Best Motorcycle Seat Pad for Long Rides – Reviews 2024
There are few things that motorcycle riders love more than a long trip on their favorite bike. Between the machine and the sense of freedom and adventure that is unique to motorcycles, the more time spent on the bike, the better. However, the stock seat doesn’t always offer the best comfort, especially when the miles start to add up.
Fortunately, the aftermarket is full of options to help make your ride more comfortable, even on the longest trips. Completely replacing the seat may be tempting, however, seat pads are an easier and cheaper alternative that you can try as well. These pads fit over the stock seat, and provide extra padding and comfort that is invaluable on long rides.
Just like most aftermarket products, there is a wide variety of seat pads to choose from. With so many different offerings available it may be difficult to pick out the perfect one for your specific needs. To help you make the best decision when it comes to motorcycle seat pads, we’ve done the research for you, and picked out several of the very best options available today. We’ll also go over a few important things to keep in mind when you’re shopping for a seat pad yourself, making it easy to make the best choice for yourself.
Table of Contents
Are Seat Pads Comfortable?
Motorcycle seats are designed to compliment the motorcycle, and to be fairly comfortable for a very wide range of riders. However, no two riders will be exactly the same, and that means that the stock motorcycle seat will often fall short of delivering the best riding experience.
Replacing a motorcycle’s seat entirely is a tempting option, however it is also an expensive one, and installing the new seat can often be an involved and difficult process depending on the bike. Riders that are looking to save money or to avoid the complication of swapping out the seat itself may consider a seat pad.
Seat pads are made from soft materials that provide a greater degree of comfort for the rider. Often, these pads will be designed to accommodate specific types of riders, and may incorporate materials like gel or foam to ease a rider’s discomfort and enhance their experience, regardless of the length of the trip.
Between the materials and specialized design, seat pads provide a much more comfortable ride without the high cost and complicated installation of an entirely new seat.
Benefits and Types of Motorcycle Seat Pads
There are several different types of motorcycle seat pads available, each of them with their own benefits and limitations. Keep in mind that the seat is the primary point of contact between the rider and the motorcycle, and the point of a seat pad is to make that contact point as comfortable as possible without having an impact on the rider’s interaction with the machine. This is why choosing a seat pad that perfectly fits each specific situation is so important.
Let’s take a look at the different types of motorcycle seat pads alongside their advantages and disadvantages in order to get a better idea of how this accessory may impact your own riding experience.
Foam Seat Pads
One of the most basic, but effective materials for a motorcycle seat pad is foam. While most motorcycle seats will have a foam layer of their own, the layer used in many stock motorcycle seats is thin, and this means that it does not often provide the most comfortable ride.
Foam seat pads use a thicker layer of foam than a stock seat does to provide better cushioning to the rider. This type of seat pad may use varying thicknesses and densities of foam to specifically reinforce or cushion certain parts of the seat in order to provide maximum comfort. However, foam seat pads also add more thickness to the seat than many other options, and this can result in a higher riding position than what you may be used to.
- Simple, comfortable material
- Available in a very wide variety
- May add excessive height to the seat
Air or Inflatable Seat Cushions
These Motorcycle seat pads use air in order to provide better cushioning to the rider. An inflatable seat cushion will have one or more inflatable chambers that provide excellent dampening for bumps in the road.
An added bonus when using an inflatable seat pad is that it will also be easier to store than some other options, as the pad will take up less space when deflated. This is a good thing to keep in mind if you do not always ride with a seat pad and are looking for a solution that is easy to remove and store out of the way until it is needed.
Using air as a cushion does have its own drawbacks, though. These pads are vulnerable to punctures, overinflation, and even changes in elevation and temperature. Just like your tires, an inflatable seat cushion may inflate and deflate with large changes in altitude or the temperature. The air chambers of an overinflated cushion may also be damaged when exposed to harsh shock or impact.
- Easy to remove and store when needed
- Air chambers can be inflated to a variety of different pressures for different situations and riders
- Outstanding dampening of on-road bumps
- Air chambers are vulnerable to punctures or ruptures
- Can be affected by changes in elevation and temperature
Gel Seat Cushions
Seat pads that use gel for cushioning are some of the more durable options, and an excellent choice for riders that ride very frequently, or that ride through difficult conditions. These seat pads typically feature special designs that place gel in high-pressure areas in order to maximize their effectiveness.
Gel is a material that conforms to the rider, becoming more tailored to them over time. However, this material has a lot less give than foam or air, and this means that it does not provide the same cushioning effect.
- Conforms to the rider over time
- Provides a solid cushioning upgrade over stock padding
- Excellent durability
- Stiffer material than air or foam
Seat pads that use small beads to provide extra cushioning are an excellent compromise between the durability and conformity of a gel seat pad, and the greater give of a foam one. These pads use small gel beads, typically arranged in circles or rows in specific locations, to provide extra comfort, especially on longer rides.
Unlike typical gel pads, however, the tiny gel beads inside the pad offer more give, and this means a softer and more comfortable ride. As the rider settles into the seat, the gel beads conform to their individual shape, and return to place once the ride is over.
These pads offer great comfort, however they are also less durable than a gel pad, and offer less give than most foam ones. In addition, the patterns used in these seat pads may not offer support or give in the specific points that every rider needs, which makes their effectiveness less consistent than other materials.
- Good cushioning, especially when compared to gel pads
- Gel beads conform to each rider
- Less durable than gel pads
- Less give than many foam pads
- Patterns in seat may not offer the best experience for all riders
Sheepskin Seat Pads
Sheepskin is a material for the surface of a seat pad, and can be found on some higher end seat pads. This surface material is more plush and more durable than many other options, and is a great choice for riders who take their motorcycles out in extreme conditions such as cold and heat.
Sheepskin is used in combination with nearly every type of fill option, meaning that you may find foam or gel based seat pads with sheepskin surfaces.
- Exceptionally durable surface material
- Soft surface offers great comfort
- Material will need more regular cleaning than vinyl or mesh surface
Best motorcycle Seat Pad Reviews
There are numerous options for high quality motorcycle seat pads currently available, all with different advantages and disadvantages. While the best option for each bike, rider, and situation will always vary, we have done the research and selected ten of the best motorcycle seat cushions to narrow your search for the option that best fits you.
#1: AirHawk R-RevB Cruiser R
This inflatable seat pad from Airhawk offers exceptional cushioning and several specific features to enhance the comfort of your ride. The air chamber is made from tough polyurethane material in order to ensure maximum longevity, and the mesh cover is highly breathable, allowing good airflow for a comfortable ride.
An air valve allows the rider to adjust the amount of air in the chamber to the exact level that is needed. A large size and ergonomic design also makes this seat pad a great choice for bigger bikes, such as the top end Harley Davidson cruisers and Can Am three-wheelers, however the pad may be a bit too large for smaller motorcycles.
- Ergonomic design provides excellent comfort and support
- Polyurethane air chamber is exceptionally durable
- Excellent breathability and airflow prevent overheating
- Air chamber allows for more custom fit
- Can result in higher or further forward seating position
- May not be a good fit for motorcycles with smaller or more narrow seats
#2: MadDog GearComfor
This segmented foam seat pad from Coleman offers a decent option for riders that need just a little extra padding for their ride. Featuring several foam pads arranged to provide a good balance of padding and airflow, this seat pad provides a major upgrade for a wide variety of different bikes.
The design is especially well suited to more narrow motorcycle seats, and is held in place by several buckles to keep you not only comfortable but secure. While this sizing does make it a great option for many motorcycles, ranging from smaller Ninjas to Triumphs, this seat pad may not be a great fit for more heavily contoured seats, such as those found on Harley Davidsons. The segmented foam cushions may also be insufficient for some situations where the lack of comfort is more severe.
- Excellent fit for narrow seats
- Low-profile segmented foam design
- Easy to secure
- Thin padding may not help in extreme cases
- Not a good fit for more contoured or larger motorcycle seats
#3: AirHawk Medium Cruiser Seat
This medium-sized seat pad from AirHawk features a grid-patterned air chamber made from durable polyurethane with a black mesh cover. Designed to fit a wide range of motorcycles across every type, this seat pad is a great option for riders that spend a lot of time on the road, and would like to make those rides more comfortable.
A valve on the air chamber allows the rider to let out excess air to more specifically fit them, which means that this seat pad can be tailored to specifically fit almost any rider. While this seat pad is a great option for increasing the comfort of your ride, it is also quite a bit thicker than some competitors, and this means that your riding position may change, which takes some getting used to.
- Adjustable air chamber fits almost any rider
- Designed to fit a very wide range of different motorcycles
- Durable polyurethane air chamber resists damage
- Thick seat pad may result in a less optimal riding position
#4: Ceritorn 3D Honeycomb Seat Pad
For riders that are looking for a more comfortable ride that is not only softer but cooler as well, this gel seat pad from Ceritorn is a solid choice. Using a hollow honeycomb pattern, this seat pad maximizes airflow and flexes under the rider’s weight, resulting in a more comfortable and cooler ride than many competitors.
This seat pad is exceptionally durable as well, designed to hold out over even the longest motorcycle rides. While the honeycomb design does provide better flex than many other gel seats, the give of this seat is less than some of its competition as well, and may be too stiff ofr some riders.
- Hollow honeycomb design offers excellent flex and breathability
- Highly durable gel construction
- Does not offer as much cushioning as most air and foam competitors
- Specific shape of seat pad may not fit all bikes
#5: AirHawk Small Pillion Seat Cushion
For riders with small seats, or for their passengers, this small seat pad from AirHawk offers excellent, air-based cushioning in a smaller size. Featuring the same polyurethane air chamber and air valve for adjustability, this seat pad offers exceptional comfort and durability. A non-skid surface on the bottom of the pad coupled with the included mounting straps ensures that the seat pad will not slide around while you are riding, ensuring that you are both comfortable and safe.
While the smaller size does accommodate a wide range of motorcycle seats, riders of larger bikes may wish to look for a larger pad that is designed to fit their seat. The thickness of this pad may also be an issue for some riders, as it can elevate the riding position of some motorcycles.
- Good fit for smaller seats
- Durable polyurethane air chamber
- Adjustable to fit a wide range of riders
- May not be a good fit for larger bikes
- Thick pad can change the riding position
#6: ASI Pressure Relief Pad
Air Seat Innovations is one of the leading companies producing air-based motorcycle seat pads. This specific cushion is designed to fit most sport touring and cruiser motorcycles, providing a comfortable ride over long distances. Featuring a durable air chamber designed to reduce pressure on the most critical points, as well as a breathable mesh covering, this seat pad is a very solid choice.
The air chamber of this seat cushion is specifically designed to reduce shock and vibration from the road, enabling you to ride greater distances without experiencing the type of fatigue that is common to long motorcycle trips. While this seat pad is exceptionally comfortable, it may not be a perfect fit for exceptionally large motorcycles such as the Honda Goldwing, and may require extended straps in order to fit properly.
- Reduces shock, vibration, and fatigue
- Made with durable materials to last over long rides
- May need extension straps for very large motorcycles
- Air chamber is not adjustable while on the bike
#7: AirHawk Dual Sport Pad
Dual sport bikes are some of the best options for long rides both on and off of paved roads. While this versatility opens up a lot of options for new and exciting rides, it also means that they are likely to encounter more severe bumps and vibrations than other bikes on average. This seat pad from AirHawk is designed to accommodate dual sport bikes specifically, with a shape that fits easily on most dual sport seats.
Using a polyurethane air chamber that can be adjusted on the fly, this seat pad provides excellent vibration reduction and can dampen even the harshest bumps in the road, even when the road surface isn’t smooth. The specialized shape of this seat pad does mean that it is not well suited to other types of motorcycle, however, and may not be an ideal fit for many cruisers, or some sport bikes.
- Excellent design specifically for dual sport motorcycles
- Adjustable air chamber is comfortable for most riders
- Specialized shape of the seat pad doesn’t fit every bike type
#8: ASI Pressure Relief Pad
This compact seat pad from Air Seat Innovations is an outstanding choice designed specifically for the passenger seat. Featuring durable neoprene rubber and a breathable mesh cover, this seat pad is capable of reducing shock and vibrations from the road to make sure that your passenger is always comfortable, even on long trips.
This air-based seat pad is a great option for passengers, but is too small to be effective for the main riding position except for on very small motorcycles. However, the increase in comfort will be a major quality of life improvement for your passengers.
- Excellent improvement to riding comfort for passengers
- Designed specifically to fit passenger seat on most motorcycles
- Not designed for main riding seat
#9: Skwoosh Classic Motorcycle Saddle
This gel seat pad from Skwoosh is designed for standard and reduced reach motorcycle seats. The design is specifically meant not to have an effect on the distance to the foot controls of the bike, meaning that your riding position will be largely unchanged with this seat pad. A cut out in the center of the seat provides good airflow, and easily accommodates your tailbone while you ride, making for a more comfortable experience overall.
Not only is this seat pad comfortable, but it is also designed to be durable as well. The materials used in this pad’s construction enable it to be used over many long rides, ensuring that you get the most out of your money. However, preventing the pad from affecting your riding position means using thinner construction, and that sacrifices some of the pad’s ability to handle more extreme road conditions.
- Pad does not change your riding position
- Designed to fit stock and reduced reach seats
- Thinner pad does not dampen vibration and reduce shock as well as a thicker pad might
#10: Conformax Topper Excel
This seat pad from Conformax features a hinged design to more effectively fit on a wide variety of motorcycle seats across all different types of bike. This seat utilizes both gel and foam in order to provide a great riding experience, layering durable and rider conforming gel on top of softer foam to bring out the best of both materials. A grippy surface attaches to your seat and works with the included straps to improve the security of the pad and provide a ride that is not only more comfortable, but is also safe.
Despite the use of two layered materials, this seat pad is also very low profile, minimizing the impact on your riding position. This makes for a seat that has very few major drawbacks, allowing you to ride comfortably, even across great distances, without having to deal with major changes in your riding position, or worrying about the damage to the pad.
- Layered gel and foam make for superior comfort
- Breathable materials do not overheat
- Hinged design fits a very wide range of motorcycle seats
- Is not as giving as a full foam pad, nor as conforming as a full gel pad
- May not fit very large bikes
Why Do You Need Seat Pads?
There are several good reasons to use a seat pad when riding, especially over long distances. While the stock seat of a motorcycle is meant to be fairly comfortable for a very wide range of riders, no two people are exactly the same and that means that the stock seat can be very uncomfortable for some riders. The longer you ride, the more pronounced this becomes, and after a few hours, even the most comfortable stock motorcycle seat can become problematic.
Using a seat pad is a quick, easy, and inexpensive way to address seat fatigue. Motorcycle seat pads provide a lot better dampening of road vibrations and harsh bumps than a standard seat without the need to completely change out the stock equipment.
In addition to making for a more comfortable ride, seat pads also protect your stock seat from wear and tear, keeping their surface looking showroom fresh, even after several long rides.
The primary purpose of a motorcycle seat pad is to make your ride more comfortable by absorbing bumps and road vibration more effectively than a simple stock motorcycle seat. This also means less shifting around in the seat to try and find a more comfortable riding position, which can result in poor riding posture, and even dangerous distraction as you become more focused on the discomfort than the ride itself.
Riding with an uncomfortable seat can lead to riders shifting around in their seat to try and get more comfortable, ultimately slouching or taking up other positions that can result in more serious back and posture issues over time. Riding upright is ideal, and using a seat pad to ensure that that posture remains comfortable goes a long way to avoiding issues later on.
What to look for before buying?
While we have reviewed several fantastic options, there are still many, many more to choose from, and some of the options outside of our list may even be a better fit for your specific situation. When you find yourself shopping for a motorcycle seat pad of your own, be sure to keep the following helpful tips in mind.
Size and Shape
The size and shape of a motorcycle seat pad has a massive impact on its effectiveness, from how well it enhances the comfort of your ride, to how safe it is to use. These pads should ideally fit over your existing seat almost as if they were made for your bike specifically, conforming to the dimensions of the bike in a natural way that has minimal impact on the vehicle’s ergonomics.
Take a good long look at your bike’s stock seat shape and dimensions when shopping fr a seat pad, and try to stick with a pad that closely matches these details to ensure that your new pad fits just right.
What materials you prefer will be largely based on personal preference, and what works well for one rider may not work out for another. However, when looking into an accessory that is going to get as much use as consistently as a seat pad, it is important to be sure that the materials that make up the pad are durable and of high quality.
Whether you prefer your seat pad to use gel, foam, or air on the inside, as well as what material you prefer the pad’s cover to be made from, what is ultimately most important is that the materials themselves are good quality. Look for polyurethane air chambers when dealing with air based pads, water or weather resistant materials on the outside, and tough straps to hold the pad to the seat.
Just as important as the inside of the seat pad, the material on the outside is the part of the seat pad that you will be interacting with directly. These covers should be durable, and they should also be able to handle the type of conditions that you most typically ride through. Most often this will mean looking for a water resistant cover, however your own situation may also call for a thicker material to handle road debris, or a material that is not easily affected by extreme heat.
Many motorcycle seat pad covers are made from mesh because it is lightweight and breathable, however materials like leather or sheepskin are also available, and these have benefits of their own, including much higher levels of durability than mesh. Beyond the practical benefits, some riders will have a personal preference for one material or another.
Motorcycle seat pads will almost always have an effect on your riding position. How extreme this effect is, however, is determined by the thickness of the pad itself. A thicker pad will raise your ride height more, and have a greater impact on the bike’s ergonomics, but will also be more effective at absorbing vibrations and bumps in the road on average.
When considering the thickness of a seat pad, keep in mind how your riding position will be affected, and if you will be comfortable with the resulting change. In some cases, a seat pad may be designed to improve comfort with minimal impact to your riding position as well, however such pads are usually designed with very specific applications in mind.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are these cushions waterproof?
Whether or not a seat pad is waterproof will depend on the materials used in its construction, specifically those used for the cover. While some seat pads are waterproof, others may not be. Check the specifications on each pad in order to know which are, and which are not waterproof.
Won’t they increase my height?
Some motorcycle seat pads will have a serious effect on your riding position, while some others will not. The difference in riding height is usually minimal, especially when dealing with foam or gel based pads. Check the dimensions on each pad to get an idea of how extreme the effect will be.
How do I know which material is best for me?
The best way to tell what your own preference in material will be is to physically check out a few examples and compare them. In the event a physical examination is not a possibility, check for reviews of each pad on bikes that are as similar to your own as possible and see what your fellow riders’ experience was like.
How can I be sure it will fit my bike?
The dimensions of most seat pads will be provided by the manufacturer. Compare the provided dimensions with your own bike to be as sure as possible that the seat pad you have chosen will fit. You can also check for reviews of each pad with bikes of the same or very similar models as well.
Do all of these units have a matching passenger cushion option?
Unfortunately, most seat pads do not have a matching passenger cushion option. However, when it comes to motorcycle seat pads, matching the rider and passenger is not often necessary.
How can I enhance my motorcycle seat comfort during long rides?
Using a motorcycle seat pad is the first and most effective method for enhancing the comfort of your seat. You can also wear padded gear to further dampen road vibrations. Remember to take semi-regular breaks on particularly long rides to avoid building up fatigue, as this is a risk even with an extremely comfortable seat or cushion.
What is the most comfortable seat for long rides?
What is “most” comfortable will vary from person to person. In general, though, the ideal seat should allow you plenty of room between the seat and foot controls, be able to handle vibrations and harsh bumps from the road, and allow for plenty of blood flow through your legs.
What is the best seat cover for a motorcycle?
Which seat cover is best will always be up to your own preferences, as different riders look for different things, and even the motorcycle that they are used on will have a dramatic effect on the comfort level of each seat cover. To find the best option for you, keep in mind the things that are a priority for you, and then look for a cover that provides those specific benefits.
Does sheepskin make motorcycle seats more comfortable?
Sheepskin is a popular option for motorcycle seat covers that is both durable and comfortable. While it is not a complete game changer on its own, when paired up with the right internal materials, sheepskin can make a huge difference in how comfortable your ride can be.
In this buying guide we’ve gone over some of the most important things to keep in mind when looking into motorcycle seat pads. Whether you are looking for a cushion to keep you comfortable over long distances, or a simple seat cover to protect your bike, the information provided here will go a long way to helping you make an informed decision for your own specific situation.
With accessories like these there is never a single best option that fits everyone, and the best option for you may even lie outside of the examples we have provided. However, now that you are up to speed on the different types, materials, and designs of motorcycle seat pads, you can be confident that you will make the best choice for your own motorcycle.