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Mesh seats

How tight can one cinch down the mesh seat with the plastic ties? I can't imagine the mesh ripping, but I planned on getting some of the 11 inch ties and recinching them all. I am planning to recline my seat in the furthest position back and want to make sure I don't get any rub.



In my experience, the zipties can usually be pulled extremely tight without destroying the mesh.

Though many years ago I did have a Lightning seat mesh fall apart prematurely after pulling zipties very tight. I think that was caused by a defective seat mesh though. The seats I have now are holding up fine with tight zipties.

I think Lightning rider Paul W from Australia added a reinforcing strip of some kind to the lumbar area of his Lightning seat with good results.

Don't know exactly how he did this.

Paul, if you are reading, please give us a detailed description.

Safe riding,

My good frend Gary has supported the lumbar area of his seat with a couple of nylon luggage straps. Gives you something to push against and keeps the seat from sagging into the tire (he still uses the nylon seat cord). I use black zipties (double in the lumbar area) and feel quite well supported. The seat has much less sag and flex, but it does squeek and creak. By the way, I'm right at (yeah right chubby) the weight limit for an XL P38 and I lean the seat full back. I tighten my zip-ties like a drumb without problems.

I got a piece of tubular webbing from a mountaineering store, had a cobbler put some grommets in it, and zip-tied it onto my P-38 seat frame behind the seat mesh where my sacral spine meets the mesh. In other words, my pelvis pushes against the strap, not my spine. I don't know about the rest of you, but if I pushed my lumbar spine against a strap to power up hills, I would get some serious sciatic nerve pain. (BTW, tubular webbing is sort of like a double-thick car seat belt.)

Periodically, when I'm riding hard in hilly terrain, my lower back near the sacrum gets sore or inflamed. I would really like to see a picture of what you've done with the tubular webbing.

I discovered that I no longer need the sacral support with the seat cinched tight by 140lb zip ties. So, I took it off the bike. No photo, sorry. Ditto the Thermarest Z-Seat. So now it's down to about 21.5 lbs.

You might consider your pedal stroke. If you are mashing the pedal on the out stroke, and jamming your back into the seat, then try pulling harder with the opposite leg so that you get a rounder stroke with less force on your back - simultaneously push with one foot and pull with the other. If you are already doing that, then try mashing. You might also experiment with the angle of your seat back. It is adjustable within a few degrees. Or get a Thermarest Z-seat and put it under the normal Lightning-supplied foam. Or behind your sacrum. Or take the Lightning foam out. If you are using para-cord, then try tightly cinched zip-ties. If zip-ties, then try the para-cord. A little tweak can make a lot of difference if you can find the right one.

I see that Lightning now has a hardshell seat option. Has anyone on the fourm tried the seat? Comments?

I have two grommets pulling out of one bike seat and another beginning to pull on the other. I have 75 pound zip ties and use a tie gun to apply them. I thought the gun was slipping on the tie before it got too tight, but maybe not. The two grommet damage happened on an emergency stop, where I snatched the brakes, planted my feet and the lightening reared in front of me. This has happened several times over the years, traffic situations, and always cracks me up because I'm safely on my feet, not over the bars of my road bikes, possibly a hood or trunk ornament.

Has anyone replaced grommets?


You CAN tear out the grommets so tighten carefully. Grommets are available at home improvement stores but compare sizes. Sear (melt)the edges of the mesh with a soldering iron or wood burner and you may need to bolster the hole with nylon canvas reinforcement, also seared. Extra support can be added in the lumbar area with adjustable black luggage straps which are hardly noticeable and keep you off of the wheel. I'm working on a double pinch clamp so that I can shorten my seat stays for greater recline. I'll have pics available when I finish.

Thanks Dave, I'll start gathering materials.


I've been using zip ties for years, happy with them. The grommets on the newer of my mesh seats that were pulling out are actually eyelets, totally not up to the job. Having 4 on each side replaced with real toothed grommets.

I've been using thermarest trail seat for about 5 years; they are great til they fail. I've gone thru 5; I ride at least 4G a year. I'm now using this foam in the 2" size:

It cuts easily and cleanly with a serrated knife.

My seat is tight but the mesh itself stretches when I attack hills and was rubbed by my tire my previous 3 rides. I searched home depot, Lowe's, and harbour freight and found what I was looking for at rei:

I put 2 pair (4 straps under the mesh) in the lumbar and up area and was thrilled by how much more power went into the pedals instead of stretching my seat 3 inches back. I had to tighten them when I got home, but no wheel rub and I expect the stretching to bottom out.

My friends on stick bikes and low racers are using the foam, as are some trikes. It takes a village...


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