Motorcycle seats and seat pad buyer’s guide

By: On: May 21st, 20110 Comments »Updated: October 14, 2012

motorcycle seat tapeWhether you ride street bikes, trike motorcycles, or motor scooters, you know that uncomfortable motorcycle seats can make rides miserable.

 

Our buyer’s guide for motorcycle seats includes some of the best and most popular seats and seat cushions available.

Motorcycle seats can be expensive to upgrade, but there are cost-conscious solutions that beat the heck out of using duct tape to try to repair yours.

There are pads and pillows that can attach to many original equipment motorcycle seats on street bikes, cruisers, touring bikes and standards, etc. These often use gel, neoprene, sheepskin, or air to reduce the pressure points on your bottom.  Some of the most popular brands of these motorcycle seats and cushions are listed further down into this article with their contact info.

Another temporary solution to buying new motorcycle seats is to wear special, and often expensive, underwear or shorts under your pants that have special moisture-wicking material and are made without any seams on the bottom side to help eliminate pressure points.  LDComfort is a popular brand of these.  Sweat and seams on your bottom during a long motorcycle ride will result in two very concentrated spots of pain that will really intensify by end of the day.  Unfortunately, I am speaking from experience.

I once wore 3 layers of underwear under my jeans on a 400 mile ride (short by some standards) during the heat of summer in the southeastern USA on a practice ride to be a motorcycle marshal.  It seemed to help a little, but the seams still hurt.  It obviously worked nothing like a proper seat cushion or riding shorts would have.

It is not easy, and not practical, for motorcycle seats to be “one size fits all”.  That’s why upgrading to custom-fit motorcycle seats can totally transform your riding enjoyment and stamina, not to mention improve the look of your bike too. Do you think that members of the Iron Butt Association all still have the stock seats or don’t use seat pads on their motorcycles?

Popular motorcycle seat cushions:

Airhawk motorcycle seat cushionAirhawk: an air-filled  seat cushion that is quite popular with a good reputation.  We actually saw several participants in the 2010 Motorcycle Cannonball using these on their grueling cross-country competition on pre-1916 motorcycles.  Since the Airhawk seat cushions were good enough for those riders, then what more can we say?   The cover can be removed for cleaning and has mesh along the sides for ventilation.  The air pillows greatly reduce all pressure points by distributing your weight evenly and very comfortably. Airhawk seats are very durable, but even so, keep sharp objects away to avoid puncturing.  The underside has a non-slip urethane surface to keep it from moving against the motorcycle’s original seat.  The Airhawk design is repairable, uses replaceable straps, a replaceable quick-dry cover, and comes with a 60-day money back guarantee.  Cost for the original Airhawk seat cushion starts at around $170 and at around $92 for their Airhawk2 model.   www.airhawk.net

AMS comfort max motorcycle seat padAMS Comfort-Max: uses a combination of gel pad, memory foam, and your choice between neoprene or Australian sheepskin covers.  Pick from medium, large, jumbo or “ortho-deluxe” sizes.  Comfort-max gel pads with the sheepskin covers sell for around $70 to $125, or with neoprene covers for around $70 to $110, depending on which size you pick.  AMS also offers a sheepskin cover for backrests.  As an alternative to their complete seat pads, you can get just the plain “raw” gel pads from AMS that can be used to cover or customize motorcycle seats as needed.  The gel pad is a 3/4 inch thick visco-elastic molded gel that is non-toxic, and comes with a lifetime guarantee against leaking, oozing, cracking, melting or hardening.  You can even trim or cut it.  Plain raw pads go for around $60 to $90 depending on size.  American Motorcycle Specialties is located in Arizona and can be reached at 805-750-1353 or www.amspecialtiesusa.com

Pro Pad gel motorcycle seat cushion with quilted coverPro Pad: offers quilted fabric covered gel pads as well as leather covered, and sheepskin covered seat pads.  All are made with a medical grade gel. They describe their strapping system as the most versatile on the market.  Each gel seat pad has a 3 year replacement warranty.  The quilted fabric covered pads are popular, and come in a variety of sizes with prices ranging from around $55 to $120 depending on which size you need.  Their leather covered pads go for about $60-$140 depending on size, and their sheepskin covered seat pads are about $70-$155 also depending on size.  If the straps for your Pro Pad wear out, get lost or damaged, a replacement set of straps only costs about $7 or $8, which we feel is very reasonably priced. They have attachment clips and rubber coated hooks on them to hold the pad securely to most motorcycle seats. Contact Pro Pad at 800-403-2714 or www.thepropad.com

Saddlemen pillow top motorcycle seat padSaddlemen: offers a variety of gel pads for motorcycle seats. Their sheepskin covered seat pads help keep your bottom comfortable during cool or warm weather.  Their pillow-top seat pad is really nice, and they have molded, and stretch covered gel pads too.  The standard soft stretch gel pads start at around $75, sheepskin covered seat pads, 3D molded seat pads, and Saddlemen pillow top seat pads all start at about $85 for the small an go up to around $110 for large motorcycle seats.  Their raw gel pad can be fit into your own motorcycle seat and list for around $45 – $70 depending on size.  www.saddlemen.com

Skwoosh motorcycle seat padSkwoosh: This company makes low profile gel pads for motorcycles, sports, office and travel.  Their pads have separate chambers they call their “independent comfort suspension” or ICS.  Skwoosh seat pads do not have a removable cover, but they do have a non-slip surface built into on the underside.  A single 3/4 inch wide automotive grade elastic strap (included) goes under the motorcycle seat and snaps onto each side of the pad.  The pad can be unsnapped, folded and easily stored when not in use, or left on the bike.  Skwoosh pads are waterproof, so rain is not a problem.  Sizes come in universal (large as pictured) for about $80, mid-size (medium) for about $65, hopper (small, fits many passenger seats) for about $50, and a narrower passenger pillion size for about $40.    Skwoosh can be reached at 978-689-0500 or www.skwoosh.com

Custom motorcycle seats:

Corbin – Making seats since 1968, Corbin is located in Hollister, California and Ormond Beach, Florida.  Seats are available for just about every type of street or off-road motorcycle and for a variety of scooters too.   Corbin also offers some very cool fairings, hard bags, trunks and other accessories.  They even have some furniture designed with a vintage car theme to them.  Corbin Hollister, California facility will be having their 2nd annual rider appreciation day open house on July 2, 2011.  www.corbin.com

Russell Day Long motorcycle seatRussell – Located in Shasta Lake, California, this manufacturer describes their “Day-Long” Touring Saddle  as a seating system. The seats are purely custom made to order and built according to your body measurements and the type of motorcycle you have.  Each is unique.  You can even ride or bring your motorcycle to their facility (by appointment) to have your new seat made during a day or two. Call them at 800-432-9566 if in USA or Canada or visit online at www.day-long.com

Saddlemen sport motorcycle seatSaddlemen -  if you ride a sport bike, Saddlemen’s “gel channel” seats are designed to make your ride comfortable and sporty too.  Their sport, tech, and track style seats have style and features to help match your type of sport or sport-touring motorcycle. The company has built their strong reputation by making seats for touring and cruiser motorcycles, and of course Saddlemen has lots of styles and shapes for most models, including single and two-up designs.  The Saddlemen King seat is an excellent example that includes  a driver’s backrest. In addition to seats, they also have luggage, sissy bar pads, tank and fender covers and more.  Call 800-397-7709 or  www.saddlemen.com

Sargent seat for Ducati MonsterSargent – Located in Jacksonville, Florida, Sargent Cycle Products has all sorts of seats for most brands, and can make or modify one to suit your specific needs too.  Sargent started their Custom Seat Services division back in 1989.  They can recondition, reupholster, restyle and alter the foam for your motorcycle seat. The matching colored piping on Sargent seats makes a nice looking update to most street bikes.  You can even upgrade to a heated seat too with many of the Sargent seats.  Contact them at 904-354-4531  www.sargentcycle.com

There are literally several hundred manufacturers of motorcycle seats making custom ones for just about every type of bike imaginable.  Lots of them are small, “ma and pa” type shops with incredible experience at what they do.  We could not possibly cover them all in this Motorcycle Seat Buyer’s Guide.  There are many out there that specialize in making custom seats for specific types of bikes, like the Honda GoldWing, and some are really outstanding at it.  If you have had an excellent experience with a seat builder not listed here, we want to hear about it!  Feel free to leave a comment below to share your experience with our readers.

About John Clay

John Clay is the author of MotorcycleInfo.Org. He and his family reside in North Carolina in the United States. A graduate of the Motorcycle Safety Foundation's Experienced Rider Course, he enjoys riding his Moto Guzzi in charity rides and serves as a volunteer motorcycle marshal for an annual bicycle charity event in the Carolinas.

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