In Need new mesh seat for recumbent, I mentioned that I needed a new seat for my recumbent, as the one I’ve been using since 1999 (15 years!) is completely worn out. I repaired the seat once before (replacing part of the front strap), but the seat was not worth repairing again, as the warp has worn away in several spots across the middle of the seat (apparently abrasion with the central strap behind the seat).
I bought new hardware and straps from Country Brook Design (through Amazon, since the prices were the same and the shipping seemed cheaper than a direct order from Country Brook Design.
There was $7.08 shipping and handling on the order from Country Brook Design.
I also bought a yard of 840×1680 denier leno-woven mesh fabric from ahh.biz, but when I went to check the price again, it is now a “discontinued product”—I must have bought their last yard—including shipping the total bill was $20.20.
Since I already had sewing thread, the total cost for making the new seat was $76.11, but I have a lot of materials left over (the 25 triglide slides, 16 buckles, a little bit of seat-belt webbing and reflective webbing, and most of the leno-lock mesh). I could have bought a seat from Greg Peek at Longbikes for $149.00 plus $15 shipping and handling, so making my own was less than half the price, despite having a lot of excess parts. Also, my new seat has fancy red straps that are reflective at night, and the new straps are polyester rather than nylon, so should perform a bit better (less stretching, more UV resistant, faster drying).
I decided to use dual-adjustable heavy-duty buckles, so that they would be less likely to break and easier to replace if they did break (no sewing of the buckles). I also ran the 1” straps all the way across the seat at the top, bottom, and middle (3 of the 7 horizontal straps), as these seem to be the high-stress parts of the design (based on the stretching in the old seat). I ran the warp horizontally, as I thought that would result in less stretching than having the warp vertical (as on my old seat)—I’ll let you know in 15 years how that works out (if I remember).
The new seat came out a bit heavier than the old one (545g rather than 470g), probably because of the straps across and heavier plastic hardware. The extra 75g is completely irrelevant give how much my bike and panniers weighs.
I used my wife’s sewing machine (my treadle machine needs a new leather belt, or tightening of the old belt). My wife’s machine had no trouble with the mesh or the reflective webbing, but going through the seat-belt webbing sometimes caused it to have problems, particularly where it had to go through two layers of seat-belt webbing, a layer of reflective webbing, and the mesh. I think that the treadle machine would have had less trouble, but I didn’t want to take the time to fix the belt on the treadle machine.
The seat came out looking ok, and I took a short ride on it today to buy groceries—it is as comfortable as the old seat and much nicer looking:
In this side view, you can’t see much of the mesh seat—just the straps on the sides.
From the front, the red straps match the red paint fairly well.
By using a flash on my camera, I could light up the reflective straps even in the day time.
From the rear, the reflective straps should add a fair amount of visibility at night.
The heavy-duty dual-adjustable buckles seem to work well. By keeping the straps fairly short, I did not need to use the triglides or keepers to hold the ends of the straps in place—they aren’t long enough to be a nuisance.