3 Great Seats For The Harley-Davidson Road Glide
The latest from Saddlemen, Lucky Daves, and Le Pera
The factory Harley-Davidson Road Glide seat does the job it was built to do. It provides a comfortable ride, has a universal shape that will suit a variety of riders, and it comes standard with the bike. But we were looking for something a little more than just “adequate” for our bagger. We picked a few new seats on the market and put them through their paces. And the most important tester (my wife) had a say in the matter too!
Rider: Upon initial receipt of this seat, the first thing I noticed was the build quality, second-to-none and absolutely beautiful. The material feels thick and durable; the diamond stitch pattern adds the perfect touch of style and class, with stitch lines that are evenly spaced and straight. Just by looking at the seat shape you can tell it is a rider’s seat first and a passenger’s seat second.
The shape of the rider’s cockpit has a nice scoop to the seat to hold the rider in place. However, my initial concern was with the side edges of the seat because they were a little pronounced for my liking. After initial installation, I sat on the bike, and the edges felt as though they would be a bother, possibly digging into my legs a little too much.
Once on the road, my worry disappeared. The contours of the seat kept my butt perfectly in place as if I were fastened to it with Velcro. After logging a couple hundred miles in the seat, the feature that I initially thought would be a negative ended up becoming a favorite of mine. The defined edge of the seat gave me leverage when leaning through corners and even helped with directional changes at speed. It gave my body a load point to use my weight to get the bike turned while using minimal handlebar input.
The Lucky Daves seat foam is firm, yet still comfortable. The cup of the seat also helps to distribute body weight fairly evenly. The firmness also gives the bike a sportier feel by eliminating some of the bounce that comes with the OEM seat.
Passenger: Unfortunately, as much as I fell for the seat, my wife felt the opposite. The Lucky Daves passenger seat is the narrowest of the three, and after a moderate ride, she was beginning to mention pressure points.
Overall, the build quality is top notch, and the seat comes with everything you need to install it in only a few minutes.
Rider: This Le Pera seat has a unique grip material with just about the right amount of hold. Upon picking up the seat, the first thing that stood out was the weight. This is by far the heaviest seat of the group. Now being that it went on a V-twin bagger and not a performance superbike, it’s not a big deal, but something I felt was noteworthy.
The KickFlip seat has a bit of a square profile in the sense that it is rather flat on both the top and the sides, but also where the rider’s sit area meets the back support. The other thing that immediately stood out was the seat’s height. This Le Pera is also quite a bit taller than stock, and coupled with the square profile, it made getting my feet to the ground a slight struggle despite my average 30-inch inseam. On the plus side, the added seat height gave me a bit more legroom in the cockpit, and it also increased my view over the front fairing. Consequently, the taller saddle also put my head up higher and left me more vulnerable to the wind, wind noise, and buffeting.
In regard to the seat foam, the KickFlip has the firmest-feeling foam of the bunch, which could possibly be one of the contributing factors of its mass. As far as break-in goes, it currently doesn’t feel like it has changed any after a good amount of time testing. Similar to the feel of the Lucky Daves, the Le Pera KickFlip seat gives the bike a slightly more sporty feel by absorbing a lot of the OEM’s road bounce.
As mentioned in the beginning of the evaluation, the junction of the seat from the rider to the back support is more square than the Lucky Daves, and I was really able to feel it. On longer rides it did create hot spots on my sit bones and lower back, where it seems all my weight was focused.
Passenger: This was my wife’s second favorite seat for two reasons: First and most obvious is that it is slightly wider than the Lucky Daves seat. Next, she really loved Le Pera’s grip material, which runs along the top of the passenger section, saying she never had to worry about slipping or sliding toward the back of the line or during quick acceleration.
Overall, another solid contender, with exceptional craftsmanship. I loved the attention to detail underneath, with Le Pera choosing to hide most of the rivets under the seat base’s carpet. Add to that a grip seat material that stands out from the group and the KickFlip really sets itself apart.
EDITOR’S NOTE: We got our facts wrong on the seat mounting bracket portion of our test in the magazine version of this article. We mentioned that Le Pera simply just drilled holes into the seat base and tapped the holes to mount the seat bracket and screws. As it turns out, Le Pera actually starts with a 16-gauge steel pan and there are threaded weld nuts that are then spot welded to the 16-gauge steel pan. And then you have the bracket that’s bolted to the pan with grade 5 Allen bolts with internal lock washers.
Rider: One look at the Saddlemen RoadSofa-LS and you know it’s meant for logging miles, not just as a solo rider but with a passenger too. The RoadSofa is wide and has a bit more cushion than the other seats, and with features such as Gelcore Technology, it has slightly better impact- and vibration-damping abilities too.
Even though the RoadSofa visually lives up to its name, you wouldn’t know its size once mounted on the bike. The edges of the seat are contoured nicely, and the front was just narrow enough to allow me to be flat footed on the ground. The Gelcore Technology that makes up one of the multiple layers of the seat does an excellent job of giving the rider significantly more support than the OEM seat, while not being so firm that it transmits every little bump in the road to the rider. While being exceptionally comfortable due to its shape and design, the rounded edges of the seat had one flaw, in my opinion: There was no side ridge to create leverage for transitioning the bike. This design also felt like it lacked the ability to give me the feeling of being cradled by the seat. Instead, I felt like I was just sitting on top of it. On the other hand, this type of seat shape allows a rider to move around more and not just be locked into a specific seating position. The best way to describe sitting on this seat is that it feels like sitting on a high chair at a bar: plenty of cushion that is easy to move around on.
My only dislike about the RoadSofa-LS is where the seat meets the back support. I’m just not a huge fan of the sharp transition in that area. A small complaint, and one that I would probably make with the majority of the seats on the market, but it’s something I feel should be said.
Passenger: This was, hands down, my wife’s favorite seat, and it’s no wonder why. Saddlemen gave the passenger section just as much cushion and attention to detail as it gave to the rider. The seat has plenty of room in every direction, with the back of the seat flaring out slightly to ensure the passenger’s sit bones will still be in contact with the Gelcore innards. The only negative for the passenger, and this is situational, is that due to the size and width of the RoadSofa, the passenger is no longer able to use the grab strap, which is about an inch too short. Again, not necessarily an issue for most riders and their passengers. For me and my wife, it was no problem. If you were on a date, it’d be a great barrier break to maybe get a little closer. However, if your buddy’s bike broke down and you were going to give him a lift back to get a truck, well, get comfortable and find somewhere to hold. I speak from experience—it’s happened to me twice. Once, I was able to hold onto the bike’s grab handles. The second time it was love handles.
Like the other two seats, the Saddlemen RoadSofa-LS has fantastic craftsmanship and excellent attention to detail for both rider and passenger. Something else to note: This was the only seat of the three that allows use of an optional rider backrest and an optional heated seat (which were not tested here).
With so many seat options on the market, any of the three that were tested would be a good buy for anyone looking to upgrade the one spot on the bike you’ll be getting really personal with. Lucky Daves, Saddlemen, and Le Pera each can fulfill a rider’s need in their own unique ways.
For my personal taste, I preferred Lucky Daves’ bagger seat for its eye-catching style. I really liked how the seat held me in place no matter how I turned and moved. I also appreciated how I was able to use the edges of the seat to steer and transition the bike while riding. As for the design of the seat, it’s just modern enough to give the Road Glide more of an aggressive look and separate itself from the touring bike that it is.
If long-distance riding is your plan, or if you often carry a passenger (that you care about), the Saddlemen RoadSofa-LS is on the money. It has all the bells and whistles one would expect when buying a seat fit for a tourer: gel cushioning, wide footprint to distribute weight, optional backrest, and optional heating available. The construction and design of this seat bridges the gap between the growing popularity of the step-up-style seats and classic touring seat.
For anyone on the taller side, or those who want the stunt-style look, the Le Pera KickFlip Gripp Tape step-up-style seat is for you. The ideal rider for this seat would be someone with longer legs than torso, who would want the extra legroom without the discomfort of an extended-reach seat putting strain on your back.