Thursday, July 14, 2011

The world's most comfortable bicycle seat

So is the claim of Ride Out Technologies who recently got a link on the sidebar of my blog. If someone makes the bold claim of having the world's most comfortable bicycle seat, I have to check it out. The folks at Ride Out sent me a sample to test for your benefit.

Nothing is more subjective and personal than the comfort of a bike seat. The search for the relief of constant pain to your butt and an end to numb genitals (This affects women too btw) is the single most elusive cycling quest in my book. For me, apart from recumbents, the answer was the Brooks B66 leather saddle, a time tested design since the 19th century.

So I received this piece of 21st century technology via snail mail, well packaged, at my door and my first reaction when pulling it out of the box was: "This looks weird." but if it does the job, I don't really care how it looks. The next thing that hit me was how light it felt. My scale indicates 375 grams, well within the claimed 390 on the website. The overall finish is very good and I really appreciate the more rugged material used on the side of the saddle. That is some forward thinking since the side of the saddle is abused on a regular basis be it on a wall or on the ground. I feel that it is well worth the 84.95 asking price. However, I would have done away with the 90's lime fluo color accent and I love the idea of reflective material on the back of the seat but white is the wrong color. I'm sure that red reflective material could have been found.

Apart from those small details, the rest of the seat is wide enough to accommodate the sitting bones of both men and women (This was confirmed by my daughter.). It has a channel in the middle to allow circulation to the more intimate and delicate parts of our anatomy.

Let's bring our attention underneath the seat where everything sits on a piece of infused carbon that looks like a piece of leaf spring and sitting on that is the seat support rails. That piece of carbon is what gives the flex to the seat.

I installed the seat on my one speed road bike and saw right away that I had to bring the seat down by 1/2 an inch as per the company's instructions. Then I sat down and pushed the pedals forward.

My very first reaction when sitting on a new seat is either "Wow!" or "Crap!" and a bunch of degrees in between. Not with this one. I have no words to describe it more than this: "!?!"

When cycling my attention is not grabbed by how much energy I put into pedaling or how hard I have to push to get up a hill. No, it is the constant feeling of my sitting bones on the seat and the degree of pain at which it is, may it be low or high. All of a sudden I couldn't feel my sitting bones and I was sitting down pedaling!

It's hard to explain but you are sitting on the seat yet you are not. The combination of the cushion design, the side by side flex of the saddle while pedaling and the total absence of feel of the saddle nose makes it as if you were merely leaning on the seat instead of sitting down on it. Weird but in a good way.

I rode on some nasty bumps and I was impressed on how good it took it. Better than a lot of spring saddles that I own. I've installed the seat on a bike that has a hunched over riding position for now. I will also try it out on a cruiser with a more upright riding position to see how well it does in that configuration. So far I've taken only short rides around the block, so I don't know yet how well it will do on long rides.

I will update this post as I test along with the results. I have a good ride planned this evening, so I'll have a better idea.


I took the saddle out for a one hour ride the evening of that first post. I spent the first half hour trying to find the proper position on the seat by shifting my butt all over it. It was kinda like trying to get a feel for it and looking for that usual seating position. When I got off at my destination however, my butt was just not hurting. On the return trip ,while still shifting position, I found the sweet spot and the saddle just vanished from under me!

I guess that I haven't found the proper setting yet and I will have to work on that. I will reposition the seat for the next ride. I think I have to bring the nose up a bit and the height as well. Keep posted.

Don't forget to check out the how-to articles post
and download my free bike maintenance book if you haven't already.

Until next time, ride safe and free.

Gerry :)


ZAPPDOG said...

Nice review on this one Gerry.
I haven't tried one myself but know of a couple on high dollar bikes and the owners love them. Of course on a CERVELO S2 that seat looked a bit out of place but it didn't affect the weight.

Ken Davidson said...

Sounds great. Now I wonder what they can do about that price tag? ;)

Unknown said...

Gerry, I've only just found you, and I thought the article was great. However, regarding the saddle, I see stitching, which is the curse of the commuter. Left out in the rain for five minutes the seat fills up with water, and a plastic carrier bag becomes essential for a dry bum, even when it hasn't rained for a week. Perhaps it doesn't rain in Canada!?
Great blog!!

Gerry Lauzon said...

Thanks Sam. As for the saddle you make a good point. Yes we do have rain here as well, so I will try and leave it in the rain to see how it takes it.

Gerry :)

Matty said...

I'm a 54 year old man at 5'10 and 180 pounds. I ride for fitness and do long distance rides. I recently purchased a Fuji hybrid bike. The saddle that came with it was very uncomfortable and painful over the sit bones. I tried three more saddles of varying widths and softness/firmness levels. They were all painful over the sit bones to the extent that I couldn't ride for very long.

After a lot of online research, I tried the Carbon Comfort saddle by Ride Out Technologies. I had it installed by my local bike shop for proper height, length and angle. I've been using it now for several hundred miles, with each ride anywhere from 25 to 50 miles. I'm not sure how to explain it, but while I no longer have the pain I experienced with the other saddles, I still have a lot of discomfort with this one. The pain isn't there anymore, but my butt over the sit bones gets sore and numb to the point that I have to stand up to relieve the pressure. I keep moving around looking for that "sweet spot" you mention, but it just isn't there.

The plus side is that there is no more actual pain, but the down side is that it's still very uncomfortable. I'm going to keep looking for a more comfortable saddle.

Gerry Lauzon said...

Thanks for sharing your experience Matty. A seat is a very subjective piece of equipment since we are all unique in respect to butt comfort.

Gerry :)

Anonymous said...

Hi I purchased the Ride Out seat and I found it to be the most uncomfortable over priced seat ever. Never had such a sore behind . I ride a hundred of miles on weekends. It was a good test for a bad seat.

Gerry Lauzon said...

I have a friend who would argue with you on the price point. He paid $250 to color match the seat to the bike and it ended up being the worst seat he ever had. I welcome your input as seats are not a one size fits all piece of equipment. I'll be posting an update about this review shortly.


Anonymous said...

Hello I too did try the Most Comfortable bike seat and found it to be another mouse trap but not better.Could not find a sweet spot after many adjustments. I guess I got caught up in the marketing trap.
John Lerner

Gerry Lauzon said...

Sorry it didn't work out for you John. I'll be riding that seat in a race on Sunday and I will be able to wrap up my views on it that evening before I try it on another bike.


Unknown said...

I'm surprised at some of the negative experiences listed here. I have ridden my whole life and never came across a more satisfying seat. Oh yes! It did feel weird at first but the wow factor came after my very first ride. I decided to go for a relatively long ride on my carbon road bike to put the seat to the test. It was approximately at the 3 hour mark that I realized that my legs were slowly starting to fatigue, not my back side! That was the first time ever my legs began to hurt before my butt, I knew at that moment that I had stumbled across something truly fantastic. I have been riding with this seat (Carbon Comfort with green accents) for three years now and my rides include the 2 day 6-7 hour/ day Ride To Conquer Cancer and simply put, there's no turning back, this seat is it for me! I find that because the weight is spread out more across the Riders back side, it contributes to the overall comfort and lack of pain. Keep in mind, I wouldn't exactly describe the seat as "comfortable" (I've seen some of those come even in leopard patterns) but the key to this seat is that it doesn't become uncomfortable, which is what I find truly amazing. And no, I'm not affiliated with the company. Hope my comments were helpful, be safe and happy riding!

Gerry Lauzon said...

Thanks for sharing your experience Martin. A seat is a very personal thing and it's hard to please everyone. I still enjoy mine.

Gerry :)

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