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Unusual saddle concept claims to be "incredibly comfortable" + video

Another week, another Kickstarter cycling product. The Infinity Seat is a unique looking sadde that claims to avoid sit bone discomfort, by removing those parts of the saddle that normally support the body.

Everyone wants a comfortable saddle and there are dozens of differently shaped and sized options on the market. But Dr. Vincent Marcel, a chiropractor with 20 years experience and a keen triathlete, wasn't happy with that choice. His search for a comfortable saddle led, he says,  him to question the standard saddle design and come up with the Infinity Seat.

By removing most of the saddle, Marcel has not only created a very lightweight design, but one that doesn’t use the sit bones to support the body. Instead, the cutaway sections mean your weight is on your buttock muscles, rather than the sit bones.

Almost all saddles are designed to support the sit bones. This saddle turns that idea upside down, and completely abandons the idea that supporting the sit bones is key to saddle design.

Marcel claims that because the Infinity Seat is “designed to accommodate the rider’s skeletal structure, it fits indiscriminately of muscle mass and body type.“ And they’ve called it a seat. A seat is designed to carry your entire weight, while a saddle is intended to carry some of your weight, with your arms and legs supporting you when you ride a bicycle.

All that said, they’ve sailed past their $25,000 goal on Kickstarter and, with 15 days to go, they have currently raised $93,566 with 699 backers. Take a look here.

David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.

37 comments

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alexhamps [7 posts] 2 years ago
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Looks awfully uncomfortable to me. Saddles only cause major discomfort when one isn't supported by the sit bones. Sitting on the muscle and that just sound painful.

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jarredscycling [456 posts] 2 years ago
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I have no clue whether it could work but it sure looks uncomfortable

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dodgy [186 posts] 2 years ago
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You don't judge how comfortable a saddle is by looking at it.

Unless you're appearing in an 80s Yellow Pages ad.

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mikeprytherch [223 posts] 2 years ago
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Certainly a taking point when you roll up to the sunday club ride, I would like to try one and see

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MrsK [43 posts] 2 years ago
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I'd be keen to demo it. Could go either way. One think for it would be that I imagine it would be much harder to sit skew, like I have a tendency to do on a normal saddle.

If people are suffering from pressure related problems to their perineum it could potentially be really helpful.

Guess you'd have to take it on a long ride and see really.

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Low Speed Wobble [155 posts] 2 years ago
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What does it weigh? If it's lighter it must be faster. I want one.

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tom_w [204 posts] 2 years ago
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Low Speed Wobble wrote:

What does it weigh? If it's lighter it must be faster. I want one.

Well it's red, and red is faster, so that's a good start

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step-hent [722 posts] 2 years ago
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Aside from comfort, will it affect pedalling motion? I always thought that taking the weight on your sit bones was, in part, to provide a stable platform from which to pedal. Spreading the weight in a ring over the muscle seems like it would result in considerable movement as you pedal - with the muscles contracting and relaxing causing rocking and movement.

I'd be up for giving it a go, but I'm certainly sceptical...

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Nick T [913 posts] 2 years ago
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I find it very hard to believe that any of the big saddle makers who've experimented with cutaway saddles haven't prototyped something similar to this. If so, there must be a good reason why it hasn't make it to market already.

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thelimopit [139 posts] 2 years ago
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Probably not an ideal choice for the world naked bike ride.

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Colin Peyresourde [1724 posts] 2 years ago
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Finally a saddle that gives room for my spuds.

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Torino74 [11 posts] 2 years ago
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Colin Peyresourde wrote:

Finally a saddle that gives room for my spuds.

Yes, but older gentlemen should take care that they don't get caught in the back wheel.

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hampstead_bandit [614 posts] 2 years ago
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very interested to see how this compares to Specialized BG saddles? All their date and design is based on the sit bones (Ischial Tuberosity)

consider the huge amount of research, development, on-going testing, pressure mapping, blood flow mapping (this only works for men, women are pressure mapped) that the guys behind BG have done (Dr. Pruit and Dr. Minkow - who are both independent medical consultants, not employed directly by Specialized)

I've sat in on a session with Dr. Pruit where an Elite racer has had blood flow analysis done whilst pedalling a turbo trainer with a medical 'thingy' connected to his 'thingy', using a selection of popular road saddles mounted to the same model of seatposts (to allow a quick switch without affecting geometry)

the difference in blood flow between these saddles and the BG saddle (it was a Toupe) was staggering, BG have a strict rule if blood flow drops below 50% the product does not make it to market, as long term damage results which unfortunately cannot be felt whilst riding (unlike a badly positioned cleat which will quickly cause knee pains)

A very popular saddle dropped flow below 10% within 3 minutes of the session starting, which worried me as I was riding that same saddle!

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earth [293 posts] 2 years ago
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That's just great. Not using the sit bones to support your weight but the soft muscle tissue instead. This flies in the face of what has previously been said to be correct. Great job on the part of the advertiser/journalist to put some positive spin on this.

Looks like a medieval torture device.

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Nick T [913 posts] 2 years ago
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Yeah, by resting your weight on the sit bones you're freeing up the muscle to do all that contraction nesseccary to turn the pedals, shift all your weight onto those muscles and I can see that movement getting quite restricted. Muscles exert and absorb impact, bones are the support structure - you try shifting support to the muscle and it'll just bruise, we'd all have evolved muscular elbows of that wasn't the case.

But hey, this guy's 20 years experience as a chiropractor so he's more informed than the hundreds of years of saddlery knowledge passed down through generations. Just like the dozens of people I see a year with unnecessary £500 orthopedic inserts because their quack said they needed them who eventually come to me for shoes to fit them properly.

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jason.timothy.jones [294 posts] 2 years ago
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Nick T wrote:

But hey, this guy's 20 years experience as a chiropractor so he's more informed than the hundreds of years of saddlery knowledge passed down through generations. Just like the dozens of people I see a year with unnecessary £500 orthopedic inserts because their quack said they needed them who eventually come to me for shoes to fit them properly.

Hit the nail on the head there, not that I am making any personal judgments at all on this particular person (google Simon Singh + chiropractor , I dont want to be sued like he was) but the qualification of a chiropractor coupled with the fact that this is a Kickstarter project, does not make me want to rush out and "back" this venture. Oh and then there is the one size fits all claim....yea all butts are the same right?

Also, have a look at the heap points graphic...and allow me to use non medical terminology here...on the "conventional" seat there are some hot spots on the cheeks, but nothing on the sit bone, this saddle shows a little heat on the sit bone. Now im no product designer, but wouldn't you think removing the hot spots would be better than creating new warm spots?

Finally, have a think about how you sit on your bike, especially for a road bike, where is your weight? Ok some of it is on the saddle, maybe 60% at a guess, some on the pedals, and some on the bars, its a perfect 3 point contact position, much the same as overly padded running shoes, this saddle may actually cause you to put more weight on the butt cheeks, the most likely point that the weight will be taken from is the pedals, and this will result is power reduction.

Or maybe this is the future of cycling? What do I know

Just looking at the design, if you wanted to know how this feels to ride, I would get something like a charge spoon and attack it with a dremmel

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PJ McNally [591 posts] 2 years ago
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Terrible idea. Harder saddles are more comfy for a reason. The hard bits of the bike - frame, saddle rails - have to interface with the had bits of the human - endoskeleton, sit bones - in order to support you. That's how gravity works.

This thing is just going to squish a lot of soft tissue.

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farrell [1950 posts] 2 years ago
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It's interesting so it shouldn't be written off straight away as it may work for a lot of people. It may not. Personally I'd want to be trying this out before I put any cash down for this or any other saddle.

I'm also very concerned that one decent sized pot hole could leave you looking like the morning after a Barrymore pool party.

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Tovarishch [59 posts] 2 years ago
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Nick T wrote:

But hey, this guy's 20 years experience as a chiropractor so he's more informed than the hundreds of years of saddlery knowledge passed down through generations. Just like the dozens of people I see a year with unnecessary £500 orthopedic inserts because their quack said they needed them who eventually come to me for shoes to fit them properly.

I could say that my post-graduate degree in ergonomics and years of experience designing vehilce seating qualifies me to say that it is a load of rubbish. But then the fact that he is a chiropracter says it all really.

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ronin [264 posts] 2 years ago
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Well there would be less heat with the infinity saddle because there's a big hole in it  1

It would be great if it did what it said on the tin though.

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ourdave [46 posts] 2 years ago
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Odd.  40

Surely sitting on a 'seat' - car seat, office chair, horse saddle, or whatever - is comfortable because body weight is supported over a large surface area of soft tissue?

Now, think about an example where one sits on a seat specifically designed to support ones weight over a smaller surface area of soft tissue - the toilet. Typically you will only be on the porcelain throne for a short period of time, maybe <5mins, but occasionally one might spend a bit longer due to 'difficulties' or because one has become engrossed in a game of Bejewelled (*ahem*). The longer one sits the greater the discomfort becomes and after 10-15 mins one's leg muscles are starting to complain.

Now imagine 1, 2, 3, 4, or whatever number of hours sat on a 'seat' designed to carry ones weight over an even smaller surface area. Ouch!  20

I reckon one'd have a permanent saddle-shaped bruise on one's backside!

NB. For the record, I have c.35 years exhaustive experience of sitting down.  4

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fukawitribe [1755 posts] 2 years ago
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Nick T wrote:

you try shifting support to the muscle and it'll just bruise, we'd all have evolved muscular elbows of that wasn't the case.

Humans and apes support themselves on their elbows - really ?

Nick T wrote:

But hey, this guy's 20 years experience as a chiropractor so he's more informed than the hundreds of years of saddlery knowledge passed down through generations.

He may, however, be marginally more informed than your good self and your absolute judgement on whether it'll work or not. Why don't you let someone build it, some people try it and then let them pass on an assessment - it may be great, it may be awful or something in-between, but at least that way their efficacy will be demonstrated by something more in touch with reality - not someones opinion masquerading as fact.

Tradition is not always the best indicator of perfection  3http://www.despair.com/ts-259.html

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Nick T [913 posts] 2 years ago
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Are you a chiropractor by any chance?

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sps137 [18 posts] 2 years ago
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That'll be intersting on wet day with no mudguards, if you cycle really fast you can powerwash you 'nads with the wheel spray

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leqin [171 posts] 2 years ago
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I read 'chiropractor' and didn't need to read any further because chiropractic is a pseudoscience and Kickstarter is littered with people who have crackpot pseudoscience ideas that they want others to fund.

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fukawitribe [1755 posts] 2 years ago
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Nick T wrote:

Are you a chiropractor by any chance?

 1 Nope - but just because he is, doesn't mean his saddle is either genius or bollocks.

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fukawitribe [1755 posts] 2 years ago
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leqin wrote:

I read 'chiropractor' and didn't need to read any further because chiropractic is a pseudoscience and Kickstarter is littered with people who have crackpot pseudoscience ideas that they want others to fund.

Nope - you didn't need to read any further because it sounds like you've made up your mind already. What you believe, and what that guys occupation is, have very little to do with whether the saddle works or not. Personally, i'm rather sceptical - but I might just wait and see if we get a few folk who actually try it before making any firmer judgement. Why didn't you just say "sound's like a crank" or similar, rather than making some absolute ruling with your omnipotent knowledge ?

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Joeinpoole [439 posts] 2 years ago
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step-hent wrote:

Aside from comfort, will it affect pedalling motion? I always thought that taking the weight on your sit bones was, in part, to provide a stable platform from which to pedal. Spreading the weight in a ring over the muscle seems like it would result in considerable movement as you pedal - with the muscles contracting and relaxing causing rocking and movement.

I'd be up for giving it a go, but I'm certainly sceptical...

Looks to me like the pain of pressure and loss of blood flow might simply be replaced by the pain of chaffing and blisters instead.

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Joeinpoole [439 posts] 2 years ago
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step-hent wrote:

Aside from comfort, will it affect pedalling motion? I always thought that taking the weight on your sit bones was, in part, to provide a stable platform from which to pedal. Spreading the weight in a ring over the muscle seems like it would result in considerable movement as you pedal - with the muscles contracting and relaxing causing rocking and movement.

I'd be up for giving it a go, but I'm certainly sceptical...

Looks to me like the pain of pressure and loss of blood flow might simply be replaced by the pain of chaffing and blisters instead.

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CharlesMagne [78 posts] 2 years ago
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I wouldn't trust anyone who cycles with their knees that far apart.

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