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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi All,
Ive been playing around with different ideas on curing the numb-butt syndrome myself before I throw hundreds of dollars at a new seat. I was thinking about it and looking at my seat from Honda, it appears and feels like a quality seat. The passenger seat leaves alot to be desired, but its expected being only 2-3" thick I guess.
Ive tried some simple external items like a quality 1" jell pad and other generic foams I had laying around and were either too bulky or they only seemed to make the seat even more uncomfortable.
I was thinking and wondering, what does cause the numb-butt. It is the seat pan, the foam is too firm or bottoms out, the vinyl, or is it the leg position pinching and cutting off circulation after 30-40 minuets of riding? If it is the foam, is it a specific layer causing this?
One would think Honda engineers would experience the numb-butt also during product testing. Why would they build such a well engineered bike and skimp on the seat foam, or what ever the root cause of it is? I think rider comfort is an important drive-ability/sales point.
Do you folks with other bikes like Harleys, Yamaha's, Victory's, Triumph's etc.... get numb-butt with your OE seats as bad as with the Shadow line?
 

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I put over 40 thousand miles on my stock seat, with small shifts in sitting on the saddle makes it manageable, however recently it has gotten to the point that this trick is no longer working for me, and I too ran up on a used mustang seat,(great)

there are several diff. companies that mod seats, i think one of them is "mean city cycles". I am sure if this is incorrect that someone will chime in. Oconee Dan recently posted in the tech section about his own mods.
 

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Sending my seat off to Mean City Cycles for a seat overhaul... they take the seat apart re-shape it and put better foam back in... Will have it back next week. If you can hold off I will have a review in two weeks. Total cost with shipping is about $180... a lot better than $400+ for new seat.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for the posting Dan. I had seen the memory foam mod awhile back but missed your post when you did your "cut-out only" mod. How deep did you cut the foam in the "bucket part'....2-3-4"? When you trace out your shape on the exposed foam, do you carve out the entire profile, or just a few inches in where the sitting-bones are? Are you still happy with your mod? Changes? Thx again
 

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Mean City does good work. Another GREAT alternative would be to check with Robert at :


He does tremendous work ... covering, reshaping and stitch work. Great guy to work with ...

Wife loves the seat... Does the job for comfort. Had the option of making the passenger area much wider if wanted but she will never be a two up driver so it was only widened some but padded much better. I carry the grandkids on the back every once in a while....



 

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I've done the memory/gel foam seat re-do, but what I found was that they simply replaced the original foam (admittedly pretty crappy stuff) in the seat with the same thickness of new, better material. It's better, but still numbing. I now use a Mustang seat with an external gel pad, which is even better; I can ride for about 2 hours before I can't take it.

If anyone is interested in buying my original Honda seat (350 miles on it, like brand new), with new padding as described above, please let me know.
 

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The general idea from wheelchair and prosthetics/orthotics technology is "total body contact" throughout the seat pad. This means that all places where that the seat touches your butt should have identical pressure. Pressure = force / area. Force is your body weight due to gravity and does not vary.

A flat seat contacts the butt on only certain areas: The bottom of the cheeks and upper thighs become overly compressed. The pressure of your upper body and head are concentrated into this small surface area. After a while this area will tire and ache.

Scoop the seat out a little and much of the sides of the butt will share in the support. Because body weight is mostly directed downward due to gravity, the sides are not as efficient at supporting weight, but still support some. This added curved area will reduce the overall pressure (force is the same, area has increased = pressure reduced) and therefore increase comfort and sitting time.

Alternately seat technology that automatically does this pressure rebalancing can be used. Roho wheelchair seating systems, for example, have multiple individual air cells but are interconnected to allow air to move from one cell to another. Boney prominences sit lower, squishing air to neighbouring cells. All areas of the butt contribute to support, thereby reducing pressure.

Honeycomb gel material is similar in design. Boney prominences will compress a honeycomb. Neighbouring cells will take up the slack.

Roho technology will not work in a motorcycle seat because it adds another 2" in height. Honeycomb gel will work. A standard layer of solid gel in a pad will not flow pressure sufficiently to other areas.

I hope this is comprehensible, but you asked. Foam also has a finite usable life, after which it will not support as well. If you change the old foam you will have more comfort. There are also different densities of foam.
 

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Nice post TorontoBoy.
For my mod, keep in mind I have only done this one seat. I wish I had measured the amount I removed before I recovered it.
I am guessing I removed about 1.5 inches in the center of the seat, and tried to feather it in (blend).
I actually think the foam that Honda used is good stuff. Consistant, firm, and very thick. There is a lot you can remove. I suggest if you want to try it, remove some and recover it with minimal staples, then remove more if you need.
I can certainly see the benefits if you remove more of the foam, and replace with memory foam. There are also air pillows for bike seats available.
I am saving my pennies for a good sheep skin cover to also help.
So far, I have riden about 500-600 miles this week, and I am happy with the results and I don't think I'll do any further mods.
Dan
 

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I did a 1000/24 ride this last Saturday - Actually 1007 miles in 20 hours 50 minutes on my '89 VT1100c with a stock seat. No "numb butt" or any problems at all. Felt fine the whole way. Personally, I don't see the problem. Guess they don't call them Iron Butt rides for nothing :wink:
 

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Everyone's butt is different, so it isn't realistic to think that a "one size fits all" stock seat is going to work for everyone. Think about this. What is the first thing you do when you drive a car for the first time? You adjust the seat. So it is only common sense that most people will need some sort of seat adjustment with a bike. I also agree with the idea of even pressure that was already mentioned. When I had my seat custom done recently that was one of the things that was addressed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thank You everyone, Torontoboy, great posting! I see why my solid gel pad made things actually worse. This mod will be a great weekend project, along with the multiple road test required.
 
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