• BMW Develops Adjustable Seat for the...er...Larger Rider!

BMW developing width adjustable seats

LISTEN 03:26

Seat height adjustment has been a thing for a long time but, up to now, no-one has been considerate about those of a wider beam in the ass department.

BMW Developing Width Adjustable Seats

BMW Develops Adjustable Seat for the...er...Larger Rider!
- image 1048488
BMW’s Width Adjustable Seat
Front section fixed, twin rear sections will pivot outwards

Motorcycle seats have long been the topic of conversation, usually along the lines of ’how uncomfortable was that seat?’ Another popular topic is seat height, although that is not a product of the seat itself but the overall architecture of the bike. However, it is the seat that is the reference point for that dimension as it affects whether the feet can touch the ground and to do that, you have to be sitting on the bike.

All well and good: seat height has an effect on how we perceive a particular motorcycle. But what about seat width? Being of a skinny nature myself, seat width has never been a problem, unless it is on an MX bike, where the seat is deliberately kept narrow to force you to stand up while riding, otherwise you’ll find yourself having the seat surgically removed from your ass after a ride.

BMW Develops Adjustable Seat for the...er...Larger Rider!
- image 1048489
Infinitely Adjustable
Two back sections pivoted at front: rear supported on guide runners with nut and bolt positioning

For others of, shall we say, a ’broader beam’ in the posterior, even the most generous seat width might not be sufficient. Now, it might seem like an obvious development, along the lines of Harley Davidson’s self-lowering suspension on the Pan America, but up to now, no manufacturer has offered a seat that can be adjusted for width as well as height.

Step up to the plate, BMW. With a completely new R1250GS in the pipeline, even more rider interface adjustability built in would be a strong selling point. To that end, patent drawings show a new seat that is adjustable for width.

BMW Develops Adjustable Seat for the...er...Larger Rider!
- image 1048490
MX Bike Seat
So uncomfortable it forces you to stand up! Adjustment would add weight

A brief look at the illustrations show a saddle made up of three sections - a fixed front piece and two triangular rear sections sitting side by side. The two rear sections are pivoted at the front outer corners, while the rears are supported on two curved guide runners. The idea is that nuts can be loosened and the two sections swung outwards, increasing the width where the bum cheeks touch the seat.

The patent states: “on motorcycles, the seat bench forms one of the direct attachment points between man and machine, and therefore plays an important role when it comes to comfort.” Therefore it makes sense to have some adjustability built in.

BMW Develops Adjustable Seat for the...er...Larger Rider!
- image 1048492
Touring Bike Seat
How much wider or more comfortable could it be?

The goal is quick and easy adjustment, perhaps by electric motors in future. But is that really necessary? If you own a motorcycle, it is likely that you will set the width of the seat once to suit you and then forget it. It’s not as if dozens of different-shaped people will be jumping on and off it in the course of a day or a week so it raises the question: why not offer seats in different widths that can be fitted as a no-cost option? Sure, when you come to sell the bike, the seat width won’t necessarily suit the next owner but then the manufacturers could offer a seat exchange system.

Some observers have suggested that, with electric adjustment, the seat could be adjusted on the fly. To that suggestion, I have only one response: Why? The other question is, How? How would any electric motor be able to overcome 300lb of lard-arsed rider sitting on top of it?

Sorry, BMW, this is adjustability for the sake of trying to outdo the opposition. Harley’s lowering suspension was a great idea: this is a waste of time.

Harry Fisher
Harry Fisher
Motorcycling Contributor
Born and raised in England, he has lived in South Africa with his family since 2002. Harry has owned examples of Triumph, Norton, BSA, MV Agusta, Honda, BMW, Ducati, Harley Davidson, Kawasaki and Moto Morini motorcycles. He regrets selling all of them.  Read full bio
About the author
What do you think?
Show Comments
Motorcycle Finder: