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Motorcycle Seat Buying Guide;
The difference between a standard motorcycle seat, and a premium, aftermarket seat can be measured by how much time you spend on your bike before and after the purchase.
(Photo Credit: Jokeroo.com)
Take for instance the stock seat found on a Honda Shadow Aero. It’s a popular, mainstream bike made by a highly respected company in the industry. The seat looks to be well made, it fits well when you sit on it, and you may enjoy the seat while taking quick scoots around town. But after riding forty-five to ninety minutes on that seat you will feel aches and pains and a sudden urge to rest your limbs. Your tailbone will hurt; your inner thighs muscles will feel cramped, and even your lower back will feel the strain of a long ride on a standard fare motorcycle seat.
Thankfully you and your passenger can avoid much pain and suffering by upgrading your seat to aftermarket version. Premium motorcycle seats offer a range of benefits and come in a variety of styles to suit your taste. Mustang Seats dominate this industry, but they are not alone in the business.
Shown above: Mustang Seats One-Piece Studded Wide Touring Seat)
When purchasing an aftermarket seat keep an eye out for seats that have controlled-density polyurethane foam, cell-foam or multi-density foam. Both the shape and quality is important. The foam is hand-sculpted to provide support for your body and to ensure your spine is aligned at the best possible angle. When you sit on a seat pay attention to how your body responds.
The foam should be soft enough for comfort, but resilient enough to last through extended riding periods. Just because a seat feels cushy and pliable when you plump your rump down on it, that seat could be just as dangerous as if you were sitting on a piece of plywood. Don’t be surprised if your aftermarket seat feels firmer than your stock one. The seat is designed to comfort your body gently while providing much needed support for the long hauls.
In addition to foam, some manufactures insert gel pads as an added benefit. Gel pads help improve air flow, absorb shock, vibration and the occasional pot hole you couldn’t maneuver around. They also provide coolness when the temperature rises and warmth when it drops. If your seat was not crafted with a gel pad, have no fear, companies like Pro Pad make a series of pads you can strap over your seat.
Another feature you should pay attention to is the cover of the seat itself. You ask, “why the cover?” Allow me to explain.
Most OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) seats are covered in molded vinyl. They’re nice and shiny on the showroom floor, but a closer inspection will result in the discovery of wrinkles or bulges in the fabric. Premium, aftermarket seats have covers that are hand-sewn and meticulously pieced together in accordance with the shape of the foam. Overall this type of cover is leaps and bounds better than the mass produced cover you find on stock seats.
Other features include the addition of driver or passenger backrests. For an additional price, some seats are made with conchos, chrome or black studs, custom stitching or come in different colors and textures like leather and marine-grade vinyl. Whichever your ride or your riding style, there’s a premium seat out there designed to make your experience better.