Taking the New Dual Action Saddle for a Ride

By Allison Atkinson – March 1, 2014
photos provided by Allison Atkinson

The Dual Action Seat (DAS) provides an alternative way to ride a bike because the rider doesn’t actually sit on the seat. Unlike traditional saddles that support the rider’s sit bones (the bones in your rear end), the DAS props riders up from their thighs leaving their bum and lower back completely free from pressure.
Two independently moving, adjustable, 5-inch-wide gel pads offer support for most sizes. The seat’s sturdy build weighs in at just less than 4 pounds. DAS claims on its website to be “used as an alternative and pain relieving seat in Ultra Marathon Cycling, such as the Race Across America” and is designed for touring, hybrid, mountain, and cruiser bikes. It retails for $229.

First Impressions
I may be a snobby racer chick, but I would not pay $229 for anything unless professional cyclists use it. The DAS retails for around the same price as my top-of-the-line road racing saddle. Before testing, I concluded that the DAS should only be used for recreational purposes on bikes geared toward comfort (such as beach cruisers and hybrids). Perhaps someone with disposable income who has tried everything would invest in this equipment.
  

Installation
I am no mechanic so, luckily, installation was simple. The box came with an Allen wrench, which is all you need. The bike I used for testing had a quick-release seat post clamp, so swapping out the old post for the 7/8" diameter straight stem post was easy. Once the post was in place, I installed the seat, made a few adjustments to the angle of the pads, and tightened down all bolts.

Test Ride
I chose to test the DAS on a Fuji Crosstown, which is a cruiser-style bike we rent out at Austin Tri-Cyclist. I was wearing racing bibs; however, the shop's employees who were wearing jeans and various other shorts had no discomfort or chaffing when they test rode. The seat supported me, and I was able to pedal and handle the bike normally with no pressure at all on my rear end. Pressure on my back felt the same as on a regular saddle until I really engaged my core to support the load of my upper-body and torso.
I did not like how the vertical axle of the seat rotated right and left. According to its website, the DAS is supposed to “pivot just as your hips do.” The problem is that hips should not pivot or rock when riding any style of bike. By pivoting, the seat wipes out the foundational support that allows power to travel down into the pedal. The pivoting motion also annoyed me every time I stopped. Having to look down and adjust the seat’s position in an intersection was dangerous, so I suggest staying seated with one foot down while waiting for traffic to pass. One last thing: The seat pads bumped my legs when I pedaled out of the saddle so, if you use this seat, be sure you can spin seated most of the time.

Bottom Line
If your current saddle hurts you, I suggest visiting your neighborhood bike shop to try out saddles of different shapes and sizes. Keep in mind that big, gel-lined saddles don’t always equal comfort; firmer saddles offer up better support but only when they are the right size. Everyone has differently sized sit bones; the wider and bigger the bones, the wider the back of the saddle should be. Also, if your hips rock from side to side when seated on your current saddle, check the height, as it is probably too high. Riding with the proper saddle height can alleviate soreness, chaffing, and lower back pain, so stop by a bike shop; most employees can help you find a good fit or make a quick adjustment.

I’d classify the DAS as a gimmicky piece of bike equipment, although it delivers what it promises. If you are someone who cannot find a comfortable saddle but really want to ride for fun, then the DAS might be a solution for you. In the long run, anything that encourages people to ride a bike is a good thing.

 
 

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