Why do we all put up with having to buy new upholstery for our new motorcycles?

I’m here to voice a possibly-unpopular opinion about aftermarket parts and how some of them shouldn’t even exist.

I can hear you now: you love customizing your bike to make it your own. Absolutely there should be customization options for your motorcycle. Art is art and motorcycle customization is a thing. It’s sometimes beautiful and sometimes confusing, but it will never not be a thing.

Suspension upgrades, you say? I get that lots of motorcycles are built to a price point, and the suspension is hidden enough that most folks just live with however the bike comes sprung from the factory. That’s a valid upgrade and saying motorcycle manufacturers should do better there, while you have a point, would make bikes quite a bit more expensive than they already are.

Now, the horn: Yeah, I fought with this one. It would not take much for manufacturers to put something above the goofy, too-quiet “meep-meep” that’s reminiscent of your favorite childhood cartoon. Seriously, manufacturers, do better here. But horns are easy and pretty cheap to swap out, and not a seriously common mod.

No, my dear readers: I’m referencing the aftermarket seat. Sure, yes, sometimes they’re purely aesthetic and I get that. But you understand if you, like me, have ever ridden, say, from New England to Tennessee and back on a stock BMW seat. Or if you’ve accidentally put in a 350-mile day (I got lost) on a first-gen SV650 with its OEM upholstery. Or squirmed on your KLR while the foam under you was somehow simultaneously too soft and too hard (how is that even possible)?

How difficult can it possibly be to make an OEM motorcycle seat that doesn’t suck? Apparently it is extremely difficult, because they absolutely rot. Once we learn this, and we all have to learn it the hard way, one of the first upgrades we all do to a bike we’re going to ride any distance is an aftermarket seat. It doesn’t even have to be custom; there are loads of seat manufacturers that sell off-the-shelf seats that work out just fine.

My continuous WTF plea: Motorcycle manufacturers, stop making “five minute” seats that feel all squishy in the showroom. We know better. Spend the extra couple of bucks on a decent design and some good quality foam and make the seat that already exists on the bike a reasonable one, so that we don’t have to drop another $400-$600 at Sargent or Corbin or Saddlemen.