By Seiji Ishii
Seat Concepts is a six-year-old company specializing in manufacturing seats and seat covers for adventure, dual sport, quad and street bikes, all designed and manufactured in the USA. The company has rapidly gained a following, especially in the adventure and dual sport markets, the longer stints in the saddle placing more importance on this often-overlooked component.
Seat Concepts’ major advantage over OEM seats and other aftermarket options lies in their proprietary foam. A two-part liquid polyurethane foam, combined with other closely held secrets, is poured into molds; the density, shapes and contours much more controllable than cutting shapes from foam blocks. There are nine different foam densities available, with the “standard” density normally prescribed for riders ranging from 160 to 240 pounds. Generally, using more foam equates to more comfort, the seat acting as an additional suspension component. Seat Concepts manages the shapes and contours of their molds to integrate more foam; usually the rear section of the seats is made wider and flatter compared to the OEM pattern while following the original contours. This increases comfort, especially in cruise mode, while maintaining the shape characteristics of the original shape for aggressive riding. Height options are available, a huge boon for those on either end of the spectrum for both riding performance and comfort. Overall seat design follows the intended use of the bike model, with more aggressive bikes matched with more aggressive seat designs. Some OEM shapes are also available.
The attention to detail and innovation of Seat Concepts’ foam carries over into their seat covers. Extensive research is done with the patterns so the two-dimensional panels combine to fit the three-dimensional seat optimally. Research time is also reserved to accommodate the amount and direction of seat cover stretch, ensuring functionality remains intact over the long haul. There are seven different cover materials (with color options), including real suede leather.
Currently Seat Concepts sells thirty different models of complete seats and 330 different models of do it yourself seat kits (foam and seat cover). The company will also install a seat kit for you for an additional fee.
I have tested Seat Concepts seats extensively on both my plated KTM XCW 450 and my KTM Adventure 990. On the dual sport bike, the difference in comfort is astounding. Relaxed highway transfers between trails can be considered luxurious compared to the OEM saddle, the extra width rear of the seat’s “pocket” welcome and improved foam density very apparent as the miles go by. Comfort during aggressive riding also gets a boost, bottoming out to the seat pan a distant memory. This dual sport seat has the suede cover option, recommended for only dry climates, and I really appreciated the perfect balance between grip factor and sliding ability. I will admit there is also the bling factor that some adore. The adventure bike seat also improves the same comfort factors, just not to such a large degree, as the OEM seat didn’t have blaring shortcomings. The enhanced comfort provided by the foam density and shape is definitely noticeable, especially for the extremely long days typical of adventure riding. The “Gripper” top surface of the seat cover helped keep me firmly planted under the bike’s formidable torque, while the “Carbon Fiber” sides allowed unhindered body English while standing. Also visible is the seat cover’s enhanced durability compared to stock, the latter quickly revealing signs of stretching within the first year of use.
Seat Concepts was born in a garage, the company founder addressing issues he had with his personal bikes, growing the company into a recognized brand in the industry. Within the ADV, dual sport and rally crowds, upgrading a seat has become a high priority. The longer days, higher total mileage on bikes, and focus on enjoyment that these riders relish match the enhancements that Seat Concepts can provide. MSRP: Seat kits starting at $89.99. www.seatconcepts.com