In early 2011, seat manufacturer Danny Gray and Airhawk Comfort Seating Products entered into a partnership that resulted in an innovative new seat design that riders — especially those of the Iron Butt fraternity — can appreciate.
“Motorcycling is all about the riding experience,” says Lars Roulund, CEO of Danny Gray and High End Seating Solutions. “Yet the interface that integrates you into the motorcycle sucks. So the thing that makes you a part of the motorcycle and a part of the experience gives you pain after 100 miles. We’re always looking for ways to increase the ride-ability of the seat.”
The new touring seats fuse together Danny Gray’s design with Airhawk’s air pocket technology, which has been utilized in the medical industry for well over 40 years. The FDA-approved technology is used in wheelchair applications, as well as to help bedridden patients get relief from bedsores, Roulund says. “We have medical proof that this is a working product.”
The comfort system features air cells about a half-inch thick, which are strategically integrated within the seats in order to dissipate pressure, as well as absorb any bumps felt while on the road. The seats are adjustable, with a little side pump and release valve that add to the comfort. “After riding for long periods of time, people want to move their [riding] positions up, down, back or forward,” Roulund says. “With just a few hits of the pump, they can change their riding positions.”
Through extensive research, the company also found that positioning the rider lower in the saddle increases comfort. “This gives you a better riding position,” Roulund says. “People think that when you’re lower, the seat isn’t going to be comfortable. They think, if there’s more padding, there’s more comfort. This is not the truth.”
You can test the seats out for yourself next month: At both Dealer Expo and the American V-Twin Dealer Show, Danny Gray will be showcasing new versions of the air seat. Dubbed the Long Haul 2UpXL, the seats are available for Harley-Davidson touring models, but plans on the horizon include expanding into other markets, including that of the sportbike variety.
“We develop all of our products through a gathering of information from the market. We listen to our customers,” Roulund says. “We like to innovate new ideas that haven’t been out there before on the market. So this [Airhawk partnership] was a strategically brilliant partnership for us.”
Danny Gray seats are available through Drag Specialties. The company also offers dealer-direct sales in the form of a customs division. “Seats are sent to us from all over the world [so we can] do one-off or high-dollar custom work,” Roulund says.
This story originally appeared in the Dealernews January 2012 issue.