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Post received 17 July 2020

By Upt'North

It was apparent that the seat on the Pan was starting to show its age (20 years). Either that or this individual was getting fed up of walking like John Wayne. So what to do, go the American way and spend lots and lots of dosh on a custom, heated dual seat from Corbin or Sargent or go a little left side.

Well as our riding is mostly summer touring any expenditure on heated seats seemed a little frivolous but comfort on 400 mile plus days for days on end was the goal. So how to achieve comfort without spending £1000.00 plus.

Whoopee cushions of several makes were considered but I had concerns over an altered riding position. Plus they aren't cheap anyway.

Now I'm sceptical and suspicious by nature not to mention a tight arse so google was activated and I found a company by the name of Saddle Craft in South Shields. They were only 50 miles away and they seemed to talk common sense and for less than £250.00 the seat could be fitted with custom gel front and rear (I know I spoil her) and be recovered in anti slip material with a restrained appearance.

So what to do?

Our original seat had covered 67,000 miles, with at least 40,000 two up miles. I decided to buy a used low mileage seat with a ripped cover rather than using our own immaculate as new original seat just in case when selling the bike at sometime in the future I could sell either seat on. 

The new to me seat was delivered to Saddle Craft and the owner was generous in the time he provided and understood our requirements better than we did. He showed us the gel that they manufactured and poured on site, together with numerous samples of fabric. A deal was done and it would take two or three weeks to turn around.

After two weeks, which surprised me, the seat was ready and was duly collected. 

Geez it was heavy, thank god I'll sit on it and not have to carry it I thought. The initial feel was very firm but supportive whereas the original sort of slumped like an old sofa. The finish on the seat was impressive. It was now just before Christmas so no riding was going to take place anytime soon. It was fitted, sat on and then covered for 4 months.

The new seat fitted to the Pan. Smart yet subtle, not obvious

The planned big rides approached but then we all know what happened there, blummin bugs. That's the reason for this delayed report which Ed had probably given up on, but after two 250 to 300 mile days I can start to report back, sorry Ed. These days have included 5 to 6 hours in the saddle and all types of roads have been ridden.

The initial feeling of firmness sort of goes away once underway but I probably sit an inch or so higher due to the firmness, this is confirmed by Er'Indoors. This is not an issue and the wind passing by is largely unaffected, my screen is adjustable anyway.

The original seat would become uncomfortable after an hour or so and after 2 it would be time for coffee. Now at the hour mark there is little discomfort and 2 hours is OK, although we are still ready for a break. The difference then is that when you get back on the BeaST it is not instantly uncomfortable as it was before and another 1 to 2 hours can be completed with similar levels of comfort.

Er'Indoors is also more able to lift herself off after a couple hours on the back, she hasn't said once, "just give us a minute, tosser".

Was it a success, yes and no. I never thought it would feel like I was being carried aloft in a bubble of soft air and it doesn't, but the seat is successful in prolonging day long rides in comfort which was the plan. Er'Indoors is mightily impressed and that's not easy. The anti slip is a godsend where the polished original was a slippery customer.

It's worthy of note that the riding position on the Pan is very upright so the pressure goes straight down to your arris. No long trips have yet been dispatched and may not be for some time but I will report back when more is known. I suspect the seat will evolve in use and it is common on the BeaST site for riders to claim 1000 miles plus are required before the Sargent gel seats reach their comfiest. It's probably only done 600 to 700 at the moment and about a dozen hours.

If you're in the market for a seat this company can be highly recommended. The photograph of the various gel pads is interesting, in that some OEM and replacement pads are borderline useless in comparison.

split image, one pouring the gel into a mould and the other the gel is fitted into the seat
Saddle Craft create their own gel pads and insert them into the seat

4 various OEM gel pads showing how thin they can be
Comparison of various gel pads


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Reader's Comments

Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
The main thing that struck me was your point Upt' regarding getting back on the seat.

I ride and ride and eventually my bum gets sore. When I stop the discomfort stops almost immediately. I have a brew and a pee and a little walk and I feel absolutely fine and it feels like I could easily ride another 2 hours. Yet the discomfort returns within 5 to 10 minutes. With numb bum it's like "once you pop you can't stop".

If the gel saddle allows the discomfort to fully reset for another 2 hours then that seems to be a vast improvement. Having read this and a few of the other comments on BAT it does rather get me thinking. The biggest issue seems to be I might need to open my wallet and that causes me a great deal of discomfort.
23/07/2020 08:23:53 UTC
Upt'North said :-
Ed, steady on now, spending money?
Much like yourself I don't spend £230.00 (just found receipt) on a whim.
Another 150 miles and about 4 hours on Tuesday confirm my initial report. It's bedding in, or we are and again just like you (are we alike, God help me) I can never understand when you climb back on a bike how you go from comfy to arrgghhh in under ten minutes, that feeling has definitely gone. But two hours is still the comfy limit at the moment, although to be honest I'm ready for a pee and coffee stop before then anyway.
23/07/2020 10:35:51 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
For myself I reckon anything more than a couple of hours and the concentration would start to suffer, no matter how comfy the seat. I can't sit still at home for that long on the settee let along on a bike anyhow. As you say, at least a pee break and 5 minutes to do something different is always a good thing.
23/07/2020 12:03:28 UTC
Borsuk said :-
Ren. As a bit of preventative maintenance you should apply some light oil or grease to the steel shutters on your wallet before you close it again.. Beware it doesn't close too quickly though or you might lose a finger or two.
23/07/2020 16:54:23 UTC
Bob said :-
I paid £340 each for two custom seats for my KLXs
I was determined not to pay that amount, then a 4 day riding holiday in Wales convinced me otherwise - worth every penny.
As I get older I have realised that my money is best spent in buying comfort. There's no point suffering - and nobody will give you any prizes for doing so. I have owned a couple of hard tail chops so I believe me I have suffered!
23/07/2020 18:03:26 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
Borsuk - I'd have to get it out the safe first, which means I have to find the key first. And the location of the key is in my other safe. So I'll need to remind myself of the code for that too. Which is on a file encrypted on my server. So I'll need the login password for that... Which is in the first safe.

Shut up about the comfy seats!! Otherwise I'll have to do all of the above and you wouldn't like me if I got angry.
23/07/2020 20:49:02 UTC

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