Hitting the Long, Long Open Road on a Motorcycle

by Brian Higginbottom January 21, 2014

Hitting the long, open road on a motorcycle can spark excitement and fill a need for those with a sense of adventure. It can also be a “pain in the butt”, literally!

For those of us who have experienced the thrill of motorcycle riding, we know the excitement of seeing our surroundings from a different perspective, and the body-numbing discomfort that comes with it. The exhilaration of fast acceleration and wind in your face, but often is accompanied by the downside of rider fatigue and “numb-butt”, especially on those long weekend rides.

Where Will the Open Road Take You?

Living in Southern California has given me the opportunity to see my world from the back of a 1993 Harley Davidson Ultraglide, which, by the way, was the best seat in the house. My riding partner did all of the work, while I enjoyed the open view. But we both suffered the same fate at the end of our rides…monkey butt! Yes, it’s true, there is a term, albeit slang, for the numbness that attacks your backside and can actually travel well down the length of your legs. This was my experience, but maybe yours was a little better, or even a little worse.

What Can Make a Great Ride a Nightmare

There are many factors that can cause this type of discomfort, so we will focus on three:

  • The type of seat you ride on
  • The distance you are travelling
  • The outside conditions in which you travel

Onlygel.com can help you with making your seating area more comfortable, and I can offer a few hints and tips on long distance motorcycle travels and conditions to avoid.

Motorcycle Seating

Most “stock” motorcycle seats are comprised of three parts; base plate, foam, and cover. What your body is putting pressure on and absorbing comes from the type of foam used underneath the cover.

The type of foam used by the original manufacturer can vary, but, no matter the manufacturer, the comfort of most stock seats, or aftermarket seats can be significantly improved by incorporating a gel seat pad or insert under the seat cover. ULTRAGEL® and CONFORMAX™ motorcycle gel seat pads from Onlygel.com provide a perfect combination of memory foam and gel support to the rider. Pads can be installed in three different combinations, all designed to give the rider a choice:

ULTRAGEL® – a straight 5/8” gel pad will give the rider a firm, yet comfortable ride.

CONFORMAX™ – a combination of 1/2” gel and 1/2” foam will give the rider a softer ride if installed gel side up, and the softest ride of all can be achieved by installing foam side up.


One thing that is important to note: Gel pads will NOT slip and slide around, if installed properly. There are many You Tube videos that are a testament to the Do It Yourselfers in the world who have successfully installed gel seat pads. If DIY is not for you, then there are many reputable installers who can do it for you.

Cautionary Note: Don’t confuse gel pads and or gel inserts with gel seat cushions! Gel seat cushions are placed ON TOP of existing motorcycle seats, and are usually held in place with a strap system. Gel inserts or gel pads are always UNDER the top seat cover, in a pocket cut into the existing seat foam (see photo above). This retains the original seat profile of the bike, which most riders prefer.

And for the motorcycle “purists” the profile of your seat won’t change!

Distance and Travelling Conditions

Here are my personal hints and tips for a more enjoyable ride:

When travelling long distance by motorcycle, be prepared to take frequent stops to stretch your legs. Your legs were not designed to maintain and hold the same position for long periods of time, and frequent stops to stretch can help until you reach the next “leg” of your trip!

One of the mistakes we made early on was riding in the Mohave Desert areas, where temperature and area conditions can change rapidly. Our ride may have started out on a bright, sunny day but it quickly turned into the “Storm of the Century”, and we were not prepared! The lesson here is to know the area you are travelling to, map out safe places to take cover, if needed, and pack a few Hefty bags to act as temporary raincoats!

For more information, visit our pages at http://onlygel.com/index.php/motorcycle-gel-seat-pads.html




Brian Higginbottom
Brian Higginbottom

Author