While they’re purposeful by design, hunkered-over sportbike ergonomics can be unapologetic where comfort is concerned. A rider’s lower back and wrists may begin to protest after even a brief stint in the saddle, but factor in a too-firm, poorly shaped or thinly padded seat, and even the most diehard enthusiast is likely to experience the sport rider’s triangle of pain during an extended ride.
Saddlemen’s Track Style Gel Channel Solo Seat—available for most late-model sportbikes—isn’t intended to alleviate back or wrist woes, but its patent-pending, Saddlegel-incorporating Gel Channel technology is said to evenly distribute rider weight across the full surface of the pad, eliminating pressure points for enhanced comfort. Another key feature that may be familiar to bicyclists is a deep channel down the center of the seat that’s claimed to relieve pressure on the perineal region, increasing blood flow for greater comfort.
We equipped our long-term 2011 Kawasaki ZX-10R ABS with a solo saddle and passenger pillion, both of which were skinned in matching textured faux-carbon-weave vinyl. Bolt holes drilled in the seat-pan mounting tabs lined up perfectly with the threaded OEM attachment points, making installation easy and quick. Although we were supplied with a complete replacement pillion pad, consumers must affix the cover themselves using a staple gun.
Padding thickness is roughly the same as that of the stock saddle, resulting in no significant change in seat height or riding position. Saddlemen’s foam has a firmer feel than stock and delivers a high level of feedback, yet comfort was notably improved. The cover provided ample grip, keeping the rider securely in the saddle during hard acceleration. No annoying seat-pan freeplay, either.
Whether viewed as a cosmetic, comfort or performance upgrade, the Saddlemen Track Style Gel Channel Solo Seat was a winner on our ZX-10R.
17801 S. Susana Rd.
Rancho Dominguez, CA 90221
- Quality materials and construction
- Matching passenger pillion cover included
- Perhaps a few more Viagra-free years?
- A bit firm if you’re looking for plush
- Pillion seat cover is a DIY project
- Weighs 2.8 pounds, 1.2 more than stock