Trike Equipment Update: Seat

Photos by MJ Klein

I have over 300 KM on Artifice Gordon and I wanted to make an adjustment to the seat.  Short rides are one thing, but when you’re sitting on the seat for a few hours and riding 30KM or more, the comfort of the seat is of paramount importance.  In fact, seat discomfort is one reason why I own a trike and I don’t ride an upright bicycle for long distances.

Trike Equipment Update: Seat

This is a photo of the left seat hinge, taken from the trike’s right side with the seat folded down (looking at the back of the seat frame, side-on).  I unlaced the mesh seat cover and pulled it out of the way to expose the side tubes and hinges of the seat frame.  On longer rides, this seat hinge (the black metal part) irriates my lower back.  The angled bracket is toward the inside of the seat frame.  BTW, I’ve discussed this issue with the designer and he is going to address it with a design change.

Trike Equipment Update: Seat

This is a photo of the right seat frame tube (taken from the right side of the trike with the seat folded down like the above photo).  I’ve covered the tube and part of the hinge with foam and tyrapped it to the frame tube.

Trike Equipment Update: Seat

This is a shot of the back of the seat frame folded down, taken from the rear of the trike looking forward.  I’ve covered both sides with foam and tyrapped the foam to the frame tubes.

Trike Equipment Update: Seat

Closeup of the left hinge (shot from the rear of the trike).

Trike Equipment Update: Seat

This is the right side of the seat tube bottom and the hinge, wrapped and tied.

The idea was to cushion the feel of the side tubes but mainly those angled brackets at the bottom of the tube that form the hinges.  This of course did work well.  Wrapping tubes is an old triker’s trick to make the seat more comfortable.

As you may recall, Walter (the designer) did the same thing to the bottom of my seat during my recent visit to TW Bents:

State Of The Artifice

This procedure improved the comfort of the seat bottom, so I was motivated to try it on the hinges.  There was only one problem with my method:

Trike Equipment Update: Seat

This is a shot of the trike seat frame with the mesh cover removed, looking from the front of the trike.  Notice the black and yellow sections of the hinges at the bottom of the frame tubes below the white foam.  I can feel the black section of the hinge through the mesh seat cover when I ride.  It only bothers me on longer distance rides, but I wanted to solve the problem anyway.  I’m going to cover the black sections of the hinges only because they’re on the inside.

Trike Equipment Update: Seat

Closeup of the left side.  This illustrates the problem.  The bottom of the hinge on the inside is bare metal (well, painted bare metal).

Trike Equipment Update: Seat

If you look carefully you can see that I’ve applied contact cement on the black sections of the hinges.

Trike Equipment Update: Seat

I cut small pieces of foam, applied contact cement and tyrapped them into place over the black sections of the hinges.

Trike Equipment Update: Seat

This closeup of the left side shows a well-cushioned inside hinge.  The outside doesn’t matter because I sit on the inside of the frame.

Trike Equipment Update: Seat

With the mesh seat cover back in place and properly laced up, you can’t see the white foam.

Sitting on the seat confirms that neither the hinge top or bottom sections can be felt.  I’m going to give the new configuration a couple of test rides before I report that it’s a 100% success.  However I expect it to be based on previous experience with the foam.

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  2. You are a handyman and a half there MJ. Nothing worse than an uncomfortable saddle. The seat on the cheap MTB I have is not comfortable but also not having bike pants doesn’t help.

    I hope to make an upgraded purchase in the very near future and then will start to extend my rides from the meager 20-40 klm rides now.

    Now when I ride my butt is numb and my nuts are sore 🙂 even after a short time in the saddle.

    Look forward to reports on the adjustments and also more pictures of your rides. Some lovely scenery there to enjoy while riding.

    Bruntys last blog post..Busy Bee, Solving Problems Isaan Thailand

    1. Brunty, you would love a recumbent! no butt or wrist pain after a long ride. plus they are fast. i’m looking forward to reading about places you ride in Thailand. hope you get to take a ride and do one of those articles soon. thanks Brunty.

  3. MJ, you are quite the creative and crafty person. I hope your trike is as comfy as a cloud! I am looking foward to reading the update article and seeing if your idea worked (as I am sure it did!). As always a great story and pictures!

    Your friend in NH…

    1. hi Danielle. thanks for your kind comments and your readership. we appreciate it very much. i will be sure to do an update story and how the seat modifications work out. we’re expecting several days of rain here so it might take awhile before i get out and ride on the roads again. take care.

  4. I have enjoyed reading about your recumbent experience. The bike is very sharp and sounds like a blast to ride, more so with your comfort modifications. When I rode in Taiwan my preferred dog deterrent was diluted ammonia in a squirt gun. It really puts them off, having such sensitive noses. For side visibility, check out this neat persistence of vision device. Very cool and affordable: (not spam, I have nothing to do w/the company, just a cool piece of gear)

    1. hi Cary. thanks for reading and your comments. i like the idea of the squirt gun. i have a bike in Thailand and i have a ketchup bottle of water with very hot peppers soaking in it. i keep it in the water bottle holder. i had the chance to use it once and man, did it work! i’m going to try to find a squirt gun that doesn’t leak, and then i’ll have to come up with a “firearm retention system” to hold it. maybe just a simple lanyard around my neck would do.

      when were you in Taiwan, for how long, and where were you located. do you ever come back to visit?

      i’ve seen the monkeyelectric site, and it seems like a very cool device. i haven’t seen any in Taiwan yet.

      thanks Cary.

      1. I lived in Hualien from ’89 to ’97. I haven’t been able to get back for a visit since 2001, but hardly a day goes by when I don’t have a pleasant memory of my time in Taiwan. Continuing to experience Taiwan vicariously through folks like yourself and Mr. Turton makes me feel like I haven’t lost touch completely. Thank you.

        I’m sure I would be bowled over by the development in and around sleepy little Hualien since my last visit, but it seems clear from what I can pick up through you guys that the friendly, generous spirit of the Taiwanese is well intact. And the food will always be amazing. Best anywhere, in my book. I’ve got to get back for a visit. Two more years of law school first, though!

        1. Cary, you were in Taiwan for quite some time. we hope you do get an opportunity to come back to visit! in the meantime, we’ll do our best to bring you little slices of Taiwan life for you to enjoy. yes, the friendly, generous spirit of the Taiwanese people is still very much intact, thankfully! and the food is still how you remember – fantastic! we wish you well with your law school studies. take care.

  5. 300km on your trike… glad to see you’ve got some decent riding weather there.

    Here in Boston… today is June18th. We’ve had some form of rain (heavy rain, light rain showers, drizzle, etc.) for I think 11 of the first 17 days. Over this same period of time… we’ve had daytime high temps ranging from about 53 degrees to 67 degrees (11c to 19c) with a 5 to 10mph (8 to 16kph) wind off of the cold Atlantic Ocean. Only twice has the temp gotten above 70 degrees (21c).

    They are calling for rain this afternoon with off an on showers thru I think Tuesday (bad for the Phantom Gourmet BBQ Beach Party at Foxwoods in Connecticut this weekend).

    The current “extended forecast” is calling for sun and warmer temps (getting close to 80 degrees or about 26c) for the middle of next week and into next weekend (which if it does happen… will be good for the Phantom Gourmet BBQ Beach Party at Suffolk Downs in East Boston).
    .-= mike01905´s last blog ..2009 Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival in Boston =-.

    1. Mike, yes overall, the weather has been pretty good, i have to say. but this weekend could be different. there is a tropical storm headed our way (see Bushman’s Typhoon Blog) and it’s already started to give us overcast skies. your long 11 days of rain is what could happen here if the TS decides to stall nearby and dump water on us. let’s hope we don’t have that happen. we’re looking forward to your reports on the BBQ events if the weather holds out. thanks Mike.

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