The art of building seats that both look good and are comfortable continues to baffle most motorcycle manufacturers. That’s why, with several of my motorcycles in recent years, I sent the stock seat off to a custom seat maker, despite the prospect of weeks of downtime while the seats were made. Even then, there’s a trade-off, however. While stock seats always seem to owe more to the stylist’s sensibility, custom seats are made to sit on, often with little regard to how good they look–and some don’t look very good at all. I’m more than willing to trade looks for comfort, but I didn’t have to give up either one when I got a Sargent World Sport Seat for my Suzuki 650 V-Strom.
The V-Strom’s stock seat displays every trait that keeps companies like Sargent busy. It’s too soft, and it has a short, deep pocket where the rider sits, leaving no room to move around. The World Sport Seat has a level seating surface for the pilot, the front of which is rounded and narrowed to make it easy to put your feet down at stops despite the World Sport being a fraction of an inch taller than the stock seat.
The part of the stock seat that would serve as lower-back support if it were built right sags easily, but the World Sport’s kick-up is firm and supportive. Where the stock foam sags after a short ride, the World Sport’s keeps its shape for hours. Lower-back support is on par with the custom seats I’ve had made in the past.
Most custom-seat makers require you to send them your stock seat so the new one can be built on the pan. The World Sport is an off-the-shelf seat, and comes complete with a base pan made out of a plastic/polymer alloy that Sargent calls CarbonTec. It comes with all the hardware needed to install the seat already attached. You can take it out of the box, put it right on the bike, and ride away–as you can do with the handy clear-plastic storage cylinder that fits into a cavity molded in the base pan and can hold your registration, insurance information and owner’s manual.
I chose the basic World Sport seat, which sells for $379.95. Extra-cost options include a passenger backrest, a seat heater and colored welts. Unlike most other custom seats, the World Sport comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee if you buy it directly from Sargent.
I’m not sending mine back, though–I like it way too much. It’s within a hair’s-breadth of being as good as any of the custom seats I’ve owned, it cost significantly less, and I didn’t have to park my bike for six weeks while it was being made for me. To my eye it’s a styling triumph, too, making it two-for-two compared to my stock seat. And that’s twice as good as most motorcycle manufacturers have managed so far.
For more information contact Sargent Cycle Products, 44 East First Street, Jacksonville, Florida 32206; (800) 749-7328; www.sargentcycle.com