Airhawk comfort seat pad | REVIEW
Are you finding those longer journeys less comfortable than they used to be? Is that sports seat becoming a pain in the arse? Maybe it’s time to invest in an Airhawk seat for the new season…
What is an Airhawk?
It’s a breathable strap-on cover for your seat which contains a special air bladder made of interconnected compartments. You inflate by mouth and simply adjust air pressure to suit.
What is the point of one?
When you sit on a normal seat – particularly a narrow scooter saddle – then all the pressure of your weight tends to concentrate on two ‘hot-spots’ on your inner buttocks. You can’t do much to shift the load elsewhere so the result is arse-ache.
What a correctly-adjusted Airhawk does is share the pressure over a much wider area of your buttocks and thighs. When the pressure is shared over a wider area then the pressure at any point is lower and you can ride for longer before arse-ache sets in.
Last night a puncture kit saved my arse…
Do Airhawk seat covers improve comfort?
Yes, absolutely. Better than any other method I’ve tried apart from fitting a better seat.
I used an Airhawk on a 15-country ride by Lambretta as far south as Serbia and as far north as Ukraine in 2015 and the Airhawk was the difference between tolerably comfortable for a days riding and abject arse-ache.
The model I used was the original Airhawk with a neoprene rubber bladder in the “cruiser small” size. This is more of a rectangular shape that suits the shape of classic scooter bench seats but did overhang slightly on my Lambretta.
The latest revision of Airhawk now uses a polyurethane bladder that has revised chambers to maximise airflow and prevent the familiar but unpleasant symptom of “tropical rain-forest butt-crack.”
How could I compare how bad it was without one?
My Airhawk picked up a puncture (via a thorn from my trousers) while riding in the Czech Republic and the reduced comfort was enough to send me to the first shop I could find in order to get a puncture kit. You’ll be pleased to know that these can be repaired like an inner tube and the repaired Airhawk kept pressure for the rest of the journey.
How do they attach?
The lower side of the cover has a grippy surface so it is sufficient to simply place it where you want on your seat. There are also two simple elastic straps which go under the seat and attach with hooks to keep the cover in place while the seat is lifted.
Sadly there is no way to permanently secure the Airhawk so it’s worth bringing it inside with your luggage if parking outside. Theft of Airhawks is apparently quite a common problem for touring bikers.
How do you set one up?
This is the key issue many people get wrong. If you over inflate it then you’ll feel like you are unstable and bouncing around on a Space Hopper.
The best way to adjust it is to sit on the over-inflated Airhawk and to release enough air from the valve so that your buttocks just start to touch the seat below. This might seem too soft but it works best.
When adjusted like this you are not sat any higher than normal and have good control of the scooter, but the weight of your body is shared over a wider area.
Overall, it’s an absolutley top bit of touring kit that does what it says on the tin. It won’t turn an uncomfortable scooter into a sofa, but it will double your riding time before butt-ache sets in.
Highly reccomended if covering over 200 miles per day.
- The interconnected chambers are important because they allow for channels between them, which lets your skin breathe without getting sweaty.
- The Airhawk design is tried and tested
- You don’t need a pump and it is easy to adjust
- They are expensive, but if you suffer from numb bum then these are really worthwhile.
- The air bladders can be punctured (but also can be repaired)
- Airhawks are so highly regarded as to be a theft target.
NEW FOR 2017
Airhawk has updated its air-filled motorcycle seat cushions for 2017, with new cutaway sections around sensitive areas and re-designed cell geometry
The new, updated cushions feature:
- An additional centre cut-out area, running from front to back, for extra pressure relief and ‘non-contact’ of sensitive areas.
- Cutaway sections at the front and back – the latter also has a tapered transition to give increased comfort and pressure relief on both the groin and tail-bone areas.
- Air cell geometry has also been re-designed, to improve airflow under the rider and eliminate ‘hot-spots’.
- Each cushion comes with a breathable and water repellent poly-mesh cover, which helps to keep the rider cool and dry. The side panels also feature a three-layer knit polyester for air circulation
Available to buy from SLUK Shop
We’ve been so impressed by Airhawk that we’ve added them to the SLUK Shop. If you’re planning the long trip to Italy (or elsewhere this summer) it might be something you’ll be very glad you bought.
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