Home Forums General Karting Discussion New to karting – rib/back pain and seat concerns

This topic contains 30 replies, has 14 voices, and was last updated by  Nick Driver 4 years, 2 months ago.

  • Author
    Posts
  • #35183

    Nick Driver
    Participant

    A week ago I took a day of race instruction classes with the Jim Hall Racing School here in Southern California. I was told I needed these classes (or comparable recent driving experience) within the last few years so that I could bring my own cart down for seat time. I drove about 6 sessions as part of the class in 100cc karts and these karts had fabric padded liners. I don’t know the brand of the seats. I know they weren’t Ribtect. I also did not wear a rib protector as I do not own my own and I didn’t realize they had loaners. After the day my back/ribs were sore just about at the base of my right shoulder blade, but nothing too concerning. It went away after a day or two.

    I brought my kart out to the track for the first time this weekend for seat time. It’s a 2008 CRG with Rotax engine and Ribtect carbon seat (size large I believe). I bought this kart second hand. I did wear a loaner rib vest this time, but it seemed older and not have any sort of hard outer shell. I ran a lot of laps… maybe too many. By the end of the day I finally had to get off the track because I was having difficulty dealing with rib/back pain going through the corners. This was especially the case with high speed corners. I found myself holding my breath around these corners and gritting my teeth knowing pain was coming. I don’t think I’ve cracked or broken anything since I’m not in constant crazy pain, but I definitely think I bruised them good primarily on my right side. I assume this is because the track has about 2x more left hand corners than right.

    I am expecting to stay out of the kart for at least 2 weeks and maybe more as I see what happens with the rib pain. In the meantime, I am planning to buy a Ribtect4 vest and take a closer look at how much ‘slop’ I have when seated. I know there’s not tons of room, but I feel like slide myself back & forth at least maybe 1/2″ laterally. I’m not sure if the new vest would help to fill up that gap or not. I hear people say it should be a snug fit when seated, but what exactly does “snug” mean? I’m guessing that since I can slide myself around slightly that doesn’t qualify as “snug”.

    I’m 5’10 and thin so I’m a little concerned the seat I have might be a little large, but I can’t seem to fully understand the Ribtect seat sizing chart. I apologize for such a long post, but I’m hoping some of the gurus here might have some advice or feedback for my situation. I definitely don’t want to make my situation worse and would like to keep this from being a reoccurring issue.

    Thanks in advance!

  • #35186

    David Cole
    Keymaster

    Welcome Nick. First, please update your display name to be your first and last name.

    Second, do you have the pain when you are out of the kart? I just popped my ribs Labor Day weekend and I am just now able to lay down on that side of my body after six weeks. Your body could just not be used to the action of racing. After being out of a kart for a while, your muscles will get overworked and will be sore for a few days as well, depending on what shape you are in.

    Third, for a Ribtect seat, you want to be snug. What is your weight? If you are moving around in the seat, then I would guess the seat may be too big for you and the newer style of Ribtect vest should eliminate that extra space in the seat.

    David Cole - EKN Managing Editor

  • #35200

    james kent
    Participant

    Welcome to karting …its all about love of pain in this sport. Condition yourself and then get used to it.

  • #35209

    Daryle Redlin
    Participant

    This topic comes up from time to time. It can be hard on your body if you don’t have the fit correct. I have always recommended to people that the hips of the seat need to be ” snug” not tight but “snug”, and the upper rib areas need a bit of clearance. If you wear a rib vest and its tight and then you “squeeze” into the seat when you start to breathe heavy your chest cannot expand. This puts a lot of stress on the fibers between the ribs and creates a lot of pain. Try not to hold your breathe through a turn, it will only make it worse. Instead, as you approach the turn take a breathe then breathe it out as you go through the turn. This will give you the clearance as well as tighten your core which will stabilize you in the kart. After awhile it will become second nature and you wont have any issues. Hope you feel better soon.

    Daryle Redlin.

     

  • #35211

    Nick Driver
    Participant

    Thanks for the feedback so far.

    David:
    I come in at around a whopping 145 lbs not including any gear. The pain is noticeable outside the kart. I tend to notice it when I raise my right arm just right, if I roll over in bed, use my right arm to close the car door, carry something heavy with my left hand, etc. I’ve never really dealt with rib pain before so I don’t have a basis for comparison. I’m pretty sure nothing is cracked or broken – just bruised (although I do not see any signs of bruising). I also started to notice additional soreness in both upper thighs towards the outside, which is where they would contact the seat. Finally, I have a good size bruise under my left arm close to the armpit. I noticed that this is the area of my arm that hits the top of the Ribtect seat. I’m not sure if that’s normal for these seats or if that’s also a potential indicator of incorrect seat size.

    Daryle:
    I need to sit in the seat again to get another feel for how much wiggle room I have. I am fairly certain my hips are not snug. I have a feeling that even with a rib vest, this will not help me much with lower body snugness in the seat. I’ve seen some aftermarket padding for seats. Should this be avoided or could that still work in something like a Ribtect seat? I assume that ideally you would have a seat that doesn’t require additional padding to compensate for a gap.

     

    Generally from what I’ve been reading in the forums, it sounds like even if my ribs are only bruised, I’d better stay out of the kart for a few weeks or risk prolonging the healing process and/or creating an even larger rib problem. Does that sound about right? That’s kind of a bummer since I was hoping to start getting seat time 3-4 times a month.

  • #35212

    Tim Koyen
    Participant

    Hi Nick,

    It sounds like you are just a little bruised up.  I manufacture a rib protecting seat called DeepSeat.  Same principle as the Ribtect, just a little different shape.  Anyway, we produce our seats with the trim removable so you can trim your seat to fit you better.  Many people trim off an inch or more from the top of our seats to make them more comfortable.  Our trim just slide back on then.

    In any case, it sounds like your seat is just plain too big, and I would highly recommend a good quality ribvest.

    Best of luck,

    Tim

    http://www.deep-seat.com

     

    KartLift Kart Stands
    DeepSeat Kart Seats
    877-777-8020
    ------------------
    Don't bother PMing me, it doesn't work. Email is best: tim@kartlift.com.

  • #35217

    Nick Driver
    Participant

    What is the correct way to measure fitment for these seats… either Ribtect or Deep Seat? I get concerned about this because I don’t have a place locally to see/try different seats or sizes so I feel like I’d be just taking a best guess based on trying to understand the fitment guides for the seats online.

  • #35219

    Craig Drabik
    Participant

    It’s impossible to tell for sure without seeing you in the seat but at 145 lbs I’m gonna go out on a limb and say a large seat is way to big for you.  I’m 5’9″ 175 and the Tillet Medium-Large I have now is a little too big for me.

  • #35220

    Daryle Redlin
    Participant

    A little padding taped into the seat is no problem. I would guess that you are a #1 size seat. Most seat manufacturers will need your hip measurements, and your under arm/chest measurements. Get the seat that is the closest to you. If your close to a size don’t go down in size and hope it will fit. Your better to get the next size up and use some kart padding.  A large seat will be way to big for you, even a medium may be to big. Best of luck.

  • #35221

    Nick Driver
    Participant

    So here’s another question then related to chest measurement for seat sizing. Should you measure your chest with or without a rib vest on? Seems to me that if you take a measurement without the rib vest and buy a seat close to that size, you might end up with a seat that’s too small once you are wearing the vest.

  • #35223

    Jay Storey
    Participant

    I have experienced similar pain as you describe. Had to take a break for about a month, then got back into it. I believe most of my problem was conditioning. After I got over the initial “soreness” I have been able to run pretty hard with no pain. I am 5’9″ 142lbs. and use a Ribtect medium large seat with Ribtect 3 vest. It was still a little loose so I added Zoombang padding to the sides and back. I did try to go to a medium Ribtect seat but it was too small. I could get in but was noticeably tight. Seems I am in between the 2 sizes.

  • #35228

    Nick Driver
    Participant

    Jay:
    Thanks for the feedback. It sounds like we’re actually very similar in size. If a medium Ribtect seat is too small for you, I’m sure I would be in the same boat. Where was it tight for you and was it too tight with or without the rib vest already on? Did you had to add much padding to the ML seat? Finally, do you find that the bottom of your arms near your armpits hits the top of the seat when reaching out to the steering wheel as I do with the current L seat I have now?

  • #35241

    Nick Driver
    Participant

    Ok everybody. I took some pictures after work today to give a better idea what I’m working with. First off, I was wrong about the size of the seat. It’s not a size large, but XL!! I immediately started to get extra concerned. I’m guessing the “wings” on the side of the seat are supposed to contour/hug the side of the body a big more. Since I’m a thin guy, this is not really happening. You can also see that I’ve got quite a bit of gap around the side/front rib area and down to the waist.

    Looking at the pictures I also wonder why the seat is angled a bit to the right. Is this common? Personal preference? Could this also be contributing to my problem? There is wear on the top right of the seat. It was there when I bought the kart. Not sure why that specific spot is showing wear.

    I’ve got a suspicion I need to be considering a new, smaller, seat. Is there a market for used seats? Is it possible that somebody might be interested in a seat like mine in the condition it’s in (several pics below)? New Ribtect seats are pricey so I’m a little concerned about the next chunk of change I’m going to have to lay out here. Granted my health and safety are extremely important, but if I can save a few bucks somehow without sacrificing safety, I’m all for it.

     

  • #35243

    Jay Storey
    Participant

    Nick

    The Med. Ribtect was too small for me in the side and rib areas. It was tight enough to effect my breathing, I felt like I could not take a deep breath. This was with my vest on. The legs and the hips were good.

    The ML seat I have clears my arm pits good. It was a little loose on the sides and rib area until I added the padding. The Zoombang pads are about 3/8 thick, with them the sides and ribs are snug. There is a little room for movement in the leg and hip area but it does not bother me. I could probably add some pads to the sides of the legs. I still have the Med seat if you are interested, I think it is probably too small. Where are you located? I am about an hour north of the Jim Hall school.

  • #35291

    Daryle Redlin
    Participant

    Nick,

    I would suggest you remove that seat and purchase something like an IMAF F6 1+ size seat. Have someone at your local track or watch some of the seat mounting videos on line to install it. The Ribtect seats are good but for now it might be easier for you to learn on standard style seats. They are a lot less expensive and if you need to get a few to get things just right you haven’t broken the bank. Sometimes the seats are “slightly” offset to the left to compensate for the weight of the engine etc. Its usually not much though.

     

  • #35292

    Nick Driver
    Participant

    Daryle:
    I didn’t know about the IMAF seats until reading your post. I was also thinking along similar lines about maybe getting a more ‘entry level’ seat until it makes more sense for me to upgrade… especially since right now it seems I’m still buying other equipment here and there that I didn’t realize I’d end up needing right away. I was also wondering about the Tillett seats.

    I watched a video about seat installation, but it makes me nervous getting weight distribution right and mounting things in the right position for posture. I’m also second-guessing using the existing dimensions for the existing seat on the kart since the previous owner was a larger guy than me. I could imagine that seat was set up specifically for his particular needs. I think it would be interesting to get a seat properly mounted by somebody who knows what they’re doing, but I don’t know of any kart shops in the local area (93003)… and even if there is a shop or shops, I don’t have any experience knowing who’s reputable.

    I guess if I got a relatively inexpensive seat I could use it as an ‘experiment’ to get mounting right… what’s a few extra holes??? Although since I’m so new, taking some of the variables out of handling would sure be nice and that includes a properly mounted seat for me.

  • #35304

    Daryle Redlin
    Participant

    Most chassis builders will provide a seat mounting diagram. It will show where the front edge of the seat as well as the bottom of the seat need to be. From there you can fine tune but when your starting out the best position is the factory settings.

  • #35451

    Leo Ahearn
    Participant

    A bit of perspective if I may –

    125 shifter w sticky tires BTW.  I ran a Ribtect Large Tall.  I’m 5’11 and 170 lbs.  With a rib vest.  It hurt my ribs.  Granted I was nursing rib pain from a TaG with no rib vest (we all have to go drive around until we can’t stand it the first time we get in a real kart is appears), but this seat hurt me.  I worked with a long time karter to mod the seat.  We used a spreader jack and a heat gun and opened it up some, flaring the sides out more.  It became comfortable and my ribs healed.

    You need about a finger’s width of play on the sides, with our without the rib vest.  Too tight and it will hurt you.

    I let that seat get away and ran the stock CRG seat in a new shifter chassis.  After a long few days (10 test n tune sessions and a race day), I almost could not move.  Added some pads to the seat over the bolts, change seat position so I was not bouncing forward and the shallow sides hitting me.  Still chased rib injury and pain.

    Quit driving the shifter.  206 kart w rib protector, stock Arrow seat (EMAF?), life is good and ribs heal up.  That is, until I get in a CRG seat in a shifter.  Once the tires warm up I can feel my ribs folding over the top of the seat and the injury/pain comes right back.

    I need a taller deeper seat that fits me if I am to drive a TaG or shifter.  It may not be a chicom flexy flier like the stock CRG seat, but it is either get a different seat or don’t drive at all, regardless of what it does to the tuning of the chassis.

    When researching this before, I found some posts about a top S4 driver that went Ribtect in a CRG chassis and he said he had no issues tuning around the seat.

    Brand alone is not the resolution – it has to fit right, and you need to pad over the bolt heads, use flatter bolt heads, come up w your own flat bolt heads, etc. to go along with it.  The Ribtect flat heads are cool but expensive and only have a few threads in them.  They tend to fail in my experience.

    Good luck!

  • #35460

    FREDDY SANDOVAL
    Participant

    Nick

    That seat is not for you, I can see that you float in it, and the top is too tall for your thorso. You need the next size down.

    Not to mention the top side wings are designed to hug you

    And usually to get in and out of those seats you kind of have to go in sideways, and wedge your way inside.

    I noticed your arms are up, lifted up.

    What happens when arms are down and you get busy, negotiating corners? Yes you’re probably resting on top of the seat edges, while brutally bouncing around.

    Get a new seat, it will be the next size down, it will be more fit, and will be a little shorter too.

    That one is for taller drivers, like close to 6′ and a little over 6′

    Get a new rib vest, or rib band/wrap at least, install some padding, and enjoy. Fast Freddy

  • #35603

    Tim Koyen
    Participant

    Nick,

    Our seats (DeepSeat) are mean to be trimmed to height to prevent the problem of it being too tall.  Either way, the seat you have is too big.

    KartLift Kart Stands
    DeepSeat Kart Seats
    877-777-8020
    ------------------
    Don't bother PMing me, it doesn't work. Email is best: tim@kartlift.com.

  • #35630

    Ryan Ouellette
    Participant

    Nick

     

    Check out the Righetti Ridolfi x-5 seat.  It is similar to a Tillett T-8.  Acceleration Karting has them for $97.

     

  • #35853

    Nick Driver
    Participant

    Thanks for all of the responses. I plan to order a proper rib vest in the next few days. It will probably be a Ribtect4. My next goal will be to get a new seat. One thing I want to confirm is the best way to measure for a seat when keeping a rib vest in mind. I assume that when looking at chest width dimensions for a seat, you want to take a measurement of your chest size WHILE WEARING the rib vest. Is that the best way? I also assume that wearing the rib vest might create additional spacing down by the hips that would require additional padding.

  • #35972

    piotr krudysz
    Participant

    Nick,

     

    I probably won’t contribute a lot, as others have already provided so many details, but I’ll add my bottom line on the rib vest, as I’ve gone through the injury twice:

    – rib vest must be stiff, light vests don’t do the job IMO

    – rib vest must be the right size (cannot be too large – that’s what got me the 2nd time).

    – put the vest and the suit on, and then measure the seat, should be tight, should not move in the seat at all.

    2006 Englishtown Rookie of the Year

  • #36218

    Robby Mott
    Participant

    Hello Nick,  I am sorry to hear about your rib pain.  I have broken 9 of my ribs in my 32 years of karting experience and know how much it hurts.

    The size XL Ribtect seat is definitely too large for you.  With that being said, if a driver does not fit into one of our sizes or is between sizes……..I feel it is best to go with the larger size and pad the hip area if necessary.  One of the unique features of the Ribtect seats is…….there is no “rolled” lip around the seat like the standard seat designs.  Because the Ribtect seat is flexible……you can squeeze the upper portion of the seat in or out to get the fit “just right”.   This can be done by bending the welded seat struts in or out when mounting the seat.   Also,  a driver can remove the edge molding around the seat and trim the seat for a “custom fit”.

    My guess for you Nick…….is a size Medium Large seat.  We make our seats with Carbon fiber/fiberglass………and a cheaper version with gel coat and all fiberglass.  Both models come off the same molds.

    A good rib protector is a must…….no matter what seat you are using.

    The bottom line……you will need to let your ribs heal.  In the meantime…….a proper fitting seat and a good rib protector is a must.

    If you have any questions about sizing……please give me a call directly……and I will be happy to help you out.

    Thanks,

    Robby Mott

    Ribtect

    310-487-8938

  • #36305

    Troy Berry
    Participant

    I had a Ribtech Deep seat on my TAG and it was the only seat I could use that didn’t injure me.  It was a little loose as well, I was between sizes. So I simply added some padding. Use a closed cell, medium  dense foam padding. 1/2″ thick should work and contour the edges. Cover it with a heavy felt covering like they cover large speaker cabinets with. Just use Super 777  spray adhesive and it will stick nicely, even around the edges. I added  1/2 padding on top like the Tillets, and some hip pads as well.  Made it snug and I could push hard without pain for the 1st time in the kart.  Sorry I don’t have the kart now so I can’t show any pictures.  About $30.00 worth of materials and you may get the best fitting seat ever. I would try to stick with what you got and customize it and save some money. With a proper rib vest,  you will be golden.

    "The Art is in the details"
    BirelArt AM29 LO206
    Intrepid Cruiser KA 100

  • #36711

    Nick Driver
    Participant

    I ended up picking up a Righetti X6 (size XL). I also just received a Ribtect 4 vest and the measurements I took for the new seat were based on me wearing my suit with vest under. I did the best I could using online sizing charts for various manufacturers in my price range since I didn’t have a way to check sizing on seats locally. The seat is a little big, but not too bad I think. I think I need to add some 1/2″ neoprene foam padding since I’m able to fit my fingers between me and the seat up to about my 2nd knuckle. The seat doesn’t stick to me like a turtle shell when I try to stand up, but I can feel it gripping a little. Any feedback on this update?

    It’s been about 4 weeks since the rib pain started and it’s almost all gone now. I figure I’ve got another week or so before it’s gone completely and in the meantime I still need to mount the seat and get some padding.

     

     

  • #36717

    FREDDY SANDOVAL
    Participant

    Nick, I think that’s you!

    Remember the holidays are right around the corner, lots of turkey, yams, rolls, green bean cazerol, cran berry sauce, cookies, snacks, ham, pumkin pie, etc.

    Then Christmas time, and new years eve, nothing but deep fried turkey

    Will definitely take care of those gaps, oh! and a thick sweat shirt. ;)

  • #36724

    Brian Degulis
    Participant

    Your old seat looks like it’s turned to the right to much. Seat mounting is critical for performance and avoiding injury. Most kart manufacturers have dimensions but they don’t factor in seat size or shape. Without that the OEM dimensions are useless.  This is the best guide I’ve found on seat mounting  http://www.internationalkarting.com.au/files/TILLETT_DATA/TILLETT_Seat_Positioning_Text_by_Steve_Tillett.pdf

    Brian

     

  • #36786

    Nick Driver
    Participant

    I thought the seat that came with my kart from the previous owner did look pretty slanted to one side, but I didn’t notice that until taking pictures after my first day in it. I still haven’t mounted the new seat. I’ve been digging around looking for some neoprene on ebay. I’m feeling a little nervous about mounting the seat because I’ve never done it before and it seems like the process can vary depending on a few factors. I might mount it next weekend, but only if I can get up the nerves. I guess worst case I put a few extra holes in the seat… I’m also trying to figure out how many seat stays I should be using. The kart has 2 on each side right now, but I don’t know if that’s best for me or not.

  • #36797

    Brian Degulis
    Participant

    I clamp a piece of plywood to the underside of the frame then set the seat down on that with a weight in it. If it’s a flat bottom seat the gives you the proper angle and you can easily manupilate it to get the position you want. Generaly as close to the engine as possible then 7 1/4″ from the front of the axle to an area alongide the rear spline of the seat move the ruler up and down 7 1/4″ should be the shortest measurement. Then mearure front the front ear of the seat to the kingpins. the left should be a 1/4″ to 1/2″ shorter than the right. I would put both stays in place you can always loosen one if you need to.

     

    Brian

  • #37108

    Nick Driver
    Participant

    Well, I ended up getting the new seat installed today. I gave the recommended CRG location a shot so we’ll see what happens on the track. I bought some 1/2″ foam as well and added it to the left and right sides of the seat. Once added, there is no real wiggle room in the chest area when I’m wearing my suit and Ribtect 4 vest. It’s not tight or loose so I think it should be just right. Here are the pics. I tried to pull in the slack on the to illustrate the new fit. I think it just has to be better than how the old seat fit, but I guess I’ll find out if my ribs get destroyed again next time out in a week or two… hopefully next weekend.

    Also, I didn’t end up using the two additional seat stays because due to the positioning and size of the new seat, they were actually too long and won’t fit properly. So I guess if I need to use two additional seat stays, I’ll have to get a couple new ones that are a little shorter so they fit right.

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.