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Forget Foam – Airide Hopes to Reinvent the Chamois with 3D Materials

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Air Ride pad

We’ve seen all kinds of chamois “systems” come out to save, well, our butts. We’ve seen thick padding, gel, dual sliding layers, and other marketing masterpieces. Aside from a good shape, and high quality materials, there hasn’t been a magic bullet so to speak. Is Airide’s new concept using a 3-dimensional “spacer fabric” the answer?

Continue on to see what they’ve come up with and how it works…

Photo c. of Baltex
Airide 3d material
photo c. of airide

Airide founder, Matt Tomkin first came across the 3D Spacer fabric when he and team mates were doing a 4 person rowing event in the Atlantic Ocean to raise money for a local charity. Instead of chamois, they were using the 3D “spacer fabric” for bedding. Soon after, Matt competed in an Ironman triathlon and while spending a lot of painful time on the saddle, the thought of that “bedding” crossed his mind.

The “spacer fabric” is made up of fibers that create a sort of structured lattice between two layers allowing a cushioning effect as well as tons of air-flow to keep things cool and dry. Since the pad shapes to your undercarriage, it supposedly helps to even out weight distribution preventing numbness and other issues female and male cyclists face.

Airide pressure

Testing the Aride pad aganist a premium pad from another brand, they found it to reduce the pressure points on the sit-bones significantly, eliminating a large portion at the perineal area. Working with Professor Subhash Anand MBE at the University of Bolton, they developed a way for the spacer material to be used in a cycling chamois and now have launched a Kickstarter campaign to get things into production assuming suppliers can come through, (read the “risks” section).

They are also making a seat cover, all old school with a drawstring tie like the gel ones that collect dust in shops for years at a time, but containing the 3D spacer fabric instead of gel.

Airide Kickstarter

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Ben
Ben
7 years ago

The comment about the seat covers hanging in shops for years at a time is so spot on.

Loki
Loki
7 years ago

The ‘heat map’ marketing images saddle manufacturers over use are total crap – this version shows that you get lighter using their (not) chamois!

Tom
Tom
7 years ago

I think Loki may be right – the red area in the first sample about matches the green area in the second. The green area should be substantially larger if we are dealing with the same amount of weight supported.

Banning
Banning
7 years ago
Reply to  Tom

It is not heat mapping – it is pressure mapping using GebioMized. It could theoretically distribute weight more evenly, eliminating the specific pressure points of the ischial tuberosity (sit bones).

Loki
Loki
7 years ago
Reply to  Tom

single (‘ ’) or double (“ ”), used either to mark the beginning and end of a title or quoted passage or to indicate that a word or phrase is regarded as slang or jargon or is being discussed rather than used within the sentence.

I’ve got no problem with the use of pressure maps, it’s the ones that are used purely for marketing and have a very questionable basis that bug me. Unless that chamois has a force field …

FWIW gebioMized interface and graphing looks different, and if I was using gebioMized I’d be worried that the new chamois as increased the tendency of this rider to sit off centre on the sadlle!

Antipodean_eleven
7 years ago

The pads we use from Elastic Interface are about as cushy as I personally would go. I, nor any rider we know of, have have had an issue with them in regards to pressure spots and feel that if one went any cushier, it’d feel like one was sitting on a large pillow.

I like the idea here and the exploration of a different material, I’m just not so sure I agree that one needs to get any more plush than some of the current pads already available.

traildog
traildog
7 years ago

Yes, +1 to loki and tom.

DJ
DJ
7 years ago

Could be a real game changer with no saddle padding needed.

greg
greg
7 years ago

Chamois are NOT supposed to be padding. They’re supposed to be a second skin. You want padding? Buy a padded saddle. Shorts companies have lost their way.

veganpotter
veganpotter
7 years ago

Assuming this works, it’ll have to be to the person, and to the saddle they’re using. If they change saddles, they’ll probably need an all new chamois. I LOVE my saddle(Fizik Antares) and already barely feel it. I’ve done a few 130milers and managed a 210mile ride without doing more than 110 miles for years. I still barely felt my saddle and was wearing a VERY OLD chamois with a good 10,000+ miles on it. That’s just how some saddles are for people. Some chamois make my saddle feel terrible after 30 miles(Bontrager’s higher end shorts from around 2008 come to mind but the new ones are great now…FOR ME) but when I ride my TT bike with a different saddle(Adamo TT and Cobb 55 split nose…equally happy with both), that crappy chamois feel fine. There is no guaranteed answer for everyone. Its basically like cooking one dish that will become EVERYONE’S favorite food as soon as they try it.

Matthew
Matthew
7 years ago

: but that’s exactly the point. You take all of the padding out of the saddle so you look like a total pro with a concrete slab for a saddle and brag about how your perineum is completely ineffable from all the kilometers you’ve been riding. But secretly, you’ve got the equivalent of a Tempurpedic mattress in your shorts.

greg
greg
7 years ago

Looking like you’re wearing a full diaper is NOT pro.
Lots of pros have thinner chamois sewn in their sponsor’s gear.

Antipodean_eleven
7 years ago

, you’re too d*mn hard for me. Better get back to shifting by leaning over and yanking that lever….

ted
ted
7 years ago

SSDD…Same design for the most part, just made by 3D printing
How about a pouch for ones “Special Purpose”? Now that’s innovation and something new.

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