The custom leather rider and passenger seats on my BMW R 1150 RT were built by a popular saddle maker years ago. It was a fine combination that worked well for a long time, but then I needed a replacement. Roadhouse Seats in Las Vegas offers an intriguing way to upgrade seats for most cruisers and touring motorcycles. Using personal data provided by you (weight of rider and passenger, type of bike, type of riding, etc.), Roadhouse build a new seat on your seat pan. The patented system uses one-third less foam than traditional seats, and is coupled with multiple layers of various proprietary materials that, according to owner Bryan Nappi, “isolate the rider from the vibration of the motorcycle, reducing fatigue. The seat actually creates a disconnect between the bike and the rider.”
In order to preserve my seats from cannibalization, I sourced some tatty and torn stock seats from eBay and shipped them off. The new seats arrived in 10 days and, out of the box, the smoother silhouette of the Roadhouse items looked better than my former tractor-style seat. But how would they feel after a full day in the saddle? Looks are one thing, but a bad seat can make time stand still.
To test the seat, I did my “San Diego to Yuma Turnaround.” It’s seven hours of urban freeway and rural twisty mountain asphalt that involves riding, riding, riding, a fuel stop, some chicken nuggets in Arizona and a turnaround slog back to the Pacific. I found the seat comfortable the whole time. I really liked the ability to move fore and aft an inch or two. I could even scoot closer to the tank and rest my knees on the RT’s fairing. Sometimes, after hours in the saddle, a quick stretch at a gas stop makes any seat feel fine, but once back on the bike the pain returns in a few miles. I don’t have that with the Roadhouse. Being able to move that little bit takes away any pressure and “hot-spots” are never an issue. Felt vibration is not much of an issue on the Beemer, but what is felt seems lessened by the Roadhouse’s isolation design.
Roadhouse doesn’t do exotic covers, so save your ostrich money. It does use a quality, leather-grained marine vinyl that promises durability, water-resistance and long wear. What about using your own seat pan? How long will it take and, more importantly, what if I hate it? Will I be stuck with it?
“That’s not the way I want to do business. If people pay to have their problem solved and it’s not solved, I don’t want to take their money,” says Nappi. “You find a seat that fits, and we’ll make it comfortable.”
By saving your original cover and foam for 60 days, Roadhouse takes the anxiety out of ordering custom creations, especially if you can’t go to the vendor for fitment. You can put miles on the new one, and if you don’t like it, Roadhouse will rebuild your pan with your original foam and cover and refund the entire cost, including shipping. Solo seats are $595 and Two-Up seats are $795.
For more information: Call (702) 858-3307 or visit roadhouseseats.com
(This Gearlab review was published in the August 2014 issue of Rider magazine.)