The Rigidaire system comes complete with everything you'll need to make your hardtail more comfortable, including: a steel air spring frame bracket, two air springs, top plate, seat adapter, mounting hardware, solenoid air valve, air lines and fittings, air compressor and bracket, toggle switch, in-line fuse, seat nose mount assembly, 14-gauge wire, and a razor for cutting the air lines. Note the air spring system assembly as it is packaged. You will need to disassemble the parts to install it.
Cox started by using a sawzall to remove the rear crossmember from the frame.
Once the crossmember was removed, he ground the frame tubes down until he had a smooth, clean surface to weld the air spring bracket to.
The air spring bracket is designed to fit a variety of frames. In most cases, a small amount of material will need to be removed from either side of the bracket. With the bracket held in place and centered in the frame, mark the bracket where the extra material needs to be removed.
Taking caution to remove a little bit from the bracket at a time, Paul Cox cut and tested the fit a few times.
He then used a belt sander to clean up the burrs from the cutting saw.
When properly aligned, the bracket should measure about 3 inches from the top of the frame tubes.
(From the "Do as we say, not as we do" department) Paul is a badass and you're not, so use gloves and clamps when tacking the bracket in place.
Double-check to make sure the system is level with the framerails by mocking up the air springs and measuring again before making the final welds.
When the bracket is installed correctly, there should still be plenty of room behind the seat tube for an oilbag and battery box.
In order to mount the seat, you must have a seat pan already made, preferably constructed from steel. The seat tab nose mount should also be centered on the frame, then welded into place.
Moving to the bottom of the frame, he unbolted the tranny mount and tack welded the compressor bracket to the bottom side of the plate.
Cox loosely bolted the compressor to the plate and made sure the mounting bolts for the trans did not interfere with the compressor.
He bolted the trans plate and compressor assembly to the frame.
He snugged down the bolts for the compressor. If everything fits without interference, unbolt the trans mount and the compressor, and permanently weld the compressor bracket to the trans mount and bolt everything back together.
In an area within arms reach while in the seat, Cox mounted the toggle switch so adjustments could be made while riding.
He ran the wiring to the switch following the guidelines in the included instruction sheet.
The air springs were secured to the bracket.
He installed the 90-degree air-line fittings to the bottom of the air-springs.
After measuring twice and cutting the air-lines on a flat surface at 90 degrees, he pushed the lines firmly into the fitting until he felt a slight click.
The Y fitting was installed next, then an air-line was run down through the frame to the compressor.
The seat pan was bolted to the seat nose tongue.
He marked the seat pan mounting adapter plate, then mounted the plate to the seat.
The adapter plate was bolted to the air springs with the supplied hardware.
The finished installation.
In the raised position, there is plenty of travel for the air springs to absorb the bumps.
When completely lowered, the bike maintains the look of a regular seat on a rigid. In fact, it is hard to spot a bike with one of these systems, but there's a huge difference once you've ridden one!
Anyone who's ever spent any time on a rigid knows that sometimes the going gets a little rough. Whether it's the general condition of the bumpy roads in California or the manhole-cover-sized potholes in New York City, riding a rigid can be a pain in the ass. Thankfully, there are innovative guys in the industry, like Paul Cox, who want to make riding a rigid more comfortable and a little easier on the 'ol rear end. Cox created the Rigidaire seat suspension system that incorporates a pair of airbags to cushion your body from all the cruel bumps in the road. His system works without catapulting you out of your seat when you hit something on the street, like standard springs or just a seat pad. Plus, the onboard compressor allows the rider to adjust for seat height and the amount of shock-absorption while riding.
We just happened to be in Brooklyn, New York, for a little while, so we stopped by Paul's shop and got a few pics of him installing the system.