seats: replace or repair?

any lightweight construction made of plastic is prone to crack either under high amounts of structural stress or after a certain amount of time has passed and the aging process makes the plastic brittle.

TWIKE seats are a very simple, somewhat comfortable and (in their pure form, a thin mat directly on plastic) extremely light.

a TWIKE seat - a very light and (somewhat) comfortable design

a TWIKE seat – a very light and (somewhat) comfortable design

however, check any TWIKE and you’ll find that usually, the shells are cracked and in varying states of disrepair. after a certain amount of wear and tear or time the TWIKE pilot literally sits on the frame without any other support.

given enough money, remediating this situation is easy and something i’ve already done in 2010:

    • get two new plastic seat shells (CHF 2×125.–)
    • find a vintage car upholsterer interested in doing something new
    • choose top materials, padding and seams
    • wait 2-3 weeks, during which you have a TWIKE, but cannot drive it
    • get incredibly beautiful seats back in exactly the colors and materials you decided on. be proud, and fork out 2x CHF 450.– for this service

ah, and this needs mentioning: 900 CHF are seats with breathable and very durable but synthetic materials and synthetic padding. if you’d gone with any other option involving leather and natural padding, then the price would have been in excess of 1900 CHF…

TW560 has been places (india, denmark etc.) since 2010 and the seats have had their share of structural stress

i’m surprised the seats have made it this long! but since i’m planning a new trip and during the last few weeks even drives around 60kms were getting painful, i had to do something.

on the other hand, i’m currently not working (…anyone with a job vacancy: happy to hear from you :)) and want to spend less money…for the moment. this is why i’m trying to explore cheaper options to fix this problem…

why not try the diy-option instead until my cash-flow situation has gone back to normal?

first of all, we have to get the seats out of the TWIKE – a very easy task – one bolt holds the seat in place.

drivers' seat removed

drivers’ seat removed

let’s have a look how bad things are, shall we?

one big crack... any more?

one big crack… any more?

one big crack – the seat offers no support anymore; one literally sits on the frame… but: hmm, let’s probe a little further:

many more...

many more…

ouch…what will we find when we remove the frame?

comprehensively destroyed

comprehensively destroyed

then, whilst further checking the seat shell, a pattern emerges.

plastic > metal = crack(s)

plastic > metal = crack(s)

so, then how does the co-pilot’s seat look like?

co-pilot's seat missing some larger parts

co-pilot’s seat missing some larger parts

not much better 🙁

i went to the basement and got my favourite repair tools:

our favourite repair tools: duct tape & the hot glue gun

our favourite repair tools: duct tape & the hot glue gun

let’s cue the music and get working!

seat base patched-up again

seat base patched-up again

i LOVE duct tape!!!

then, even though the duct tape would be ok for some weeks, i know that i must create some kind of secondary support for the seat shells for this solution to last a little longer.

for this i sourced about 12 metres of 2.5 mm2 ground and neutral wire from my almost limitless stock (my wife’s words) of cables in our basement…and started to weave.

here we go...

here we go…

i tried to make the mesh strong but flexible.

the mesh is starting to take shape

the mesh is starting to take shape

after the drivers’ seat i completed the co-pilot’s seat:

co-pilot's seat ready

co-pilot’s seat ready

the mesh looks really nice.

black or yellow?

black or yellow?

which colour do you like more? (at least the driver is thoroughly grounded 😉

hot glue to keep things in place

hot glue to keep things in place

since i know that these wires will have a tendency to move around, i decided to have some fun with the hot-glue gun (hot glue is fun, whatever the task)

tadaa… 90 minutes later, i’m ready to mount the seats again…

the final result when in the TWIKE

the final result when in the TWIKE

first, it looks quite nice and i am happy to report that the ride is extremely comfortable again!