The Magic Seat Board revealed
At the Iron Butt Convention in Denver, August 13, 2010, I showed my Magic Seat Board, a device that allows you to sit on pretty much any motorcycle seat for hours without pain.

It is basically a glorified piece of wood that transfers the weight from your Ischium bones to your thighs. In fact my first seat board was a 1 x 4 fence picket I picked up in Georgia in the early 70s. My butt was hurting. I occurred to me that if I slipped a piece of wood under my thighs, it might take pressure off my butt.

It did.

Over the year, I refined it to become the shape above. It is just a piece of 1/2" plywood with rounded edges. You can make your own at home. Here is how it is used:

Magic Board in cruising position
This is no joke. I stake my reputation on my claims of fantastic rider comfort.

I caution you... the Magic Seat Board is for serious riders only. I never produced it because if it got into the wrong hands... no, under the wrong butt... a rider might embarrass himself. It is for long distance riding only. Not in urban areas because with the Seat Board in place, you cannot put your feet down. Just make sure you remove it before you need to come to a stop.

I have every reason to believe that Iron Butt riders can handle this.

Iron Butt rider in cruising position on magic seat board
Weight is being carried by his thighs, not his Ishiums
Lisa Landry checks out a Seat Board
Bob Higdon* was awarded the first Magic Seat Board
*Bob has a Parabellum shield on his NT700V, made by Charly Perethian and his boys! Charly and his wife used to work with me at Vetter back in the 70s. Parabellum is now their family business

But, how do you use it?
As soon as I put this page up, I began to get questions like this:

Hello Craig,

I think I saw your Magic Seat Board pictures within 10 minutes of you posting them to the website (I was checking it all night). Thanks to you, I have a large knot on my forehead from smacking myself and thinking, "Why didn't I think of that?" ;)

As a matter of practicality, where do you set your board when you're making the transition from riding to stopping? Do you just place it on your lap?

This is a reasonable question. Here is my response:

Lift legs... slide out. Place behind.
Do not place on head.

Before stopping, lift your legs and slide it out the side. Put it between your back and the stuff you have packed on the seat until you come to a stop. Before starting out again, as in gassing up on a freeway exit, I would loosely bungee it onto whatever was there behind me. When my butt began hurting on the open road, I'd grab it and slip it under my butt.

The Seat Board is only for droning on the open highway which is the time when your butt is likely to hurt the most.

Really, it is magic.

If anybody could use such a device, it is the Iron Butt riders. If anybody can use it responsibly, it would be the Iron Butt riders. I am very aware, however, that many long distance riders have figured out their own way to sit for long miles and would not think they need such a seat enhancer. The best thing about any invention, however, is that you do not have to use it.

Make your own Magic Seat Board

More Magic Board / Seat Wings History
Altho I invented the Magic Seat Board in the early 1970s, I kept it a secret until the 1980s when Bell, the new owner of my company, asked me for new motorcycle product ideas. In 1983, I resurrected the idea and made a "folding" seat board. It was built into the seat. I called it "Seat-Wings":

28 year old Zak Vetter making your seat boards in 2010. One year old Zak sitting on a folding "Seat-Wing" in 1983
One year old Zak Vetter thought it was a pretty good idea. By then, however, Bell had decided against further development of motorcycle products and nothing ever came of it.

After 37 years, I give the Magic Seat Board to the Iron Butt Riders... the world's toughest motorcycle riders.

What good is a great idea if it is never used?

Carol Vetter says: "When I first saw it, I thought it might be dangerous and I think in the wrong hands, it could be. You couldn't give it to a new rider. Your refinements, Craig, made it easier and easier to use.

It was great! But you'd never use it in town. It was designed for distance riding. It would be perfect for Iron Butt Riders."

Why your butt hurts in long distance riding:
These two bones support your weight when you sit on a motorcycle seat

The Magic Seat Board removes this pressure

Those Ischia bones are always trying to punch thru the skin on your butt. This is why it hurts when you sit for a long time. When they do punch thru, it is called Decubitus Ulceration. Very ugly. Don't make me show you a picture.

We motorcyclists solve the problem by squirming... moving around... not allowing pressure and heat to build up.

Guys in wheelchairs can't feel the trouble if they are paralized. If they are not careful, their Ischium can punch thru their flesh. Very serious.

Removing pressure under the ishium bones

I spent a lot of time developing a seat for Jim Knaub who won the Boston Marathon in 1982 with my Equalizer Human Powered Vehicle. We needed to eliminate the pressure under Jim's Ischium. Note the special accomodations in Jim's racer seat, above.

The Magic Seat Board does the same thing for long distance motorcycle riding

It is designed to remove the pressure under your Ischium.

The Magic Seat Board helps you to ride very long distances.

Wait... there is more!
Nice side stand pad
While searching thru my archives of images, I could not find any pics of the Magic Seat Board taken in the 1970s because I kept it tucked away, hidden from prying eyes. But it is there if you know where to look! On soft grass, the Magic Seat Board served as the board under my side stand to keep my bike from sinking in and falling over.

I suppose people just assumed: "Nice side stand pad".

Posted August 16, 2010

Updated Sep.3, 2010