by Glenn W. for webBikeWorld.com
Very handy chair that packs into a small traveling case.
Useful for motorcycle rallies and many other events.
Feels very sturdy once assembled. Relatively inexpensive.
The Blue Max folding chair is becoming popular with motorcyclists, I discovered recently.
I always had it in the back of my mind to get one of those small folding wooden chairs to bring with me to local bike shows, tech weekends, track days and race events.
But I just never got around to ordering one -- I think the price was certainly one of the factors that kept my hand from pulling out my wallet when the time came.
So when the Editor was looking for someone to take on the evaluation of the Blue Max folding chair shown here, I jumped on it. Or sat in it, I should say!
There are two -- make that three -- major differences between the Blue Max chair and, uh, the other brand. First, the Blue Max is made from metal tubing. Second, it doesn't have arm rests.
But the biggest difference is the price.
The Blue Max chair goes for $35.99, dropping to $25.99 if you buy two or more.
Get the club members together (if you're good at herding cats into a bag, right?) and buy a case of 24 and you'll get an even better discount.
Now I'm not saying there's anything wrong at all with the wooden folding chair. It's a real work of art, made from oak and it's guaranteed for 5 years. It's a beauty, no two ways about it.
But there's a big market for a folding chair and customers have a variety of preferences and price sensitivities, as any Economist will tell you.
The Blue Max chair simply fits a different niche within that market.
With apologies to Mr. Henry Ford, the Blue Max chair is available in the colors and materials of your choice, as long as one of your choices includes black and metal.
This one weighs in at 7.5 lbs. (3.4 kg) and it comes with a nylon carrying bag that's 17.5" long, 5" wide and 7" tall at the big end.
When I first looked at a photo of the chair in the carrying case, I couldn't get a good idea of the proportions in comparison to a motorcycle saddlebag.
But it fits perfectly inside one of the relatively small bags on "The Ed's" (i.e., Editor's) Ducati GT1000, as shown below.
Assembling the Blue Max chair is slightly tricky at first, but after about a half-dozen tries, I now have it down to a science.
Each leg splits in half and the halves are connected to each other with shock cords. Grab a handful of legs and unfold the sections and it's basically a matter of plugging the top half into the bottom half.
Blue Max recommends standing the lower legs on the ground or a surface, which seems to help.
One potential snag is that the connecting junctions located at the upper rear section on each side of the seat, which appear to be made from nylon, can get twisted if you fold the lower legs in the wrong way.
I discovered this once when I couldn't get the rear upper and lower metal legs to join together.
If you're having a problem getting the legs to line up or if the legs in the rear don't fall into place, check the junctions at the top of the tubing, because they can rotate around slightly and get out of alignment.
It's an easy matter of simply twisting the junction to the correct orientation and the problem is solved.
Here's a close-up of the legs, shown in various stages of assembly:
Some of the legs fall into place almost immediately, while others need a bit of persuasion, but overall, once you get the hang of it, everything should easily snap together and if it doesn't, check to make sure the connectors are lined up.
And one of the benefits of the shock cords is that the entire chair is a one-piece assembly, so you can't lose anything or forget a part.
Make sure everything is correctly lined up and snug before you sit on it.
The chair is rated to hold 225 pounds, which I think is a very conservative number designed to satisfy the legal department, because once it's correctly set up, the chair seems as solid as any other metal folding chair I've ever used.
Here's a close-up of the top rear connector in the correct orientation:
The Blue Max chair comes in very handy for a variety of uses, both on and off the bike.
For example, my wife brings it along in her car to sit in while she watches the kids at the park and she says it's more comfy than the hard wooden benches.
If I could make one suggestion, it would be to make the handle loops longer so the carrying bag could be slung over the shoulder. And maybe a deluxe version with arms would be nice.
But other than that, the Blue Max chair seems very sturdy and I think it's a very good buy with many uses.
Master Listing of All wBW Motorcycle Product Reviews
|wBW Review: Blue Max Folding Chair|
|Manufacturer: Blue Max Enterprises (Apparently no longer in business)||List Price (2009): $35.99 for one; $25.99 for 2-8. Quantity discounts available.|
|Colors: Black||Made In: Unknown|
|Review Date: February 2009|
Note: Item provided by a retailer, distributor or manufacturer with these Terms and Conditions.
From "R.J." (April 2012): "Just thought I’d provide some feedback on a chair that you have reviewed. I ordered two of them, as they are well priced and appear to be a compact but strong design.
I have not tried them out yet, but one of the two chairs I received was clearly used and defective.
There was mud on the bottom of the case, the case is splitting apart at the seam, several of the shock cords are frayed and worn partly through, while one of them is completely broken.
The paint on the end of the male poles that insert in to the other side show wear, so this chair has seen significant use. Even the inside of the case was dirty from where the dirty poles touch the sides.
The manufacturer provides no telephone number to call, so I have emailed him asking him how he’s going to take care of this problem.
There are several other bad reviews of this product, so I think the readers need to know about this. Perhaps a nice product, but a company that is not ready for prime time."
From "G.I." (9/09): "Great review. Bought 2 chairs and had a problem with one of them. Re-read your article and discovered that one of the top rear connectors was twisted.
Saved me returning the chair. Keep up the good reviews."
From "S.W." (6/09): "I bought two chairs about a month ago and used them for the first time yesterday. One worked well, the other broke before it was even set up.
The plastic on the corner that bolts the leg is a weak spot and broke. I wouldn't recommend them to a friend."
From "D&V W" (5/09): "We were planning a trip to the Florida Keys and purchased 2 of the Blue Max chairs because we liked the fact that they were compact and came in their own carrying case which made it great for camping.
The only problem was that neither of the chairs had legs that fit together properly and if you picked the chair up to move it, the legs came apart and you had to go through the re-assembly process again.
Definitely not worth the money. We sent them back and received a refund."
Editor's Reply: They can be a bit tricky at first but after some practice they're much easier to assemble.