Motorcycle Seat: Gel vs. Memory Foam

When it comes to motorcycle seats, it’s not a case of one fits all.

Comfort is key for all motorcycle riders, and the type of seat a rider opts for may depend on the nature of their journey. For example, some riders prefer hard models for long-distance rides.

Also, the ideal bike seat often depends on the individual rider’s experience with riding a motorcycle and their personal preferences.

Let’s dive deeper….

What’s Ahead

Gel seats | Memory foam seats | Why your motorcycle is uncomfortable | Why seats are important | Gel vs Memory foam | FAQs

Gel Seats

While seat preference may vary from rider to rider, typically, gel seats are favored by and recommended for novices and casual riders. Basically, they were designed with comfort in mind, particularly for those with lesser riding experience.

Gel seats are well-loved by many riders for their pleasant feel, flexible shape, and butt support. Some even say they provide a sensation akin to your buttocks being hugged! Ooh, la la!

Pros of Gel Seats

  • Their “squishy” feel is ultra comfy on the butt.
  • They change shape and allow your butt to mold into it for added support.
  • Ideal for short rides and smooth, flat terrains.

Cons of Gel Seats

  • Not ideal for longer rides because they can lead to numbness and discomfort in the perineal area. The soft gel material compresses easily, which can decrease blood flow and cause numbness.
  • Gel wears out easily, especially when confronted with regular impact – particularly from difficult terrain.
  • Not ideal for thermal changes. The gel seat is temperature sensitive. Once the gel has acclimated again from heat or cold, you may find it runny and unevenly distributed across the seat, making for an uncomfortable ride.

Memory Foam Seats

Generally favored by the more experienced biker, memory foam seats have a soft, comfortable look, but they certainly don’t have the same feel as the gel seat. 

Memory foam seats are firmer than gel seats. Thus, they provide better support for regular or long-distance riders. 

The foam molds to your body when heat and pressure are applied to the seat. The seat returns to its original shape when you remove your weight.

Pros of Memory Foam

  • Better for those riding over long periods.
  • Better for those riding on rougher terrain, as they are more shock absorbent.
  • They provide better support for heavier riders (those whose weight is over 200 lbs).
  • Long-lasting. They won’t succumb to regular impact, changes in temperature, and friction the way gel seats do.
  • They tend to be more breathable than gel seats.

Cons of Memory Foam

  • They can take some getting used to.
  • They’re not a “one-size-fits-all” affair. You’ll need to ensure your memory foam seat is a good fit for your butt.
  • Memory foam seats can be heavy and can make the bike less responsive
Gel Pad Seat Cushion for Motorcycles with Memory Foam (Pear)
Gel Pad Seat Cushion for Motorcycles with Memory Foam (Pear)
Gel & memory foam combo; Detachable Quick Connect straps Included; Water resistant Breathable cover

Reasons Why Your Motorcycle is Uncomfortable

If you’re experiencing discomfort when riding your motorcycle, the reason may be to do with the seat.

As we’ve specified above, the type of seat cover you have should depend on your purposes as a rider and your level of experience.

But what if you have the right seat for the right reasons – and you’re still experiencing backache or a numb or sore butt?

closeup of motorcycle seat
Does your seat have adequate stuffing?

Well, quality comes into it, of course. Poorly designed seats or seat covers with inadequate stuffing could cause discomfort when riding. Basically, the quality of your seat cover can make or break the joy of riding.

So, if you’re uncomfortable during rides and wish to remedy this, your first port of call is to replace your seat. 

If you’ve tried several seat types (including gel and memory foam) and nothing feels quite right on your keister, talk to your local motorcycle dealer. Chances are a custom motorcycle seat is what’s needed.

Why a Good Motorcycle Seat is Important

rear of black motorcycle showing brown leather seats

The need for a good motorcycle seat goes beyond just enhancing your comfort levels while you ride. It’s important for the wellness of your anatomy.

Unless you’re a doctor or physician, you may be unaware that the area around your pubic bone is chock-full of nerves and a rich blood supply. Regular misuse or impact in this area can lead to groin health issues later in life.

Also, the wrong seat type on a long ride can reduce blood flow to your legs, which can be dangerous – especially while on the road.

Gel vs. Memory Foam: Differences Chart

Let’s look at some factors that show how gel seats differ from the memory foam ones. 

Factors Gel SeatsMemory Foam Seats
Support Provides less support and is perfect for short ridesProvides better support and is perfect for longer rides
DurabilityCan become less supportive overtime due to breaking down of gel materialMore durable and less likely to lose their shape over time
Weight Lighter Heavier
Heat DissipationTend to dissipate heat and are ideal for hot weatherCan’t dissipate heat properly 
Cost Less Expensive than memory foam seatsExpensive

Ultimately, there are, of course, no rules here. It all comes down to personal preference, and you must opt for the motorcycle seat you are most comfortable with. 

Sometimes it may take several seat replacements to find the right one for you, and many riders like to treat themselves to custom motorcycle seats or even a DIY memory foam seat (you can add more foam to your seat for added comfort).

Seat Gel Vs Memory Foam: Which is Better For Saddle Sores?

It’s difficult to say which type of seat, gel or memory foam, is better for preventing saddle sores as it can vary depending on the individual. Some riders may find that a gel seat provides more comfort and helps prevent saddle sores, while others may find that a memory foam seat provides better support and helps prevent saddle sores.

Gel seats can provide added cushioning and help distribute pressure more evenly, which can help prevent saddle sores. However, they can also compress easily, which can decrease blood flow and cause numbness.

happy biker

Memory foam seats contour to the shape of the rider, which can provide better support and help prevent pressure points from forming. However, they can also be too soft and not provide enough support for some riders, which can lead to saddle sores.

It is recommended that you try different types of seats and determine which one feels most comfortable and supportive for you. It is also important to maintain proper riding posture and take breaks during long rides to prevent saddle sores.

Related: Best motorcycle seat pad for long rides

Consider Gel Foam (New Innovation)?

Gel foam is a newer innovation in seat technology that combines the benefits of gel and memory foam. It is a type of foam that is infused with gel particles, which provides added cushioning and support. This type of foam is designed to conform to the shape of the rider while also providing added support and pressure relief.

Gel foam provides the best of both worlds. It can also help dissipate heat better than regular memory foam and can prevent the issues of compression in gel seats. 

It’s not as common as the other two, but it’s worth considering if you are looking for a new seat. Also, check out air seat cushions.

Bike Seats: FAQs

What is the most comfortable seat for motorcycles?

According to, open-cell polyurethane (memory) foam is considered the comfiest option for bike seats because it offers firm support and is ideal for experienced and professional riders like racers. 

Why is my motorcycle seat still making my butt sore?

If you’ve exhausted multiple bike seats and are still walking like John Wayne when you dismount your motorbike, you may need to invest in a good seat pad to provide additional cushioning. 

Bike Seats: Final Thoughts

There is no golden rule as to which is better – memory foam seats or gel seats. Each serves its purpose for what type of rider you are. But ultimately, the option you invest in is whichever makes your body (particularly your butt) the happiest.