A Broken Saddle, a Lesson in Jaw Surgery,

Modern medical advances in jaw surgery are both wonderful and terrifying. If you ever break your jaw for any reason, you should not only take comfort in the fact that solutions exist to not only help your jaw heal faster than ever, but also in the fact that if jaw surgery requiring plates to be installed to reunite your jaw back together as one, advances in anesthesiology will ensure that you not feel a thing. At least for a little while anyway.

Fortunately, the only broken jaw that I’ll be talking about today is the jaw that holds together my bike saddle, a Specialized Avatar. Riding along the other day, I heard a sudden *snap* beneath me, and suddenly my saddle’s soft top was sliding about left and right. I had crushed the bones of the Specialized Avatar Saddle I’ve grown to absolutely love for almost three years. Crap, I thought, this saddle costs $80 to replace, followed by what would an oral surgeon do?

But the teeth on my saddle weren’t just misaligned, the plastic “jaw” completely snapped in the front, so the entire saddle portion wouldn’t stay on the rail, making it un-ridable. so I did what any hack-happy, mechanically minded, tinkerer oral surgeon would do to a broken jaw: surgery.

I’d need some brace plates, so off to the hardware store I went to pick some up: some two-sided screws and an old friend, JB Weld, an epoxy mixed with metal bits so strong it’s been known to have fixed cracked in automobile engine blocks, or for one friend, hold together a stripped freewheel lockring on his fixed gear bike (which has held for over 2 years and is still going strong). With glue this strong, would I even need braces? Maybe not, but this is surgery, and a good saddle surgeon can never be too safe. Would you trust a broken jaw with just some glue?

Back at home on the operating table, surgery commenced, starting with some roughening up of the saddle’s glue points with a file and mixing the epoxy. Masking tape held the saddle’s skin back while I operated. After gluing the crack back together came a generous slathering of glue before sticking the two braces in place to set. Then came the cast to keep it all together while the glue set in and the saddle’s bones healed, an old inner tube wrapped around the saddle front to back.

Unlike broken human bones like a jaw, which may take months to heal following lots of pain and swelling, glued up plastic and metal only take about a day to heal and the saddle’s soft cushion suffers no pain or swelling.

So it didn’t take long for the saddle to prop right back on my bike to ride another day. My bike couldn’t have been happier to have a complete functional jaw again, and carried me to work this morning, stiff as a log.


Medical Bill:

  • JB Weld: $5
  • Screws: $0.75 x 2 = $1.50
  • Labor: 1 hour, free
  • Healing Time: 24 hours.
  • Medication Prescribed: More Biking.
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3 Responses to A Broken Saddle, a Lesson in Jaw Surgery,

  1. Nathalie says:

    Awesome. Nicely done, Hum.

  2. Fenway says:

    Aren’t you worried that the repaired saddle could catastrophically fail on you at the worst possible moment? Epoxy is a fickle bitch when it comes to temperature variations over time.

  3. greg says:

    @Nathalie, thank you!

    @Fenway, I’m not really worried about catastrophic failure because even if it snaps again in the same place, the vinyl cover has tension that will keep it together like it did when it snapped the first time. Unless that also fails at the same time, I think I’ll be okay.

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