Review : ErgoGenesis "BodyBilt"
Ergonomic "Mid Back" J752 Task Chair
(CR / ESD type)
The ErgoGenesis "BodyBilt" J752 ESD/CR Task Chair in Blue (ESD)
Vinyl with the "Number 2 Deep Seat" and padded armrest
This is NOT a low cost chair , so is it worth the money ??
See my "Hard Hitting" review below. Above picture was taken as brand new out of the box in November 2010.
of Manufacture : United States of America (Texas)
"J" Mechanics Part of Chair : Canada
Approx. Serial Number (Manufactured in mid November 2010) : 10-4635xx-x
This review is subject to revision at any time. (more than normal)
New Radio Room Chair / Now For Something Completely Different
Was in the hunt for a new chair for the radio room and wanted to TRY something different over the usual Chinese offerings that one sees in retail stores and on line. This of course entails most of what is sold today.
After some research the USA Texas made BodyBilt chairs appeared to be very different (and desirable at the time to my eyes) over just about any chair on the market. They have been manufacturing office chairs since 1989~1990. What intrigued me first about these chairs was the offering of the very contoured seats.
However , there is at least 2 other similar manufactures that ares very near the BodyBilt offerings (and perhaps better). The first one and also made in Texas USA is called Neutral Posture. After a bit of research, there was in fact was a major legal battle in July 2002 between these 2 companies. BodyBilt won this particular court case.
Also has been at least one financial difficultly (bankruptcy) with BodyBilt over the years. The core company was renamed ErgoGenesis later on (was previously ChairWorks, but this name is now used by a Chinese chair company).
Netural Posture also markets chairs with different contoured seats. I also found the street pricing to be less too. But they just do not look as exciting for some reason?
Most exciting (however more
expensive) in this seat type and style appear to come
from Canada made " LifeForm "
Yes, what I
found out in reality was very sour with this BodyBilt chair, as
you will read below. As usual Im NOT going to give any
rosy-candy covered advertising type report. In the
usual Hard Hitting N9EWO style. Mind you there are
many other models and configurations of BodyBilt chairs (but we
will only cover the one in review here).
Taking the Plunge / Arrived Almost Damaged
Anyway, after liquidating a few radio goodies in order to finance this high-end chair, I decided to go with a BodyBilt ESD type J752 task model in Blue vinyl. Mind you this is not your typical Office Max or Staples chair as the price is on the commercial side of the fence (ouch !). So get ready for major sticker shock. Its hand made to order and takes about 4 weeks for it to be built (not including the shipping time) via Texas in the USA.
In my case it was shipped via truck (Estes Trucking). For what chair I ordered it was too big for UPS or Fed EX Ground. It came fully assembled (could the shipping method vary with the model ordered ?). The downside was the box arrived in very bad condition (see photo below). Was heavily damaged on the lower end including being somewhat wet, but (whew) the damage missed the chair by inches. In my view the packing and thin box used were on the wimpy side for such a heavy high end product being shipped via truck. The chair was wrapped in plastic (as it should have been) ,so no water damage either.
The shipping weight was 73 lbs. The general chair (as ordered) is on the heavy side with its metal-chromed base it came with.
was sent via truck and the shipping carton that almost did not
make the trip !!
As I read around the internet (including one review on Amazon) , I'm not the only person to experence this with a BodyBilt chair order.
BodyBilt Chair / Ordering / General Model Features /
Generally Modular Construction
Why a BodyBilt chair : I liked the selection of the heavily contoured seats and the most chair adjustments that anyone can have.
One needs to take the time and read and understand the options BEFORE ordering. Its a bit intense, confusing (BodyBilt web site), and even the representative in Chicago I talked to did not even know AT ALL what was REALLY up with this ESD model for options (duh ??). That was a song and dance exercise and I think I knew more than he did. He was more worried about his credit with any sale (see ya later gator .I was done dealing with him at that point).
Anyway I will not go into or recommend any dealers here and you will have to do your own research if you were to go for one too (but you can do much better for less $$'s). Ditto for any street prices. See the companies web site for dealers and also do searches around the internet. But as I hunted around the for this ESD model chair I eventually ordered, I found inaccurate drop down box options from dealers that were not valid with the model at all to confuse the ordering process even more and a good week of playing email tag for me.
Some Internet dealers also set certain features (like only one seat type) and only allow (more like force) just a few options for you. So beware. You may be better to purchase though a real dealer in your area but one could expect to pay more for the same identical chair this way (maybe not) ?? But perhaps may be easier to deal with the proper options in person as long as the person knows whats REALLY going on (good luck) ?
I ordered an ESD Mid-Back Task type (J752), with a # 2 Deep Seat and upholstered armrests. See the chart on this page (below) for the exact details on what I actually ended up with.
NOTE: Additional memory sport foam option is NOT available on an ESD chair model. I went with ESD Blue Vinyl. Black vinyl is the other color option as well as a (Gray ?) fabric version. Sorry, there is no real leather available on an ESD chair from BodyBilt. Leather would have driven up the already super expensive chair greatly anyway (like adding $ 700.00 + USD more?).
J Mech (chair mechanics) is ONLY available with an ESD model. There are other chair mechanic types available for other models. See the manufactures web site for more information on this.
Neat part with these chairs is the modular design (for the most part). If you need a new seat, back or armrests, you can actually order these parts and should be easy for the consumer to install or change out (this may not be in all cases of course) ? However we dont know what pricing would be involved either for parts like the entire replacement seat ? Will a replacement seat cost half the price of a new chair ? UPDATE : Cost of a new SEAT (at the time this was typed) is $ 250. USD , NOT including shipping and handling.
Getting Used To The Deep Seat / Many Adjustments / So-So Chair Mechanics
There are different seat types that are available. I went with the # 2 Deep Seat for more support as more seat to body contact for less pressure. Well thats what the manufactures hype says .
"The deeply contoured seat gives for passive weight distribution via surface contact. This also encourages proper-seated posture and cushions the high-pressure points that lead to discomfort on flat seat designs."
With this # 2 deep seat configuration, it positions your legs out quite a bit so you are forced to sit near spread eagle. This takes a bit of getting used to (OK more like allot for me).
Now in my view if this highly contoured (maximum) # 2 deep seat really does help with total seat pressure could be argued ? I feel a bit more "thigh" pressure in the process no matter how much I adjust it. Proper seat height is important too. If its too low the butt area suffers , too high any your thighs suffer even worse. These are basic chair adjustments of course. Also ones needs to be properly on the seat. It too forward is no good either (or too far back).
|" Most contoured seats are intended to be form-fitting to ones bottom. In most cases, however, it seems that the rate of curvature of the seat EXCEEDS the natural rate of curvature in the human body. This means that with the weight of sitting on the seat, the pressure of your own body causes an impingement of bone, skin, cartilage, tendons, nerves in a very, very unnatural manner. Over time, this constant compression will cause a distortion of the bodys natural alignment which will lead to pain from sitting. This type of seat also causes a forced inward torquing (rotation) of the upper legs. .........the contour shape is supposed to be more comfortable but it is NOT ! "|
One has to keep
in mind that it takes time to adjust any chair to your liking and
comfort, do not expect to do this in just a few minutes. It took
me a good week of playing around to even get near where I needed
and wanted it. There are videos on the manufactures web
site that help in this regard . Also other versions here (done by the same
The # 7 Moderate seat is probably going to be best for most folks. The manufacture actually recommends the # 7 seat for most of its customers.
But the real gremlin with the # 2 deep seat for me is with the LARGE pommel (bump in the middle) and is covered more below. One Internet dealer says that most women prefer the # 7 seat to the # 2 seat and I can sure understand that (would a # 2 be even more painful for women)?
With the chair as ordered, I can adjust the seat height, seat tilt and tension, backrest angle, backrest height, armrest height and angle (armrest tilt not available with upholstered type). Seat slider option is not available with the ESD model, but a similar backrest depth option is , but however I did not order this.
Talk about being the extremely versatile in the adjustment apartment. However to be fair, if one looks around (like I did) one can find most of these types of adjustments with some Chinese chairs at about 1/3 of the cost.
The mechanism is imported from Canada and does not look that robust to me (Northfield Metal Products in Waterloo, Ontario). The welds that hold the arm brackets on , look fair to me (see photo). Its body is anodized steel and some parts of the adjustment levers just feel very flimsy to me. The chair tilt adjustment can make some nasty cracking noises like something busted into pieces if you dont support the seat properly before you engage it. Also when in the locked mode, it giggles around just a bit. At this price point, this seems to be a weakest "metal" part of it ? Time will tell how long it will hold up ?
A little note in regards to the "seat tension" adjustment (tilt when in free floating mode) . I found that you should tilt the seat fully (lock off) forward BEFORE adjusting the seat tension. Otherwise the knob may not feel properly. This one is not covered in BodyBilt manuals, or any Internet information on their website . This information I found on Neutral Postures web site video's and I found to be valid for my BodyBilt chair as well.
ErgoGenesis "BodyBilt" J752's underside "J Model" chair mechanics (this
part was made in Canada)
To my eyes only "so-so" construction , also one has to wonder how long the the 3 adjustments (levers) will hold up ?
The added welds for the arm brackets look fair to me as well.
You can see one of these small weak welds in center picture above if you look close enough.
not a real issue here , but should a high end "ESD - Clean
Room" chair have rusty parts out of the box new ??
The rusty area shown is on the top of the steel armrest brackets (both of them).
At least the welds look good here.
Issures / Backrest and Chair Height Adjustments / Not All Bad
Yes, we have vinyl covering being used in this chair. Of course will not be as durable as leather (again this is not available on a ESD chair). It is on the light softer side too and how long it will hold up will be another very interesting part we will have to see ?
**** MAJOR SEAT ISSUES ****
NUMBER ONE : However only after a week of careful use we have I would call excessive ripple marks" on the seat. You always have marks that are going to appear in the vinyl (or the foam) from pressure from your clothing. These should disappear for the most part in a few minutes after your butt is out of it ?? This could be a normal trait for a vinyl chair with a # 2"deep seat", but how much worse this will get is a good question (see photo below) ?
NUMBER TWO (and is the MAJOR NASTY seat issue for me) : Next seat nasty involves a sharp feeling after you settle "sink" into it (say an hour or so). Involves the rear end of the seated area and feels like I'm hitting one layer (end of) of foam in the cushion that has either moved around or is just defective ?? Like a foregin sharp object is moving around in there. After awhile this gets to such a "sharp feeling" where I MUST stand up and get out of it.
NUMBER THREE : (however this one is not a defect and a much lesser issue, but for the record) Last seat bug for me is with the very large Pommel. This is the bump in the middle that helps spread out the weight distribution (see main photo at top of this review). The # 2 seat places very undesirable pressure in the prostate area for me and of course gives PAIN (this would have to be even worse for a woman ??). Again one of course one must sit properly in the chair (back far enough and not too forward either) and have done this. But even with that properly executed, it can be a painful part of this chair for me.
There is a reduced Pommel Foam option that takes off 1inch of foam. Cannot say one way of the other if this would help the issue (untested) ? But I think if there is even less Pommel foam, could this make for an even a worst case issue in my case ??
It's not all bad news mind you. The backrest is super neat (but is not 100 % either, see photo below). The height adjustment has clicks and can be moved right where you need it. It does make a creaking sound while your back hits it, which is a bit annoying. Backrest angle adjustment also works very well.
The chair gas height adjustment works well too. All chairs that have a gas cartridge for chair height and have what I call sink factor as one sits down. This BodyBilt chair "gas" lift seems to sink down a bit more than usual (like its in 2 steps too ??). But is not a drawback to me at least at the time this report was typed.
seat photo only 2 weeks old. Photo above taken "cold"
at the start of a day.
How much worse it will get is a good question ?? Who knows this could a be a normal thing as it's vinyl , but is not what I liked to see.
There are other issues with this # 2 "Deep Seat" too (see text) , MAJOR one in my case being a "sharp" feeling in the seat after awhile in it.
(UPDATE : Since this report was typed, the seat has gotten much worse in 18 months with the glue now giving out with severe sags .)
my view at this price point , construction quality (and some
parts) of this "Body Bilt" chair severely lacks.
You can see that the backrest does not "center" properly to the back of the seat. I can see no way for the customer to correct this nasty ill.
There is simply no excuse for this !! (NOTE : This picture above was taken when brand new, first day)
Note : Adjusting the seat "mounting" (ever so slightly) with it's four mounting bolts made no difference with this backrest centering issue. None.
So Is It
Worth It ?? / Order with a # 7 Type Seat ?? / Overall "
Forget It "
Like I was saying at the beginning of this review that it was a very mixed bag for this J752 BodyBilt ESD task chair for me.
I find it to be "comfortable" only when one first sits in it. It does have an extreme degree of adjustments and the contoured seat which are the perks . But once the "sharp feeling" starts with the foam in the seat after awhile (about 1 hour), I have to reach for a pillow , it totally drives me nuts .
So with the TWO seat issues as covered above (#1 and #2) and customer service issues , I simply DO NOT recommend it . Especially at the much more higher price over a decent Chinese leather chair which is going to be at a far lower cost. Yes good Chinese chairs actually DO exist even if these "high-end" high priced US chair manufactures say "no way" (of course they say that.....).
I cannot say if a # 7 Moderate seat would clear the Pommel issue up that happens with the # 2 type ? I have not tested a # 7 type seat and have no plans to do so at time this report was typed. The backrest being out of center with the seat is just another nasty that should not be at all.
So the old saying: You Get What You Pay For is NOT valid here to me. In my view one can do just as well or MUCH BETTER with a Chinese chair in the $ 200 to $ 400 price point (properly chosen) and dont have to deal with the seat issues and a backrest that is not centered properly. These simply should not be there. Sorry that I must give a solid "thumbs down". WAY too much money for the low quality and nasty issues.
I hope this review was of use and interest ?
"BodyBilt" Ergonomic "Mid Back" J752
Task Chair (CR / ESD type)
|- " Blue" ESD
- # 2 "Deep Seat"
- J Chair Mech (only Mech can can be used with a ESD model)
- CleanRoom / ESD - CRE
- Fully Upholstered Backrest - U
- Standard Chrome Cylinder, 5.5" stroke - Y6
- 25" Polished Aluminum w/ Chrome Base - B3
- ESD Casters - C9
- Upholstered S'port Arms (Left and Right)
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