Getting Grabby: Grab Seat Build
Brandon Wiesener | On 05, Jun 2016
Straight airs have been dead for over a decade in every other action sport. Moto, skiing and snowboarding, mountain biking; watch a video from any of these sports and you’ll see almost every air is tricked or styled out with a grab.
From the freestyle ramps and terrain parks, these tricks were brought to big, natural terrain and the level of riding was pushed further. However, the number of riders doing this in the sled world are few. It’s about time we catch up. To really bring this wave of progression to sledding a grab seat must be built. Here are the steps we took on our first build.
Browse Kijiji and search for a used seat. You’ll probably want the second seat, unless you’re throwing tricks every time you ride or are confident you won’t mess up the seat build the first time around. Pull out the staples and take the seat cover off.
Find a tubular object stiff enough to support grabs. In the few seats we built we found 6” PVC pipe worked well. There are no rules, find something and make it happen! With a vice, C-clamps, heat gun and cutting tools we worked the structure into an oval shape and cut it to a width we liked.
Building a grab seat is an art not a science; it may not be completely perfect the first time around. Sketch lines where it’ll be the most comfortable for you to grab and use your tubular object as a stencil. Remember to leave enough foam above the hole, it’s easy to cut too high and you’ll want some cushion on top. An electric knife works like a charm to cut the foam.
Put the tubular structure into the hole, you may have to heat gun it first to make it fit. Fasten down the tube – hockey tape the shit out of it. We even drilled a hole and bolted one of the tubes to the plastic seat frame, carefully grinding down the bolt head so it wouldn’t rub on the gas tank underneath.
With the tube set firmly in place the seat can now be re-covered. You may be able to re-use the original cover if you don’t alter the shape much. A full custom cover from the ground up will cost around $200. Re-stitching an original will be less. The cheapest way is to cut a hole in the cover and apply hockey tape around it. The downside is that it absorbs water like a sponge. Pick what’s in your budget/seat shape.
Safety additions – Sled seats are notorious for popping off mid trick. See Heath Frisbee”at the Calgary Stampede. Run a strap around the sled’s sub–frame tubes and tighten it up as a precaution. Another added feature is putting skateboard grip tape in the spots where you grab. Most skate shops have used up rolls kicking around with just enough tape for your grab points.