About 2 years ago I decided I needed an head rest for my bike. It’s just to reclined to ride without some kind of head and neck support. I now ride 100% of the time with my head supported.
Finding a head rest if your manufacturer doesn’t make one or if you don’t want to spend or have to spend $75 to $100 is another story.
A head rest for me is something that supports the neck more than the head. Some head rests are very uncomfortable when wearing a helmet. The best way I found to get around this is to simply use a foam roll. The photographs below are not the best step-by-step guide but I think most people will be able to look at them and get the idea. If you can get to a fabric store and a hardware store for about $10 in hardware, foam, and cloth you can make your own.
Basic Pictures of my Homemade Recumbent Bike Headrest
1 to 1.5″ Wide x 12″ or longer aluminum bar. Once you measure and cut to your specific application you can drill a bunch of holes in the bar to make it super light! You can usually get this as bulk stock at the local Lowe’s Hardware. I couldn’t find it at The Home Depot in my area. I’ve seen some people using spatulas and you could also use a ruler if it was just right. This becomes the base you use to mount to your seat if it’s a hard shell. If you have a soft mesh seat you will likely be able to attach either PVC pipe or clamp to the metal frame directly. You can mount this to your seat using screws or you can just use duct tape. My preference is for the duct tape that is designed not to leave adhesive on the mounting surface.
Okay so now you have what is basically a stick of thin aluminum mounted to your seat. At the top of the aluminum you want to bend it over at a 95 degree angle (See Picture Above) leaving around 1″ pointing almost directly backwards and perpendicular to the seat. This becomes the small area you can secure your headrest. You can either drill a small hole in the 1″ part or you can just tie to it.
The headrest itself is very easy to make. You take a pool float noodle and cut off a section about 6″ wide. Most of this stuff is super light weight and about 2.5″ to 3″ in diameter. This becomes the interior cross section of your head rest. Next you wrap this section with any kind of very flexible soft foam. I took an old 1″ piece of camping foam and wrapped it to desired thickness. You tape this on the ends or tie it off on the ends with a strap or string and you have a nice soft rounded neck pillow.
The next thing I did was go to the fabric store and purchased some soft synthetic velour cloth (Synthetic cloth wicks moisture). I created a small bag to put my foam headrest in and tied it off. Then I mounted this to the aluminum rod using 3/4″ strap I also picked up at the fabric store. Simple, easy, and extremely comfortable. I wrapped it around the aluminum bar and used safety pins to anchor the bag to the foam and to the strap. This recumbent headrest flexes nicely as you ride and doesn’t transmit road vibration into your head.
There are many variations on this method of mounting. I chose not to screw to the seat because I didn’t need to, tape works fine. Plus I have a seat bag that hangs on the seat so it would get in the way if it was screwed on. Duct tape holds firm, and if you get the kind that doesn’t leave residue it’s easy to replace as it wears over time. If you don’t have a sewing machine you can probably get someone at the local fabric store to sew up a small bag for you.