Best Motorcycle Seat Pad for Long Rides: Comfort Is Key
These top motorcycle cushions will make your road trip much more enjoyable
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While riding a motorcycle can be exhilarating, it can also be painful if you don't have a proper seat. If you don't want to spend a lot of money on a new seat, the solution is simple: invest in a motorcycle seat pad. Check out our buying guide to find out who makes the most comfortable motorcycle seat cushions and where you can find them.
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Benefits of a Motorcycle Seat Pad for Long Rides
- 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 for Long Rides
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 for Long Rides Reviews & Recommendations 2020
- Some motorcycles have larger seats, and the attachments that come with the seat cushion may not be long enough to accommodate it. One solution is to use some extenders to better secure the straps under the seat.
- If you like the look and the feel of sheepskin seat cushions but want more padding, you can place one on top of the foam for extra comfort.
- Don’t forget your passenger. If you ride with someone who isn't comfortable on his or her seat, the trip can be very arduous. Solve the issue by using a motorcycle rear seat cushion. When mama’s happy, everyone is happy.
Q: Are motorcycle seat pads waterproof?
A: It depends on the brand. Some have waterproof inner cushions, while others are only water-resistant. Be sure to check with the manufacturer for details about the seat's water-repelling properties.
Q: Do I have to remove my motorcycle seat to install a cushion?
A: You often need to remove the seat to install certain types of seat pads on your motorcycle. This is typically not difficult to do, depending on the type of bike you own.
Q: Can I leave a seat pad on my motorcycle if I store it outdoors under a cover?
A: It’s not advisable, even if the seat is waterproof. If the bike is frequently exposed to rain and other elements, accessories, including the seat pad, can build up moisture. This can lead to mold and other issues.
Q: How do I adjust the pressure on an air cushion?
A: Typically, there is a valve on the cushion that you blow into to adjust the pressure. It may take you a few times to find the right amount of air for a comfortable ride.