Best Motorcycle Seat Pads: Greater Comfort Equals Longer, More Enjoyable Riding
Our choices for adding some extra butt support to your ride.
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BY Lisa Conant / LAST UPDATED ON July 30, 2021
Riding your motorcycle is probably one of your favorite pastimes. Whether you’re a daily commuter to work or a weekend road-tripper, one of your least favorite aspects of riding your motorcycle is probably how uncomfortable your seat can get after even just a short commute. Long road trips and multi-day excursions can leave you sore and dreading your next ride.
That’s where a motorcycle seat pad comes in. These extra layers of precisely engineered cushioning can be a game changer for your backside, allowing you to ride farther and with greater enjoyment. Some motorcycle seat pads even come with extra traction to help keep you more securely anchored to your seat.
Whatever your reason for wanting a new motorcycle seat pad, we’ve got you covered with our list of top choices on the market. They’re guaranteed to help you go the distance and get the most out of your motorcycle season, no matter where you live.
A motorcycle seat cushion that helps to distribute the weight of the rider across an even surface area.
- The extra-padded seat offers a lot of comfort, especially on bumpy rides in combination with the bike's suspension.
- The cushion can occasionally shift under the rider, meaning you may need to readjust it every few rides or so.
A heavy-duty motorcycle seat pad with a budget-friendly price tag that is perfect for longer seat designs.
- Uses a soft molded foam with distinct pockets that support the rider's weight.
- Can be detached quickly with the three quick-release buckles.
- The quick-release buckles can get in the way of the rider.
Eliminate painful pressure points and promote proper circulation with this high-tech neoprene seat pad.
- Reduces shock and vibrations into the lower back that can cause fatigue and pain
- Special design allows for optimal airflow throughout the cushion
- When inflated too much, the cushion may elevate you too high in your seat, making the windshield less effective
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Benefits of a Motorcycle Seat Pads
- Avoid pain. When you ride a motorcycle for a prolonged period of time, your body can get stiff, and you may experience some numbness. The best motorcycle seat pad cushion will make your trip more comfortable.
- Address health issues. It can be particularly hard to spend a long time riding a motorcycle if you have pain in the lower back, tailbone, or other areas. Motorcycle seat pads can make you more comfortable overall.
- Prevent expensive upgrades. Typically, a stock motorcycle seat isn't particularly comfortable. However, upgrading to a new one can cost several hundred dollars. The best motorcycle seat pad for long rides is a cost-effective alternative.
- Skip the break-in period. As we just mentioned, stock bike seats can be hard and not too comfortable. It can take miles and miles of riding to break them in, and you'll experience discomfort in the process.
- Stop less frequently. When you ride long distances, you may need to stop frequently to stretch your legs and give your butt a break. Cushions for motorcycle seats will keep you on the bike longer between rest stops.
Types of Motorcycle Seat Pads
Just like the name suggests, a motorcycle air seat cushion is pumped up with air to provide a cushion for your bottom. This type of seat padding for motorcycles is rather popular and is easy to inflate. One of the best qualities of air cushions is that you can decide how high you want them to be. Also, they evenly distribute pressure, which prevents numbness, and they are shock absorbent.
Motorcycle butt pads made of foam are also very comfortable. They have shock-absorbing qualities and also prevent numbness. Some of the best brands are made of high-density memory foam, which is particularly enjoyable on a long ride. Some products are also made of a combination of foam and gel.
A motorcycle seat pad made of gel conforms to your body, which makes it quite comfortable. The best motorcycle gel seat pad evenly distributes pressure, which reduces numbness. The medical community initially realized the benefits of gel when designing seat pads for patients in wheelchairs, and the technology has since crossed over to the motorcycle industry.
What's great about sheepskin is it regulates your temperature—it keeps you cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Another benefit is that it dries easily if it gets soaking wet (if you are unexpectedly caught in a rainstorm). Sheepskin absorbs sweat but also provides air circulation. Some sheepskin motorcycle seat pads can be pricey, but there are affordable ones on the market.
Beaded motorcycle pads often double as massaging seat covers and don’t provide much cushioning. They can be used on motorbikes as well in your car or in the office. They provide ventilation through the spacing in the beading, which keeps you cooler. This type is often a universal fit, so you should measure the dimensions to be sure that it fits correctly on your bike.
AIRHAWK was founded in 1997 and is based in Santa Ana, Calif. It patented its Air Cell Technology for the transportation and recreation industries and produces a seat air overlay that provides customers with comfort during long rides, sitting, and more. One top product is the Airhawk Cruiser R Seat.
Alaska Leather launched in 1979 and designs aftermarket motorcycle parts, clothing, and accessories. It's known for its famous Sheepskin Buttpad, which ships all over the world. The company also carries men's and women's casual leather jackets, leather hats, gloves, wallets and belts.
Royal Riding launched in 2009 and is based in Phoenix, Ariz. The company is a popular manufacturer of gel seat pads for motorcycles, ATVs, UTVs, and power sports vehicles. We recommend its Royal Riding Large Relief Cool-Tush Motorcycle Gel Seat Pad with Contour Cushioning Foam.
ButtyBuddy was founded in 2002, and its central office is located in Maryville, Tenn. Its passenger seat was invented by a biker for bikers. It incorporates the comfort of high-density closed-cell cushioning and a concave ergonomic shape for a firm and correct support for the posterior and lower back. One top product is the ButtyBuddy Black Over The Seat Mounting Seat.
Motorcycle Seat Pad for Long Rides Pricing
- Under $50: There are some products in this price range, but you won’t get the best motorcycle seat for long distances unless you spend a bit more money. Items here are generally not as durable or as comfortable as higher-end products.
- $50-$100: You can find a decent number of good-quality seat pads at this price point. Still, the more you spend, the better you will get in terms of construction and lifespan.
- Over $100: Premium motorcycle seat pads can be pricey, but they are built to last and often have features such as height adjustability and waterproofing properties.
Size and Shape
Cushions for motorcycle seats come in a variety of shapes and sizes. It's important to measure your seat and match the length and the width with the dimensions of the cushion. Often seat cushions are irregularly sized (wider in the back and more narrow in the front).
Motorcycle seat cushions come in a variety of designs, and some are thicker than others, depending on the brand and the material. You may want one that is thick for more comfort or one that is thinner so it doesn't raise you up too high. Extra height is good or bad depending on the type of rider you are.
Summer is the most popular time to ride a motorcycle, and the warmer it is, the more likely you are to sweat. Sweat causes chafing, which can be really uncomfortable. You need to choose a cushion that wicks away moisture and has good ventilation and airflow so you don't have a wet backside when you get off your bike.
- Easy Installation: Pads are attached to a motorcycle seat in a variety of ways. They can be affixed with buttons, Velcro straps, elastic straps, or loops. It's important that the pad is securely attached to the seat so it sits solidly in place and doesn't move around. Choose a product that provides attachments that are easy to install.
- Posture: The way you ride can determine where you feel the pain on your back and your butt. Some riders experience pain in the back of the leg, which involves the sciatic nerve. There are also different issues related to where your footpegs are positioned (rear versus forward, for example). Changing your posture can help, as can air or gel pads. Sheepskin cushions won’t help much in terms of posture.
Best Motorcycle Seat Pad Reviews & Recommendations 2021
- Some pads can be difficult to strap on, so make sure you tighten down all the buckles and straps on the pad to prevent it from sliding around. Also be sure to look for seat pads that feature a non-slip grip material on the underside to add even more stability.
- You may need to try out different seat pads to see which ones offer the most contouring, padded support for your body style.
- Keep your seat pad clean by machine washing or wiping down with a damp cloth after long or heavy use.
Q: Are seat pads really necessary on a motorcycle?
A: You may not need a seat pad on short excursions or daily commutes, but if you’re planning an epic road trip or a multi-state tour, you will be super glad to have one. Regular motorcycle seats can create painful pressure points and decrease vital circulation and blood flow, making your road trip an excruciating experience for your back and spine.
Q: Does my clothing matter with a seat pad?
A: Not usually, but some leather pants can slide around on some seat pads. Of course, we never recommend wearing shorts while riding your motorcycle, whether with a seat pad or without, just from a safety standpoint.
Q: How do seat pads attach to the bike?
A: Most use simple straps and buckles you'll need to tighten down to keep the pad from moving or sliding while the bike is in motion. Also look for a pad with a grippy non-slip layer on the underside that will add an extra layer of stability and prevent sliding while underway.
When it comes to our top pick overall, we had to go with the Airhawk - R-REVB Cruiser R Motorcycle Seat Cushion. It’s a generously padded option that promotes excellent comfort and airflow and is offered at a good price point.
If you’re looking for added comfort on a tighter budget, check out the MadDog GearComfort Ride Seat Protector. It’s a sleek and streamlined design that provides just enough extra cushion to let you go farther and longer.