THE GOOD OLD MOTORCYCLE SEAT.
To say it’s the part of the motorcycle you have the most contact with (or at least I hope so), it is often overlooked, especially in the context of long term travel and preparing your bike for it.
What things do you think about when you consider prepping your bike for a big tour?
To make sure you aren’t left at the side of the road, you think about brakes, filters, clutch, plugs etc, right?
But what about when your ‘rear end’ is in agony after six hours leaning into glorious sweeping roads in the middle of Italy?
Well, let me tell you from experience, it zaps every last bit of fun out of the ride.
When the mounting pain starts to feel like a horse has kicked you in the rear, only to dismount the bike walking like an arthritic John Wayne, you know you’ve got problems. And let’s not overlook the short journeys either, where an unexpected case of ‘numb arse’ can creep in at any point with a bad seat!
Let me share the experience that encouraged this article.
I stopped at a small petrol station, the first one I’d seen in over an hour. I had already done around 2000 miles on this trip but suddenly the discomfort of riding 5-8 hours a day was kicking in.
Looking out into the valley I had just snaked up I could see that the sun wasn’t going to stick around much longer so I needed a quick fix before getting back on the bike and onto the next campsite.
After scouring the petrol station for a solution I eventually settled on my cheap blow up pillow that I used for sleeping. I digged some gaffa tape out from my panniers and strapped it to my seat the best I could.
Despite sliding around on the seat a hell of a lot and having to take corners easier, the cushion ended up taking the edge off the pain just enough to get me to the other end of the pass and to a campsite at Lake Garda.
Now, I wouldn’t recommend relying on a fix like that, but sometimes you have to use what is available to you at the time, and that is all part of the fun of travelling.
What I would recommend is seeing what condition your seat is in and consider getting it recovered BEFORE you head out on long journeys.
If it feels lumpy in places where the foam has split or has some tears to the fabric, invest in a recover.
Sometimes the seat is a brand new stock one for that model of bike and you might decide it isn’t quite comfy enough. Again, consider getting it looked at – it could be the difference between enjoying your trip or rushing to finish it.
There are shops in nearly every city or major town specialising in seat recovers, and the prices tend to be very reasonable. We’re talking around £60 ($77) in my local area for a decent recover and a choice of new coverings to suit your style can vary.
You can even enquire about gel seats that for some people offer extra comfort, but I’ll be honest, everyone is different when it comes to that.
There is no right or wrong choice, just find what’s right for you and your precious butt, and never underestimate the importance of a good seat.
As always, let me know your thoughts on the best kind of seat and what works for you in the comments below.