There are lots of accessories available on the aftermarket to make your motorcycle more comfortable. And one of the most important things to keep comfy on a bike is your bum.
On some bikes, it doesn’t matter how you sit but after a certain amount of time, you start to get uncomfortable. Generally, this happens on longer, straighter roads, such as motorways, since on cross-country roads for example, you tend to move around more on the bike and if you are negotiating a twisty section of road, you will have more of your weight supported through your feet and legs on the bike’s footpegs.
Sitting for long periods of time in the same position, as you would if you were eating miles on the motorway, can lead to anything from tingly nerves to the dreaded numb bum, where you end up with a loss of feeling from the waist down and are praying for the fuel-reserve light to come on just so you can step off the bike…
Many manufacturers and aftermarket specialists offer a host of ‘Comfort’ or ‘Touring’ seats, all designed to ease the pain in the bum – literally – by generally adding more padding or perhaps softer foam or gel sections to ease the pressure on nerves and muscles and help alleviate the discomfort from a long, straight ride.
1. Comfort Air Seat Cushion (Adventure/Sport)
The issue here is that they can often cost a lot of money and can, in some cases, actually make the situation worse, depending on the rider’s particular anatomy.
There are also lots of add-on pads and cushions that you can use but the issue with many of these is that, while they may improve comfort while on the motorway, they introduce a feeling of disconnect between you and the bike as and when you reach any fun twisty parts.
That softer additional layer of material between you and the bike that is deliberately designed to insulate you from it will remove the key feedback from the bike if you want to enjoy riding on some great roads when you have reached your general destination.
But with a cushion like this one from ComfortAir, you have the best of both worlds. Inflate it for comfort on those long, tedious rides then either deflate it or remove it completely if you want to enjoy some twisty scratching at the end of your long ride.
There are three different styles of cushions, for different bikes; Adventure/sport, tourer and cruiser and there is also a separate pillion pad. The main three are slightly different shapes to cope with typical seat designs on those bikes but all feature the plastic inflatable bladder and a cover to house it. You fit the cover to the bike, then inflate the bladder to the required pressure, then get on and ride.
The cover fits to the bike’s seat with straps underneath and without the bladder inside, does move around a bit. However, it is easy enough to remove if you want that connection with the bike – it takes less time than adjusting your rear preload, for example. The inflation valve is on a short length of pipe and you just blow it up yourself – the brass valve opens and closes easily and you will be quite capable of getting enough air in to it – I was.
In fact, the chances are you will start with too much air. Make the bladder too hard and you are effectively eliminating its main purpose. Make it too soft and you aren’t getting the benefit. Somewhere between the two extremes is where you are likely to be.
When I first started using the cushion, I blew it up so it was almost solid then gradually let air out – while sat on it, it’s easy enough to reach the valve when sat down – until it reached the right compromise between comfort and stability.
Once there, the difference from the standard, over firm and painful seat was staggering. For £70-odd quid (a fraction of the price of a ‘comfort’ or ‘touring’ seat) I now had the opportunity to travel in comfort yet enjoy the bike’s potential at the end of a long trip.
A few times I tried letting all the air out and while that does help with the connection with the bike for feedback, it also means you tend to move around a little and could damage either the cover or the bladder itself. As I said earlier, it’s no great problem to pop the seat off and remove the cushion if you are looking for some action. Alternatively, just blow it up hard and try that.
The blocky design of the bladder mean that air can circulate around it, preventing it getting sweaty or too warm and the cover has a leatherette section for grip when sat on the bike but mesh side panels to allow that air to circulate. In cold conditions, this will insulate you from any heated seat you may have but these are generally rare and if this is the case, I’d suggest some winter base layers…
This is an elegant and effective way to alleviate numb bum on long trips. It’s quick and easy to fit, so if the majority of your riding isn’t a problem, you can keep it in a drawer until you are doing a big trip and want to arrive fresh, without needing to stop every half hour to walk around.
It’s easy to use as well – the inflation/deflation valve is simple to access and use and it doesn’t look dreadful when fitted to the bike. It’s not as neat as say a dedicated comfort seat but then, it offers the potential of both comfort and connection when you want it. And it is transferable from bike to bike, so if you change, you don’t need to buy another expensive seat.
Variable levels of inflation and hence, comfort
Fit to any bike
Remove for twisty-road enjoyment
Can add to seat height if fully inflated
More motorcycle seat pads on MCN
2. Hommiesafe Air Cushion
Air pressure is equalised out between the nodules and the gaps means that air can flow between to
3. Scoutteemo Universal Mesh Cover
While this universal elasticated mesh seat cover may not improve comfort, it should improve
4. Wild Ass Cushion
Available in two styles (this sport and a more sculpted Smart) and each in three specifications