Are you sitting down? Well, you better do so before you read any further. There, that’s better. Comfortable? Good. Nothing worse than an uncomfortable seat. Especially when it comes to motorcycles. You can live without a big windscreen (yes, you really can) or hard luggage. You can live without aftermarket exhaust systems, chrome chain guards and ape hanger handlebars. But an uncomfortable seat is the Devil’s curse.
I’ve owned about a gazillion motorcycles, ranging from narrow-perched dirt bikes to wide load touring bikes and I’ve yet to buy a bike with a decent seat. My current ride, the Street Triple, is no exception. I have done several 500 mile days on this little hooligan and, trust me, the fun begins to fade at about the 250 mark. The edges of the pan dig into my inner thighs and after a couple hours of that I’m ready to call a cab. What makes it worse is that I’m a guy who likes to ride long distance. I like to leave early and stop late. Or, as my wife says, “stop never.” Hey, not true. I stop for gas. And food. Well, usually I do both at the same time, making a meal out of protein bars and bottled water at gas stations. But I’ve got a confession to make; there have been many rides that I could not wait to end because my seat had become a real pain in the ass…literally. You pull up to a gas station, a rest park or your destination, put down the kickstand, raise your body off the seat and, WHAM! the burn sets in! I remember getting up early one day, riding a touring bike from the Ozarks, through Memphis, all the way across Kentucky then back up through Indiana. I stopped in Southern Indiana about 11:00 at night. I had been riding so long that when I pulled up to the pumps at a gas station, I almost fell over when I put my feet down…I was numb! Blood flow was not happening; I think it was working in reverse.
I rode a Yamaha FJR on an Iron Butt Saddle Sore ride once. Stock seat. 17 hours. 1157 miles. Southern Florida to Central Indiana. Not great, but I eventually came to terms with it. I would call it a peaceful coexistence…and I really needed to get home.I purchased an expensive custom seat for a bike one time. Well, way more than one time! Shh! Don’t tell everybody. Took the photos and the measurements, all that jazz. The only way I could tolerate it was to put a $30 Sheepskin on top of the $600 seat. I’m not too bright, but I see a problem with that logic.
I’ve tried all kinds of seats. I had a Sargent for the Triumph. Hated it. The pain it caused was severe, to say the least. Which is odd, considering the fact that the Sargent seat on my BMW GS was the most comfortable seat I ever had. I have tried almost all of the major aftermarket seats and custom seat makers. None have ever made me happy. Which brings me to one of my philosophical beliefs about relationships: if you have been married 4 times or more, you might be the problem. Same for the marriage of seat and sitter; if I can’t find comfort after trying a half dozen different seat manufacturers, then maybe the real problem here is me. My wife has, on occasion, told me I didn’t have an ass. Or maybe she told me I “was an ass!” Either way, I don’t think it was a complement. And I’m pretty sure both are true! Like my search for a 500 mile seat for my Street Triple, changing who I am at this point is probably futile. On the other hand, if I ever find a good seat that allows me to ride all day without feeling like I’ve been stabbed with a thousand needles and one big pitchfork, I just might be a nicer guy!