Gel Motorcycle Seat Pad
By Don Stevens
TThe motorcycle seat usually carries most of the rider's weight, so it has a significant impact on rider comfort. However, this is an area where motorcycle manufacturers tend to fall short. If you take a test ride, ride mostly around town, or take short day rides, you probably won't take particular notice of the seat. Motorcycle characteristics such as riding position, engine power, exhaust note and handling will get a lot more attention. However, if you take rides where you rack up more miles (and more seat time), you will begin to notice that original equipment seats can get uncomfortable.
Skwoosh claims to be the world leader in lightweight performance gel cushions. They make gel seats for such varied needs as office chairs, kayaks, automobile, wheel chair, and stadium applications. They also make several models specifically for motorcycles. The unit we evaluated is the "Skwoosh Gel Seat for Motorcycles with ICS Independent Comfort Suspension" in the Mid-Size ($64.99). A larger Universal, a Passenger Pillion, and a Hopper Passenger model are also available.
The Skwoosh cushion is essentially a gel pad that drapes over your existing seat. Skwoosh says "it is the pressure-relieving gel packs, placed directly under your 'sitz' bones, which provide the comfort and aid in absorbing vibration."
Of course, with the cushion using gel to provide additional comfort it must be stated that gel will hold temperatures better than closed cell foam. Leave the Skwoosh in the hot sun for a couple of hours and you'll be able to fry an egg on the gel pad. If you have to leave your bike in the sun for any amount of time we'd suggest removing the pad or covering it with a light colored towel or some such to avoid any burning sensations coming from your posterior.
We tried the Skwoosh on two different motorcycles. The first was one of our high-mileage Ducati Multistrada 1100's, a more traditional sport touring motorcycle. We expected that mounting the cushion on the Multistrada would be more difficult because the seat is mounted directly to the fuel tank that runs the length of the motorcycle. However, the included elastic straps were fed beneath the fuel tank under the seat and easily reached back up to the other side. If the straps were capable of reaching around the greater distance of the fuel tank and the seat on our bike then we expect it should fit just about any other bike out there.
After a short time in the saddle, the cushion conformed to my "riding shape" and my riding comfort was definitely improved over the stock seat. I went on a long day ride and found I'd ridden about 40% longer than I usually like to travel and I was still doing fine. The Skwoosh certainly does cushion the "sitz" bones and improve rider comfort as advertised.
While my riding comfort was clearly improved, the flaw of this type of design was revealed as soon as the road became wiggly. (Note: Their website shows mostly large, upright, long distance road bikes.). While the Skwoosh was secure enough to stay in place during more sedentary mile-eating riding conditions, when we moved into the canyons and began spirited cornering and the subsequent body posture changes, the Skwoosh became distracting as I feared it would shift and slip around – hindering and making me reluctant to adjust posture, although it actually never really moved.
Next we moved the Skwoosh to a less traditional Sport Touring motorcycle; a Ducati Monster, a naked sportbike. While the Monster is not really thought of as a touring mount, largely because of the more athletic seating position and the firmer and thinner saddle, this is where the Skwoosh honestly seemed to do a little bit better than we expected. Because the seat of the sportier Monster is much firmer, the Skwoosh's added comfort was greatly appreciated, and the shape of the smaller seat allowed the Skwoosh to be fitted more firmly – becoming less of an issue (and a distraction) when the swervery was encountered. Despite the website's catering to larger touring bikes or large cruisers, we can not deny that we felt the seat was most at home on the sportier motorcycle, more effectively offsetting the thinly padded seat.
The Skwoosh is an inexpensive addition that can easily be made to any motorcycle to significantly improve rider seat comfort, especially on longer rides. While they make enough models to work on just about any motorcycle out there, considering our traditional reader, we feel this product is better suited to sportier bikes that also perform touring or long-distance commuting duty. While a custom or touring seat can cost upwards of $500, the $70 Skwoosh provides the necessary comfort at a fraction of the price. If you feel you need some added relief during your longer rides, it's hard to go wrong with the Skwoosh.
To learn more about the Skwoosh, be sure to visit their website at Skwoosh.com.