One of the biggest complaints of the newly designed (2008) Ninja 250R is the seat, both pilot and pillion. It is just about perfect for the track because the rider’s butt is rarely parked in it for more than a few seconds. On the open road however, the general consensus seems to be that 400 miles is about the extent to which the stock seat can be pushed. I have personally done 777 miles in a day on the stock seat, after which I discovered where Kawasaki spied the pattern for the seat cover – a flattened cheese grater.
See, it’s a 3-part problem, this here seat. The first problem with it is the contour of the foam underneath. It’s raked heavily forward which invariably pushes the rider forward into the tank over time. The second problem is the consistency of the foam – it is hard, unforgiving, and uniform. It has absolutely no love. The third problem is the consistency and pattern of the cover over the foam. It too is quite hard and although quite grippy, scuffs off skin after a while.
After that last 777 mile ride I have been on a quest to find a reasonable replacement and have found another problem during this quest. My ass. See, I’m a skinny bastard, and when I’m standing around or walking, most people would be obliged to say that I have no butt what-so-ever, usually with some underlying frustration and jealousy expressed. When I contort myself onto the Ninja then, that non-existent rear-end of mine wraps around my butt-bones and creates 2 points of contact between myself and the seat, each about the size of a nickle. Un-calloused human skin isn’t designed to support 150lbs on such a minuscule surface for up to 16hrs a day….
So the quest continues. I need a seat which is sort of grippy for spirited riding AND which offers the support for much longer days. Next I try a Corbin. The contour isn’t quite right, but it’s doesn’t force my junk into the gas tank at every bump, improvement. It is actually harder than the stock seat, and does provide more support when I scooch all the way back, but then I’m very far forward and heavy on the wrists – I shot myself in the foot when I made those custom- clipons, as far as seats go….
Then a fellow on NewNinja.com and I got to talking. He had a Saddlemen seat he wanted to get rid of, but I didn’t want to risk wasting more money on a seat that won’t be worth it, so he let me try it out for a few weeks before I decided to buy. It looked awesome, like it was a specialized race seat or some such, but ended up being just as hard as the Corbin. It followed the same plane as the Corbin, and also didn’t crush the family jewels, but it didn’t have the contouring to scooch into as the Corbin did. So back it goes to it’s real owner along with a little gift for my appreciation….
Looks like I’m back to square one. I have since picked up an airhawk and will be testing it as soon as I’m able. Early tests show that it raises me up about an inch, but it does contour beautifully to my rear with about 3psi in the bladder. I thought that having a removable “touring” seat would be the answer – comfortable on the long haul, and removable when I want to go crazy in the twisites, say, when I’m hundreds of miles from home and staying with friends. I think a proper contour of the stock seat is also in order. With a plan in hand, so I go into the future….