Thursday, April 10, 2008

UNIfied Theory

In the beginning, there was the Uni Seat. And it was awful. Part of it was that it looked like a mutant duck, part of it was that most bikes were way too short and required layback seatposts, and part of it was that you needed a shim to run one in pretty much any frame.

But most of all they just sucked. A plastic seat bonded to a fiberglass post, the Uni setup was considerably lighter than the usual '80s seat/post combo (which normally included heavy steel guts), but hardly anyone ran Uni Seats. Not even many big-name pros used them. It wasn't worth running something disgusting looking just to save a few measly ounces.

Perhaps the following photos will better explain:

So of course now that LITEWAIT is the be all and end all, style be damned, companies are falling over themselves to bring this atrocity back from the dead. Never mind the fact that the Macneil Pivotal design is both light AND adjustable (and you can choose from 4,892 different seats), the good ol' BMX industry is once again providing a solution to a non-existent problem. Different seat angles? Who needs them?

First off we have an offering from Eclat, the new, pretentiously named parts division of We The People. (The name has an accent mark on it, but I couldn't be bothered.) If you look online, you can find an equally pretentious 70-page 'book' that shows their whole line of entirely unnecessary and derivative (but oh-so-refined) products.

Among them is the seat below, a one-piece molded horror that Charles and Ray Eames wouldn't piss on if it were on fire. I'd actually prefer to see kids running the newest FBM innovation than this lame excuse for a seat. This seat is like a cosmetic artificial limb—it makes everything look right, sort of, but it's no replacement for the real thing.

This next fine piece of bike-related sculpture comes from Fly, who have given us such fantastic items as delicate $100 Ruben pedals and 2.5 piece cranks that—surprise!—became three on a regular basis. Note the cover, which makes it LOOK like a 'regular' seat/post combo, but—surprise!—it isn't. This is like a cosmetic limb with nail polish and a wedding ring.

This last new creation comes courtesy of KHE, who apparently are trying to develop a one-piece bicycle. That way, when you snap an axle or a pedal spindle, you can throw the whole thing out and buy a new one.

These are probably the worst of the bunch. For starters, they look like beanbag chairs you'd buy for a five-year-old. (Baseball stitching? Seriously?) And they're actually a two-piece design just stuck together. Allegedly the seat and post combined will cost the same as a seat alone, but we'll wait and see on that. And I'm curious to know how much less it weighs than a stump Pivotal post with a lightweight seat. I'm also curious as to how strong the bond is—will it hold together when you dump the bike? (When you inevitably break/bend it, you get to throw out the seat AND the post.) Not to mention it's obvious that NONE of these combos are made for those of us who like to run their seats high enough to, you know, sit down. But hey, there I go being practical again.

P.S. Of course, if you really want, you can always track down the (updated) original. Twice as light and four times as disgusting. At least you can run it high.


Anonymous said...

i know you probably don't wanna hear this, but i reckon that khe one will work as it shouldn't suffer from gonzo dick.

ps - people who bought macneil combos are responsible for this state of affairs.

Adam Grandmaison said...

I'd rather sit on Keith Terras dick than one of those seats.

Stephen said...

I am enjoying the read. Like everything in the world, we go in circles. They remade Knight Rider. This is no different.

Anonymous said...

What do Germans know about baseball?

- BMX Bret

Boston George said...

can't WEIGHT until bikes become real scooters...

Anonymous said...

Originally posted by Not Eddie Roman:
It's not a fucking trend--it's modernization. Bitching about people buying light bikes is like bitching about cable TV, indoor plumbing or the fucking polio vaccine. Oooh, you still ride a heavy bike. You're not a rebel--you're an idiot.