Review by Troy Siahaan
[This Saddlemen Saddlegel Motorcycle Riding Shorts Review was originally published in the December 2006 issue of Rider magazine]
When most people think about their ideal motorcycle journey, they imagine the beautiful roads and scenery that await them. They pack the appropriate gear for the weather and make sure that their steed of choice is in top working order.
After only an hour or two in the saddle, however, one starts to feel the early symptoms of what’s known as “monkey butt.” Tingling and the numbness start to set in and you find yourself jockeying for position just to regain some blood flow. You keep telling yourself that your final destination will be worth the pain, but in the meantime you wish that there was something out there to make it a little easier.
The people at Saddlemen have heard your plea and introduced SaddleGel shorts. These shorts are made from a heavy mesh material and incorporate Memoflex gel pads in the seat developed from many years of building numerous aftermarket gel-seat applications. Elastic bands at the bottom of the shorts ensure a snug fit around your thighs. This gel technology reduces vibration and redistributes weight across a wider surface area, thus reducing high pressure points and increasing blood flow throughout the lower body.
Living with the SaddleGel shorts gave me a quick flashback to my childhood. I felt like I was wearing a diaper, but that feeling soon passed. Yes, there’s some extra bulk “down there,” but it isn’t noticeable. After getting on the bike I hardly noticed the shorts at all. Spending time on the highway, I noticed that the shorts would soak up small bumps in the road that I felt when I wasn’t wearing them. These shorts can only absorb so much, of course. Riding on our typical California freeways still felt like the road was shaking my kidneys like maracas. But the main function of the shorts is to relieve pressure points and facilitate blood flow, which they did really well. Normally I find myself squirming about after only a short time trying to find a position that’s comfortable for me. With the SaddleGel shorts I was able to hop on the bike and ride.
Don’t be mistaken, if you ride long enough eventually rider fatigue will set in. These aren’t miracle shorts, but they do perform well for what they were designed to do.
Finding the fine line between comfort, practicality and function is difficult, but the SaddleGel shorts seem to have done that. Once you get used to it, you don’t even know you’re wearing them. The shorts still allow me to feel where I am on the seat during a turn, and yet they keep me comfortable on those long rides.
Whether you are a canyon carver or a long-distance journeyman, Saddlemen’s SaddleGel shorts are a perfect accessory that will help you put more focus on the road. The shorts are available in sizes S-XXL so there’s bound to be a pair that fits you—and for $79.95, they’re one of the easiest and cheapest upgrades for your ride.