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Old 2019-11-04, 05:00 AM   #1
JimT
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Noseless Unicycle Saddle

I have had a noseless saddle on my bike for ages and just for the fun of it I mounted it on a unicycle. The saddle is an ERGO The SEAT® by Lycra Gel Saddle

I first tried it with only a handlebar and it was very comfortable on the butt however it required quite a bit of force pushing back on the handlebar to stay on the seat. Overall on a 2 mile road test it was not that comfortable to ride because of the strength required to stay in position.

Next I added a "Groin Support Bar" to hold me back on the saddle. I rode about a mile with no padding on the groin support and is worked quite well. I then added some padding on the groin support and adjusted some so it fits correctly. On an 8 mile road test on the 29" uni it preformed very well with no adverse effects and no need to "rest" my butt as needed on my normal unicycle saddle. (Actually my normal saddle on my 36er is quite comfortable but just have to take a minute or two break or peddle standing up for awhile ever few miles on longer rides.)

It is a little cumbersome to free mount the noseless saddle because I have to get the uni vertical, swing over the wide seat and work vertically down between the saddle and groin support. I'm not that good at mounting smaller unicycles anyway but not a big problem either. It is quite secure once in and dismounts off the front or back don't seem to be a problem. At first I wondered if I'd be locked in the thing but that does not seem to be the case.

Since I mostly do 36er road riding I'll get the height adjusted on the 36" and give that a try.



First Road Test:


With Groin Support Bar:


8 Mile Road Test on 29":


A few more pics at: https://pbase.com/jimthode/noseless_saddle
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Old 2019-11-06, 02:37 AM   #2
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Interesting.

I'm a fan of the regular bike saddle and handlebar combo for road riding, but yah it's not that comfortable if you let go and sit up. It's cool you found a solution that is comfortable without using the handlebar for you.

How do you feel it has affected your control of the unicycle when not using your hands?

I look forward to your updates
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Old 2019-11-06, 01:32 PM   #3
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Very interesting?
The noseless saddle came into my mind, when I rode the Mad4one handle saddle. I have one question: Your saddle cannot be tilted backwards, so that you can sit upright in a comfortable position?
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Old 2019-11-06, 02:23 PM   #4
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How did you get the mandrel bend on the tubing? And I was also wondering why the saddle is not tilted back.
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Old 2019-11-06, 05:17 PM   #5
Vogelfrei80
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fetzenschorsch View Post
Very interesting?
The noseless saddle came into my mind, when I rode the Mad4one handle saddle. I have one question: Your saddle cannot be tilted backwards, so that you can sit upright in a comfortable position?
For the handle saddle I'm waiting a Triathlon saddle to arrive and been adapted. An "Adamo" style saddle
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Old 2019-11-06, 06:41 PM   #6
JimT
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Quote:
Originally Posted by saskatchewanian View Post
How do you feel it has affected your control of the unicycle when not using your hands?
The rider connection between the seat and uni is more secure/fixed then a normal uni seat. I can not move as much independent of the noseless saddle as I can on a normal saddle. I don't know if that is good or bad. It is easy to ride but may not be able to do a really tight turnback as a normal saddle.

Quote:
Originally Posted by fetzenschorsch View Post
Very interesting?
The noseless saddle came into my mind, when I rode the Mad4one handle saddle. I have one question: Your saddle cannot be tilted backwards, so that you can sit upright in a comfortable position?
The saddle surface kind of looks like it is tipped forward but the base where I sit is really tipped back a little. There are also cups in the base where my sit bones fit in the saddle. Without holding back with a handlebar or the groin support bar I don't believe this noseless saddle could be ridden on a unicycle no matter how the seat is adjusted. I can adjust the tilt just as a normal 4 bolt saddle by adding shims if needed.




Quote:
Originally Posted by MuniAddict View Post
How did you get the mandrel bend on the tubing? And I was also wondering why the saddle is not tilted back.
The gray tubing on the handlebar was from some recycled refrigerator tubing and already shaped like that. The "Groin Support Bar" was shaped out of some 1/2" electrical metal tubing using a makeshift bending mandrel like this:
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Old 2019-11-11, 05:23 PM   #7
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An update, I installed the noseless saddle/handlebar on my 36” Coker. I’ve put about 20 miles on it with 14 miles in one setting. In general it seems to be about three times less annoying then a normal uni saddle. I can go about three times longer before I want to take a short break. On a normal saddle I normally go about 3 or 4 miles before taking a short break, mostly to give the butt a break but it also gives the legs a break. On the noseless saddle I can go much longer distances before the sit bones start to annoy me. The down side of that is that my legs do not get a rest every so often and at the end of a comparable distance my legs would be more fatigued with the noseless saddle. The other thing that affects the legs is the seat height. Because of the necessary lower saddle setting my legs get more of as workout on the noseless saddle. No, I've not committed to change all my uni's to noseless saddles yet.

One disadvantage of using bike saddles on unicycles is that there are no bumpers on bike saddles. A few drops could do quite a bit of damage to a bike saddle. I added a tuff HDPE rear bumper on the noseless saddle and that also serves as a “kick stand”. I also added a front bumper (the tennis ball thingy) on the handlebar so it will take a beating without any damage.

I alos added a loop hand grip on the handle bar but it is too close to my body. I need to add a longer hand grip and see if that works better for road riding.



Rear bumper as a kickstand:


Front bumper:


More pics here.

Jim
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Old 2019-12-02, 02:05 AM   #8
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Air Saddle

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:

1. My favorite road riding unicycle saddle - Fully serviceable with a break now and then.
2. Off-the-shelf noseless saddle without handlebar – Not rideable.
3. Off-the-shelf noseless saddle with handlebar and no groin support – comfortable but not recommended due to the force requited staying on the saddle.
4. Off-the-shelf noseless saddle with groin support – About three times more comfortable then #1.
5. Homemade rigid foam noseless saddle – About five times more comfortable then #1.
6. 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:




Air saddle with cover:


More pics here.

Jim
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Old 2019-12-02, 12:45 PM   #9
Gockie
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimT View Post
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:

1. My favorite road riding unicycle saddle - Fully serviceable with a break now and then.
2. Off-the-shelf noseless saddle without handlebar – Not rideable.
3. Off-the-shelf noseless saddle with handlebar and no groin support – comfortable but not recommended due to the force requited staying on the saddle.
4. Off-the-shelf noseless saddle with groin support – About three times more comfortable then #1.
5. Homemade rigid foam noseless saddle – About five times more comfortable then #1.
6. 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:




Air saddle with cover:


More pics here.

Jim
Good stuff, very clever. just a comment. I have a nimbus saddle, and if I push down where my tailbone is on the saddle, I swear it feels like there's springs in it. It's not a saddle where the cover comes off though so I can't open it to investigate. It is my most comfortable saddle though, because I get tailbone pain when sitting (e.g. on long flights) from a bike injury long ago.

Anyway, I like the thought of your air cushion for the area you sit on, and as you say, there's no pressure on the peritoneal area too.
It just needs to be beautified, popularised and productionised somehow, because we aren't all going to make our own custom seats - it's in the "too hard basket"!
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Last edited by Gockie; 2019-12-02 at 12:48 PM.
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