MXA has a wide array of test riders from short to tall, fast to slow, and heavy to light. Each test rider has his own personal tastes, so there is no concensus on motocross seats. To try to find out more about modern seat design, MXA ordered three completely different seats from Seat Concepts in Caldwell, Idaho. They make a wide range of complete seats for virtually every bike made, with different shapes, foams, heights, widths and philosophies.
Seat Concept offers two versions: (1) The “complete seat” comes fully assembled on Seat Concept’s exact replica seat base. It is ready to install and race with. (2) The “foam & cover kit” has to have the foam glued on the stock OEM seat base and the cover stapled on. MXA chose to go with complete seats to eliminate any variation in assembly. If you choose the “foam & cover” option, it is best to go to Seat Concept’s YouTube channel for detailed instructions (there are written instructions included in the kit).
We ordered Seat Concept’s “Standard Comfort” complete seat, “Low Comfort” complete seat and “XL Comfort” complete seat for our 2020 KTM 450SXF, knowing that the seats would fit on every 2020 KTM model (two-stroke or four-stroke). On Seat Concept’s KTM seats, we could choose between gripper and low-slip covers and black or orange stitching—on all three seats we went with the low-slip cover material and orange stitching. Black was the only color choice for our three test seats. Then we lined up a bevy of test riders and spent two days riding with all three seats, back-to-back-to-back-to-back. And when possible, we had the test riders race with the all three seats.
KTM STANDARD COMFORT—$179.99
The Seat Concepts Standard Comfort seat mimics the stock KTM seat in height but is 1 inch wider at its widest point over the stock seat (at 17-1/2 inches back from the front end). Most significant, the foam was much plusher than the stock KTM seat’s, and the rolled-over edges provide a gripping section for the rider’s knees.
Test rider comments were: “It felt much more comfortable than the stock seat because the foam felt softer. It seemed as though you were floating on the seat in the rough stuff.” “Ease of movement was very good.” “It was at its best when you were firmly planted in one place.” “I always thought I was going to bottom out because the foam was so much softer than the stock KTM foam, but I never hit the seat base like I do on the stock seat foam.” “This seat would be at its best in a long moto or on a long trail ride.” “I’m 6 feet tall, and the Seat Concepts Standard seat felt lower than the KTM seat.” “I loved the shape of the seat; it seemed to have the foam in all the right places.” “It was so comfortable that the stock seat felt like a plank when I got back on it.”
KTM LOW COMFORT—$179.99
The Seat Concepts Low Comfort seat is 22mm (7/8th of an inch) lower than the stock KTM seat; it was even lower than KTM’s PowerParts low seat (and a lot more comfortable). The low seat was 1 inch wider at its widest point over the stock seat (at 17 inches back from the front end).
Test rider comments were: “I’m too short to touch the ground with the stock KTM saddle. That is the thing I hate the most about my KTM. But with the Seat Concepts Low saddle, I could touch with both feet (toes actually).” “I’m tall enough to touch the ground on a stock seat, but the low seat made it much easier to move around on the bike. I got into and out of corners with a lot less drama because of the lower center of gravity.” “I’m 5-foot-11, but I liked the lower seat height and the foam felt firmer than on Seat Concepts’ Standard seat. I would be willing to race with the low saddle, but I could feel the seat base on hard hits.” “I’m not short, and I have long legs, so the low seat made it harder for me to get out of the saddle.” “Low seats have less foam where you sit, which means they are less comfortable.”
KTM XL COMFORT—$304.99
The Seat Concepts XL seat is the most unusual. It was very close in dimensions to the Standard seat where the rider sits, but flared out to 10 inches wide at its widest point (at 19-1/2 inches back from the front end). It was 3 inches wider than the stock seat. The seat foam stuck out on the sides much wider than on the Standard or Low seats to create a very wide seating area from midway back on the saddle.
Test rider comments were: “I thought I would hate this seat. It looked like something off an adventure bike. Not only was it comfortable, I felt planted in the corners.” “Where the sides bulged out, you could hook your legs against the wings when you leaned back in whoops or on steep downhills.” “The XL seat felt a little taller, and the foam felt stiffer than on the Standard seat.” “This seat would be great for a 220-pound rider.” “If you don’t stand up as much as you did when you were young, this is the seat for you.” “The added width made it hard to hang a butt cheek off in corners.” “It would be a great long-distance saddle.”
As you would expect, there was no slam-dunk winner. Short riders preferred the Low seat. Tall riders opted for the Standard seat—and a small number preferred the KTM stock seat. The Seat Concepts XL seat had places where it shined, but it is really best suited to long-distance off-road, dual-sport or trail rides. For more information, go to www.seatconcepts.com or call (208) 417-1726.