Originally Posted by levain
I've seen some of the seats in this thread from Corbin & saddleman. I'm wondering what your impressions are of the above, and whether you have gone the custom route? I had a Bill Mayer on my GS that was great. Also had a Sargent once upon a time, and that seat really fit my ass
Too bad they're dragging their feet on production
The only stock seats on 50 or so bikes I've owned that I've been able to tolerate were on a 2005 K1200 LT, a 2008 Gold Wing, and a 2002 Moto Guzzi Le Mans. Every other seat on everything else I've ridden has inflicted varying degrees of torture, mostly right on the bony parts. In terms of aftermarket or accessory seats I've had a couple of Corbins, a Rick Mayer, a Harley Sundowner, a Triumph gel seat, and several Sargents. I've also used an Alaska Sheepskin and an Airhawk.
Seats are highly subjective. Considering that, I've found the Corbins to be the worst of the aftermarket seats. I had to send back the Corbin I bought for my FJR 1300 because it was a full inch (at least) shorter than the stock seat, which cramped my knees. The Corbin on my Harley was so rock hard it gave my girlfriend raging headaches after about an hour of riding. Their seat pans tend to weigh a metric ton, and don't always seem to fit the bike as well as the stockers they replace. However, you'll find those who love Corbins and won't buy anything else because Corbin seats fit their anatomy. Additionally, Corbin was very cooperative in working with me on that FJR to modify it and add the height they had originally taken away.
The Harley seat was decent for the money, about a 5 on a scale of 1 - 10, 10 being the most comfortable. The Rick Mayer was about a 7.5. The Sargents have consistently been the best for me. The add on products like the sheepskin and air hawk tend to provide a "different" seating surface which temporarily alters the pressure points and provides very temporary relief, but it is always fleeting. However, the sheepskin is great at providing some ventilation and heat reduction.
I looked long and hard at the new Saddlemen, but I decided to pass for a couple of reasons. First, they refer to it as being very firm. I don't know if they mean Sargent firm or Corbin firm. The former is good, the latter is bad for me. Additionally, since much of my issue with seats is caused by the lack of much natural padding, I figure a channel cut through the middle of the seat that further reduces the total real estate supporting my body will only serve to put more pressure on those two bony parts that are always the source of my discomfort.
I seriously considered a Russell - the one seat I've never tried but always wanted to. However, I've seen a photo of one and thought it looked pretty ridiculous on this bike. Furthermore, I felt it would at least somewhat inhibit my ability to move around on the bike, something that gets more important on twisty roads or off pavement.
I want a Sargent but I've grown impatient waiting for them to release their Worldsport seat. I took a look at their custom seat services and shot a couple of emails back & forth with them. I finally decided I'd buy the Triumph Gel seat and try it, and if I wasn't happy with it at least I'd have a spare seat so I could send my original to Sargent.
It didn't take but a couple of hours to figure out the Triumph Gel seat for me was only a somewhat more comfortable version of the stocker, but since it has the same shape and design it causes the same pressure points for me. Additionally the gel really retains heat, and after the bike has sat in the sun for a while I can really feel the heat for about 20 minutes or so, which further exacerbates my discomfort issues. So I packed my stock seat up and sent it to Sargent. They received it today, should have it done in less than two weeks, and will send it back. I opted for them to widen and dish the seating area with super cell atomic foam, and level the seating surface from front to rear. The widening is limited to approximately an inch wider on each side of the seat, which should be enough for me. Some of those with wider posteriors might find the amount of widening room insufficient once the seating area has been dished. I suspect Sargent will probably solve this to a certain degree with their Worldsport seat pan, but that has yet to be seen.
I'll post photos as well as my experience once it comes back and I have a bit of time on it. Sargent cautions the purchaser of custom seat services that they don't always come out right the first time since it is difficult for them to figure out exactly what fits each person's anatomy, so I may have to send it back once. Additionally I'm sure it will need to break in for a while, but I'm confident if anyone can make a seat that will allow me to spend up to 24 hours on it at a time (like the sargents I had on my RTs) Sargent can.
The cost including return shipping and a new custom made seat cover was $315.00.
Sorry for the lengthy dissertation, but seats are so individual I thought the sum of my experience would be helpful to the user in determining what their discomfort issues are, and what seat options might be best for them. I have no affiliation with Sargent other than being a very happy repeat customer.