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  • 1 Post By McCrankpin

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  #1  
Old 21 Apr 2012
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Saddles

The comfort of your seat always seems to be the limiting factor on any bike. There are all sorts of comfort options available including custom seats, gel pads and sheepskins but they don't always work. One rider can find a particular bike very comfortable whilst another finds it really unpleasant after about 20 miles.

All this leads me to think that there is something wrong with the fundamental design. I can drive my car 500 or 600 miles without stopping without any discomfort - the seat's certainly not the limiting factor.

In this day and age with all the technology around us you would have thought that someone would have come up with a universal solution.
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  #2  
Old 21 Apr 2012
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On my BMW R100R we had a Russell custom steat and it was great.
We put over 250,000 miles on it two-up. When I got My R1200GS the stock seat was fine for the first year but the second year it started to get uncomfortable. I looked into another Russell seat but all the reveiws said that it would rais me by 1 inch. On the R100R that did not matter but on the GS it did. We got a Sargent Seat for the GS and it has beem very good. We can do 10 - 12 hour days two-up with no problem.

Now our car or truck is different.
Because of lower back problems both of those cause some pain after a couple of hours. No way could I drive all day, day after day.
It is the seating position in cars where your legs are out in front of you and you are sitting on your spine that is painfull to me. On the bikes my legs are below me and my back is tipped forward a little that takes the pressure off of my spine.

As for the Bike companies I have no idea what their test riders look like but for BMW they must be tall with unusual dimensions to their arms and legs.
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  #3  
Old 21 Apr 2012
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The seating position on a motorcycle puts a lot of weight on your bottom, in a way that's probably quite different to sitting on a normal chair. I think the major obstacle to overcome is getting used to spending large amounts of time sat on a motorcycle.

I've worked as a despatch rider for last two years, and I find if I go through a period of not doing too much motorway/distance work, those long distance runs start to give me a sore bottom. When I get back out on the motorways on a regular basis my bottom regains some of its hardiness again and the longer jobs no longer cause notable discomfort.
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  #4  
Old 30 Apr 2012
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I bet if you removed the back part of the seat on your car you wouldnt be doing 500 or 600 miles without any problems.
I have the same problem, long distance in the car is not the same as on the bike.
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  #5  
Old 1 May 2012
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Look at all the adjustments on a modern car, slide it on the floor, move the back, lift or lower the head restraint, angle the steering wheel and that's on a Nissan Micra. The seat on my former works car went up and down and sideways and remembered up to 5 drivers and had a built in grill/toaster! I compare that to the only car I ever owned (as against loaned by work/parents/wife), a 1974 VW Beetle and the two adjustments that had (slide the seat to get at the pedals, move the back rest to lie down/put your chin on the wheel) and things really have moved on. On my Bonneville I can move the bars in the clamps or take the raisers out, just like in 1914. The V-stroms I've been looking at are barely different, you get a seat height to adjust but half of that is to do with getting your feet down and maybe the means to angle the screen. Usually you need spanners to adjust anything.

As an engineer I think an ergonomic bike is harder to get right, balancing the body C of G against the air flow etc, but MCN riders wouldn't thank you for adding 300g of seat tilt mechanism either. As for the motor driven seat that tilts you forward with speed and lowers you to get your feet down, even BMW don't think that's worth a go.

Andy
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  #6  
Old 1 May 2012
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Agree with everything here, but am surprised the one single thing that gives the biggest increase in comfort hasn't been mentioned.
-
A good sheepskin seat cover.

I first fashioned mine from an old but good-quality sheepskin coat back in 1996 for a trip to Ukraine and Russia. Never did I find a better device for greater comfort.

That old coat provided a few covers for different bikes and I just used the last piece of it to renew the cover on my Yamaha.

So I looked on ebay to see what's for sale.
You can find old coats selling for 30GBPounds or less and in my opinion, the old ones will be far better quality than the newer.
(My coat was originally bought second-hand by my Dad in the 1970s, so age is unknown. Probably 50s from the style of it. He gave it to me and I wore it for many years until 'wear and tear around the edges' led me to find this new use for it).
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  #7  
Old 2 May 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by McCrankpin View Post
Agree with everything here, but am surprised the one single thing that gives the biggest increase in comfort hasn't been mentioned.
-
A good sheepskin seat cover.

I first fashioned mine from an old but good-quality sheepskin coat back in 1996 for a trip to Ukraine and Russia. Never did I find a better device for greater comfort.

That old coat provided a few covers for different bikes and I just used the last piece of it to renew the cover on my Yamaha.

So I looked on ebay to see what's for sale.
You can find old coats selling for 30GBPounds or less and in my opinion, the old ones will be far better quality than the newer.
(My coat was originally bought second-hand by my Dad in the 1970s, so age is unknown. Probably 50s from the style of it. He gave it to me and I wore it for many years until 'wear and tear around the edges' led me to find this new use for it).
couldnt agree more lambland uk offer sheepskin covers i think i paid 12 quid for mine it makes a huge difference and provides a nice bit of added comfort for my feet when using my 3/4 rest mat.
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  #8  
Old 2 May 2012
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I'm aware of the comfort enhancers although none that I've tried offer a vast improvement. The best bike I've ever ridden for comfort was my MG Spada Royale which had a very good seat and an effective fairing. I suspect reducing the wind pressure on the rider as well as all other ergonomic factors affects the comfort of the seat. BMW used to say that their RS riding position (leaning slightly forward) was best but I always found the RT (bolt upright) was better. It seems to me that more recent bikes are worse than their predecessors with their seats designed to suit the styling sometimes detracting from their effectiveness. I used to think that the seat being wide at the front and supporting the riders inner thighs was the answer but then the 1150GS had a very wide seat at the front whilst managing to be the most uncomfortable bike I've ever owned.

Apart from converting a bike into a 2 wheeled car (as per a Goldwing) where the rider sits in still air on a seat that is bigger than most cars, there doesn't seem to be a formula that works for riders of all shapes and sizes. With the technology that now goes into virtually every other aspect of bike design I would have thought manufacturers would be trying harder to solving one of the main limitations of motorcycle design.
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  #9  
Old 2 May 2012
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Wind vs No wind

Quote:
Originally Posted by Magnon View Post
Apart from converting a bike into a 2 wheeled car (as per a Goldwing) where the rider sits in still air on a seat that is bigger than most cars, there doesn't seem to be a formula that works for riders of all shapes and sizes.
Not the topic, but I feel that strong wind may be more tiring and won't allow you very long rides, but I find it healthier for your back: you are forced to pull with your arms and push forward with your back to keep you there. Your neck must stand that force as well. It feels you work out your muscles, including the ones alongside your spine.

By contrast, a high windshield, where you are on still air feels like sitting on a stool for long hours: it may allow you longer distances and more confort, but I wonder if it is any better for your back. Unless you have a good back rest behind you.

It sure varies from person to person, back condition and the like, but I wonder anyone feels it somehow that way.

PS: Look at the huge/wide saddle on a beautiful Honda CB900 Bol d'Or, it does not look stylish for today patterns, at most you could accept it as retro, but people do not seem to love riding sitting on armchairs.
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  #10  
Old 5 May 2012
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I've done a lot of adjusting saddles for long riding on a good number of bikes. In the end, sheepskin or beads or alternating between both are good. The tilt of the saddle helps, taking more pressure off your tailbone/thigh depending on tilt either forward or back. Spacers under the saddle clamp at the frame may allow for this adjustment. Aftermarket saddles are also good, some better and others ok. I don't automatically recommend Russell, although they are very good for many folks.

The width of the saddle in the back section to support more of your butt is important. It spreads out the pressure. The front needs to be narrow, so you can put your feet down at a stop.

Here's some links and information:
DIYMotorcycleSeat.com - Home Page
$11 Seat Rebuild: KLR or about any bike - ADVrider
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  #11  
Old 5 May 2012
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When people get an aching backside after a few hundred miles they always blame the seat, but often the cause is the footrests. They are too high. My most comfortable bike was a BMW K75RT with a lower seat like a plank and a sheepskin. I now ride an R1100RT with a Sergeant seat and the same sheepskin. I can still ride it up to 600 miles a day, but by then it is an ordeal because the footrests are higher. I would raise the seat but I only have short legs and would not reach the ground with the sheepskin.
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  #12  
Old 30 May 2012
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My orignal theory was that there is something fundamentally wrong with motorcycle design and, perhaps, the chopper/cruiser style was developed to overcome the failings of the standard sit up and beg seating position. I've no idea how comfortable or otherwise cruiser style bikes with forward pegs are for long distances.

Giving it more thought and from some of the comments here I think that OE seats do not get any better as time moves on because the manufacturer is always constrained by the need to make the bike fit as many customers as possible although now they often offer a choice of seats and other adaptions to accommodate different sized riders. Bikes that have had the most comfortable seats, in my experience, have seats which are wide at the front. In order to be able to get your feet down these bikes have a relatively low seat height and a relatively small seat to peg spacing. The exception to this was the 1150GS which had a relatively wide (and high) seat but was very uncomfortable after 50 miles. The 1150 also had a larger screen which should have provided good wind protection which I think is the other important factor for a bike to be comfortable for long distances. I think the actual riding position has some affect as this determines which part of your backside is bearing your weight but I would have thought the seat could be designed to suit the bikes riding position.

It's hard to draw any firm conclusions but if anyone has a Moto Guzzi Spada for sale I may be interested!
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