Thursday, June 29, 2006


With the ride length being doubled, my backside has become to creep to the forefront, as it were.

It may be the heat, but I notice the old hip bones starting to protest more. Ok, it could be age related. I doubt it, but I knew you were going to say it so I beat you to it! I've never stored much natural padding back there so I rely on a good seat.

Sophie is stock except for the back rest and Corbin seat. I put the back rest on for Katie. If you're going to have a steady passenger it's well worth the trouble to make her feel comfortable and secure. Believe me, if your partner won't ride with you, it might be the accomodations. I left the stock seat on for a while. It was actually pretty good except for one small problem.

At the same time we got Sophie, Katie got a new Aerostich Roadcrafter suit. You saw it in an earlier post. A new 'Stich is pretty darn stiff. I'm 5' 81/2" tall with a 30" inseam. Sophie came with a seat height that didn't let me get totally flat-footed. Not a problem when I rode alone. Putting a passenger into the equation changed things. The seat height and stiff, new, Roadcrafter combined into a formula with high entertainment possibilities. Mounting and dismounting raised my heart rate some.

It came to a head on an organized run. We had stopped for fuel and Katie was getting back on the bike. The cement sloped to my left more than normal. With the back rest Katie has to put one foot on the peg and swing the other over the seat. Sounds simple but the new 'Stich won't bend. If it won't bend, her leg won't bend. I say this lovingly, but she ended up looking somewhat like a helicopter with one rotor. Her right leg is swinging back and forth trying to get over the back rest. I'm trying to hold the bike up as her weight is up high and exerting a LOT of leverage. Gravity already has a head start because of the slope of the pavement. The bike started over and it was only sheer muscle force on my part that pulled it back up. That was way too close for me!

It was time to do something about the seat. Years ago the CM900 had been the recipient of a Corbin aftermarket seat. It had always felt good to me so I turned to Corbin for the ST. While they were building the seat I had them scoop some of the foam out in the seat front. You can see how tightly it hugs the fake gas tank in this picture:

That really did the trick for getting flat footed. The mount and dismount problem became a distant phantom. If you look closely you can see a drawback to the arrangement. There's a band across the front where the pattern is worn off and the seat is shiny. That's the place where the peg placement puts me due to a shorter inseam. Yep, there's this lovely scooped out saddle for the tush but it rarely gets used. For thousands and thousands of miles I have just dealt with it. It's not really uncomfortable, just not as good as it could be. The foam in this saddle is firm and gives good support. It's just in the wrong place for me. Now I'm starting to feel it more.

I guess you expect some rear end fatigue on really long rides so I never thought twice about it. It just doesn't seem like it should be a factor on a commute to work, you know? I guess I'm going to have to break down and move the pegs, or something.

The good news is that Katie really likes the passenger accomodations. We can ride for long, long, distances and she just snuggles in back there. Here's a close-up of her perch:

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. The worn seat attests to hours of pleasure on this bike we are fortunate to have had in our lives.

Whether you are riding or commuting I would urge you to make sure you are comfortable. When we are on the bike we need to concentrate on our ride. This includes using our scanning skills to pick up clues that help us manage risk. If a rider gets the point that their "buttisimo" hurts, or the riding position makes other things hurt, concentration suffers. Pretty soon we start to think about what hurts instead of riding.

Doing it again, I would take a little more time. For example, I've had the chance to talk to other ST riders. You should talk to riders of bikes like yours. The Russell saddles seem to be favored by a large margin. From what I've hear they won't build a seat without pictures of you on the bike in your natural riding position. They also ask for pictures of you and your passenger together. Riders I know who ride long distances have been very happy with these seats.

Even with Corbin, I would take more care in ordering the seat. I'm sure they would have helped with a little more engineering. It never really mattered at the time. I've always been spartan in things considered as luxuries. Warriors don't use Lazy Boy recliners. Could it be that I am finally starting to crave a little soft luxury? No, it can't be. Not me.

I think I'll start exploring options. Otherwise, the next time you hear me say,

"Oh, my aching ass!" it might not all be because of my work day!

Miles and smiles,


Steve Williams said...

Funny how desire for comfort overtakes need as we get older. I can't seem to get myself to sleep outside in the yard on those perfect nights when a soft bed is near....

I've been thinking of a Corbin seat for the Vespa. Three hours in the stock seat and my butt seems to start involuntarily gripping the seat...


irondad said...

I'm with you there. I've noticed a slowly growing trend in that direction. We were up at a lake and I used to jump right into icy water. Suffered hesitation this time. Are we getting older or getting better at setting priorities? :)

Krysta in Milwaukee said...

Sheepskin. It's wonderful stuff. I think the one we have on the roadster (BMW R1150) is from Alaska Leathers. I've also handled some that are gel-filled and have non-slip stuff on the bottom.

irondad said...

thanks for the suggestion. I have sheep-skin riding shorts but they don't help. Maybe I should try covering the other seat with sheepskin!

Thanks for dropping by!