be a 24" Schwinn with a stock
saddle!!!? Gosh. How is that even possible? And yet, there are
obviously people who must manage to stay in the saddle for lengths of
time markedly longer than 30 minutes. But they seem to be
exceptional, heroic even.

Here’s the scoop: My Kris Holm saddle feels darn-right comfortable for
the first 15 minutes or so, but as I continue to pedal a few minutes
beyond that first quarter-hour I become very conscious of the saddle’s
growing uncomfortability. At about 20 minutes time this uncomfortable
feeling transforms into a sensation that resembles what I believe to
be a burning pain. (I’ve never actually burned myself down there, but
that’s what I’d imagine it’d feel like if I ever did–no doubt, we’re
talking about neurovascular sorts of phenomena here.) A few minutes
later, say 22-25 minutes into the ride, I’m fighting the powerful urge
to just leap off the unicycle. Call it quits. If I can somehow try
and focus on something other than the ‘urge-to-leap’, I may persist a
few minutes beyond the 25 minute mark. But it’s become clear to me
that there seems to be a 30-minute limit to my KH saddle, no matter
what I do.

My purpose in writing is to learn how I might increase my saddle-time
consistently beyond this seeming 30-minute barrier (preferrably
without having to go the next step, to either make or purchase an air

Do I have unreasonable expectations of my KH saddle? Am I a wimp?
Are there others out there in ‘uni-land’ who can consistently, and
without pain, ride their unicycles for over 30-45 minutes at a

Thanks for reading. Toodles! --Carl Barrentine (Grand Forks, North

Re: Saddle-time: Is there a 30 minute limit?

Air seats seem to be universally regarded as the most comfortable. I
have a no-frills Bedford air seat which I think feels more comfortable
than the KH seat it replaced, but it lacks a handle and doesn’t seem
built for aggressive riding. Other air seats are DIY conversions.

But you don’t necessarily need a new saddle. In my case, using high
end cycling shorts (perlizumi $$$) was all it took to eliminate
numbness. The channel down the middle of the chamois relieved the
pressure and made riding much more comfortable. Sitting in a KH
saddle for more than 30 or 40 minutes still isn’t exactly comfortable,
but at least I no longer fear damage to my dangly bits.

Another very good thing to do is add a rail adapter and bicycle
seatpost, which will allow you to adjust the angle of the saddle for
maximum comfort.

Hope that helps,


You will get longer saddle time with:
A bigger wheel: smoother.
A fatter tyre: smoother.
Shorter cranks: smoother.
Riding briskly: smoother.
Cycle shorts under cycle longs: more padding and reduces friction.
A handle: you can shift your weight a bit.
Practice: part of the problem is psychological.

On my Coker, I’ve regularly done the hour, and a couple of times I’ve done around two hours. It hurts, though. On the 28 I’m fidgeting after 30 minutes. On the 20, 10 minutes is enough.

I find the Viscount saddle quite comfortable. The standard Miyata isn’t bad. I had a Velo and hated it.

I find that tolerance seems to vary at different times- sometimes I’ve ridden for hours on my muni with no problems, others I can’t.

I think one factor is if I ride a long time, or rough muni for several days in a row- tolerance seems to drop. This happened to me this saturday, after a lot of ridng for the previous week I did a 1/2 hr trip to a local park festival, rode round the park on and off, then rode back several hours later.

The ride back was pretty harsh-so sore that i got off and walked for a bit.

Poosibly the fact that I was wearing swimmig shorts with mesh inner and boxers as well didn’t help.

I’ve decided that it’s long past time I tried out cycling shorts, as so many here swear by them.

I’d also like to try a rail adapter at some point.

as for seats, my budget boggle/butterfinger that i easily adapted to an airseat seems ok.

If you do make an airseat, don’t put too much air in as it makes it hard- I put a incredibly small amount in mine last year and haven’t added to it.

I’ve found talcum powder to be useful as well.

Be wary of using the same shorts for many rides, I think that bacteria can build up over several rides.

Also, and I’m not absolutely sure of this, but it seems that when I pump up my tyre sometimes, it makes the seat noticibly harsher, i guess because there’s less compression in the tyre.

I once unicycled for over 2 and half hours, with about 1-2 minutes of that time me not being on the uni. I hardly hurt at all…you just gotta get used to it.

I have noticed a distinct difference in the comfort of my first generation KH seat to that of the less comforting KH seat i purchased in june. i am pleased to hear that i am not the only one who finds half an hour in the seat pushing it, i thought it was me just being pathetic!
i think it all depends on what your riding tho, when im doing light muni (on my 20" trials) i can go for a long periods of time riding, i think due to the fact that the terrain is softer than concrete sometimes and you are not always glued in the same saddle position and pedalling rhythm.
I definatly found riding over road for 6 and a half miles on my trials uni horrible all the way, it was soo uncomfortable, not to mention boring which i think plays a part. When off road its exciting and your mind is taken away form the numbing pain.n as opposed to looking at the stretch of tarmac in front of you wishing you were that car travelling 24 mph faster than you

the longest i can go for is 1 hour but it becomes horribly painful after that maybe itll be different ona bigger wheel with shorter cranks than 140’s

Re: Saddle-time: Is there a 30 minute limit?

Yep, I’d say your just a wimp! :smiley:

Seriously, it is tough on me to go for more than 30 minutes too. I use KH seats on all my uni’s. If I stand up for even a few pedal strokes every 5 or 10 minutes, it greatly increases my time. Muni riding, I can go all day. I feel this is because we are contantly standing up, hopping off and over stuff. Also, just the mild amount that we rise off the seat while going over sticks, roots, rocks, ect, will allow that blood to flow to our “vital organs!”

I remember reading about one of the guys who rode across the USA. He talked about how horrrible his saddle soreness became. He described the pain as almost unbearable. He dreaded to even sit on his seat every morning, then he would ride until everything became numb. Then he said he hated to stop because of the pain as the feeling came back to his posterior. So, he would just keep riding. It’s hard on my rear, and appendages, just riding the 7 miles to town.

I take back the part about you being a wimp, eventhough you brought it up first. :slight_smile: Friends??? --chirokid–

Seat angle makes a big difference. Get a rail adapter so you can use a bicycle seat post that allows you to adjust the angle of the seat. Pointing the nose of the saddle up a bit can make a big difference. Exactly how much to tilt the saddle up will take some experimentation, and will be different for different riders.

Good riding posture also helps. If I sit up straight and put some pressure on to the back of my butt I find that I can sit in the saddle longer than when I slouch and lean forwards.

Doing some surgery to the foam in the seat can also make a big difference. Cutting the foam to make less curvature in the seat, like I have done here, can make a difference for some people.

My current Coker seat is comfortable for me for over an hour of in the saddle riding. I’ve taken it on a 60 mile ride and felt fine. My Coker seat is a variation of my air seat. It uses Schwinn foam instead of the Miyata foam. Variations in air pressure in the air seat make a difference. If the seat is too soft it gets uncomfortable faster than when it’s pumped up a little more firm. Seat angle also makes a big difference for me. It took some experimentation to finally find a setup that worked for me.

I haven’t tried all the other experimentation John mentions, but I can totally endorse his reco on the rail adapter. On my new 36, I was having some serious discomfort, starting as early as mile 3 and getting worse pretty quickly. By adjusting the nose of the seat up, I’ve gotten a lot more comfort, and probably an extra 5 miles or more between “must stop” times. Adjusting the nose up puts your butt down on the wider part of the saddle, which helps a lot. I still like to get off the saddle pretty regularly to keep the flow going, even if it’s only pulling up, grabbing a signpost, and standing up on the pedals for 20 or 30 seconds before continuing.

I don’t think I have the seat angle perfect for me yet. I’ve adjusted the nose up maybe 25 degrees, and I’m going to try a bit more this coming weekend.