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Gels, What is the Difference?
Everybody seems to be using some super special exotic gel like, super atomic gel, impact gel, saddle gel, butt buffer, butt buddy, skwoosh, gel seat, gseat, blue diamond, pro pad, super comfort gel pad, comfort max, and so on and so forth. All of these sound very cool, except they are all the same. A viscoelastic polymer gel, originally designed to simulate body fat. Very temperature sensitive, effective padding only when applied to the surface of the existing seat foam, offering minimal deflection. We have removed dozens of these.
But, there are two patented and effective gel’s currently being manufactured, referred to as column buckling gel. Column buckling gels have the ability to rebound and deflect in response to pressure or loading and absorb vibration. Soft bottoms gel has column’s approximately 1inch square, requiring a minimum of 2 layers to provide enough support for an average rider. Astech Dry Polymer Gel has columns about ¼ inch square, close enough to support an average rider with only one 1 inch layer. Astech Gel absorbs very little heat, due to the columns and absorbs a significant amount of shock & vibration.
Foam, How much difference can it make?
Three basic types, open cell, closed cell, and visco-elastic memory foam. Each of these is produced in various densities, measured in pounds. Density is separate from hardness. Foam’s hardness varies from very soft to very firm depending on the amount of hardener mixed in at the time of manufacture.
Open cell means the foam breaths or rather air moves in and out when pressure is applied or released. Closed cell foam retains air inside the structure of the foam. These are the ones that you hear about “breaking in” you literally break the bubbles in the foam over time. Usually very hard and dense foam is used. It can work, just not for everybody.
Two generations of visco-elastic memory foam have been developed, both are an open cell foam. The first generation was invented for NASA to reduce impact of hard landings and improve seating comfort. It is very temperature sensitive, thus the name Tempurpedic. The second generation is much less sensitive to temperature and made of 40% plant based ingredients.
Astech Comfort Inserts use only second generation memory foam. It fits the shape of the pressure applied and doe not return pressure like regular open cell foam. It alleviates seating fatigue by distributing pressure and absorbing impact energy.
How do we do it?
Off with its cover! Most seat covers are attached with staples. These include most factory Harley Davidson seats, the majority of Honda, Indian, Kawasaki, Suzuki, Yamaha, Triumph, BSA, Victory and Ducati. After market seat covers are sometimes stapled, Saddleman, Willie & Max, Custom Chrome. Others are pop riveted such as Corbin, Mustang, Lepera, Corbin Gentry. Many aftermarket seat covers are glued to the foam, Corbin, Mustang and Lepera are usually glued .
Some manufacturers are experimenting with molded seat covers, where the vinyl cover is vaccumed into the mold to act as a mold release and foam is poured into the cover. Several seat makers attach buttons or some type of tie down like Honda Goldwing and many pillow top seats. We have to charge more for glued down covers and seats attached with rivets.
Once the foam is exposed we remove a large section of the foam from the rider and or passenger’s seating area, to the pan. The hole is then beveled to the outer edges of the existing foam. Now we have the space, lets fill it.
Next we insert our Astech Gel in the bottom of the seat, something impossible with flat gel pads. This gel acts like a set of shock absorbers with springs.
Now comes the most important part,
We begin placing the memory foam in the space, adjusting each layer for the given riders weight and build. We use up to seven different hardnesses of foam in a seat. The firmness of the foam helps control the rate of gel deflection. The laminated layers of foam control the depth the riders sink into the foam. During this stage ,we actively adjust the shape of each layer to finish the seat back to its original shape. Or, we make adjustments to the shape to finish the seat with changes that make the rider more comfortable. With the final shape complete we then carefully replace the original cover and return the seat to you. We’ll ask your height and weight.
WHAT can we do? Other than our ASTECH Comfort Insert?
It seems like we have done an endless variety of things with seats, from replacing a button to sawing large pieces off of them. Dozens of times we have made a seat fit bikes they were not intended to fit. Including making solos from 2up seats or 2 ups from solos.