The seats on a motorcycle are often viewed as a “deal-breaker” when it comes to sales.
The size, comfort, and durability of the seat on all motorcycle styles are crucial, especially on a cruiser and touring bikes where the rider sits upright for longer periods of time.
It’s a small non-mechanical component, but of crucial importance nonetheless.
This article answers the question: “How long do Motorcycle Seats last?”…
Here Is The Short Answer To: How Long Do Motorcycle Seats Last?
A typical motorcycle seat lifespan can be 10-12 years. How long a seat lasts depends on the quality of its construction and the physical condition of the bike owner. Larger, heavier-set riders will wear out their seat faster than a learner rider, for instance. Material quality is important too.
Solid base plates, durable upholstery, and a nice foam in the center of it all work together to make a lasting product.
How Long Does It Take For A Motorcycle Seat To Break In?
The average motorcyclist in the US rides between 3,000 and 5,000 miles a year.
A brand-new seat will be broken in after about 500-1,000 miles, but some seats can take up to 2,000 miles to break in.
That being said, the average rider can expect their seat to be broken in from just a few weeks up to 6 months or so.
The more you ride it, and for longer sessions each time, the faster the seat will be broken in.
How Much Does It Cost To Have A Motorcycle Seat Recovered?
To have your motorcycle seat professionally recovered can cost anywhere from $100 to $300 with labor, depending on the materials.
High-quality leathers will cost more, but cheaper leatherette or synthetic materials are cheaper.
The size is also a factor.
The larger the seat, the more it will cost.
If you need to recover both the driver’s seat and the pillion seat, then you will need to pay more, possibly up to $400-450.
If you want to replace the seat altogether, then it can cost a lot more, from $375 to well over $1000 depending on the model and style.
Can You Reupholster A Motorcycle Seat?
Yes, you can reupholster a motorcycle seat.
If you want to keep the shape and style but change the look, a professional can reupholster it for you.
The typical process costs between $100 and $300 but could cost more if you choose expensive materials and/or have to reupholster a larger area.
There could also be an additional cost if you are reupholstering because of damage to the seat, because the seat may need some additional repairs.
What’s The Most Comfortable Motorcycle Seat?
According to most product reviews, the most comfortable motorcycle seat for long-distance is the TCMT Motorcycle Hammock Rider Passenger Seat.
It features a deep bucket-seat design with a very comfortable suspension.
It’s a budget model, though, and features a plastic base plate, which makes it less durable.
Customer reviews reveal that the most sought-after comfortable seat overall is the Mustang One-Piece Wide Vintage Touring Seat.
It costs more than $500 typically, which is a lot more than the $100 you pay for the TCMT above.
The Mustang features an easy-to-install one-piece design and is deeply contoured with an 18-inch build that gives the rider lots of space for added comfort.
From reviews, we can learn that the most comfortable materials for a seat are vinyl coverings, with effective bumpers/dampers in the construction to minimize vibrations.
These two things together make for the most comfortable motorcycle seat.
How Can I Make My Motorcycle Seat More Comfortable?
The easiest way to make your motorcycle seat more comfortable is simply to replace it.
Searching for a replacement seat with a durable but supportive outer material is important.
Some kind of vinyl is usually a good choice for this.
Beyond that, there are things you can buy to enhance your current seat if you don’t want to replace it altogether.
First, you can get a seat pad.
If your seat style allows you to attach a seat pad, then that can add a lot more miles of comfort.
In addition, you can buy padded clothing to wear like padded shorts.
These will make sitting everywhere more comfortable, especially on your motorcycle if you’re going for a long ride.
Are Motorcycle Gel Seats Any Good?
Gel seats provide a more comfortable feel overall but are not as supportive as foam, which is important.
If you are of a light build and body weight, then the gel is a good choice because you don’t need as high a degree of support.
Larger riders, even those just above average weight benefit more from foam seats because the added support makes the ride not only comfortable but also safer for your body in the long term. Support is important.
For those who want the best of both worlds, they could get a gel seating pad to put on top of their foam-filled seat. This offers a combination of comfort and support.
What Is The Best Material For A Motorcycle Seat?
Vinyl is a good all-round material, especially for those who ride in the city over shorter distances.
It is comfortable, affordable, and durable enough for use in these conditions.
The best material for anyone looking to ride longer distances is certainly high-quality leather.
Though leather is more work to take care of, it provides comfort and durability beyond synthetic materials such as vinyl.
Leather is more weather-resistant than vinyl when treated and cared for properly.
It will maintain its form, not discolor easily and endure the extremes of weather.
What Motorcycle Seats Last Longest?
For the most lasting seats, you should look to the following seat brands:
Mustang, Saddlemen, Airhawk, Sargent, and Corbin.
For touring bikes, the seats don’t get much better and more lasting than for the Mustang brand.
It’s used across a wide range of Harley-Davidson bikes and some models have up to 14-19” to give lasting comfort to riders of just about any size.
Saddlemen manufacture for BMW, DRZ, KTM, and others.
Their hallmark is high-tech hybrid seats with gel interiors combined with high-density foam for maximum comfort and support.
Coverings include vinyl and microfiber suede.
Airhawk makes seats that are often used on Harley-Davidson and BMW bikes.
They are known for their particular AirCell technology that optimizes pressure points and provides excellent support, especially to the pelvis.
Sargent is known for their World Sport Performance Seat which is great for sportbikes and used by many big brands, including Aprilia and Yamaha.
They use what they call Super Cell Atomic Foam, a proprietary blend that offers unique firmness and thermal retention.
Corbin makes seats that are especially good for touring bikes.
Their best-known seat is the Fire and Ice Saddle made for Goldwing models.
It’s sometimes likened by fans to a “motorcycle throne.”
Its biggest USP is the very supportive backrests on both front and rear seats.
Best Tips To Prolong The Lifetime Of Your Motorcycle Seat
First, you could invest in a pad or additional covering to protect the original seat.
This will protect certain materials from damage that can come naturally from UV exposure, especially vinyl.
Another measure you can take is to treat and condition leather regularly to ensure it is well protected and its integrity maintained.
Failure to do so can result in cracking, drying out, discoloration, and other problems.
One more good way to prolong the lifetime of your motorcycle seat is not to use it for protracted periods too often.
Shorter ride times will ensure the seat isn’t put under too much pressure.
Finally, you can avoid certain behaviors like jumping onto the seat as you mount your bike, or dropping down too fast or hard onto it when you take your seat.
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