Shoft - new generation seatbelt lock

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Shoft - new generation seatbelt lock

Post by warpc0il » Fri Mar 13, 2020 4:44 pm

One of the actions that I took away from the AGM was to identify a source for replacement club shop stock of the CG-Locks, after the last one was sold over the weekend.

The contacts I have with the manufacturer in the US haven't been responding and everything suggests that there is at least a pause in production. The US distributor has a few in stock but is not willing to let them got for less than retail.

A couple of the UK-based Motability accessory stockists have 3-4 on the shelf but they also want retail (or more) as they're more used to "supply and fit" for their customers.

It was all looking a bit bleak until I dug around my old emails and found the discussion with Graham Cox, who was running cglock.co.uk back in 2012, when we did the original group buy.

I started with phone call (nearly an hour) chatting with Graham and he's very keen to re-establish a relationship with the club, based on the “next generation” seatbelt lock, called Shoft.

Graham closed the UK distribution of GC-Lock about 7 years ago, for various reasons, but never lost the passion for the product.

He was very aware of both the benefits and downsides of the device and set about trying a total redesign, looking for 95% of the benefit while avoiding at least as much of the downsides.

The result is a new* product called Shoft - see https://shoft.co.uk/ and the links to their youtube channel.
The main differences between Shoft and CG-Lock are:
- Price - the Shoft is half the price for a pack of two than a single CG-Lock, so a quarter of the unit price (retail)
- Construction - the Shoft is tough soft-feel plastic with no moving parts
- Fitting - it's a tool-free fitment that just slides on. One-size fits all (see later :roll: )
- Use - there's no latch to have to lock/release
- Weight - it's much lighter than the CG-Lock
- Potential for damage - the Shoft won't damage the paintwork if it gets knocked against the body/door, and it can't fray the belt (which an incorrectly fitted CG-Lock could do).
- The "locking" is a little less positive; the CG-Lock really locks the lap belt in place but the Shoft holds firmly while still allowing some movement.
- In-situ tightening, the CG-Lock can be difficult to re-tighten on the move if/when you sink further into the seat. The Shoft allows you to just pull up the diagonal section and take up any additional slack in the lap.

* I said that this is "a new product" but it was actually launched in 2014 - as per this video

focusing more on the posture benefits.

Anyway, it was initially a deliberately low-profile launch as they didn't want to produce thousands and then find that there were any production/materials issues after a couple of years that could come back a bite them - so far they've only had two units returned, both due to very strange seatbelt design in niche vehicles.

Tiff Needall has had a couple fitted in his M4 since 2015 and really rates them
https://thruxtonracing.co.uk/experiences/tiff-needell

Graham was out on the road, so the quickest way for me to get an example to review was to place an order on their website.

When the package arrived I was just going out for the day and it was an opportunity to try it for real.

My "daily" is a Jeep Cherokee fitted with leather seats that have worn smooth and sagged over the last 104k miles, and never had much in the way of side support or even "anti-submarining". The ride in the Jeep is also quite bouncy, so it was going to be a good test.

I tried to fit the device immediately, still very cold from the delivery, to a cold seatbelt, and it was too much of a struggle to do in a hurry.

Having left the Shoft in my trouser pocket to warm up, I found it very easy to fit at my first stop, 20 minutes later. It would have been safe to soften the material in a mug of hot (not boiling) water for a few minutes to ease fitting in cold weather.

Anyway, I was most impressed, as it makes virtually no difference to any of the functionality of the belt, it still extends and retracts in exactly the same way. It's so much lighter, less clunky and bulky than the CG-Lock.

I was a little sceptical as to how effective it would be in holding the lap belt tight, but it really works.

It was also very easy to pull up the slack that appears after the first couple of miles driving.
I had thought that this was a result of the device allowing some initial slip-back but putting a bit of tape on the belt as a marker confirmed that the grip is holding and that slack is just the seat pad compressing.

The result was a much more relaxed and comfortable drive, and I was looking forward to trying it in my RX-8.

Unfortunately it was a few days before the first opportunity and, having removed the CG-Lock (after searching around for the allen key) I was very disappointed to find that the Shoft wasn't going to fit - at least without risking breaking it.

See from the photo that the tab section of the belt is the perfect width but the top loop is considerably deeper than the Shoft is designed to take.
20200310_094229.jpg
Those that have tried the CG-Lock had already run up against the issue of the front seatbelt tongues on the RX-8 being the very rare “double pass” design, with an extra loop across the top.
20200310_094308.jpg
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With the CG-Lock you could either fit the device inverted or simply cut the extra loop away and convert the tongue into “single pass”.
20200310_093733.jpg
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20200310_093718.jpg
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Note that the rear seat belts have “single pass tongues” and that gives us a significant clue.
20200310_141246.jpg
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After much research and technical dialogue with Graham, we are 99% sure that the only reason Mazda specified double pass for the front belts is to increase the friction on the belt when it’s not in use, so the tongue stays where you put it and doesn’t slide down. This would be due to the B-pillar of the RX-8 actually being the leading edge of the rear door and you want to avoid the chance of the belt/tongue getting trapped when that door is opened and closed.
20200310_141216.jpg
As others had already removed their extra loops to enable them to fit CG-Locks, I took a brave pill and removed my loop to fit the Shoft.

It took about 5 minutes with my cordless Dremel to cut through and smooth the edges.
20200313_115626.jpg
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I could have used a junior hacksaw and file but the Dremel was handy.

There’s no metal inside the loop, which also helps convince me that it doesn’t have any role in impact constraint.

With the loop removed the remaining tongue looks almost the same as the rear belt, and just about every other seat belt that you’ll come across, and the Shoft fits snugly and completely covers the cut edges.
20200319_130018.jpg
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As with the Jeep, it was immediately obvious how much easier it is to keep the lap section of the belt tight and therefore your hips back in the seat.

I was already used to this in the RX-8, having been driving with the CG-Lock for 8 years, but the Shoft is way easier to use and less bulky. Even with the Shoft fitted the tongue is hardly any bigger than it was with the loop still attached. The reduction in weight, compared to the CG-Lock was amazing, so much so that I had to get the scales out.

The Shoft weighs 27g whereas the CG-Lock weighs 120g :shock: . The extra loop plastic section that I’d removed weighed 7g, so the net effect of the Shoft was only 20g, that’s 100g less than the CG-Lock, which is about the same weight as a decent sized apple.

There’s no “lock” as such to operate, as the locking is achieved purely by the friction of the belt against the Griptene pad, when in use.
20200319_130405.jpg
The Shoft is also so much easier to live with that I have no concerns fitting one to the passenger side and will be fitting sets to all our other cars. You hardly notice when using the seatbelt, so there’s nothing to put anyone off, and once belted in the only things you’d notice is the benefits.

The promotional material around Shoft is mainly aimed at back pain from poor posture, or addressing the risks of seat belts for pregnant women. I’d don’t know if Tiff suffers from back pain, but I’m pretty sure he’s not pregnant, and that’s not why he fitted Shofts in his track experience M4.

Anything that holds your arse in the seat, especially while cornering and braking, increases your control and helps give better feedback of what the car is doing. It’s much easier to allow the feet to do their things on the pedals without having to brace against the footrest and/or my knee against the centre console

Ever though it’s only the lap section of the belt that’s locked, the hips being held back in the seat also has great benefits for the upper body support. I no longer have to try and brace my elbow on the door and there’s no risk of using the hands on the wheel to hold yourself upright in a corner, rather than pointing the wheels in the right direction.

If I haven’t made it obvious in all the above, then let me make it clear.

I was totally sold on the benefits of the CG-Lock, to the point that I was prepared to live with the inconvenience and other downsides of having it fitted, both on-track and on the road.

The Shoft has managed to achieve at least 95% of the benefits, with virtually none of the inconvenience or downsides. Actually, I’d say it’s achieved 95% of the locking force, but swapped that extra 5% for the ability to re-tighten while driving, which is an added benefit.

Just as we did for the CG-Lock in 2012, so again we have the opportunity for a group buy for Shoft.

I have created a thread in the group buy section for people to indicate how many sets (of two) they would consider buying in such a deal – the higher the volume the better discount we can achieve for this one-off opportunity.

Don’t just consider this for your RX-8 but also for the other cars in your family fleet (note that almost all cars can fit this in seconds without tools or modifications).

Beyond the group buy we should be able to agree an ongoing discount of OC members, though it won’t be quite as cheap.

I had campaigned for the Club Shop to stock the CG-Lock, when alternative sources dried-up in the UK. This provided a benefit to members and an unexpected income stream for the club, selling units at a non-discounted rate to non-members.

However, there is no such supply issue for the Shoft and it makes no sense to have to impose this workload on our Shopkeeper for these devices.
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Re: Shoft - new generation seatbelt lock

Post by sKenDread » Fri Mar 13, 2020 4:55 pm

I bought this early-ish last year. Still haven't fitted itImage

I think for anyone who's already had cglock then this would be a good replacement.

The only gripe I have is knowing I have to cut out the top hoop of the seatbelt. To fit this Shoft

Based on how you explained the operation of the double hoop. It could provide a bit of reassurance.

Will this modification make an MOT tester want to look twice?

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Re: Shoft - new generation seatbelt lock

Post by sKenDread » Fri Mar 13, 2020 5:33 pm

Thanks Dave,
You talked me into fitting it right now. That took me about 5-10 minutes, while chatting with the neighbor.ImageImageImageImageImageImage
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Re: Shoft - new generation seatbelt lock

Post by warpc0il » Fri Mar 13, 2020 5:44 pm

Maybe you can also add a product review to this thread...

That looks suspiciously like a Clunk-Clip also in that photo #-o

This is from one of my emails with Graham
I wrote:This dialogue has triggered yet another heated discussion between myself and Pauline (my wife) regarding the Clunk-clip device that allows her to create some slack in the belt and prevents the reel pulling it back.

She insists that it's necessary for her, and her friends of similar stature (5' 2" with generous boobs) from having the diagonal belt cut into the boobs/neck, as "the reel keeps pulling".

Personally I think the things are bloody dangerous, as the seatbelt becomes next to useless with that much slack - I'm surprised that they're even legal.

However, I see her and her friends when driving or being a front seat passenger in a car without the clip, constantly pulling down on the belt to create slack.

It has occurred to me that the cause of their problem might not just be "the reel constantly pulling" but more related to the movement that the Shoft is aimed to prevent.

Consider that the end of the belt is bolted to the floor and therefore can't move. If the driver/passengers hips are sliding forward in the seat then more length of belt is required to allow this movement, this can only come from slip through the tongue, which makes the diagonal section pull tight. The force on the lap section is way more than on the diagonal, so it always wins the tug-of-war. This creates the problem that the Cluck-clip is then trying to fix by providing more slack, but that just encourages more movement (rinse & repeat)

If I'm right then a Shoft should address the problem at source. The lap belt stays in place, the hips stay back in the seat, there's no pulling of the diagonal belt from below and, maybe, there's no need to create excess slack in that section for "comfort" - which sounds like a win-win to me.
Were you using that clip as sold, up on the B pillar to prevent the reel taking up the slack, or were you seeing if it would function as a poor-mans CG-Lock?
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Re: Shoft - new generation seatbelt lock

Post by sKenDread » Fri Mar 13, 2020 7:34 pm

I used it as a CG-lock. I bought the Shoft first and realised it would require me to cut the clip so I bought that as a replacement.

I'd even contacted Shoft and they accepted I return for a refund but thought I'd hold out. Thankfully I didn't.

I've been using them since last year. And found it great. It does do the job although it did come loose a few times but not while driving. I like that they both keep my hips firm and snug in the seat.
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Re: Shoft - new generation seatbelt lock

Post by Yorindesarin » Fri Mar 13, 2020 9:53 pm

I have to say when I was in Chris' car at the AGM I found the CG Lock to be absolutely amazing... Definitely something I feels required for any type of driving.
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Re: Shoft - new generation seatbelt lock

Post by ChrisHolmes » Fri Mar 13, 2020 10:25 pm

sKenDread wrote:
Fri Mar 13, 2020 7:34 pm
I used it as a CG-lock. I bought the Shoft first and realised it would require me to cut the clip so I bought that as a replacement.

I'd even contacted Shoft and they accepted I return for a refund but thought I'd hold out. Thankfully I didn't.

I've been using them since last year. And found it great. It does do the job although it did come loose a few times but not while driving. I like that they both keep my hips firm and snug in the seat.
I bet your Mrs likes your firm hips too!
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Re: Shoft - new generation seatbelt lock

Post by warpc0il » Sat Mar 14, 2020 8:32 am

Added baby/child seat information here
viewtopic.php?p=1255347#p1255347

Also, if you doubt that you slump in the seat while driving on the road, just try this simple trick next time...

As you get into the car deliberately knock the rear view mirror.
Get yourself comfortable in the seat and put the seatbelt on.
Adjust the rear view mirror to give you the correct view through the rear window.
After a few miles, check the view in the mirror and realise that you have to adjust it again :?
This is because you're now no longer sitting properly in the seat and have already slumped down.

You might not have to do this test, as you might remember every time you drive the car after your partner and have to re-adjust the mirror, twice. #-o

Next time you're the front seat passenger, try the test on the driver without saying anything, so they don't know that they're being tested ;)
Knock the mirror, watch them adjust it before they drive off and then see how many times they adjust it again en-route :lol:

Shoft is designed to prevent this slumping and, once fitted, you should find that there's no (or little) need to touch that mirror on the move.
Spoiler:
For those that are interested, there's some real science in this test.
Mirrors double angles, so for every cm your head moves, the offset to the reflection moves 2cm, at the same distance to the mirror, or 4cm at double the distance to the mirror. The ratio between the distances of your eyes to the mirror, and the mirror to the rear window frame, means that even a small drop in the height of your head makes a significant difference in the alignment of your view.
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Re: Shoft - new generation seatbelt lock

Post by warpc0il » Wed Mar 18, 2020 2:43 pm

I was talking to Graham about his product and the trick that I'd tried above and he did have some feedback from a journalist that had been given the job of reviewing Shoft for a motoring magazine.

The journo was sceptical that such a simple design could be effective, or even that there was a issue for which it could be a solution.

In order to proven this he swung his dashcam around to film himself driving, first without the Shoft and then later with.
When he reviewed the footage the next day he was surprised by two things in the "without" footage;
- the position of his head dropped significantly over the first few miles of driving.
- he had habit of frequently adjusting the tension of the diagonal belt - something he no idea that he was doing.
The video with the Shoft fitted showed his head remaining at the same height, as he was no longer sliding forward, and not once did his hand go to adjust the diagonal belt during the drive.

The great thing here is that he hadn't looked at the "without" video before fitting the Shoft, so didn't even realise that he'd got this behaviour with the belt, so it wasn't a conscious effort to stop, it was just not necessary with the Shoft fitted.

The guy kept the set provided for the review and bought a couple more sets with his own money :shock: for his company car. and his wife's car.
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Re: Shoft - new generation seatbelt lock

Post by warpc0il » Thu Mar 19, 2020 2:40 pm

Today I finally got to drive the 8 with the Shoft fitted, rather than just wriggling around in the seat, and was disappointed to find that it wasn't as effective as it had been in the Jeep. It worked but not nearly as well :( :?

:-k There must be a reason for this and maybe it was the relative position of the stalk and the seat cushion.
The 8 has a long stalk and a deep seat, while the Jeep has a short stalk and an almost flat seat.

After some :scratch: the penny dropped and I realised that the issue was the loose nut holding the steering wheel - that would be me :oops:

In my defence, it's just as easy to fit the device upside-down and the instructions aren't that clear.
Because of the layout of the Mazda stalk, upside-down actually looks "right" because when you're not sitting in the seat the belt sits against the pad and would obviously grip.
Spoiler:
20200313_123001.jpg
20200313_123001.jpg (339.6 KiB) Viewed 742 times
With the device fitted correctly, the belt falls away from the pad and doesn't grip at all :?
20200319_130405.jpg
However, that's just when the seat is empty.

When you're seated then the lower belt is tight against your hip and that's what presses it against the pad, and it works so much better - as designed, and how I'd fitted it in the Jeep :thumleft:

I should have watched this video first...


Anyway, I've corrected my first post to show how it should be fitted.

I also took the opportunity to try without any form of lock, as I'd previously had the CG-Lock fitted and had gone directly from that to the Shoft, and had forgotten just how loose you are in the seat with just the belt - that's in my car with grippy cloth seats rather than slippery "leather" - :shock:

If you're in any doubt how ineffective the belt is in holding you in place, try this simple test...

Next time you get in the car (any car) put the belt on normally then hook your thumbs into the lap belt (cowboy style) and pull the belt away from your body - on every car I've tried there's almost no resistance as more slack just slides through from above.

With the Shoft fitted this just doesn't happen, instead the more you push with the thumbs the harder the belt is gripped. Apply enough force and you can overcome it but you really have to push hard.

This static test result is replicated as you drive (or as a passenger) as the lap belt keeps your hips back in the seat
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Re: Shoft - new generation seatbelt lock

Post by warpc0il » Fri Mar 20, 2020 11:17 am

Update: The Group Buy is now open
viewtopic.php?p=1255296#p1255296

Once you receive your Shofts, please post your reviews here
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Re: Shoft - new generation seatbelt lock

Post by ChrisHolmes » Fri Mar 20, 2020 1:27 pm

Yorindesarin wrote:
Fri Mar 13, 2020 9:53 pm
I have to say when I was in Chris' car at the AGM I found the CG Lock to be absolutely amazing... Definitely something I feels required for any type of driving.
I just realised I forgot to add that you were also in a bucket seat!
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Re: Shoft - new generation seatbelt lock

Post by Yorindesarin » Fri Mar 20, 2020 1:30 pm

Ahah. That's true. But even so I could feel the CG lock doing it's work. I imagine even in a bucket seat there could still be a bit of seat belt slack. Where I felt literally locked to the seat. As we discovered when I attempted to get out of the car. :lol:

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Re: Shoft - new generation seatbelt lock

Post by warpc0il » Fri Mar 20, 2020 10:30 pm

The Shoft was originally made in Red, now it's either Black with Orange, or Orange with Black.

Image
Image

Since I now have an open dialogue with the MD of the company, we may have some influence in future developments.

What colours would you guys like to see offered?

Personally it would have to be Yellow with Black

How about Purple, or Green, or Silver Grey?
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Re: Shoft - new generation seatbelt lock

Post by warpc0il » Sat Jun 13, 2020 5:52 pm

Quick :bump:
for the group buy
viewtopic.php?f=144&t=81508
Dave
The Spin Doctor ™
uǝǝɹɔs ɹnoʎ ʇɹǝʌuı ǝsɐǝld :ɹoɹɹǝ

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