Discover How to Ride in Style with the Best 5 Motorcycle Seat Pads for Long Rides
Regardless of what motorcycle you ride, you can guarantee two things, it will get hot, and it will vibrate. From a sitting perspective, especially on a long ride, the heat generation isn’t so much of a problem, unless you’re riding some tricked out chop with a nut roaster exhaust.
Vibration, now that’s a whole other ball game. According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, vibration-related injury is one of the biggest causes of lost time and productivity in the workplace.
Ok, I know what you’re thinking, slight overkill, it’s not as if I ride my bike for nine hours a day, five days a week. From a motorcyclist’s perspective, on a trip of any distance and especially on a road trip, vibration coming through the seat can be a major buzz-kill.
Unless you ride some top of the range Winnebago-bagger with a heated seat, your caboose should find this a pretty familiar scenario. Fifty miles and you start wriggling, 100 miles, it itches like hell, 150 miles and it’s really hurting, and at 200 it’s gone numb.
Although this may sound like no real biggy, a numb butt can cause fatigue, distract you from the road and even slow your reflexes. So how do we head it off at the pass? Seat pads are the easy answer, and thankfully, there’s a whole slew of them on the market to keep your butt away from the buzz.
Best 5 Seat Pads #1: Airhawk Motorcycle Seat Cushion
A valve sits at the back of the pad, and you won’t need a gas station airline to inflate it, your mouth will do just fine. The air bladder of the seat pad is made of tough polyurethane and molded into a number of different cells.
When inflated, this distributes the riders weight and pressure over multiple contact areas which, says Airhawk is scientifically proven to reduce those dreaded hot spots.
Each pad comes with a breathable outer cover with mesh sides; the underneath has a non-skid coating, two straps to attach it to your seat base and a repair kit.
Pros – Proven track record, repair kit.
Cons– Attaching straps can be tricky, can cause ‘rolling’ in the bends.
Best 5 Seat Pads #2: Butt Buffer BF01316.00
The silicone pad feels exceptionally flexible but will never fully compress under the weight of the rider and always returns to its original shape. This design keeps the rider or pillion isolated and distributes the load evenly, preventing pressure points.
The American made pad is not only hypo-allergenic but also fungus resistant, and if that wasn’t enough, BB says it’s rated as self-extinguishing in the event of fire!
Underneath you will find an anti-slip cover, four fastening loops, and an adjustable Velcro strap.
Pros – Won’t deflate, keeps its shape.
Pros – Heavy. Fastening straps could be better.
Best 5 Seat Pads #3: Conformax Topper Excel Ultra-Flex
Deploy it on a bucket seat, however, and that hinged section also acts as a tailbone protector. Combining the best of seat pad fillers, the Conformax uses gel-on-foam technology; consisting of a ½ layer of Ultragel molded onto a ½ layer of Ultrafoam.
This combination says Conformax makes sure the seat conforms to the rider’s shape, reducing and equalizing sitting pressure. With an overall height of just 1¼,” the pad has a comparatively low profile but is more than capable of isolating the rider from vibration.
The cover features Airmax-3D technology, which means that the top has excellent air-flow, providing ventilation on those longer rides and won’t get too hot when left parked in the sun. The underside gets a grippy surface and two sets of straps for maximum attachment options.
Pros – Gel and foam combination, hinged rear section.
Cons – Better suited to cruiser seats.
Best 5 Seat Pads #4: Alaska Leather Sheepskin Buttpad
Motorcycle riders have been throwing sheepskins over their saddles for decades and for a good reason. Good quality, genuine sheepskin will keep your buns warm in the winter and cool in the summer, as well as keeping vibration at bay.
The simplicity of this butt pad extends to the underneath too. A single strap stays permanently under the seat and attaches to the pad via two quick release catches so that you can unfasten it easily for overnight stops.
Pros – Simple design, easily detachable.
Cons – Single fixing strap.
Best 5 Seat Pads #5: Freedom Air Cruiser Cushion
Take the fitted cover off the Freedom Air, and straight away you can see that some serious thought has gone into its design. A series of different sized, shaped and angled cells, make up the base, giving optimum fit and comfort.
A recess at the front of the pad allows for a better fit over your seat, while another at the rear, lines up with your tail-bone. Larger air cells on the outside for your hips together with tapered ones under your thighs mean that not only is more comfortable but also helps keep you in position.
The seat features two separate air valves that inflate each side of the seat, which means should you get a puncture in one cell, the whole seat won’t deflate. Loops are provided underneath to attach straps to, and the cushion comes with a two-year warranty.
Pros – Contoured cells, twin air valves.
Cons – No fastening straps.
Best 5 Motorcycle Seat Pads for Long Rides: Conclusion
As for choosing a personal favorite over the years, I’ve ridden on both the inflated and gel type pads. Both have plus points, especially the Freedom Air with its contoured cells, but for me, the simplicity and comfort levels of the Alaska Leather Sheepskin Buttpad have the edge.
Custom touring seats come at a cost, so seat pads are an easy and way to extend your comfort levels. Whether you go for the inflatable or silicone type or something more straightforward one of the Best 5 Motorcycle Seat Pads for Long Rides will certainly suit you.