Original posting, 2005-06-05:
Many years ago I had a slip and fall injury to my tail bone. At the time it was uncomfortable but really didn't stop me from work or play. As I got older, I started to notice a progressively increasing pain after sitting in one place for an extended period. I bought many different office chairs wondering who the idiot was who designed such uncomfortable chairs and wondering why so many companies copied such an uncomfortable design. Finally, I just decided to spend the multiple hundreds that a correctly built office chair cost. But that did not explain or help the growing discomfort from restaurant chairs and especially bar stools! I told my doctor about my pain but he was unable to give me a definitive explanation for the increasing discomfort and even less in the way of a cure. After a change in my medical plan forced me to change my doctor, I finally found a name for my curse... coccydynia! My new doctor had a name for my pain but pretty much told me it was a rare condition and little to nothing could be done about it, especially at my age (50).
The degree of pain came and went with the kind of chair I encountered. But then the worm turned. I had finally purchased the Harley Davidson motorcycle of my dreams only to discover that even with the amply padded seat that came stock with the 05 Wide Glide, I could only ride for about an hour before the pain made me pull over and dismount. And then, the pain of standing up and swinging my leg over the bike was like none I had ever experienced before.
Here's the funny part... I was at a custom bike show and mentioned my problem to a custom seat maker. Not only was he familiar with coccydynia, he was able to tell me more about it in 15 minutes than any medical professional I had consulted over almost ten years! He said it would be no problem to design and build a seat that would relieve the pressure to my coccyx. I chose a style that would compliment the over all customization I had planned. I got the seat in about two weeks and set out with high hopes. The new seat increased my riding time by over an hour before I started to feel the pain set in. I was able to increase that time even more by using a menthol pain patch placed as directly over my tail bone as I could get it.
I wish to thank all involved with this website and everyone who has participated with their personal experiences. Through my new found ability to research coccydynia and locate sites like this one, I don't feel so alone in my affliction. I am also headed back to the drawing board with my seat builder to design an even better seat for my beloved Harley. In any case, I have new power over my affliction and refuse to let it win over my life.
Jeff S., San Bernardino, CA
I wish to thank you all for the emails of support in my quest for a pain free seat for my Harley. As promised, I'm reporting my progress.
The one on one design meeting with the seat company went very well and I will have a prototype within the next two weeks. These guys really have taken the time to understand the problem and were the first not to ask what "gross quantities" I was looking to order.
They are using the stock seat pan off my 05 Wide Glide and the design will combine the stock seat with a tour seat that will shift the weight off the tailbone area to the outer areas and actually create a well around the sensitive regions, rather than adding exotic foam or gel cushions that only serve to add to the problem. After I get the proto on my bike and give it a good 100 miles, I'll post another update.
I have not stated the company's name because I don't know the forum rules on that. [Note from Jon Miles - no problem about publishing the name.] The company is not a seat manufacturer like Corban, but specializes in repairing, refurbishing and customizing motorcycle seats for law enforcement and professional racing. In fact, I was referred to them by a CHP motor officer. The best part is they are not going to charge any more for an individual CG seat (as we've named it) than they would for any other custom rebuild, between $300 to $500 depending on the seat size and amount of work involved. Not to mention whether the seat is leather, marine vinyl, mixed colors and things like flames.
Some have asked why I am willing to put the money into this seat just to give the design away? First, I am blessed to be able to afford to do so. Second, when I was finally able to put a name to my nemesis, the members of this forum were there to help me understand it and that I am so NOT alone in my suffering. I have lived my life by the rule that what goes around, comes around. Whatever the cost, the price of the finished design will never be even close to the value of the outpouring of support and understanding from all of you. I only hope I will be able to be there for someone else like this forum has been there for me.
Dear friends and fellow sufferers,
Well, here it is. I test road the final design on several all day rides and had no more discomfort than expected from spending that much time in the saddle, but nowhere even close to the pain I had after a mere hour of riding before.
Here's the URL for the seat company: www.ceebaileys.com/ [Unfortunately as of 2016 it appears that Ceebaileys no longer make seats.]
We changed the name of the design to "The Tailbone Seat" for various reasons, but primarily because tailbone is easier to spell than Coccydynia.
The design isolates the area around the coccyx and surrounding muscles that aggravate our condition. It also reinforces the rider to sit up straight and not slump in the saddle which causes the rider to roll back onto the tailbone in the first place. The seat also takes pressure away from the center of the riders vertical body weight and moves it to the outside of the thighs. This feels a bit weird at first, but after a few minutes the seat fully conforms and other than being an inch or so higher than you sat on your original seat, you will barely notice it.
The real trick was getting the seat to conform without the rider merely sinking into the foam and the seat forming around the problem area like other designs that only provided me an extra hour of riding before I was right back where I started. Cee Bailey already had an answer to this problem and was applying it to their custom police saddles.
The final price for this seat was just over $450.00 including the custom material and flames. But then we gave it a couple of tries before ending up with the final design. Prices will vary on the amount of work and materials (leather vs. marine vinyl) involved and you must provide the seat pan. They will also need various measurements and answers to specific questions about you, your bike and how you ride. A questionnaire is located on their web site. They may ask for photos of you seated on your bike as well.
This seat design may not work for everyone due to their personal severity, but it gave me back the road and ride that I love!
Again just for the record, I am not connected with Cee Bailey or get any form of royalty or commission from orders.
I hope this works as well for you as it did for me!