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Motorcycle Seat Types

Updated on October 2, 2010

A seat is a pretty basic requirement of a motorcycle, unlike motorcycle luggage, only a few trial riders can do without! There are many different types that are suitable for different motorcycles and different requirements. The comfort level and ability of the seat (yes the effect performance) varies greatly too.

Motorcycles are made up of 3 parts. The frame, the inner material, and the covering material. So I will stay with the different materials available for each part.

The second part of this hub I will discuss some of the different types of motorcycle seats available and give a recommendation on what to go for and look out for when making your purchase decision on a motorcycle seat.

Motorcycle Seat Material

The frame is typically welded steel, you can get other materials like carbon fiber to save on weight however the price is very high and the availability low, in fact you are likely to need to go to a specialist if you want a carbon fiber motorcycle seat. Aluminum is another expensive variation, but not as bad as carbon fiber, if you are on a weight saving mission then this is a good place to lose it. The frame is responsible for the strength of the seat and it's shape.

The inner material makes up the comfort of the seat. The 2 most popular materials is foam and gel. Gel tends to be a bit more expensive but preferred by the majority as it moves to shape itself around your backside and firm up when it is in position. Foam moves around you but does not firm up in the same way. It is considered an older method of seating and not as good as gel.

The outer material is the bit you see. Leather has been the traditional material for many years and is still popular today due to it's durability. Motorcyclists move around a lot on seats of sportier motorbikes and causing rubbing which can make the seat look worn quicker. Vinyl is an alternative and looks as good as leather new but it wears quicker, it is usually slightly cheaper and easier to get in different colors compared to leather. Synthetic material is also available now and starting to become common in stock motorcycles. With superior weather protection and cheaper to manufacture you can see why. However it often doesn't feel as quality of a material as leather does.

Types of Motorcycle Seats

Motorcycle seat types are usually found on specific motorcycles dependent on their use and requirement. A Harley Davidson Road Glide (large touring motorcycle) will have a very large and wide seat designed for a relaxed riding style that suits the nature of the long distance cruiser. A sports bike will have a higher back to help give comfort to a rider who is bent over and back is more align with the floor than at a 90 degree angle to it. A trials bike will have a very slim seat without much features to allow the rider to maneuver around it quickly without distraction because of the need to be alert, high and change direction quickly.

Some motorcycles are designed for pillion passengers and seats are either separate parts or an all in one design (all in ones are cheaper as you are effectively buying 1 large seats rather than 2 small ones). The all in one designs are usually the best ones to go for as they have had more thought into them and tend to be more comfortable for the passenger.

Seats that have an inclination to sit in (known as bucket seats) tend to be more comfortable and figure hugging and are the ones in my opinion to go for in terms of design whenever possible, Whether you are after a Harley Davidson seat or Honda motorcycle part they are the most popular for good reason.


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