Does this long-range saddle work in a racetrack environment?
Sargent Cycle Products is a company well known for improving the long distance comfort of just about any motorcycle. Their custom seats are highly regarded with the touring crowd. Here at TrackdayMag.com, our focus is exclusively about doing laps around racetracks. It's been our experience that any modification which makes a bike better for the street makes it worse for the track, so we were interested to see if this aftermarket saddle would be a help or a hindrance when the knee pucks started scraping the asphalt.
The bike we chose for this test was a 2011 BMW S1000RR. Upon comparison, we noticed that the Sargent seat is slightly wider than the stock unit. Also, there is a contour to the stock seat, whereas the Sargent seat is flat. Cosmetically, the main differences are the textured pattern of the fabric and the small Sargent Logo on the right side.
Installation of the Sargent seat was simple and straightforward, since it is a direct replacement for the original BMW piece and is ready to use right out of the box
Once on the bike, the seat blends nicely with the body work, looking only slightly wider than the original perch. For us, it was important that this saddle provide greater comfort without sacrificing function and performance on the racetrack. The Sargent seat earned an A+ in both venues. On the street, we subjected it to a three-hour loop with a mix of curvy byways, Interstate trolling and surface roads. The best thing a rider can wish for on a long ride is a seat that he or she doesn't notice. Sargent accomplishes this. Unlike the stock seat which begins attracting attention after just one hour, the Sargent unit was never a bother because its additional width distributes your weight across a larger surface. That distribution translates to a definite feeling of support which is absent with the stock seat. A three hundred mile day in the twisties would be comfortable with this seat.
On the track there was an unexpected surprise. The firmer sides and flatter seating surface are immediately obvious in the form of additional support when hanging off. Much less effort was required to keep from sliding off too far; something that was easy to do with the stock seat. In addition to helping the rider avoid getting his body position "crossed up" (twisted) when hanging off, the seat also made side-to-side transitions easier. The stock seat's contour had required us to lift slightly to get to the other side of the seat. When hanging off the Sargent seat, you are level with the middle of the seat so it is much easier to slide across. This actually mimics the design of most race-oriented Superbike tails while being all-day comfortable.
The Sargent World Sport Performance seat's price varies, from $319.95 with standard upholstery and no heat, to $489.95 with custom upholstery and a butt warmer. We feel that it's totally worth the money if your bike sees street usage, and there is the additional bonus that it works better on the track than the stocker. It proved a great addition to the BMW we tested it on and since all Sargent products are built with the same quality, materials and design philosophy, we'd expect equally pleasing results on other machines as well. In fact, our only gripe would be that the more attractive fabric and construction of the Sargent seat leaves our stock pillion pad looking rather ugly and out of place. Perhaps it's time for a seat cowl? Hmmm....