As of this writing, I’ve owned seven dual sport adventure bikes and the stock XR650L seat is the most comfortable stock seat I’ve personally experienced. I can ride comfortably for a couple of hours on the stock seat – which is quite a bit more than the 30 minutes or so that I could stand with the Suzuki DR-Z400s or the Husqvarna TE610 stock seats.
Don’t misunderstand though; there is lots of room for improvement with the XR650L seat. I want a saddle that is not only all day comfortable but one that can also comfortably be ridden on multi-day trips. So even though the XR650L seat is more comfortable than other stock seats, it didn’t meet my personal comfort needs.
I’ve been pretty happy with the Seat Concepts seat on my DRZ so I decided to give it a try on the XR650L.
Unlike other aftermarket seats, Seat Concepts is not a totally new seat for your bike. Instead, you buy new foam and a new seat cover from Seat Concepts and you install them on your bike’s stock seat pan. As an added bonus, the Seat Concepts costs about half of what other aftermarket seats costs.
I don’t think it’s a particularly hard job to swap the foam and seat cover if you are comfortable with that type of work and if you have an industrial strength stapler for attaching the new cover. My buddy JT volunteered to do the install work for me since I don’t have a stapler and he is admittedly much better at such things than I. If you don’t have a buddy like JT and don’t want to do the install yourself, you can send your seat to Seat Concepts and they will do the install for an additional $20.
In the next two pictures the stock seat is on the left and the seat concepts seat is on the right. The main seating area on the stock seat is about 7 1/2 inches wide. In contrast, the Seat Concepts is 11 inches at its widest, providing nearly 50% more width and reducing the pressure per square inch of surface area. The Seat Concepts foam is also noticeably firmer than the stock seat. On my DRZ I’ve found the wider surface area and firmer foam to be more comfortable and supportive – hopefully my experience with the XRL will prove to be the same.
One thing important to note is that the wider seat makes it harder to get both feet on the ground. The Seat Concepts seat is not taller than the stock seat but the extra width spreads your legs out more when stopped, making a tall bike seem even taller. With the stock seat I can comfortably get the balls of both feet on the ground but with the Seat Concepts seat I’m only able to get the toes of both feet on the ground. Anyone who thinks the stock XRL is too tall likely will need to lower the bike if they decide to use a Seat Concepts seat.
With a more comfortable seat in place, my next goal is adding luggage to the bike. Before I do that, though, I am going to reinforce the subframe.