Rambling thoughts on Seat Comfort from new Versys Owner
Warning: This post is long winded, random, and somewhat self-serving, as a way for me to gather my thoughts. Waste your time reading at your discretion.
My new to me Versys is a 2009. I’ve been able to take several rides, and logged around 600 miles. I knew I hated the seat in the first 5 minutes. Soft, angled forward, very uncomfortable. I raised the front as per the mod on this sight about 5/8” (thanks FastFreddie), and tested it this week. A huge improvement over stock, but not perfect for me. I’ve been analyzing this in my mind, and really trying to pinpoint what makes it uncomfortable. Here are my rambling thoughts.
Most of my riding has been commuting, in jeans. I’ve noticed remembering to take my wallet out of my back pocket is critical (duh), but I also noticed part of my discomfort is the way in which this seat makes my jeans essentially ride up. It makes them tight and unforgiving in crotchal region, and the legs ride up. OK, I know that sounds weird, but only way I can explain it. I feel like the soft foam has something to do with it, as does the lack of support in the front of the seat, and under my thighs. I threw on a set of cotton cargo pants, and my padded overpants, and sure enough I thought it felt a bit more comfortable. This made me start thinking about the riding position in general, and how it may affect the riding position.
I’m 5’11” but my legs are short, 30” inseam. My torso is long, and my arms are very long at 37” in a dress shirt. Picture a slightly less hairy orangutan riding a Versys. Anyway, for me the peg height feels quite comfortable on my knees, but even with my short legs it puts my upper leg at an angle that leaves little seat support under my thigh. I have tried to adjust my legs while riding, in an attempt to mimic the feel of what it might be like with lower pegs, and I think lower pegs might actually help with support from the stock seat. I would love to know if the guys that felt raising the front of the stock seat alone was enough, are also running lowered pegs. In reality I think the peg height is appropriate, and the flaw is in the seat, but if lowering the pegs slightly helps correct overall comfort I would be fine with it. I’m at best a very occasional peg scraper, and I “pucker” every time it happens, so losing a little clearance there wouldn’t be an issue for me.
Additionally, to me, the stock cockpit feels a little cramped. I think if the step in the seat was further back, and/or the bars were further forward with less pull back, perhaps even a touch lower, it might spread me out enough to make the seat more comfortable. My reasoning is the bike I’m used to is no sport bike, but does have a sportier riding position than this, so I’m used to leaning forward and being “laid out” a bit more. I think sitting bolt upright, as I do on this bike with the stock cockpit, makes seat comfort more critical in genaral, because all of my weight (220lbs geared up) is on my a$$. My arms/abs are not taking on any of the load, as they would if I was in a sportier position.
I’m fighting the urge to make a bunch of adjustments all at once, because I know it’s a bad idea. Raising the front of the seat was a good step forward. Next step is trying an Alaskan Leather sheepskin butt pad I ordered yesterday. However I am interested in also adjusting the bar positioning as well; First rotating them forward a touch, then perhaps trying another set all-together. I have a set of Bikemaster European bend bars kicking around the garage somewhere that might be worth a try.
I’ve read just about everything I could find on the forum about the different seat options. I’m also keeping my eye out for an aftermarket at a good deal, but I haven’t given up completely on making the stock seat comfortable. In fact, I might open it up and adjust it, but I wouldn’t want to try that until after this riding season in case I botch it completely. As for aftermarket, I am most interested in the Seat Concepts, because the price is good and it seemingly has more positive reviews than any other on here, but the extra height was a bit of a turn off for me. However I just snagged a Motowerk lowering block and short kickstand used here on the forum this week, so now I can go that route without work of the height. I’m very tip toed as it is, an although I’m comfortable on a tall bike from my endure days, Once I go past tip-toed, and have to side saddle at a stop it becomes a real nuisance in any sort of traffic situation. I may need to lower it depending on how I move forward, but I really hope not to have to. It seems like a lot, if not all of the aftermarket seats move the hump back slightly, so I suspect any of them would likely feel better in that regard. The Adcock seat appeals to me since I can sit as far back as I want, and move around on a long trip, but the lack of any padding for a passenger on the other hand isn’t something I love. The Corbin, although the most “unloved” on this forum, holds appeal because I’ve had good luck with them, and prefer a harder seat, but the comments on quality issues with fitment and cover tears is alarming. My existing Corbin on my other bike has worn like Iron, and is so heavy the pan may actually be made of iron.
I am really hoping I can dial in the butt comfort factor on this bike, because I LOVE the motor, and the bike in general. I don’t subscribe to the “bigger is better” approach to displacement that has become common here in the US, and this 650 has more than enough grunt to do everything I need it to on the big roads, but not so much as to make it a bore on the small roads. It pulls so well down low, and redlines surprisingly high for a twin…I love it. Even so, I have not been willing to put the bike the Versys is slotted to replace up for sale until I am more sure of the comfort factor. That bike has a nice hard Corbin, which for me allows me to ride all day in relative comfort. I feel unless you have the room for a huge couch like seat, like you find on a big bagger or cruiser, the key to all day comfort is a relatively firm seat….and I’ve never sat on a soft Corbin! At least thats what I've found, but every butt is different I suppose and many seem to feel otherwise.
Anyway, thoughts welcome from you folks with more miles on these bikes…if anyone actually made it to the end of this long winded rambling that is.
'79 Yamaha XS650