Seat comfort????

Is there a current consensus on what is the most comfortable saddle for general “exercise” riding on roads and mild trails? I’m a new rider, and I currently have a 24" with the Nimbus gel saddle. I would like to use my unicycle for general exercise, as my knees are so trashed from motorcycle racing that doubt I’ll ever be able to run again, and unicycling is a lot more fun than riding a bike or the elliptical machine at the gym. I find that my saddle is still uncomfortable despite riding everyday and experimenting with different seat positions and seat heights, so I’m ready to buy a new seat. I’ve searched the forums (lots of funny “taint” comments!), and it seems like the KH seats are widely liked, but I don’t understand the difference between the “Freeride” and “street” models. Also, are there other saddles I should consider, or other modifications to my present seat that I might try? Thanks!

The short answer to your question is no. The best seat for you is not necessarily the best seat for lots of other people. That said, we can go over some of the most popular.

The other bad news is that you already have one of the best ones. I have one on my Track uni. The Nimbus saddle is a variant of the KH saddle. If you were to get the KH Freeride, for example, it would mostly be identical except for the foam in there. But that’s the point, right? The Freeride has a slot down the center, to take some pressure off your centerline (good for the ladies as well as the men). But it’s not a very big difference.

I think my favorite seat at the moment is the KH seat that came with my Wilder MUni in 2003. Discontinued, that is. It had taller foam. But I’ve been using that seat for MUni, so the requirements are different than what they’d be for regular or road riding.

More opinions, please?

About the KH saddles: the KH street has a lot less padding than the freeride. It’s designed for trials or tricks where you hold the seat in your hand. I’m not sure it’s meant to be sat on.

I think saddle soreness is a fact of unicycling life. The cut away part down the middle of the freeride helps a bit. Bike shorts help a bit. A handlebar that you can lean on helps a bit. Getting off and walking around every so often helps a bit. Nothing gets rid of it totally though.

Get one of the old style (thick foam) either kh or nimbus saddles and then convert it to an air saddle. I think that would suit your type of riding better than anything. There’s a video tutorial on how to convert a saddle to an air saddle if I weren’t on my phone I’d link you to it. Someone else may be kind enough to do so.

So far, my favorite saddle is a 2007 KH Fusion Freeride. I’ve added a layer of foam to it and ground down some useless points in the base. I’ve ridden it on two centuries and did fairly well. Yeah, I was sore at the end (pun intended), but I can’t imagine riding a century on my brand new KH FFR. Total distance on this saddle to date is about 4000 km.

Geoff

The KH freeride is my favorite. The newer ones (past couple of years) have a better slot down the middle and the foam is cushier. I have one on my muni and sometimes put it on my Coker as well.

Not recommended for most freestyle riding, but that isn’t what you seem to be doing.

I uses the KH street for my Muni. I come from the cycling world where seat padding is bad and uncomfortable. I like the shape of the freeride but it is too soft.

There is at least one person who sits on the KH street. I did cut out the center for circulation to my man bits.

Probably the biggest thing you can do to improve saddle comfort at this point is getting a handle. You can use it to get a bit of your weight off the seat and it will increase your control of the unicycle.

Cutting a grove down the middle of your current saddle probably wouldn’t hurt either.

The current freeride is pretty good but I find it a bit soft. I have not tried the street yet.

How is it uncomfortable? Is there too much pressure? Not enough padding? Too much padding? Chafing?
My wife did an air saddle conversion and loves it; for me, it’s like trying to ride with a huge, squashy water balloon draped over the seat.
I have a Nimbus gel saddle, and for me, the biggest issue is inner leg chafing (I don’t do centuries nor multi-day touring yet).

Why so many seats are uncomfortable

The summary: Since you already have a Nimbus Gel, I’d start by adjusting the front of the saddle all the way up. If it still isn’t comfortable, buy one of the current Kris Holm seats.

The details:
The Nimbus Gel is already pretty good, but positioning the seat can make a huge difference. Since it sounds like you want to ride the unicycle (vs doing tricks on it), it will be most comfortable if the front of the seat is pointed up enough that the back of the seat is close to horizontal when you are riding. Like this:

or this:

Then you can sit fairly far back on the seat. With the level back, your weight is comfortably on what bicyclists call “sit bones” (not the real name…) and not where you don’t want it.

Many older seats have too much “scoop” and can’t be tilted enough. This forces you forward, putting pressure where you don’t want it:

The seat in the picture above has been replaced with a current generation Nimbus Gel. But, seat preference is personal: I believe this is the one John Foss likes. (I’m sure my brother would be willing to sell the one in the pic, it’s only been ridden <10 miles on a 36er…)

Fortunately the newer seats like in the first two pictures are longer and flatter than the older ones. Pointing the front of the seat up too much can make mounting harder (particularly on a 36er), so I tend to do a static mount with pressure on the handle, then sit down and start riding.

The difference between the Nimbus gel and the current KH is the cover and padding, both of which make a big difference. The Nimbus has foam of an even thickness over the whole seat, and an OK cover. The KH Freeride has the foam in the middle of the seat built up so that the seat is less curved front to back, this makes the seat flatter and more comfortable, but still leaves enough of a curve that it is easy to control. I think the foam is too thick (or not firm enough), but my brother thinks it’s great. It also has a center groove, which helps a bit, and a slightly nicer cover. The big difference between the Street and the Freeride is that the Street has thinner foam without the huge built-up area in the center. Its foam is still better and more contoured than the Nimbus Gel though. I think my older model KH Street is comfortable (XC muni), but still a bit too curved forward and backward.

Some seats also have poorly chosen seam positions on the covers, so wearing bike shorts makes a huge difference. Some of the other brands are way too wide at the back and narrow in the front, forcing pressure where you don’t want it. But, it is personal preference, there are two guys in town who love their Miyata style air seats.

My preference is a KH Street with an adjustable seat post, but I’m looking forward to trying one of the new flatter ones.

street.jpg

freeride.jpg

old-fusion.jpg