My research into composites moves into a realm where theory can be rapidly prototyped into working models that can be tested with freedom, and proven by the rider
Understanding material behaviour through moulding was the primary concern of early development. The basis of the saddle design has been a paired-down construction with a 'nose', rear 'cradle' and rails suspending the composite structure
Many contemporary saddles utilise an injection moulded chassis, covered with contoured foam and a textile upper. A number of these elements are assembled with no means of economical repair further in the product life cycle
The use of composites here allows a number of advantages such as, water proofing, reduction in weight, tailored distribution of forces, assembly and maintenance.
The use of this particular bio-composite, of woven flax fibre and UV cure resin, further enhances possibilities and creates some new opportunities:
The composite can be accurately heat-cured at temperatures less than 80 ºC to a set standard ready for use. Further UV curing can then be used to achieve maximum material rigidity. This could be after a short period of wearing in, similar to breaking in a leather saddle.
The use of this low cost material retains the correct proportions of flexibility and comfort, requiring less components over all, replaced instead only by the implementation of intelligent lay-up
By virtue of the material the saddle can be easily cared for and ultimately repaired, unlike many modern leather and vulcanised rubber saddles.
The project has benefited from the support and review of designers, Tomás Alonso
and Alexander Taylor
. The project is weighted heavily towards research at this stage, to understand the new materials possibilities correctly.
Development continues presently on this project, towards a final concept; uniting the materials innovation and function with a distinguishable Swiss design language of simplicity