Wheel alignment

Thursday 16 September 2010

Airhawk seats and other stuff

No riding last weekend due to some domestic chores and torrential rain for a lot of Sunday.  Heavens above, when are we going to string several dry days together???  Earthquakes, rain - it'll be a plague of locusts next.  However, I did sneak out early Saturday morning on the mountain bike for a bit of fitness training.  Hard work and the sweaty gear,wobbly legs and burning lungs all say that I've got to do a lot more riding yet to build up the remotest semblance of fitness.

Not a pretty sight....

On the way up to the hills, the signs that Spring is in the air are everywhere with early blossom coming out.  I was particularly captivated by a large magnolia in full flower so here it is:

Good opportunity to stop pedalling and take a photo....

Walking like John Wayne (or Donald Duck more accurately) on return from the mountain bike ride on account of an aching butt reinforced (no pun intended) the smart move in ordering a certain farkle a couple of days previously. Y'see,  I've been increasingly fretting about the likely state of my arse on the forthcoming   1000-miler.  The Street Triple standard seat could never be described as luxurious although in all fairness, a couple of 700 km days a few months ago only produced mild discomfort.  However, as that was less than half the daily distance to be covered this time next month; being driven insane with pain is a distinct possibility.  Didn't want the expense of a custom seat like my Blackbird and initial thoughts were that I'd simply resort to taping large-cell packaging bubble wrap to the seat when the throbbing started.  This is allegedly a trick employed by a few other distance riders in NZ but as I've never actually seen it used, paranoia set in about it being an urban myth. Cut down car seat beads have been recommended too but apart from raising seat height, I don't like the looks.

Enter Jennie a few days ago asking me what I want for my birthday (an ancient 63 the day after the1000 - miler).  Hadn't a clue initially - maybe an MV Augusta for the stable?  Getting laid? (Don't push your luck, Geoffrey....at least, that's what "THE LOOK" inferred) then a thought struck.  What about one of those Airhawk inflatable seat pads?  Accuse me of getting soft by all means, but using one on the Grand Challenge might be a fair test of how good they are and perhaps lessen a whole world of pain.  A quick peruse on line and an Airhawk was ordered from the USA. Because the Triple seat is quite narrow, the smallest one in the range looked to be the best fit, and it's a pillion pad at that.  It arrived 5 days after ordering from Dennis Kirk (absolutely superb service - highly recommended) at a cost of US131 including tracked air express freight to NZ.  Here it is:

Airhawk air cushion

Cushion with innards exposed (NOT a muffin tray!)

The photo above shows the interconnected air cells fully inflated just for photographic purposes but all you do is inflate it slightly (part of one breath - see pic below) to raise your anatomy pressure points from pressing into the OEM seat underneath.  All I've done so far is a continuous 300km run and it feels just fine.  However, as the OEM seat is ok for a good deal more than that anyway, the real proof will be next month on the big 'un. Update:  refer to 1000 miles in 24 hours outcome to see just how good this product is!

This is all the inflation you need

Just had the annual renewal notice for my motorcycle insurance..... hmmmmm!   I've been with the same insurer for 5 or 6 years as they were the principal insurers for Honda Riders Club when I had the Blackbird and gave pretty good discounts.  However, the renewal sum for the Street Triple seemed extortionate at NZ$840 (GBP400/US$611) for fully comprehensive cover given my clean record and age.  There is a component for "no fault" accident compensation cover but  even so, it shouldn't have increased that much.   Just been on the internet asking for quotations from the most reputable NZ  insurers and 15 minutes later, received a quotation for NZ$590.  Great service and a fair price too. I'll hang on until some more replies come in as the renewal date isn't until early October, but it really does pay to shop around!


  1. It'll be interesting to see how the airhawk goes - by all accounts they're pretty good. I'll be making do with my sheepskin seat cover which at least looks nice and comfy. Didn't use it last week on my 670km pootle and yes I had a sore butt, but (that's two but[t]s) I am out of practice a bit...

    Very interested in your insurance investigations too....

  2. I originally had a sheepskin on the Beemer and Honda and they weren't too bad. One of my mates slips a bit of foam under his sheepskin half way through and then another piece towards the end. Haha, my two but(t)s aren't hardened up yet, hence the cycling.

    Going to miss any riding in the last week of Sept. Taking my wife to the Wearable Arts show in Wellington and exploring the Forgotten Highway and southern Taranaki on the way down (in the 4x4 regrettably).

    Oh, and Kiwibiker insurance has offered the best quote so far (Vero are the current insurer and they've got a bit silly)

  3. I presume that the Airhawk effectively provides a raised seating position too? This is something that I desperately need on my GS to relieve the cramped position of my long legs!

    Best wishes from England, N

  4. Hi Nikos from an ex-Pom!

    Yes, the Airhawk does raise the seating position but You don't need to inflate it much to get the cushioning benefit. I'm doing the 1000-miler with a friend who has a GS and he has an after-market seat which is taller than standard. I'm not tall, but wanted less leg bend when I owned a Blackbird so put lowered pegs on it. Very effective.

  5. Hi Geoff

    I lowered the pegs on my old R1100R but got into all sorts of trouble with gear lever length etc. On the GS I fitted some very good Fastway pegs that lowered the position but kept the distance to the levers constant (I have big feet too!).
    It's just that I have not got the seat right yet having had an abortive attempt to have it raised (it was rebuilt far too high and wide and I could not get on the bike, then he modified it with a slope down from the tank and still too wide so that I could not ride the bike comfortably) - this Airhawk looks like a good idea - looking forward to further feedback!

    best wishes, N

  6. Geoff:

    nearly didn't recognize you in the first photo without your RED cycling shorts (which you also use for fishing).

    I've tried a GEL seat and it was comfy but there was no way to attach to the seat, but it had non slip on the bottom and didn't seem to move at all so it may work

    insurance is expensive here in British Columbia where we have government insurance. About Cdn$1,000. for my Wee.

    Wet Coast Scootin

  7. Bob my old friend!

    Hahaha - that's because the red shorts are actually swimming shorts. More public displays on the pushbike actually require black cycling pants to preserve anonymity.

    From your description, one of my riding partners has an identical gel pad for the Grand Challenge and on our recent ride to the Awhitu Peninsula, it stayed in place perfectly. Time will tell whether any of them do the business!

    Ouch, that's expensive insurance all right. Cars aren't so bad here with Jennie's MX5 at about NZ$450 and much the same for my RAV4.

  8. Insurance for the Vstrom here in Australia was $377, I didn't shop around this time and simply went with the same insurer I had the Derbi with, however in NSW our CTP (compulsory third party) insurance which we pay with our registration has gone up horrendously in the last few months, seems ridiculous that we as motorcyclists have to pay twice as much as last year in some cases.

    Ok stepping down off my soapbox now.....enjoy your weekend Geoff,


  9. Anthony:
    Ours has gone up a bit to pay for the (alleged)increase in the cost of motorcycle accidents through our no-fault compensation system but twice as much sounds horrendous!

    You too mate - the storm has arrived from Tasmania. I won't be stepping outside, let alone going for a ride!

  10. Hi Geoff, I am with Kiwibiker, and I have always found them very good and extremly competive. Another great read,much enjoyed. The seat thing was interesting, didn't even know they existed!!

  11. Roger:
    Thanks for that vote of confidence in Kiwibiker. I was impressed that the guy took the trouble to actually phone me in short time and he's an enthusiast himself. That's who I'll be going with.

    I didn't either until last year but a friend who owns the Whangapoua Beach store up this way has them on his Beemer and swears by them. He's doing the Grand Challenge for the first time this year.


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