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Stupid Usability #111

Pain in My A*s

Written By: Joel Baglien
Posted: 8/3/2015

From the mind of Joel Baglien, VP of Business Growth at High Monkey:

Most Japanese motorcycles (aka - UJM or "Universal Japanese Motorcycle") are notorious for uncomfortable seats.  My son purchased a Suzuki SV650 a couple of years ago.  The original seat on that bike was so uncomfortable (unusable) that after 50 miles, the posterior pain was horrible and required a stop to stretch out the leg and butt muscles.  He quickly upgraded to an aftermarket seat and solved the problem.  I recently bought a used Yamaha FJR sport touring bike.  It still had the original stock seats shown in the photo below.



Sure, the original seat looks nice but is uncomfortable beyond imagining after about 75 miles.  So what the heck is going on with UJMs?  Why are most stock seats so bad that they get put into a category of stupid usability.  There appears to be a couple of reasons.
Most UJMs compete heavily on price for their market share.  The places where manufacturing costs can be reduced are to put slightly lower quality into the front and rear shock absorbers, seats, tires, and rear swingarm assembly.  Those items are the most frequent upgrades / replacements most of my riding buddies make when they buy a new or used motorcycle.
I have an additional theory.  Maybe the UJM factory testers only take bikes out for a short test ride.  Or maybe they just like uncomfortable ergonomics.  With all the testing, research, and development the factories put into their UJMs for performance, handling, and reliability you would think that a little of that usability thinking would find its way into rider comfort.  That's why this merits a designation of "stupid usability".
The photo below shows my Yamaha FJR after installing a Sargent aftermarket seat.  If you compare the photo of the stock seat and this aftermarket replacement you will notice a rounded "seat pan" that resembles the actual shape of the human butt.  Instead of regular foam, the aftermarket seat uses a dense padding material that, to the touch, has almost no "give".  I have ridden a couple hundred miles (without stopping) on my aftermarket seat.  It is amazingly comfortable - e.g. usable.



There is a cure for the stupid usability for UJM factory seats.  Unfortunately all it takes is money.


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More About Virgil

Virgil Carroll is the owner and president of High Monkey – based in Minneapolis Minnesota. Virgil also wears the multiple ‘hats’ of Principle Human Solutions Architect and SharePoint Architect.

Virgil is one of those rare individuals who can dive deep into technical topics while speaking clearly to the business owners of a project and never forgetting that the end user experience has the highest priority. He calls it using both sides of his brain. Virgil is passionate about leveraging technologies ‘out of the box’ as much as possible with a focus on the strategic use of content to create websites that deliver the right content to the right audience on the right device at the right time. Virgil brings high energy, an ironic wit, and a sense of grounded perspective whenever he speaks to an audience. Virgil regularly speaks at conferences and user groups throughout the United States and occasionally in Europe.

Posted: 8/3/2015 12:00:00 AM by Brian Haukos | with 0 comments