Ducati GT 1000 Seat Comparison
Review of Four GT1000 Seats
Report by John C.
Summary: After trying four
different seats on the GT1000, I can say that the
KonTour "Air Cooled" seat has transformed
To me, it's been well worth every dollar.
I am a regular webBikeWorld visitor and the
GT1000 blog has been a great help to me as a GT1000
I've purchased a few seats for the GT1000 over the
last few years and thought that the experience might be
helpful to others.
I am currently very happy with my GT1000, though it's
been a relationship like many others, with ups and downs but
with a long-term commitment to make improvements and
keep things moving forward.
Most motorcycle seats are the primary point of
contact between bike and rider.
But lets face it -- unless
your passenger is connected to your Chatterbox and has a
few negative comments about your driving, the seat is
probably your greatest source of discomfort when riding.
I've heard it said that the best feature of the stock
GT1000 seat is the "DUCATI" in white lettering on the
rear. Sad to say, I have to agree with that.
The following describes the seats that I've purchased
and used during the four years that I've owned my
GT1000. Please note, any prices mentioned are approximate and
may not reflect current pricing.
Stock GT1000 Seat
Price: Free with every GT1000 purchase.
Weight: 6.2 lbs
Materials: The base of this seat is a (slightly) flexible plastic
of some type. The cover material is vinyl, attached to
the seat base with staples. The foam padding type is
unknown. The padding is minimal and tends to slope from
back to front.
If wearing jeans or street clothes this seat is very
slippery for both driver and passenger. Even when
wearing textile riding pants, my regular pillion (who is
not a nervous type) is very insecure on this seat. With
the padding shaped as it is, I constantly slide forward
into the tank.
'Nuf said about this seat, it's why I began searching
for a replacement.
Ducati Comfort Seat for the GT1000.
The Ducati Comfort Seat for the GT1000
Price: Approximately $180 USD
Weight: 6.5 lbs
The base of this seat is a (slightly) flexible plastic
of some type, visually the same as the stock GT seat. The cover material is a different vinyl from the stock
GT seat, having a matte finish and is attached to the
seat base with staples.
The foam padding type is
unknown, but the Ducati website hints that it is some
type of gel (Selle?). There is additional padding over
the stock seat for both driver and passenger.
Comments: This is the seat that Ducati should have shipped on the
GT. If you are considering replacing your stock GT seat
but have limited funds, buy this one.
The "DUCATI" on the rear of the seat is small, and
tastefully embossed in the vinyl. The only complaint
that I have ever heard about this seat is that it's
difficult for those who you speed by when passing to
read the Ducati logo.
Both the rider and pillion are treated to better
padding and more of it over the stock seat, providing a
slight but noticeable increase in leg-room. The seat
cover is a far different material than the stock seat
which means that all of the sliding around is virtually
eliminated. My regular pillion (and also my reason for
living, to hear her tell it) is very secure with this
Of some interest, I had this seat on the GT when my
Ducati service manager took it for a ride and he was
positively gushing when he returned, said it was the
best Ducati seat that he'd ever ridden on.
When wearing jeans on this seat, I can manage about
75 minutes of back road riding before I am itching to
stop and take a break.
Corbin Canyon Dual Sport Seat for the GT1000.
Corbin Canyon Dual Sport Seat for
the Ducati GT 1000
Price: Approximately $440 USD for the seat.
Accessories: Approximately $230 USD for the backrest.
Weight: 11.5 lbs (with backrest)
Source: Corbin Motorcycle Seats
Materials: The base of this seat is a heavy-duty plastic of some
type, not much flex, and the points where it contacts
with the bike frame are very sturdy rubber 'donuts'.
There is a cut-out for storage under the seat, similar
to the ones on the stock and comfort seats, but no cover
is provided (The purchaser is expected to use the
storage cover from their original seat).
The seat cover
is beautiful, custom leather that is fastened to the
seat base by screws and not staples. The foam padding is
top-shelf stuff, and the thickness of the padding is
customized for each seat based on driver and passenger
Comments: It's pretty obvious where the money went when you
purchase one of these seats. Options abound, the quality
of leather and workmanship is generally the best. The
backrest is a feature welcomed by my passenger and it is
the reason that I purchased the seat. Each seat is
hand-built, so there is a delivery time to factor in to
One thing which I would do if ordering this seat
again is to ask Corbin to take some length off of the
front. It seems to me to be too tight a fit against the
tank, resulting in extra vibration being transmitted
through the seat.
I begin to squirm after 15 minutes in
this saddle and by 40 minutes need to take a break. My
passenger doesn't have the same problem, which is why I'm
suspecting the front of the seat as the culprit.
KonTour "Air Cooled" Seat for the Ducati GT1000.
KonTour "Air Cooled" Seat
Price: Varies by application (email KonTour for a
Weight: 6.1 lbs
Source: KonTour Motorcycle Seats.
Materials: 100% Mil-Spec? Aircraft Quality? For a motorcycle seat?
In short, you provide KonTour with your old seat (a good
use for the stock GT seat), they remove and save the
original padding and seat cover, then using your seat
base with their high-tech materials build you a new
The best explanation for their product is seen on
their website <http://kontourseat.com>
Comments: This is clearly not a traditional motorcycle seat. The
mesh covering is odd looking at first, but it's growing
on me. I've also had to vacuum crumbs (don't ask) from
inside the weave.
Then there's the question of getting it wet; I chose
to remove this seat when washing the bike but KonTour
claims that water won't damage it.
As KonTour notes, the major cause of motorcycle seat
discomfort is sticky clothing caused by sweat between
you and the seat. Every traditional leather and vinyl
seat will cause this condition.
On the other hand, the KonTour seat allows air to circulate between you and the
seat foam, therefore no sweat. A close-up photo really
shows just how deep the mesh which allows the air to
circulate actually is.
The KonTour website makes some extravagant claims for
this seat, so my expectations were sky high when it
arrived. After roughly 1000 miles, I'm beginning to get
a sense of what this seat is about.
To begin with, I expected to find that any vibration
from the GT would not be transmitted through the seat,
but I was mistaken. Vibration is still transmitted,
however it's considerably less than I can feel from the
Corbin seat, and somewhat less than the Ducati Comfort Seat.
The really significant improvement over a traditional
seat is the benefit of having air flow between the rider
and the seat foam. We've had a few hot (upper 80) days
here in the north-east, days that I'd normally be
sticking to my seat but there's no sticking whatever to
the KonTour seat.
And on the flip side, the coolest
weather that I've ridden it has been in the mid-40's and
I really couldn't detect that the seat was making me any
colder than usual.
Another benefit of the mesh is secure seating,
there's very little sliding around on this seat.
So, how long a ride before I need a break? I actually
don't know yet. Prior to this seat I used the GT1000 for
commuting and as an "afternoon" ride, perhaps 100 miles
of back road riding before numb-butt got to me and I
would call it quits.
With the KonTour there's no more
seat discomfort and I now find myself thinking about
adding some luggage and going on an actual tour with it.
One more thing about the Kontour Air-Cooled seat, and
that's what I paid for it. The folks at KonTour prefer
to email you a quote rather than publish prices on their
website and I respect that.
I don't know the reason for
their policy, but can guess that it's because each seat
is hand made, and they can provide the most accurate and
fair pricing only when they have the actual application.
The seat made to my specifications cost approximately
$600.00, which may differ, depending upon requirements.
I am willing to say the the KonTour seat is not
but it's also not a fortune and it's really transformed
the GT. To me, it's been well worth every dollar.
Three views of the KonTour "Air
As the driver, I rate these seats from best to worst
KonTour "Air Cooled" Seat
Ducati Comfort Seat
Corbin Canyon Dual Sport
Ducati Stock Seat
My regular passenger rates the same seats, best to
worst in this order:
- KonTour "Air Cooled" Seat
- Corbin Canyon Dual Sport Seat
- Ducati Comfort Seat
- Ducati Stock Seat
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From "J.S.A." (7/10): "I have a
Corbin Canyon Dual Sport seat on my GT1000. The
reviewer said "One thing which I would do if ordering
this seat again is to ask Corbin to take some length off
of the front. It seems to me to be too tight a fit
against the tank, resulting in extra vibration being
transmitted through the seat."
I have never experienced this problem. My seat
barely touches the gas tank and it does not put any
pressure on the tank. I would think that if
vibrations were being transmitted from the tank to the
seat then they would cause the seat to scuff the paint
on the tank. I would return the seat to Corbin and
explain the problem. They are very focused on customer
Photo of J.S.A.'s GT1000: (and see John C.'s
response regarding Corbin below):
From "S.B." (6/10): "I don't ride a
Ducati but, as with most riders, I can identify with the
need to improve a stock seat. On my previous ride,
a 1980 Yamaha XS850SG, I bought a Saddlemen seat and was
never satisfied with it. Could not see spending
several hundred dollars on seat for a bike that cost
less than $1300.
I had the seat softened up a bit, to little avail.
I modified it myself and got it a bit too soft.
Here's where previous experience came in handy.
The wooden beads (See B.L.'s comments below) work great
- in my experience - on soft seats; not so much on hard
seats. Wooden beads address air flow and heat, but
do nothing to soften a hard seat.
My current ride - a 1987 BMW R80RT - came to me with a
Corbin seat on it. No softy by any means.
Plenty comfortable except for the seam that runs across
middle of the seat - and my backside. After a
couple hours, it is a constant pain.
The beads put me a bit higher than I like on this bike
and added a hard barrier that wasn't helping.
Alaska wool did not do the trick.
The good people at AirVent seem to given up, due to too
much success. Air Hawk is just too much money for
this tightwad. Then I read about the Eagle Air
Seat - the poor man's Air Hawk.
This adds about 1/4 inch seating height and completely
insulates me from the hated seam on my Corbin. The
only down-side is the inflation valve location.
But now, my rear-end comfort does not dictate when or
how often I stop. And that's a great improvement!
For about 10% of what that absolutely delightful KonTour
Ducati seat cost.
It's good to know what other folks have done to find the
right seat - something that differs from bike to bike
and rider to rider."
From "B.L." (6/10): "An inexpensive
alternative to the "KonTour 'Air Cooled' Seat" would be
a wooden bead seat cover. Before you laugh, give
it some consideration, and try looking up reviews of
them on the Internet.
I found one review article where a group of five
experienced riders rode five different bikes, from coast
to coast of the USA, swapping five different seat covers
between them and their bikes. Everybody had
lengthy riding time sitting on each of the five covers
materials: wooden beads, sheepskin, an AirHawk air seat
cover, a gel pad, and an extra thick foam pad cover.
All reviewers liked the AirHawk best (the most
expensive, as well; tried one, but it didn't work at all
for me, or my wife), but the surprising second choice
was the old-fashioned wooden bead seat cover, for all
The wooden beads provided excellent air flow (in
50-degree weather, it can be rather cool you your bottom
-- been there, done that), which kept the riders'
bottoms dry, and comfortable -- no monkey-butt!
The beads also allowed pressure points to change,
dramatically (my personal experience!) just by shifting
your position one-half inch! It really doesn't take much
of a shift to alter the pressure on your bottom, and
this can be a wonderful relief.
My wooden bead seat cover, made specifically for
motorcycles, cost me $40+S/H. I bought two, one
for each position. My wife and I rode for eight
hours on the first day of our nine-day trip, last year,
and we finally had to stop because it was getting dark,
and our hip joints were getting soar, but our bottoms
were ready to keep going for a while longer!
Without the wooden beads, on the same seat, we needed
to stop every two hours to start with, and with each
stop, our riding time diminished down to 1-1/2 hours,
then none, after five hours, even with 45-minute breaks.
Cab drivers all over the world use wooden bead seat
covers. Thousands of cabbies can't be entirely
wrong. I recommend wooden bead seat covers to all
who comment on their seat discomforts. While they
don't work for everyone, they work for a great many.
Of all of the seat cover options out there, they are
among the least expensive to try. While it would
be nice to have a seat cover, built into the seat, that
allows ample air flow to cool, and remove the
perspiration from my bottom side, a $600 seat is not in
my budget, but a $40 wooden bead seat cover was.
Thanks for the article, and keep up the great work.
Editor's Note: I haven't tried
the beaded seat covers but I understand they're popular
with BMW and other touring riders.
A couple of things to think about with added-on seat
covers, based on my experience, is that they will
increase the seat height. This is the case on the
GT1000, which is a bit tall for me to begin with; a gel
seat pad I tried raised the seat height just enough more
to make it too tall.
Also, some of the air filled or gel seat pads I've
tried make me feel like my butt is moving around on the
seat during turns. The gel or air that makes the
pad comfortable also adds a sort of rocking motion that
felt disconcerting. For straight road touring,
this effect isn't a problem, but just to note that it
made me feel a bit like I was sitting in a rowboat out
on the sea!