We take a look at the Adventure Track seat from Saddlemen seats with their unique gel channel.
Ok I am going to say it: My butt gets sore when I ride. It sucks, it shortens rides, and once it starts there's no fixing it until you're done and can sleep for a few hours.
My issues started about 4 years ago when I started losing weight. My life was flipped upside down—I was a single Dad, overweight, and looking for new love. So first and foremost, the weight had to go. The only bad part was the less weight I carried the more my tailbone was positioned on the seat, which lead to more pain.
So what's a guy or gal supposed to do? There are so many options for seat comfort you could spend a year looking and still not know. There are so many opinions about seats that are so strongly worded you would think people were talking about their children. I eventually decided to go with a product that used an idea from bicycles and old school tractor seats...split the cheeks as it were.
Saddlemen Seats is a factory replacement manufacturer based out of Rancho Dominguez, California. They developed their own line of gel called SaddleGel, which is a thin and firm seat gel that stays in place and your body heat adds some suppleness to it as well. Another benefit of a gel seat is that it prevents the wondrously nasty sweaty condition known as Monkey Butt. It helps deaden road imperfections and engine vibrations that would otherwise create hot spots on your delicate posterior
Under that wonder gel is a progressive density foam, and a combination of that foam and SaddleGel is used to create a gel core. According to Saddlemen.com, "The thickness, shape and location of the SaddleGel is adjusted and combined with the Pd-F producing a seat core best suited for each riding mission."
Saddlemen also creates all new base pans, brackets, and whatever else is needed for your specific bike, hence their moto: "Fitting better than stock."
The Adventure Track seat is their top of the line adventure bike seat. It features everything I've already mentioned plus a water proof suede finish in the seating area for better heat control (this is their most unique design feature.)
The gel channel is placed in the center of the seating area and well...let's just say it splits things evenly between the seat sides. It has a very grippy and durable marine grade cover for the sides and for the passenger seating area too. This has been a bit of a godsend for carrying a passenger—my wife has always tended to slide forward as we ride. The extra grip from this seat keeps her in place!
One last feature are the d-rings on the side of the pillion pad. Yep, d-rings on the pillion pad. They're covered by a velcro flap of the same marine grade vinyl and it's emblazoned with the Saddlemen logo. Very useful accessory mount, particularly for a solo rider.
How does it feel?
Ok, now to the important part—how does it feel? Well, I sold the stock seat. I could stop right there, but I know you want more. The channel is one of those items that shocks you with its simplicity and absolute comfort.
My great grandfather had a McCormick Farmall tractor when I was a kid. It had one of those old slightly padded tractor seats that you could plow a field all day and hop off like you were in your recliner. That's the same experience with this seat. The suede is great for temperature control, it never gets too hot or too cold. It offers great grip—the seat is wider in the back than the stock seat and offers wonderful long distance comfort. The front of the seat is tapered allowing easy off road maneuvering and also making it easy for shorter riders to touch the ground at traffic lights.
If you read my articles I usually have at least one gripe about a product—something I think should be changed, or an item that makes no sense. The Saddelmen Adventure Track seat almost has nothing I would change. Almost. There is no heated option, and while it hasn't been necessary, the idea that you could have one is nice. See, I can't write everything as rainbows and kittens.
Retail price is $578 for the two piece set. That's pretty much in line with most custom seats and it's a good bargain for the comfort you get.
At the end of the day, this is the single highest rated item I've ever reviewed. It's also an item I purchased myself and my butt thanks me for it.