A comfortable motorcycle seat can make all the difference between an enjoyable ride and a terrible one.
Some manufacturers do their best to provide plush seats on touring models, but on sportsbikes, you often find a plank of wood would be more comfortable than the flimsy pad they call a seat.
You will find that even the best seats can cause discomfort, fatigue, and even pain after a long day’s ride.
Fortunately, there are some ways that you can increase your comfort if your seat isn’t up to the job; we have got you covered.
Investing in a seat pad can be a great way to improve your comfort when riding. There are a few different types to consider, and each has its benefits.
1. Sheep Skin
The first might be a bit old school, but it is a well-known trick to improve comfort. I have seen several riders use a small sheepskin cushion or part of a rug attached to their seat by straps or cable ties, including my Brother-in-law.
Something like this cushion on Amazon would do the trick. The cushion adds a bit of comfort to hard seats, and sheepskin is also known for retaining its warmth, so this is a good option in cooler weather.
2. Air-filled seat pads
More modern and technical approaches include pads filled with air pockets, such as the Airhawk 2 Cruiser Pad and the Wild Ass Classic Air Sport Seat Pad.
Air pads eliminate pressure points and promote proper circulation, so you can ride for longer pain-free.
They also reduce shock and vibrations and disperse heat and moisture, so even if your stock seat is good, you can’t go wrong investing in something like the Wild Ass seat pad if you plan on doing some longer rides or touring.
3. Memory foam and gel-filled seat pads
Some manufacturers instead opt for memory foam, gel seat pads, or a combination of both.
Memory foam adds stability and sturdiness to the support while shaping to fit your body, and gel-filled cushions work similarly, although gel pads won’t retain the shape the same way memory foam does.
The combination of the two will allow the pad to provide proper support, and the gel will alleviate the pressure points moving around with you when needed to aid comfort.
The Speedmetal Gel Seat Pad is an excellent example of a gel seat pad made with a micro-spacer fabric that provides good heat dispersal. It comes in 3 different sizes to suit a wide range of motorcycle seats.
Make sure you check for gel pads built for durability. For example, the Speedmetal has an outer construction of medical-grade polymer.
Also, it is best to go for seat pads that are specific for motorcycles as there are similar pads on the market for bicycles, but you need to be aware these will be less durable and will require some modification to fit them safely to your motorcycle.
This combo pad from Amazon is well-reviewed and is a good option for improving seat comfort. It is great value and is padded with 3” foam and gel pockets.
Cyclists will be the first to tell anyone that padded shorts are the way to go for maximum comfort.
Fortunately, motorcyclists can wear padded shorts under their riding gear which means your style doesn’t need to take a beating.
Padded shorts will protect your rear end and are usually filled with gel or foam to provide added comfort.
The main downside to these is that it is another layer you need to put on before you ride, and we all know getting ready for a ride can be the more tedious side of motorcycling with all the gear we need to put on before we even lift our leg over the bike.
A slightly more expensive option would be to purchase an aftermarket seat for your bike.
Many manufacturers produce seats for a wide range of bikes, from Harleys to dirt bikes.
One example is the Saddlemen Road Sofa seat built for Harley touring bikes.
Prices range from $578-$987, which is model-dependent.
While this investment can be well worth it, it is worth noting that many aftermarket seats are constructed of similar materials as stock seats, so this investment might be more of a style statement than a comfort improvement.
You could approach a custom builder and have a custom seat built.
This way, you will have control over the style and materials, so you can get them to incorporate top-quality leather and memory foam. This, however, won’t be the cheapest option.
Aside from making changes to your seat, taking lots of rest stops and moving around as you ride will ensure you aren’t sitting in one position too long, which can cause discomfort and pain.
We have covered some of the best ways to improve your seat’s comfort. The best, cheapest and quickest way is to invest in a seat pad. This can drastically improve your riding comfort, especially for longer journeys.