Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: western Massachusetts
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
I am just back from a 6-day, 2000 mile trip including 720 miles home yesterday (to get ahead of bad storms today). I bought an Airhawk cruiser medium with this long trip in mind. I didn't get the “scrotum cutout” model because it's sold out until next month sometime. I'm 142 pounds and my butt is small and bony, so consider that along with these observations.
Once you get the air pressure right, it's cushy. Cushy, however, is not always what I want. My trip was mostly twisties in rural NY, PA and OH and I could not easily slide across the Airhawk to shift my weight for tight curves at a spirited pace. Even quick weight shifts that involve only moving my buns or thighs were more difficult because the Airhawk bladder responded slowly to changes when your body reapplies weight and pressure in different spots. You can feel some air pockets deflate as other inflate....ssssssss....and it doesn't happen instantly. It made me feel disconnected to the bike.
The Airhawk model with the "scrotum cutout" has to be an improvement because the cruiser medium version I ordered created bothersome pressure against my nuts. That meant I couldn't sit as upright as I prefer, and that made my back sore. While the cutout design may reduce the pressure on your boys, I wonder if it also will make you tend to slide forward. I suspect it will although I don't have personal experience. The cruiser medium must be meant for the more recumbent riding posture of cruiser bikes. Unless you're a eunuch, get the cutout version.
Rubber is an insulator -- a VERY effective one. The Airhawk is hotter than hell on a hot day. I rode on two 95+ days and it was torture. Any advantage offered by air cushioning was obviated by intense sweating in my buns and thighs that even wicking undergarments couldn't handle. That was never an issue with a sheepskin.
Remember gas laws from high school chemistry? I believe the combined gas law applies to an Airhawk. As the temperature of a fixed volume of a gas increases, pressure increases. I started most mornings with temps in the high 50's and as the day got hotter (especially those 90+ days) the Airhawk felt fuller. If you know where the valve is and can futz with it wearing gloves you can bleed a bit of air at a stop light. Since it takes some trial and error to get the pressure just so, I found it annoying to have to make adjustments in relation to temperature. Maybe others won't find the difference significant.
The straps that hold the Airhawk cover to the bike's seat (at least on the ones on the model I ordered) are flimsy. I doubted they'd last when I first opened the box and in fact the front strap ripped at the seam on the left side the first day.
On yesterday’s long distance ride when it wasn’t hot day and where I was mostly just sitting there pounding away 720 miles to get home to my family, the Airhawk treated my buns nicely. FWIW, so does a sheepskin, and a sheepskin keeps you warm when it's cold and cool when it's hot, plus I've been sliding across a sheepskin to shift my weight on different bikes for years.
Airhawks may work for some but the one I ordered is going back.
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