Rigid riding tips needed

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Rigid riding tips needed


Post by ArizonaMike » Fri Jan 23, 2009 1:54 pm

Hi Everyone,

I've quickly learned that my frame-mounted seat on the rigid-framed Captain's just not as comfortable as my '00 Dresser. (Yes, quite an understatement). It's not the kidneys, but my tailbone that's taking a pounding with every bump. It's almost enough to make think of selling it--but I really don't want to, as all other aspects of riding it are great!
For possible cures, the rear tire's at 12 psi (how much lower can I go and still be safe?), and I cut a 3- inch hole in a piece of gel placed on the seat so that my tailbone's kind of suspended. Not much relief.
A friend recommended the Airhawk pads, but I'm wondering if it'll help, since fatigue is not the problem.
Another idea was to cut the driver's section of the seat from the rest,, hinge it, and put springs underneath. No, it wouldn't be "correct", but it might help eliminate the pounding.
If anyone has more tips, please write. I know I won't get a dresser's ride, but I'd at least like it to be tolerable. Thanks in advance for any help.

Post by kell

I did what you just said, I separated my Corbin seat from the pillion it was attached to and put it on springs -- a stock plunger and t-bar actually, though of course I had to fab a mount for the non-stock seat. If your frame doesn't have a pogo stick hole you'll have to work it out with a hinge-and springs system. You see plenty of photos of rigid bikes with little springs in the bike mags it obviously can be done and many people have done it. Go for it. I hear PA has bad roads. A lot of New York roads are no picnic either.
I forget who but somebody posted here about an air suspension he built for his seat. Maybe he'll jump in.

Post by Billy

Mike, The Pittsburgh Potholes are a bitch.
Welcome to the world of rigids..
Kell's right.
If you still have your hole for a pogo stick, that [properly set-up] is a VERY GOOD ride. It won't equal your air-ride bagger. But pretty close!!!
I never went under 12psi on a rear tire with a tube.
Tubeless is different. Can't safely go that low, you run the risk of rolling it off the bead.
As far as the "Air Ride Seat" set-up....
Send a PM to FastEd53, here on this board.
He has that set-up all 'dialed in' on his '53 & got all the info...
There are details of his seat in the Archives here. But I don't know what subject to look under.
Hope this lessens your pain, literally.

Post by Krazy Loop

This seems sort of obvious but you should be watching out for bumps, holes, etc., in the road in front of you when you ride to avoid them, especially with a rigid. I know you can't see them all but when you can, try to go around them or slow down slightly so you don't slam into them as hard. Use your legs and lift your ass off the seat by maybe 4 inches and stand somewhat on the front pegs or floor boards at the same time when you go over a bump or railroad tracks. That utilizes your legs as shock absorbers instead of your back and you can very quickly sit back down in the corrrect riding position. Make sure you are high enough off the seat because the bump is going to push the bike up and you don't want it to smack your ass. That can really hurt your back when you least need it. In case you haven't noticed yet, pot holes, i.e., small moon craters in the road, are goddamned dangerous not matter what you ride. Make sure you miss them every time if you can. If you see road construction up ahead and lane changes off to a road shoulder that is beaten up, you might decide to take an alternate route.
Depending upon where you live there are going to be some streets/roads you will learn to avoid altogether due to their bad state of repair. I am lucky that not far from where I live there are highways and country roads that have some pretty good pavement and not all that much traffic. That isn't the case on the same highway a few miles to the north so I avoid that when I can, especially at night or in less than good weather.
If you get pain in your kidney area from your kidneys bouncing around get a kidney belt which isn't much more than a wide weightlifter's belt wrapped around the lower part of your back just above the belt loops of your pants. That might cost you $30 these days. Get a cop bike single seat with a working seatpost with good--not broken or weak-- springs and put it on your bike. Make sure the seat post and T-bar fittings are well greased. Those seats are extra comfortable and you can adjust the tension on the seatpost springs for a softer or harder ride. If you have a very small front wheel and skinny tire, get a 19 or 21 inch front wheel and get a wider front tire. Run a Goodyear Super-Eagle style tire on the rear instead of a Speed Grip, Avon, Dunlop, or some exotic nonsensical style. If you have a glide front end, make sure there is oil in it and that the hydraulic units works properly. Shaking at more than moderate speeds means you probably need new wheel bearings which always works wonders to smooth out the ride. Bumps in the road get a lot harder with worn wheel bearings.
Other than that or going new wave like others here have suggested, there isn't a lot you can do with a rigid frame except to decide to like it the way it is. You do have to have some thickness in the seat on a rigid frame bike if the seat is mounted to the rear fender like mine. You can't ride far on a flat aluminum plate with a half inch of padding under you.
Whenever my old lady makes noises that I should be taking her along every time I go for a blast, I put her on the back of my old rigid Pan and head for some nearby railroad tracks. That usually tunes her up for the next few weeks.

Post by kr8

Keep your tongue in your mouth so you don't bite it off when you hit a big pothole!

Post by Sidecar
''Keep your tongue in your mouth so you don't bite it off when you hit a big pothole!''
Good Advice !!!!

Post by MikeColaizziPghPA


Krazy Loop, thanks for the suggestions. I'll try to use them all and still keep the Captain looking as "correct" as possible. I still might cut the seat and spring the rider's section.
kr8, I liked your warning about keeping the tongue in our mouth when riding a rigid. But it may be more a true warning than a chuckle, as some-
times when I've hit a sharp bump even on the dresser, I've thought, "What if my tongue had been between my teeth when I hit it?" Not a great happening.
I've bought a large doughnut made of high-density foam from a medical supply shop. After shaping and a test, I'll report the results if the weather holds.

Post by AussieJohn

Hey Mike,
Very good points here. Its a look thing, but I've used a small seat on a hinge with coil springs under for years in Oz on a 57 frame. Actually really like the look, keeps the seat still low to the frame and in my mind just enough damping when ya hit a real teeth juddering hole ya couldn't avoid. Seperate pillion pad for the old lady, and we do some miles together.
Now if ya got a top fill oil tank, and ya got the pogo stick hole intact (as I suspect ya would) ya can also do a good job of machining in a very tight fit solid tube to go down the pogo hole and attach the front seat hinge to it - pull/rap on the front of the seat and boing! out she comes, ya can get to the oil fill real easy - otherwise ya can have fun undoing the nuts that hold the coil springs down. Never had the seat boing out of the pogo hole on me when riding though and I suspect the outback roads here are probably up to your roads over there. ;D
Gotta say nothing handles better than a rigid Pan in my mind but heh!

Post by krazy loop

KR8 is right about keeping your tongue where it belongs. That also applies to your teeth. Keep your mouth shut so that your teeth don't snap shut if you hit a bump---a problem to be sure but especially if your teeth aren't all the best. OUCH!!!

Post by kr8

Here in New England all the evo/suspension guys think I'm crazy cause I'm always smiling while riding the bumps on my rigid. I don't have the heart to tell them that I'm actually clenching my teeth together. They do tend to avoid me though, which is nice!

Post by PhilB

Dittos to Auzziejohn! I used a medium solo that was built with a sort of lip to the back of the seat to help keep from sliding off onto the fender. With the hing and coil springs, my rigid rides as good as my softtail did! And it looks great! I can spend all day (with a few breaks) in the saddle and really enjoy it! I do run a tubeless 150 tire with 16-18LBS and I try to avoid the potholes and ride around the manhole covers! The freeway is the worst and the bridges cause me to hit the bottom of the springs after the second or third expansion joint- after that I start to be looking down on the front tire and I know I gotta back off! Good reason to stay off the big roads!

Post by panomania

hang on tight, and grit your teeth for potholes

Post by Haggis

My favourite is when the whole ass end comes leaping off the ground!!! ;D Haggis

Post by MikeColaizziPghPA


That happens? (Shudder).

Post by Mbskeam

ass in the air, thats the way to go!
and then the sound of the tire as it gets traction again.its kinda cool, if it aint coming of the ground then it aint ridin,...............yahooooooooooo, lets kick this pig

Post by PhilB

Yeah! I got a highway bridge near my house that I can clear the whole bridge without coming back down on the saddle! I am sure the view from the car behind me is quite amusing!

Post by flathead45

kill the pain before you get it , a few beers helps
oops , thats not politically correct now is it

Post by 53rigidrider

Don't grit your teeth!
I'm still getting my cracked pearly whites done thanks to misappropriation of highway funds by the neo-comms in Olympia!
Think like your on a off road race...no problem!

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Re: Rigid riding tips needed


Post by sweetcut » Thu May 30, 2013 5:16 am

lace a 15 inch rim on your back hub and run a car tyre

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Re: Rigid riding tips needed


Post by 58flh » Thu May 30, 2013 12:09 pm

I have mine set-up on the frame!--no springs. Its a Mustang pillow seat that dont pillow nothing!--Until you get a pogo watch the road ahead & lift your but-up when you see a bump!,-Its better to put the blow to your legs then spine!--I have ridden a rigid since a child on a minibike :lol: & I love em!--But Im getting older & believe me working construction & Rigid riding ,my back is FEELING IT!--I cant wait to get a POGO!--A buddy with a Dlattie-45 let me ride it & man I didnt want to stop!--Absolutely COMFORTABLE!--& if yer big -guys actually drop chevy outer valve-springs if your bottoming out the stick!--it works!--I want one BADLY!,--a BUDDY unless I get my other project that I just picked-up, im going for a light-weight bobber type,well see how the $$$-stash is ! :roll: ---Respectfully---Richie 8)

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Re: Rigid riding tips needed


Post by rmcrh » Thu May 30, 2013 1:51 pm

Use the air bladder from a road king set up works great less length than a pogo set up.Lots on ebay where I have bought 2.

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Re: Rigid riding tips needed


Post by Panacea » Thu May 30, 2013 2:04 pm

I rode on a spring seat for years, mainly because I thought it looked good, Now that I've had a pogo I'll never go back. The pogo springs that Dave Croft sells are also a big plus...

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