words :: Feet Banks
“This thing is gonna give us an identity crisis,” jokes Landyachtz co-founder Mike Perreten. “We’re a skateboard company, what are we doing making bike saddles?”
What they’re doing is changing the game. Landyachtz X Reform bike saddles utilize a patented heat-moulding plastic to custom form the bike seat to each rider’s unique shape.
“I started thinking about the sit bones on the sear, those two pressure points, and wondering if there was a way to punch a bike seat the same as a ski boot.”article continues below
“Almost every part of a bicycle has undergone a huge evolution over the past two decades,” Mike says, “so why are the seats essentially the same as they were when I was a teenager?”
As a teen, Mike spent nearly all his time on snow, training to be a ski racer. Starting Landyachtz (with childhood friend Thomas Edstrand) offered a chance to hold onto those senses of speed, gravity and adrenaline for the next 20 years, but when he started riding his road bike to work a few years ago, his entrepreneur mind started working.
“I got into road biking for a bit,” Mike explains. “Nothing too serious, but I started loving that morning commute to work. Being able to get that sense of speed and adrenaline every day to and from work… suddenly I’m really into biking.”
And like everyone who spends a lot of time on a bicycle, Mike started daydreaming of a more comfortable ride. “The pressure points on the seat reminded me of ski boots,” he explains. “Of those two points on the outside of your foot that always cause problems. I used to get my boots punched in those exact spots and then everything would be fine. And I started thinking about the sit bones on the seat, and wondering if there was a way to punch a bike seat the same as a ski boot.”
Custom moulded ski boots are already a thing, why not bring a similar concept to bike saddles?
“We use a thermal mouldable plastic for the saddle shell,” Mike says. “The entire seat is customized and anyone who spends enough time in the saddle will see the value right away. It’s a simple concept really.”
Simple, but effective. And after two years of honing the design, Landyachtz is selling the first X Reform saddles from their board and bike shop (which is also a pinball arcade) on Union Street, a popular cycling commuter route in Vancouver. With upwards of 60 staff, Landyachtz also operates a sprawling R&D warehouse/office in East Vancouver, a manufacturing facility in the Kootenays, and a shop in LA County. It’s been 21 years since Mike and Thomas crafted their first longboard in the basement of the Blackcomb Mountain Ski Club cabin back in 1997. From those early longboard cruisers to racing boards and traditional skate decks to snow skates and bindingless snowboards, Landyachtz is accustomed to painting outside the lines and carving their own spot in the mountain sports ecosystem. So a sweet-ass comfy bike seat isn’t that big of a stretch.
“It definitely improves the quality of life for anyone who spends time on a bike,” Mike says, “so it’s hard not to roll with that.”
For more information, visit www.reformsaddle.com. -ML