Throughout our riding careers, most of us are subject to at least one recurring problem. You know the sort – the one you continually throw money at in an attempt to get right.
Yet normally never do.
For some, it’s posture. For others, it’s aching wrists.
Shorter riders can never find a bike that fits, and taller riders struggle to find the right peg height.
Some riders can never find the right screen height. And even with an adjustable one, they can never quite find the sweet spot.
For me, it’s seats.
Like most people, I find some seats comfier than others. And for one-day rides, I must confess that it’s never really that much of an issue.
But when I’m touring, it can start to cause serious problems. I might ride from my home in Manchester to Belgium in one day. And by the end of it, my backside is killing me.
Ordinarily, that would be fine. But when you’re touring, the problem is you have to get back on the bike the next day.
And this is where the magic of a motorcycle seat pad comes in.
For me, I can stand fewer miles on day two than I can on day one. And I can stand fewer miles on day three than I can on day two.
All in all, I can withstand fewer miles on the bike each passing day. So by the end of my tour, I’m struggling to complete 50 miles before needing to get off the bike to give my arse a rest.
And I’m not alone!
So with that in mind, let’s have a gander at some of the best on the market and see if we can find a motorcycle seat pad that’s right for you.
1. Airhawk Motorcycle Seat Pad (Air)
Formulated from the results of science-based research, the Airhawk motorcycle seat pad delivers quality comfort to a range of riders.
Using patented air cell technology, these cushions do a fantastic job of distributing weight and pressure over an increased surface area.
As with medical mattresses found in hospitals, Airhawk seat cushions reduce hotspots and pressure points, which result in aches and pains over time.
They also come in a variety of shapes and sizes to cover most motorcycles. And they are contoured to fit the seat profile of specific styles of bikes.
The inner air cells can be pumped up if they start to deflate. Moreover, the mesh outer fabric promotes airflow and breathability.
The cushions themselves are non-slip. They also come with the appropriate mounting loops and straps to secure them on your bike.
Airhawk seat cushions aren’t cheap at around £120, but it’s a price worth paying for the relief from numbness at pressure points.
Related: 9 Touring Motorcycles For Short Riders
2. Wild Ass Ergonomic Cushions (Air)
Wild Ass Air cushions are designed using an interconnected air cell technology that eliminates painful pressure points, increases circulation, reduces vibration, and disperses heat.
Through some clever engineering, the Wild Ass pads work by spreading the weight of the rider across the entire surface area of the cushion.
Numbness is reduced. And blood flow is increased thanks to a constant transference of air between cells. The space between the cells dispurses heat and moisture.
As with the Airhawk cushion above, Wild Ass cushions are tapered at the front to fit the profiles of specific motorcycle seats. And the wider rear section reduces pressure on the tailbone.
Finally, there is a back-end cut-out where the tailbone sits. As a result, this reduces contact and relieves pressure.
You can inflate or deflate the cushion cells to suit your level of comfort. Therefore, you can deflate them completely, which keeps you closer to the seat whilst offering a thin layer of protection.
As with the Airhawk, all Wild Ass seat cushions are on the pricey side (circa £190-£280.) But for that, you get an excellent level of comfort.
3. Air Seat Innovations Motorcycle Seat Pad (Air)
Air Seat Innovations are ergonomically designed and provide riders with all-day comfort. Tough neoprene rubber makes up the outer shell. Meanwhile, the inner shell houses the patented Staggered Air Pocket Technology.
The cushion works by allowing optimal air pressure relief at the tailbone and sitting bones whilst improving leg passage with an elevated seat design.
As with the seating systems above, Air Seat Innovations products absorb shock and vibrations to improve comfort levels. Furthermore, flexible and breathable stretch material reduces heat and moisture.
With an emphasis on quality, Air Seat Innovations pads are made from quality materials and even offer a 1-year, no-quibble warranty.
Similarly to the Airhawk and Wild Ass systems above, the Air Seat Innovations products come in at around the £130 price point.
Related: 9 Practical Tips For Motorcycle Touring Comfort
4. Conformax Ultraflex Comfort Cushion (Gel, Air & Foam)
In a quest to deliver the best quality seating pads, this pad offered up by OnlyGel uses a plethora of trade-marked, tried, and tested technologies.
As with the above systems, various sizes and styles ensure one of their many products will fit your particular style of motorcycle.
Unlike most systems that use air cells, gels, or foams, the Conformax Ultraflex system uses a combination to provide superior levels of comfort.
The Ultraflex design is unique in that it offers a rear section that accommodates the steep contoured rear section of many motorcycle touring seats.
This design gives riders added comfort and protection at the sit bones but also offers up protection to the lower back and buttocks.
Designed with a low profile in mind, the Conformax Ultraflex system is relatively thin at 1-¼ inches thick. Perfect for those who want extra comfort without too much additional height.
The seat attaches easily thanks to the included adjustable strap system and is non-slip, durable, and waterproof.
Prices range from £100 – £170/
5 & 6. Tourtecs Motorcycle Seat Pad (Air & Gel)
Tourtecs offers a wide range of products in the air and gel motorcycle seat market. Their various air cushions use quality products to focus on quality and comfort.
Tourtecs air systems have individual, interconnected air cells that work together to transfer the weight of the rider between each cell.
With a thickness of around 4cm, Tourecs air systems prevent vibration and promote increased comfort on all-day rides.
As well as preventing numbness and increasing circulation, Tourtecs air systems have a non-slip outer material, and the polyurethane outer wicks away heat and moisture.
The gel systems utilise a tough outer shell. Inside sits a sewn-in gel insert. The nature of the gel ensures even weight distribution across the seat. Most importantly, this aids in the prevention of pressure-related discomfort.
The gel systems are thinner than the air systems and are around 1cm thick. If you’re a shorter rider, or if you are unable/unwilling to lower your motorcycle seat height, you may fare better with a Tourec gel system over an air system.
Prices range from around €30 for individual gel inserts up to around €220 and above for full, bespoke seats.
Related: The Most Comfortable Touring Motorcycles
7. AirRider Motorcycle Seat Pad (Air)
Developed and manufactured by Saddle Craft, the AirRider seat cushion is the only self-inflating seat cushion on the market.
Once secured to your seat using the quick-release straps, the seat is ready to go. Simply lift your weight off the seat and press the inflation button. The seat will begin to inflate itself automatically.
Once fully inflated, sit on the seat and press the button. The cushion will start to deflate. Once at the desired comfort level, release the button, and the cushion will maintain your set level of inflation.
The seat cover is a non-slip material that prevents slippage. It also comes in three sizes (plus a pillion size) and features a low-profile design.
Designed in the northeast, the AirRider is British through and through.
Thanks to its low-profile design, the AirRider isn’t an obtrusive addition to your bike and shouldn’t raise your seat height all that much. Good news if you are a shorter rider!
We particularly like the fitting system, which fixes the cushion to the seat like stone. No slipping and sliding around on this seat cushion!
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Top image via KTM