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American Overlander: Sargent Cycle, Making A Better Seat for Adventure Riding

Today’s motorcycles are marvels of technology and design. It boggles the mind to think how much time and engineering went into bikes like the new BMW R1200GS-A, or the KTM 1190R. While it is obvious some of that time was allocated to creating the ideal seat, many OEM seats are hard as a buckboard and less forgiving than the Yakuza. This opens the doors for custom seats, or improved fabrications like those made by Sargent Cycle.

Since the adventure riding market is the fastest growing segment in the world, it seems only natural Sargent would pioneer seats made just for that pursuit. We recently had a need for an improved seat for our most recent BMW Dakar project bike and the first call was of course––to Sargent. After a brief consultation it was decided the perfect solution was a seat built with their Performance Plus option. Drawing on years of experience, Sargent strips the original seat pan of the cover and padding, and starts anew with a well shaped layer of Super Cell Anatomic Foam. This foam retains its shape well and resists collapsing, even under full load. Once the ideal shape is attained, additional layers of structural foam are added to give the seat support where it’s needed most. Once the optimal layers are added, and the shape refined, the entire piece is then covered in a nylon-backed material to keep the various pieces seamlessly joined before the outer upholstery is applied. In the case of our seat, this is where the real adventure riding magic comes into play.

The craftsmanship in every stitch is impressive. Here you see three different materials all joined with astounding attention to detail. 

 

Because adventure riding is highly dynamic, and often rough on seats, our seat was covered with Sargent’s Performance Plus Cover with Duratex and Gripzone inserts. The Duratex panels on the sitting surface offer improved durability and just enough traction for offroad riding. The Gripzone side panels give maximum grip where it’s needed most, and reinforced stitching ensures it all stays together over years of use. We even opted for a coordinated white welt to match our motorcycle’s color scheme. We think it greatly improved the look of the motorcycle. For those after the most luxurious of perches, the seat can also be fitted with heating elements.

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If you look closely, you can just barely see the light scalloping and flares where the rider’s sit bones contact the seat. While not a custom seat shaped to any one rider, it has been very comfortable for everyone who has tried it. We were concerned it would make offroad riding constrictive. If anything, it has made for a more confident purchase on the bike. We also took the opportunity to improve on the bike’s ergonomics by opting for the “tall” seat. It stretched out the seat to peg distance, which was a much needed adjustment.

 

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This motorcycle does carry a passenger from time to time and because the pillion portion of the seat is so much better than the OEM seat, I suspect that pillion will join me on more rides in the future. 

I have yet to put many miles on our Sargent seat, but I have put in several very long days. So far it has proven to not only improve riding performance, it is been sublimely comfortable. No more shifting and wiggling to find a tolerable position, this new seat has improved the entire ride experience.

Our BMW project bike has undergone a number of modifications as of late, but none have been so immediately gratifying as the Performance Plus seat. I feel this one modification has increased the comfortable range of the bike by a couple hours at the least. That alone makes it well worth having.

sargentcycle.com

Christophe Noel is a journalist from Prescott, Arizona. Born into a family of backcountry enthusiasts, Christophe grew up backpacking the mountains and deserts of the American West. An avid cyclist and bikepacker, he also has a passion for motorcycles, travel, food and overlanding.

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