are a frequently discussed topic on r.m.h. Below are a few links to Google
searches of past discussions on various seat brands:
The following was written by Larry Boyd.
Many people complain that their stock seat is not quite up to par. Personally
I think that a comfy seat is one of the most important parts of a motorcycle.
In general, your butt should be able to last at least as long as your tank.
If you find yourself frequently in need of a butt break before your bike's
ready for gas, it's time to start thinking about another seat.
The most frequently chosen solution to seat woes is to buy a seat from one
of the many aftermarket manufacturers. There are tons of seat choices available
to suit even the most picky rider.
Factors in seat choice
Choice of a seat is a highly individual matter. What works for one person
may not work for the next. So how do you decide? Well the single best piece
of advice is to find a way to actually try the seat out. If you're lucky
you can find a shop or friend that has the seat you are interested in and
will allow you to give it a try. Unfortunately, most of the time the only
way to know is to buy the thing and hope it works out.
But before you place that order consider the following factors:
Probably the single most important factor in seat choice. Essentially
a comfy seat is firm. Think of it as the "Goldilocks Factor". The
consequences of too hard of a seat are obvious. Seats that are too
soft, while initially pretty comfortable, will cause the same problems
in the long run as a seat that's too hard. Additionally, a seat that
has a soft fill is much more prone to lumping or loosing its shape.
Let's face it, cost is a very important factor in choosing a seat.
While, there are relative bargains in the aftermarket, be
prepared to spend $250-400 for a good seat. Find out what the exchange
policy is. Can you return the seat if you're not happy? Don't be surprised
if some companies charge you a "restocking" fee for a returned seat.
Hey, nobody wants an ugly seat. Luckily, there are enough styles
to choose from to satisfy nearly every taste. Keep in mind though,
that comfort and style do not always go together.
Durability is one of the often overlooked factors in seat choice.
While leather is nice looking and is just as durable (maybe more so)
than naugahyde or other synthetic materials, it only remains so with
diligent care and maintenance.
- Riding Style
Another very important factor is the type of riding you do. Do you
make a lot of extended trips, do you make short hops around town,
or are you looking for something fancy for a trailer queen?
Most aftermarket seats will reposition the rider is some way. Some
will move you closer to the bars, others will move you back. Some
will effectively raise the seat height while others will lower it.
Things to look for when choosing a seat
Here's a list of a few of the more popular aftermarket seat manufacturers
with links to their websites (if they have one).
Mustang seats are highly recommended by a large
portion of the readers of r.m.h. Their seats are comfortable out of
the box and well constructed. My personal choice. They also offer a
line of seats that contain an adjustable air bladder that allows the
rider to vary the firmness of the seat.
Another highly recommended company. Corbin makes
some of the best looking seats around. Keep in mind though that Corbin
seats generally are quite firm and require a breakin period of 2k-5k
miles before they settle in and get comfortable. There have been complaints
in r.m.h about a decrease in quality of Corbin seats. Wait periods can
be long and customer service may not be up to expectations.
Saddleman seats are another well made product.
Saddleman offers a line of seats that have gel inserts in them that
come highly recommended.
LaPera offers a wide range of styles. Not many
readers in r.m.h have commented on LaPera but the people I know that
have them have no complaints.
In addition to the aftermarket, there are other options for dealing with
a bad seat.
Have Your Seat Redone
This is a popular option to purchasing an aftermarket seat. Find someone
local who will redo your seat for you using a better grade of foam or inserting
a gel pad. Often you can find local auto upholstery specialists who will
do motorcycle seats. Choosing this route gives you advantage of being able
to maintain the stock look of the bike and is generally cheaper than the
Keep in mind though, that a poor seat design is a poor seat design.
It doesn't matter how firm the foam is if the seat is too narrow or doesn't
offer the lateral support you may need.
One of the more popular and decently priced companies that specialize
in redoing stock seats is Russell
Cycle Products INC. Russell has a very good reputation among ironbutters
as the seat of choice. Your seat will not look stock but it will be tailor
made for you based on photos and other information you send to Russell.
If you are looking to do big miles you should seriously consider Russell.
Yo! sent his seat to Sargent
Cycle. They did a fine custom job and he loves it.
Pads and Covers
Another option is to use a pad to make a short ride seat more comfortable
for long rides. These pads offer the advantage of easy installation and
removal while retaining the stock seat.
- Gel Pads
Gel pads claim to help reduce butt fatigue by more evenly distributing
the riders weight thus eliminating pressure points. Generally, they
attach to the seat with a strap. Unfortunately, from what I've seen
the ones that are available are fairly small and thus actually create
additional pressure points since they do not always cover the entire
seat. They can also create a disconnected and unstable feeling since
they simple sit on top of the seat. They are also pretty pricey all
One solution to the size and price option is to by one from a pharmacy
or medical supply store. You can usually find them in sizes that will
cover you entire seat and the cost is cheaper than buying a pad sold
as a motorcycle accessory. The downside is they're usually this funky
- Air bladders
Air bladders essentially work like gel pads. The have many of the
same disadvantages of gel pads and are often more expensive. The major
advantage of air bladders is that the firmness of the pad can be easily
Often a sheepskin cover can be the solution to a bad seat. Sheepskin
covers provide some additional padding and adds a layer of breathable
material between your butt and the seat. One disadvantage to sheepskin
is that it takes longer to dry out than simply wiping off a piece
of leather or naugahyde.