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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PUBLISHED ON September 11, 2019
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.
- Best OverallAir Seat Innovations Air Motorcycle Seat Cushion Pressure Relief PadSummarySummaryThis cushion fits most large cruisers, standards, touring bikes, and Harley-Davidsons. It's 14.5 inches wide by 14 inches long, the neoprene inner bladder is durable, and the outer cover is vented.ProsProsYou can vary the firmness of this cushion, and it has little to no effect on riding height. It relieves pressure in the tailbone, scrotum, and prostate area.ConsConsThe straps may not be long enough to reach under certain seats. If you over inflate it, it's not comfortable, and it may take practice to determine how much air is needed.
- Best ValueSheepskin ButtpadSummarySummaryThis Alaskan-made, sheepskin seat is a universal fit. It's not affected by the rain and can also be used as a pillow for camping or to wipe bugs off your windshield.ProsProsIt's much cheaper than some other high-quality products on the market. Your butt stays dry and doesn't sweat or stick to the seat, and the fit and finish are excellent.ConsConsIt does not have a foam or gel insert, so it won't bring much additional comfort to a badly designed seat. Also, it isn't designed to promote airflow.
- Honorable MentionCONFORMAX Topper Excel Ultra-Flex Motorcycle Gel Seat CushionSummarySummaryThis gel-on-foam seat cushion is geared towards deep profile touring bike and cruiser seats. It includes extra gel protection for your lower back and buttocks as well as sitz bone protection.ProsProsThe cushion is comfortable and provides excellent airflow and ventilation to keep you cool on long rides. It conforms to your body's shape and reduces and equalizes sitting pressure.ConsConsIt will raise your height a bit, which can be problematic if you prefer staying lower on your seat. It may also take a while for the cushion to break in.
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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 2019
The Air Seat Innovation cushion fits most large cruisers, standards, touring bikes, adventure touring bikes and Harley-Davidsons. The product is designed to reduce vibrations and pressure spots. It's 14.5 inches wide by 14 inches long, the inner bladder is made of neoprene rubber for durability, and the outer cover is vented for airflow. It also comes with a one-year warranty.
Minimal air is required for this cushion, which combined with the ability to vary the firmness makes it an excellent seat pad. When it's properly inflated it has little to no effect on riding height. It has staggered air pocket technology that provides relief in the tailbone, scrotum, and prostate area. Overall, the cushion is good quality, feels secure on your bike, and provides a good amount of airflow.
One downside with this product is the straps and clips that are supposed to hold the seat in place may loosen or they may not be long enough to reach properly under certain types of seats. Also, if you over-inflate it, it's not comfortable, and it may take some trial and error to determine how much air is best for you.
Best Value: Sheepskin Buttpad
These Alaskan-made seat pads are 100 percent sheepskin and keep you cool in summer and warm in winter. They are easy to install and remove and are a universal fit. They are not affected by the rain, and they can also be used as a pillow for camping or to wipe bugs off your windshield.
One of the best things about this product is its price. It's much more affordable than some of the other high-quality products on the market. Also, even if you ride in weather that's 100 degrees Fahrenheit, your butt stays dry and doesn't sweat or stick to the seat. The fit and finish are excellent, and it only raises you up in the seat a little bit. The strap system also works well to hold the cushion in place.
One downside is the pad does not have a foam or gel insert, so it won't bring much additional comfort to a badly designed seat. Also, it isn't designed to promote airflow. Finally, while it's advertised as being a universal fit, there have been some complaints that it doesn't fit all seats.
Honorable Mention: CONFORMAX Topper Excel Ultra-Flex Motorcycle Gel Seat Cushion
This American-made gel-on-foam seat cushion provides superior comfort on deep profile touring bike and cruiser seats. It includes extra gel protection for your lower back and buttocks as well as its bone protection. The pad easily attaches to your seat with a secure adjustable strap system and comes with both a loop fastening system and a D-ring or ear tab fastening system, depending on which you prefer.
Overall, the cushion is nice and comfortable and provides excellent air flow and ventilation to keep you cool on long rides. The cushion conforms to your body's shape and reduces and equalizes sitting pressure. It doesn't slip or slide around after you install it, and you barely notice it's there when you're riding.
One issue with this product is that it can get quite hot if you leave it on your bike on a warm, sunny day. Also, it will raise your height a little bit, which can be problematic if you prefer staying lower on your seat. In addition, it may take a little while for the cushion to break in to your desired comfort level.
- 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.
Our pick for the best motorcycle seat pad for long rides is the Air Seat Innovations Air Motorcycle Seat Cushion Pressure Relief Pad. It's durable, reduces vibrations, and is adjustable to suit your comfort level.
For a more budget-friendly option, consider the Sheepskin Buttpad.