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How to Make a Motorcycle Passenger Seat WAY More Comfortable

Motorcycle passenger seats are not exactly known for their comfort levels.

We know this.
No-one is expecting to climb onto the back of a motorcycle, and mistake it for a feather filled mattress.

But too often, motorcycle passenger seats are thin, narrow, and hard as a rock.
This makes me absolutely crazy.
Because why bother even having a motorcycle passenger seat that’s impossible to sit on?
We may as well just perch on the mudguard, and hope for the best.

Naturally enough, I tend to rant and rave on and on about this topic.
And over the years a few bikers I know have been brave enough to offer two pieces of advice:

  1. Man up, Princess!
  2. Get your own motorcycle.

Thank you so much, but I’m unlikely to do either of those things.

Luckily for me, my own biker knows I AM a bit of a princess.
He seems to have come to terms with it.

And so, after 30 years of riding on the back of his motorcycles, we’ve come up with some approaches that really do make a difference to my comfort as a motorcycle passenger.

You CAN make a motorcycle passenger seat more comfortable.
There are things you can do right now, for free.
And also products that can help if you’re willing to splash a little cash and make a longer term, more serious improvement to your comfort.

Let’s look at some options.

9  Ways To Make A Motorcycle Passenger Seat More Comfortable

1.  Get a motorcycle passenger seat pad

This is a practical and affordable way to massively increase motorcycle passenger comfort.

Rather than replacing the whole seat, you simply attach the seat pad to the existing seat.
And that adds a carefully engineered layer of comfort.

This model is well priced and comes from the reputable company Airhawk, who have been in business since 1995.
It uses a chambered system of air for the cushion which slips inside a cover.
Then the adjustable straps make it easy to attach to the seat.
The seat pad redistributes pressure and custom fits to your shape.

And we’re not the first ones to need a solution to this issue.
There are many positive customer reviews posted that confirm this seat pad really helps.

It’s also great that it’s small and black.
You can add it to the seat without anyone even noticing.


motorcycle passenger seat comfort - get a seat pad

Get one here.

(This is an affiliate link.)

2.  DIY cushion

For years, I’ve sworn by the short-term fix of throwing a sheepskin over the back seat.

It won’t transform the motorcycle passenger seat into a La-Z-Boy recliner, but it does make a positive difference.
You may have a sheepskin around the house already that you can lay across the seat for an instant comfort improvement.

If you don’t have a sheepskin around, here’s another option.
Get your hands on the foam bed roll you use for camping.
Cut a small piece off to fit the seat and you have another quick fix.

And if you’re a princess like me, I have good news for you.
You’ve just mutilated the bed roll you’d normally use in a tent.
Good work – now you have an excuse to never go camping again.
Now you HAVE to book a motel next time you go on a motorcycle road trip.

You’re welcome.


motorcycle passenger seat comfort - make a cushion


3.  Technical underwear

Believe it or not, you can actually get underwear specially designed to increase your comfort on a motorcycle.
It looks way better than you might expect – and yes, it actually helps.

The key to the design is the soft padding and the layered fabric.

The padding curves under your butt, and sits between you and the motorcycle.
(Hey – this could be a painless alternative to getting a Kardashian-style butt lift…)

And the layers of fabric are designed to offer moisture control and breathability.

Sure, you might not want to wear this kind of underwear for date night.
We’re talking practical rather than lacy.

But if you’re heading out for a long ride on the back of a motorcycle, it’s time to leave the thong behind anyway.
You definitely want to make yourself as comfortable as possible.
Which underpants you wear on a motorcycle WILL impact your comfort levels.


motorcycle passenger seat - technical underwear

Get a pair here.

(This is an affiliate link.)


4.  Choose the right motorcycle gear

While you’re waiting for your new butt-lift underpants to arrive, you can use your existing motorcycle gear to set up a workaround.

Most of your motorcycle safety gear already features protective layers.
Now’s the time to make them work for you.

Motorcycle jeans come with built in soft layers of amor that protect your rear and thighs.
Leather pants are also often lined and incorporate armor.

These add a layer between you and the hard seat.
So try wearing your motorcycle jeans or pants that have the most layers built in.


motorcycle passenger seat - layered gear


5.  Splurge on a new seat

Getting a touring seat from your motorcycle dealer is a massive game changer.
We’ve done this with a couple of our motorcycles and it makes an immediate and permanent difference.

It won’t be cheap – but it will fix the problem of motorcycle passenger comfort once and for all.

And the rider will benefit too – as the whole seat will be way better.
Everyone’s happy!

(You’ll see our Triumph Scrambler seat is dirty right now – that’s because it’s so comfortable we use it all the time to tour on!)


motorcycle passenger seat - get a touring seat


6.  Talk to an auto upholsterer

If you’re not ready to replace the seat completely, there’s a way to compromise.
Go see an auto upholsterer.
Some work on motorcycle seats as well as cars.

We tried this with another Triumph motorcycle seat.
It did transform it from feeling like a plank of wood to being a lot more comfortable.

The guy took apart our original seat, and replaced the thin foam with layers of much thicker foam, including memory foam, than then re-covered it with the original piece of vinyl.

It’s a cheaper option than replacing the whole seat and can make enough of a difference to be worth the effort.


motorcycle passenger seat - auto upholsterer


7.  Change your seating position

It’s often more comfortable to lean forward slightly on the motorcycle passenger seat.
Scooch up closer to the rider, rather than leaning back away from him.

This distributes your weight more evenly and away from the hard back edge of the seat, which can dig into your rear end.

And as I always say to the hubby, I WILL be cuddling up to him when we ride together anyway.
That’s simply an occupational hazard he’ll have to deal with.


motorcycle passenger seat - change your position


8.  Stretch, clench and unclench

I know it sounds totally cuckoo, but a tiny private workout can be really helpful.
When you’re on the motorcycle, try clenching and unclenching the muscles in your backside.

Do it three or four times every few minutes.
It keeps the blood flowing, without you having to squirm around trying to get comfortable.

Yep, you won’t find that tip in any rough-and-tough biker forums, believe me.

Of course, it’s also a great idea to stretch at home before you get on the motorcycle as well – that helps to limber up the muscles overall.
If you’re lucky, you’ll have a biker dog who’s happy to lend some moral support.


motorcycle passenger seat - biker dog


9.  Take extra breaks during the ride

If you’re stuck with a hard motorcycle passenger seat, there’s no way you’re going to make it to the end of a long ride with your backside – or your relationship – still in one piece.

So build plenty of breaks into your ride.
Before heading out, sit down and plan out the route with the rider.
Make sure that you plan to stop several times for coffee, snacks, and lunch.
Of course, we live in New Zealand, so we like to follow the hobbit tradition of having Second Breakfast on the road.

We’re not being greedy – we’re just finding another solution to that hard motorcycle passenger seat.


motorcycle passenger seat - stop frequently


Motorcycle passenger seats really CAN be improved!

As you can see, there are several ways to make a real difference to your comfort.

You can make a small or larger investment in upgrades.
And there are plenty of things you can try for free.
The free quick fixes can definitely make a difference too, especially for shorter motorcycle rides.

It’s totally possible to make a motorcycle passenger seat more comfortable.
And when you do, you make the ride way more fun for you – AND the rider.

It’s easier, cheaper and much less stressful than marriage therapy!


If you enjoyed this post, you might find this one useful too:

25 Motorcycle Comfort Tips for Passengers (What works?)

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