by Marc Basiliere
February 3, 2014
Yes, we even rode it on trails
Designed by Dr. Vince Marcel, a California chiropractor and inventor, the Infinity Seat is a saddle design that turns convention on its head. Rather than attempting to support the sit bones and spare the soft tissue, the Infinity Seat design actually moves the bulk of the rider’s weight to the meat of the buttocks and spares the sit bones. Could this be a case of so crazy it might just work?
Drawing on his cycling and chiropractic experience, Dr. Marcel theorized that traditional saddles actually act to split the pelvis, squeezing the sacrum (the body’s spinal fluid pump). When the sacrum is disturbed, so too is the flow of spinal fluid, which causes all manner of discomfort up and down the spine (notably tightness at the back of the neck). By moving saddle pressure to the buttocks (which are arguably designed for supporting our seated weight), the Infinity Seat is designed to allow for more comfortable and longer-distance riding for everyone from novices through experts.
Launched via Kickstarter, the project exceeded its funding target by a factor of 7.5. Patents have now been applied for and prototypes are rolling in on a weekly basis. Production is taking place in Southern California and weights are impressive despite not-so-fancy materials. Four models were shown at Winter PressCamp (details subject to change):
- Infinity Go: carbon steel rails with flexible nylon frame. $70, 205g
- Infinity Pro: carbon steel rails, glass-nylon frame, and an interchangeable carbon fibre cover. $195, 225g
- Infinity Elite: carbon fibre rails, glass-nylon frame, and an interchangeable carbon fibre cover. $225, 170g
- Infinity Revolution: carbon steel rails and nylon frame with closed-cell cover. Price and weight TBD
While the carbon-clad Infinity Pro’s centre ‘tongue’ was a bit stiff and uncomfortably positioned on Infinity Seat’s stationary bike (remember, these are prototypes), much to everyone’s entertainment we decided to mount the more flexible Infinity Go to an Orbea Rallon for a couple of hours’ riding on the trails around Palos Verdes. Unsurprisingly, the Infinity Seat immediately feels different from anything we’ve tried. The sensation of suspended sit bones is an odd one and the deeply hammocked profile locks the hips into a single position, making saddle location and angle critical.
As seen above, the sweet spot seems to sit further forward on the saddle than on most models, and we pushed the saddle back on the rails to find enough cockpit room. Wearing padded shorts and baggies, it doesn’t take long for things to stop feeling odd and to settle in. Though the company claims that “one size fits all,” it felt as though this rider’s bony parts were contracting the outside of the saddle somewhat, causing a bit of rocking with each pedal stroke: not uncomfortable, but not quite right either. More time spent playing with the saddle’s position and angle could well move them into the wider part of the seat.
Over two hours on the bike (including a 20-minute road sprint to catch a return flight), there was little desire to swap the Infinity out for the traditional saddle brought along just in case. Thanks to the Go’s nylon construction, hard landings and trail lumpiness were not especially comfortable, a Revolution-style padded version would no doubt be a better option for off road use. As with all saddles, finding the right shape and getting the details dialed will be key. Though it’s too early to call the Infinity Saddle revolutionary, it is an interesting idea that – despite its alarming looks – truly seems to have potential.