The eight most common reasons why your motorcycle seat feels uncomfortable are as follows:
- The seat isn’t broken in yet
- Wrong seat design / poor padding
- The bike doesn’t fit you
- Wrong riding position
- Improper clothing
- Rear suspension malfunctions
- Medical issues
- You should stop more frequently
If you too find that your seat doesn’t provide enough comfort, don’t worry! Fortunately, there are many ways to make your seat more comfortable!
If you want to find out more about the above-mentioned causes, you are in the right place.
We at PowerSportsGuide have compiled the most common reasons why motorcycle seats are so uncomfortable!
Why are Motorcycle Seats so Uncomfortable?
Let’s face it, there are many uncomfortable motorcycle seats out there. A wrongly designed or a seat that’s too hard won’t be much of a problem if you prefer quick rides. But when it comes to touring, an uncomfortable saddle can be the source of a lot of pain!
This not only spoils the entire riding experience, but it can be dangerous as it distracts your attention from the road.
That’s why you should find out why your seat is uncomfortable, and fix the problem or even replace it for more comfort and safety.
Without further ado, the eight main reasons why motorcycle seats are uncomfortable are as follows:
1. The Seat Isn’t Broken in Yet
It’s a lesser-known fact that motorcycle seats need to be broken in. That’s why they are so stiff and uncomfortable at first! As a rule of thumb, a new motorcycle seat needs at least 500-1500 miles to properly break in.
However, on some bikes it could take even more miles!
But if your saddle is still uncomfortable after 1500 miles, it’s a clue that it doesn’t fit you perfectly.
2. Wrong Seat Design / Poor Padding
Another reason why so many motorcycle seats are uncomfortable is their poor design and stiff padding.
Furthermore, comfort also depends on the seat cover. Unlike vinyl, leather doesn’t stretch, which makes for a harder surface.
Let’s face it, just like in all other cases, you get what you pay for.
If you purchase a cheap no-name bike you can’t expect a high-quality saddle. In contrast, high-end motorcycles offer much more comfort and luxury.
For instance, the comfort of Honda Gold Wing’s saddle is legendary. Sadly, these bikes are pretty expensive!
3. The Bike Doesn’t Fit You
You also have to make sure that your bike and its saddle fit your body shape. Body structures are different from one person to the next, so comfort on a bike is very subjective.
The saddle of supermotos and dirt bikes is typically very uncomfortable on long distance rides. This is not surprising, since these bikes are not designed for touring!
If you are planning on long tours, you should consider investing in a touring/sport-touring or an ADV motorcycle.
They offer plenty of space for storage, windshields, great suspensions, and a very comfortable saddle!
Demo days and motorcycle rentals offer great opportunities to try different bikes.
Here’s a great beginner’s guide from RevZilla.
4. Wrong Riding Position
An improper riding position can also result in fatigue and various types of body pain.
A wrong body position typically causes pain in your upper back, neck, and shoulders. Don’t forget that your body works as a system.
Therefore, it’s not uncommon for an improper riding position to contribute to lower-back and butt pain, especially on longer rides.
Besides riding in the right position, you may want to shift your weight around on the saddle. When you start to feel pain just slightly shift your weight into another position on the saddle.
Another important technique is to spread your weight around on the seat, the pegs, and the handlebar.
Best practice is to vary the amounts of the distributed weight between these points depending on riding conditions.
Less body weight on the saddle can effectively reduce pain, which makes your ride more comfortable!
5. Improper Clothing
Are you wearing suitable pants on your rides? If not, this can be another reason why your saddle is uncomfortable.
Make sure to always wear the type of clothing designed for riders and that it fits on you perfectly!
6. Rear Suspension Malfunctions
In some cases, it’s not the seat that causes the discomfort, but the fault has to do with the rear suspension.
If it’s improperly set or has any malfunctions it can cause a bumpy ride.
If the suspension is too firm you can feel every single bounce. If it’s too soft it will be prone to bottoming out.
Make sure that you rear suspension is adjusted properly and tweak it when needed.
7. Medical Issues
When it comes to pain caused by riding, medical issues are often overlooked. If your seat causes a lot of pain even on short rides, the cause may be medical problems.
Senior riders especially have more chance of pain in their backbone, lower back, and buttocks.
But even if you are completely healthy, keep in mind that excess weight and poor circulation can also make your rides less comfortable.
Optimal body weight is not only good for your health but allows you to cover longer distances between two stops!
8. You Should Stop Frequently
Last but not least, don’t forget that you can’t ride as far as you want without making stops.
Riding for several hours always results in pain and fatigue, no matter how comfortable your saddle is!
Therefore, if your saddle is too uncomfortable, you should consider stopping more frequently for a break.
Keeping safety in mind you should make a stop about every 1.5 – 2 hours, before you get tired!
Just stretch a little bit, drink some water, and even eat a snack before you continue your ride.
To the greatest regret of many riders, motorcycle saddles are far less comfortable than car seats.
This is because riding a motorcycle is like riding a horse, you have to sit on the saddle.
It’s a lesser-known fact that this kind of saddle and the handlebar operated steering are the two main characteristics of powersport vehicles!
Sadly, the seats of these vehicles are often uncomfortable, and motorcycles are no exception.
However, comfort is always quite subjective. What is uncomfortable for you may be fine for another rider. It often depends on your body shape and the design/padding of your saddle.
Keep in mind that many bikes like sportbikes, supermotos, and café racers are designed to cover shorter distances. Therefore, they typically feature smaller and less comfortable seats.
In contrast, the largest touring bikes virtually come with a built-in armchair.
Besides the seat design, discomfort or even pain is often caused by the wrong riding position, improper clothing, or even medical issues.
As a final word, don’t forget that if you have a new bike, the seat needs to be broken in.
The average saddle needs about 500-1500 miles of riding to properly break in, so after 1500 miles if you still find your seat uncomfortable, you should consider upgrading it!