Infinity Seat may look minimal, but it's said to be comfy
Of all the complaints that cyclists have about cycling, butt pain/numbness has got to be the biggest. While it's become very common to see bike saddles with a cut-out section in the middle, that's more for relieving pressure specifically on the crotch area (you know what I'm talking about). California chiropractor and triathlete Vincent Marcel, however, has extended that cut-out to include almost the entire inside of the saddle. The result, his Infinity Seat, is said to be very easy on the bum indeed.
The problem with conventional saddles, according to Dr. Marcel, is that the rider's weight is concentrated on the "sit bones" and pubic bones of their pelvis. This places a lot of pressure on the tissue between those bones and the saddle, causing discomfort.
Some people will tell you that the solution is to add more padding to the saddle, although others maintain that additional padding actually makes the problem worse, as the padding ends up squishing up between the sit bones and into the rider's nether regions.
The idea behind the Infinity Seat is that the sit bones and pubic bones are suspended in mid-air, with the fleshier sides of the buttocks absorbing the rider's weight over a wider area. In tests performed at the Cyclologic bicycle testing lab in Arizona, pressure mapping of the Infinity Seat as compared to some popular conventional saddles did apparently show a marked decrease in pressure points and friction temperature when using the Infinity.
As a side benefit of its design, the saddle is also light, weighing in at 205 grams (7.2 oz).
Plans call for a production version of the Infinity Seat to feature a nylon glass base and either a synthetic or genuine leather covering, along with carbon steel alloy (chromoly) rails. It should retail for US$195, although backers on Marcel's current Kickstarter campaign can get one for a pledge of $125 – when and if it's ready to go. Given that the funding goal has already been almost doubled, however, production does seem likely.
More information is available in the pitch video below ... and if you think that the Infinity Seat makes a bit of a visual statement, you should check out the Manta.
About the Author
An experienced freelance writer, videographer and television producer, Ben's interest in all forms of innovation is particularly fanatical when it comes to human-powered transportation, film-making gear, environmentally-friendly technologies and anything that's designed to go underwater. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where he spends a lot of time going over the handlebars of his mountain bike, hanging out in off-leash parks, and wishing the Pacific Ocean wasn't so far away.
All articles by Ben Coxworth
I am assuming that they have or are going to do blood flow testing with this design. Although typical racing saddles have distinct pressure points, which are no doubt painful when beginning to cycle, they also do this to maximize blood flow. Large and very soft saddles compress a ton of blood vessels which decreases blood flow to what I would consider important areas and can cause permanent damage. This saddle really looks like it might have that same effect but if not could be a great design with further development and weight reduction. It would need to get under about 150g, ideally more like 110g to be considered for racing.
Interesting pressure maps... The MANTA saddle shown in Gizmag is the early MS13, it now has a sibling - the MS9 - it is shorter, cuter, lighter - not 110g, but rider performance is not only about lack of weight, more about appropriate use of design engineering. The MS9 has been tested - independently - for blood-flow and seating performance by IMAR, in Dundee. Only our MS13 beats it. Jon
Call me thick if you like but I don't see how concentrating the same weight of body on a smaller amount of saddle relieves pressure. Reducing it in one place means it has to be increased in another. While there might be a perception of comfort to begin with, I wouldn't be surprised if it wears off quite rapidly.
Jon, you might want to check update your website's key words and other SEM issues with Google. I have been checking your old website (no longer active) for about a year looking for updates. I figured your company was dead until seeing your comment today.
This reminds me of Joel Barker's patent #4,387,925. From 1983! It's funny that it has taken so many years for centreless saddles to get some uptake.
That original design is actually part of another class including spiderflex, easy seat, and spongy wonder that are not only centreless but also nose-less. Supposedly they relieve "ureathal damage and penile numbness" due to pressure concentrated on the "sub-scrotal area" (Barker's description, ha ha). He moved the support area to the "ishium of the inferior ramus of the pelvic bone".
I've never tried one but always meant to.
@MrRodgers - thank you, yes we are updating everything as fast as we can, SEM is way off - we've just shook off a rogue marketing Co, with overpowering SEO abilities!!!
@Graham Barker - perceptions, are an interesting thing ...but, with Manta's hardware - we took the test(s) - we stood an independent comparison (which took over 3 years), and we know...
As long as you have a 'one user' bike, then a traditional unsprung Brooks type leather saddle, once broken in, is very comfortable indeed, as it moulds itself to the shape of your bum.
But they do need breaking in, and like any leather item, need periodic care to maintain condition. Neatsfoot oil is used, which is apparently derived from calves' feet. I don't recommend warming it beforehand in a microwave oven, as I found to my cost...
Interesting looking design but at $195 or even $125 this is simply a non-starter. Also I do not particularly care about the weight, comfortable, serviceable performance is what counts. I think I will try using the frame & base of a crappy Serfas seat whose cover & padding failed after a year to try to emulate this seat.
Good Luck but find a way to get to a price point that can actually create a market success. Also this does NOT have to automatically mean making it with slave labour in China.
Where do your balls rest, in that hole in the seat? These 'minimalist' designs are in one word, ridiculous.
The problem with seat design and designers is that an athletic rider does not sit in the ischium or sit bones but rolls the pelvis forward and sits on the pubis region and on top of several of the origins of the inner thigh muscles. The central cut outs on many seat designs do relieve pressure on the perineum and/ or base of the penis / labia but you still have pressure, sometimes more so on the pubis and inner thigh muscles.
I tested this seat and all I can say is it will change bicycle saddles forever. Funny how so many people have negative input about this saddle and never tried it. All I can say to you is when it is available buy it. I've been a cyclist for over thirty years and I have never tested a saddle this comfortable. This guy is on to something big and maybe the biggest threat is to all the other saddle manufactures that make the claim of being number one when it comes to bike seats.
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