Sunday, February 20, 2011

Seat Crap

This post is mostly for me, organizing some bookmarks and thinking out loud. I've now experimented enough to know I either have to come up with some sort of seat suspension or it's time to sell the Triumph to fund something else I can actually ride. The last back surgery sucked and I don't want to go through it again. Sorry, this will likely be long.

I've searched around for more compliant springs, even at a longer length and haven't really found what I think would be much of an improvement.

I considered building a setup that uses a mountain bike rear shock. The infinite adjust-ability is certainly appealing. Problem is most modern MTB shocks are 6"-8" long. Some of the older shocks are are still available (new & used) but they are notoriously unreliable and rebuild parts are no longer available.

Next thought was some of the chopper specific shock setups like Chopper Shox. I've always thought they were pretty ridiculous looking but I want to be able to ride. There are other folks building these kits too. One of my favorites aesthetically are the Performance Works built for a bike being built by Speakeasy Cycles for Billy Joel.

Almost everyone seems to say these shock setups are too harsh/stiff, probably because the travel is very short (about 1"). No good for me.

Several people mentioned that the Paul Cox Rigidaire system is almost as good as a softail or a HD pogo. I saw a post by a guy running one successfully that had had 4 disc surgeries over 3 years. The Paul Cox deal is $1200 and way more complicated than I need. I don't care to run a compressor just so I can drop the bags when I park.

Lots of guys are building similar systems themselves. The core of the system is a Goodyear air spring vibration isolator used in semi-truck seats. The air spring appears to be very adjustable and provides about 2" of travel in a 3.5" space. The springs are pretty cheap, about $30 a piece.

Rather than running an on-board compressor and all the required tubing I'm thinking I could just run a Schrader to 1/8" NPT valve in the bottom for the spring and check the level before rides. I'm not sure I'll have the room to run two springs so I may try just one. The springs are inexpensive enough I may buy two and see how it plays out when I start fabbing brackets. If I only use one I'll then have a spare in case it leaks or something I guess.

If you have any suggestions or brilliant ideas let me know.


Flathead45 said...

Can you add one more picture showing your current seat geometry so I can get idea of where the existing structure is? Specifically where the mounting bungs are.

BitMonkey said...

I posted a few pix, hope that helps.