If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.

- George Washington

Friday, 7 September 2012

Gentlemen, be seated!

The GS comes as standard with a very low seat.  At 780 mm from the ground, it's positively subterranean.  Older readers may remember that one of the main reasons for selling the Bonneville was the seat height.  I could sit at traffic lights not only with both feet flat on the ground, but with my knees bent almost at right-angles too.  It felt like the time when I sneakily tried to ride one of the kids' tricycles (come on, we've all done it).  It felt like a toy.  The GS was the same.  And the seat on the GS was, in addition, profoundly uncomfortable, at least for the unique contours of my bot.  I managed a 50-mile ride on the second day I had it, but when I got home I had to unfold myself from the bike and couldn't walk straight for an hour.

See the shape of the scoop?  It looks very comfy, but in fact you are sitting on a slope, and you have the choice of either a) sitting back and feeling like you are constantly sliding down a hill on your bum, or b) sitting forward and getting a serving of crushed nuts on your 99.

Looks comfy.  Isn't.

Fortunately, there was also a more off-road oriented version of the GS called the Dakar - louder graphics, taller suspension, higher seat, not for midgets.  The seat on the Dakar promises an extra 40 mm of height, and the two are interchangeable.  So I went to the recommended source (Motorworks in Yorkshire) and bought a Dakar seat.  It arrived and was fitted yesterday, and it's much better.  There is a lot more foam padding, so comfier for the old derrière, and it is noticeably higher.  The knees are grateful, the hips don't complain quite as much, and you can see over cars better.  No long rides yet, but I can see this being good for 100+ miles at a time, which is really all I need.  By that distance, my brain is ready for a rest and a stroll in any case.

Here's the old one:

... and here's the new:

Mmmm.  Arse says 'thank you'
I've measured the new one against the old, and the distance from the footrest to the lowest part of the seat has gone from 500 mm to 540 mm - exactly as promised.  You probably lose some of that in the extra squish of the thicker foam, but the improvement in comfort and position is significant.

The old seat was a rather pleasant orangey-red, which I thought went well with the black bodywork, but the all-black appearance of the new seat is quite funky in a different way.

Now, whether to sell the old seat, or keep it 'just in case'?


  1. It looks good, Richard, I'm pleased it's more comfortable.

    Did you bottle-out of the other alternative?

    1. Crikey, Joe, where do you find this stuff? Cement, paraffin, tyre compound and glue sounds like an average evening at Nowhere Towers but we don't put them in our bottoms. Fact.

  2. Sell, put money towards a back-up seat you want to sit on, such as another one of these.

    1. Hmmm. I'm not sure I have ever had a back-up seat before, although there are lots of toys awaiting consideration. Perhaps selling would salve my conscience somewhat.

  3. Looks good, except I keep telling you ALL motor cycles should be MATT BLOODY BLACK! I mean ALL the bike. Engine, exhausts, handle bars, EVERYTHING.

    Also. As you were talking of seats. The most comfortable looking seat I have ever seen, for the size of bike, was/is the Virago 535.

    Don't bloody believe it!

    I managed fifty miles. Then 10. After that it was an emergency "walk around" at every service station, and that "HEL I have to have root canal work today!" feeling before forcing myself to get back on.

    I swapped it the very next day for a Z650.

    1. When you get up close, the bike is a nice combination of gloss black and matt gunmetal grey. It works well. But you can relax. I plan to refurb the XT over the winter, and matt (or satin) black is currently top of the colour-scheme daydream list - for everything from engine to rims.

      Know what you mean about the 535 seats. I tried a colleague's Virago around the company car park a few years ago. That was enough.

  4. I would think that if the new seat is that much more comfy you would have no reason to ever put the stock one back on. The only reason to keep it would be if you plan to sell it in the future the next owner might want it.

    It sounds as though the red seat is the same as my stock Gladius seat except for then crushed nuts bit, luckily I have lady parts so it isn't painful when it slides me towards the tank. Not so for hubby or even Chris from Everyday Riding when he rode it. I usually find myself pushing backwards to slide back a bit. But eventually I slide forward again and after a few rounds of this my pants have ridden up far enough to be uncomfortable iffin you know what I mean.

    Glad you made the ride a little comfier.

    1. Keeping it for possible resale later on was what I was thinking of. It's a popular bike for ladies and shorter men, and it might be a good selling point. I doubt if I would get much for it - the trade is mainly the other way, seeking high and offering low. Like me.

      Take this the right way, but I find your comment about lady bits interesting :) When Anna was able to ride a bicycle, she spent a fortune trying every saddle on the market, looking for something that wouldn't pummel her ladybits to paste. I had assumed that m/c seats would be the same. Perhaps being broader they are not. The condition you describe is called in the UK by the glorious name of a 'knicker sandwich'.

    2. Was going to respond with something witty along the lines of 'just in case you suddenly get 6 inches shorter in the leg and start singing soprano?', but the resale reason is a pretty fair one.

      The all black's a good look, anyway.

      And here down South we often use the equally, um, glorious description of a 'hungry bottom'. (Interchangeable regarding front or rear bottoms).

    3. "Bottom"? You are being too polite, I believe :)

  5. I don't want to get anybody in trouble for clicking things at work....but equestrian supplies already have this underwear thing sorted out. They have similar design considerations and have been working on solutions for some time.


  6. Ha! I tried this at work, and it wasn't blocked. Perhaps the filtering software hasn't caught up with horse people yet.

    That could be a useful resource. Seriously, I have a couple of pairs of cycle shorts (similar principle, I imagine) and I've often thought they would be great for the biker's equivalent of 'chapel bottom'. The only difficulty is that the shorts were bought when I was cycling 30 hilly miles a day. And now I don't, and, er, let's say the shorts wouldn't be very comfy. But as a principle, A1 and top of the class.

    Thank you.


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