The longer you ride the more your seat matters – in both years ridden and distance traveled. Air bladders and rubber donuts and bead seats can take you so far; past there it might be time to bite the bullet and replace your factory seat with something upscale, something more befitting your two-wheeled station in life. Here’s a smattering of what are widely regarded as the best motorcycle seats on the market for a wide range of bikes, from Goldwing to sportbike, but be aware that people come in so many shapes and sizes, what’s right for one person may not be what’s best for you. Be sure to perform your due diligence as you figure out what the best motorcycle seat is for you, to keep you riding farther, longer, and happier.
Mustang’s Super Solo sweetheart fits nearly all kinds of FL Harley-Davidsons dating back to 1997, and has all kinds of 5-star reviews. It sits the driver 1-1/4-inch further back than the stock seat and a bit lower, in what Mustang claims is luxurious comfort and unheard-of support. The backrest is fully adjustable and easily removable. Don’t worry if flying solo isn’t your style, or Harley-Davidson either; Mustang makes a plethora of seats for all kinds of metric cruisers, Triumphs, and other bikes too.
With fitments for all sorts of ADV bikes from BMW to DRZ to KTM, (Super Tenere pictured), this high-tech hybrid seat combines Saddlemens’ SaddleGel interior, progressive density foam, and a gel channel to provide unparalleled comfort and control. That channel in the base foam goes easy on the old perineal area and increases blood flow, keeping you in the saddle longer and happier. The vinyl and rugged micro-fiber suede cover is said to hold up to hard use while providing a superb blend of comfort and control. Some applications for mid-sized dualsports have a standard foam design (no GC) with a gripper and vinyl cover better suited to “rigorous riding.” Integrated cargo mounting points on the pillion portion of the Adventure-class seat sets make it easy to attach Saddlemen’s Adventure PACK luggage or other cargo, and most are also available in low-profile designs. Etc, etc…
Rummaging through the seat marketplace reveals that it’s Harley and BMW riders whose butts require the most coddling. Airhawk seats for BMW are born from a partnership between Danny Gray Custom Motorcycle Seats and Airhawk, and are available for most GS models and many others. Using patented Danny Gray IST (Independent Suspension Technology) construction and Airhawk’s ergonomic expertise, these seats isolate the rider from shocks using special inserts that target the lower portions of your pelvic area. Airhawk’s AirCell technology lines the top layer of “w/ Air” option seats to deliver further mechanical shock separation and pressure point reduction. This system is configurable to each rider thanks to an adjustable bladder system. Designed to deliver uniform weight distribution and easier leg passage, the sculpted front contours benefit riders short and tall when it comes to getting a foot down.
Available for all kinds of sportbikes from Aprilia to Yamaha, these babies use “advanced digital modeling, computer design techniques, precise manufacturing processes and superior materials. Each signature vacuum-formed light-but-strong PVC acrylic alloy seat pan is precision-molded for superior fit and provides an exceptional high-performance seat foundation.”
Super Cell Atomic Foam suspension is a unique and proprietary blend of resilience, firmness, and vibration-absorption qualities without the thermal retention and extra weight of gel. Most stock seats, Sargent says, suffer from a crowned shape that centralizes pressure and creates discomfort. The level, wider and slightly cupped foam shape of the Sargent World Sport Seat distributes pressure evenly and eliminates hot spots for long-distance comfort. Furthermore, these seats eliminate the forward slope of many stock seats, and provide a more neutral seating angle for the rider.
What the? So that’s where Indian got its new ClimaCool seat. Not only is this magnificent throne heated, it also uses the Peltier Effect to quickly cool the seat’s surface 10-15 degrees below ambient temperature. With just a couple of fans, says Corbin, that temperature drop is achieved without pumps, compressors or fluids. Elsewhere, there’s almost too much to describe. The seat pictured is also equipped with Ovalbac backrests, which brings your overall vertical support up to 16.5 inches and 20 inches for rider and passenger – and of course Corbin makes these for all kinds of Harleys and other touring bikes.
“Naturally,” says Corbin, “we built up the saddle ergonomically to provide the best possible support and elimination of hot spots. This has been a staple of the Corbin design and is one of the most critical components of a true, touring class design.” Genuine leather seating panels breathe with your body. Coordinated vinyl side panels keep the foam shape tight and the saddle looking new longer.
Saddlemen’s Gel Channel (GC) technology (patent pending) incorporates a split piece of SaddleGel and a channel in the base foam to relieve seating pressure on the perineum, increase blood flow, and keep the rider in the saddle longer. The “Tech” series incorporates a high-quality, flexible fabric top cover that breathes well and is textured to allow aggressive maneuvering. Just under the top cover is a layer of memory foam that contours to the shape of your body, with additional memory foam in areas strategically positioned for maximum comfort. These are available for many sportbikes, and a smooth black vinyl pillion seat cover is included.
This one has almost nothing but rave reviews, as it apparently soaks up lots of bumps your Harley’s rear suspension doesn’t. A molded one-piece foam foundation sits atop a 16-gauge powder-coated steel baseplate that’s carpeted on the bottom to protect your fender, and covered on top with premium-grade black vinyl. Made in the USA, there aren’t many Harleys the Daytona won’t fit – and there’s a Sport version too with a rear-sloping pillion for those who like to instill fear in their passengers.
Jimmy Lewis might not approve of this seat for the Honda CRF250L, but it just goes to show you you can have the seat of your dreams on just about any motorcycle. Russell’s Day-Long Touring Saddle “is a saddle shaped seat specifically designed for driver and passenger comfort, incorporating our patented Support Suspension System. Each motorcycle seat is individually made to be the perfect seat between person and machine, according to your personal physical requirements.”
You’re not going to just waltz into Revzilla or Amazon to get a Russell seat, though. You’re going to have to make an appointment to send in your seat, then wait two weeks or so to get it back. As of now, Russell’s backed up until November. Alternatively, you can book an appointment for one-day ride-in service – first openings in December – which is just the excuse you need to ride to Shasta Lake, California. Russell seats get great reviews, and if you’re not satisfied there’s a money-back guarantee.
What’s the most comfortable motorcycle touring seat?
That’s an even tougher question to answer than`what’s the best motorcycle oil?’ Not only does everyone have their own opinion, everyone also has their own size and body shape, so there are nearly infinite combinations. Motorcycle seats are like mattresses: Some like firm and supportive, others like soft and pillowy. The best way to research the seats you’re interested in is to join a forum for your motorcycle, then search the seat threads. If your bike is a tourer or sport-tourer, there are probably hundreds of them. When you’re ready to bite the bullet, check the return policy just in case you and your new seat aren’t a good match – bearing in mind that some of them need a “break-in time” of up to 1000 miles.
Can I reupholster my own seat?
But of course. Most seat covers are held to the base by heavy staples, shot by the kind of staple gun you may already have around the house if only you can find it. Upholstery stores, with all kinds of foam and seat coverings including the ubiquitous vinyl, are all over the place and online. The electric knife is apparently the tool of choice for removing foam and shaping new chunks to spray-adhesive in place as needed. If at all possible, find a donor seat for your bike in a junkyard or on ebay; all you need is the seat pan, or base. That way you have nothing to lose if your little experiment goes horribly wrong.
How do I clean and protect my motorcycle seat?
Keeping it out of the elements, most of all the hot sun, is the best protection. Some people carry a bike cover, but there are also seat covers that are easier to carry and deploy – nice to have on frosty mornings. But hey, motorcycles are meant to be outside and to get wet and dirty, so cleaning the seat is easy enough with soap and water or whatever you clean the rest of your bike with, unless you’ve got some kind of custom ostrich deal. A nice vinyl/leather cleaner and conditioner now and then can’t hurt.
Recently updated: August, 2021: Mustang Super Touring Seat for Harley replaced by Mustang Super Solo Seat With Driver Backrest For Harley, Russell Day-Long Comfort seat added, FAQ and Additional Resources added
We are committed to finding, researching, and recommending the best products. We earn commissions from purchases you make using the retail links in our product reviews and other articles. Learn more about how this works.