Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Review: Seat Concepts upgrade for WR250R

The stock seat for the WRR is narrow and firm, offering good mobility when standing on the pegs, but by the same virtue skimping on cheek support for those inevitable, long, seated stretches between the fun stuff. That gets old pretty quick, and in my case has resulted in squirmy repositioning that I'm sure has drawn some strange looks from passing motorists.

If I didn't already have a long trip planned for this year, I'd probably grit my teeth and put up with the stock seat for a little longer--especially since I'm considering a new bike at some point and there's only so much it's worth spending on the little thumper. However, the WRR has proven to be such a champ that I figured I'd treat it (and myself) to a little more TLC until the mythical Perfect Bike(TM) comes along. (C'mon, Yamaha: where's my T700, already?!)

There's a number of often cheekily-named solutions to this problem that don't require replacing the whole seat. I looked at several, and frankly couldn't justify any of them for my use. All but a few are overly wide and optimized for touring, where you're seated most of the time. While probably quite comfy (and reports suggest they are), these options looked like they'd interfere with standing not he pegs, or wouldn't be robust enough to withstand typical trail abuse. One nifty design from MOESOF consisted of webbing and foam rolls that attach around the seat, but it's made to fit specific bikes and can't be transferred to fit a different bike. That was a deal-killer for me. Also, most of these add-ons came in around CAD$200 after shipping, duties, and taxes, which made it hard to justify the hassle.  

For double the cost, replacing the whole seat seemed to offer the best solution and overall value. Seat Concepts is one of several companies offering upgrade seats for many models of bikes. They've gained a reputation for good quality, comfort, and reasonable prices compared to other options. You can order just the fabric and foam kit and re-cover your own seat frame, or order a complete seat ready to install. In each case there are options for materials and colors. I opted for a standard complete seat with the gripper fabric in Yamaha two-tone, which is a drop-in replacement for the OEM seat. To my happy surprise, this was an in-stock item from MX1 Canada, the Canadian distributor of Seat Concepts. It arrived well-packaged at my door within a week of ordering.

The Seat Concepts (nice and new, on the right in above photo) is about 4cm wider at the midpoint, creating significantly more support area where you normally sit. The front and rear are narrower, allowing good mobility in the standing position. Seat Concepts says they use an improved foam versus the OEM seat, although I couldn't feel much difference from a quick sit-test.

Underneath, the frames are nearly identical, except for some missing foam gaskets on the Seat Concepts. These can be replicated with some closed-cell foam weatherstripping I have on hand. There's a slight gap under the Seat Concepts, probably as a result of my IMS gas tank altering fit, which I'm sure will cause a tapping noise between the seat and bike frame as the seat flexes. Since noise is often a byproduct of wasted energy leading to probably bad things, I'll add some foam between the seat and rails to prevent this movement and help delay the eventual heat death of the universe.

Overall fit and finish is good. Installation is as easy as removing/installing the two seat bolts as per usual. Once I've had a chance to ride, I'll report back on comfort.

Update: Despite snow and ice, and -3C, I went for a 20 minute ride and can say the seat feels pretty good. At least, I didn't notice I was sitting on it, which I can't say for the OEM seat after a few minutes.

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