I think it is safe to say that of all the features and functions of BMW motorcycles, the saddles are by far the least favorite. Many riders have commented how their seats do not fit well and are uncomfortable after only a few hours of riding. Some riders solve this issue by buying aftermarket custom saddles, while others supplement their existing saddle with add-on seat pads of varying materials and designs.
My previous ride was a 2004 R 1150 RTP. I am one of those lucky few riders who have no issues with the OEM saddles, but I opted to supplement the saddle with a Bead Rider to provide some airflow and mitigate the dreaded “monkey butt.” My most recent ride is a 2017 R 1200 GS, and I moved the Bead Rider to that saddle. After eight years of use, the Bead Rider’s nylon threads began to break and lose beads. I used some trusty Boy Scout knots to repair the broken webbing until I could order a replacement.
Before I could order a replacement Bead Rider, I came upon an advertisement for the Air-Flow seat cover that boasted of a comfortable, durable and easy to install waterproof mesh material. The manufacturer states, “Air-Flow is made of a 3D net elastic substance that forms a unique shape. It is designed to keep your seat cool even in direct sunlight. The unique design allows wind flow from several directions and creates a separation between the rider’s body and the seat itself. This same design allows water to drain from several directions, keeping the cover dry when you sit on it. It also ensures absolute prevention of moisture while sitting on the cover during both long and short distance rides. It’s made of a unique 3D net elastic substance cut to different sizes for all kinds of motorcycles, scooters and ATVs.”
The product website showed an Air-Flow seat on a GSA, so I knew it would fit on my GS. The online order form collects information on your motorcycle and provides a table with size options; you just need to verify some key dimensions and then select the appropriate size from the table. After two weeks with no change in the tracking status, I emailed the company to inquire on the status. I received a prompt response from the company, and they took the necessary steps fix the delay.
Once the cover arrived, installation was straightforward. The company website also included a short video showing installation. My ride has a split seat so I had two covers to install. Each cover has three sets of Velcro straps, two for the width and one for the length. Once the cover is centered, the Velcro straps are pulled tight and secured. A note of caution when reinstalling the seats: You may experience some difficulty in securing the seats due to the cover material interfering with the seat’s pins/tabs/guides. Also, because the cover material slightly increases the dimensions of the seats, the front seat should be installed first, then the pillion seat. When removing the front seat, remove the rear first.
The true test of this product is how it performed on a ride. Upon mounting my GS, I immediately noticed that unlike a Bead Rider, there was no sliding on the Air-Flow, which has a slightly rough texture and provides a good grip against the Cordura of my riding pants. The open structure of the seat cover provided some give and cushion (unlike the Bead Rider) and was comfortable. Since I got the cover in early September, I missed the hot riding season; however, I did notice on some early morning rides a noticeable chill in the front of the seat area, which I believe is an indication of sufficient air flowing through the pad.
I have logged more than 500 miles with the Air-Flow and am satisfied with my purchase so far. I have not noticed any hot or sore spots, it has been comfortable, and the webbing provides a firm contact surface so that you don’t slide on the seat.
I purchased my Air-Flow seat cover at hipmerchandise.com/products/air-flow-seat-cover. There, the product retails for $79.99 with an internet discount of $39.99. Find additional information at airflowseatcover.com.
Pros: Performs as advertised; Good response from vendor addressing shipping issue.
Cons: Velcro straps may interfere with seat pins/guides during installation.