Black is the default seat color on motorcycles. Sure there are brown and gray bike seats too. But anywhere I go I see mostly black seats.
So why are most motorcycle seats black?
Here are the main reasons why motorcycle seats are black:
- Black seats keep warm in cold countries
- Hides dirt well (most relevant reason)
- Neutral and appealing look
- Works well with other bike colors
While the first reason (to keep the seat warm) isn’t a great reason today, it was highly relevant in the origin years of the motorcycle.
Let’s discuss each of these reasons in detail below.
Reasons why motorcycle seats are black
Let’s deep dive into the main reasons why most motorcycle seats are black:
#1. Black seats keep warm in cold countries
When motorcycles were manufactured in the early part of the 20th century, they were predominantly focused on US and European markets.
Unlike cars, motorcycles exposed the rider to the outside weather conditions.
In these predominantly cold countries, designing the motorcycle seat in black color resulted in the black seat absorbing heat and keeping the seat warm.
The rider had marginally better comfort with a black seat as opposed to using any other color.
As a result, black seat color was the norm in the early days of motorcycle manufacturing.
A similar argument can be made for bicycles as well. And motorcycle design originated from bicycles.
So that’s how black seats became the norm on motorcycles.
But why is it prevalent even today?
Once the motorcycle became popular worldwide, Japanese manufacturers flooded the world.
The Japanese manufacturers continued with the trend of black seats on their motorcycles. Even though the need to keep the seat warm was non-existent.
Soon enough, black color seats became the standard for motorcycles. And every manufacturer across the world went with it.
That’s why it is prevalent even today. Even if it doesn’t make sense today for this reason.
In warm and tropical countries, black seats get heated the most. And are uncomfortable to sit in in summer.
But somehow black has become the default seat color.
That’s just not it. There are several other reasons too.
#2. Hides dirt well
In today’s motorcycles, the main advantage of black seats on motorcycles is that it hides the dirt well.
Motorcycles are exposed to the outside atmosphere. The seats are always susceptible to get dust, dirt, and filth on it.
Among the available color options, a black color seat hides these imperfections the best.
That’s the reason black is such a prevalent motorcycle seat color even today.
Compare that to cars. The seats are not exposed to the outside atmosphere as much as motorcycles. (Rarely ever if you are an AC junkie).
Hence, the cars can afford to have different colored seats. Even light-colored seats. The risk of dirt accumulation is far lower when compared to that of motorcycles.
#3. Neutral and appealing look
Black is an appealing color. You can argue it is not a vibrant one. Nor is it the eye-catchy color. But it is sleek.
And appeals to a wide variety of population.
Other colors can be a hit and a miss. Few riders love the color and few go bleh.
Black is much more natural in that aspect.
Since the manufacturers have to take care of the whole aesthetic into consideration and should ensure the seat color is still good along with other colors, black kind of seems like an obvious neutral choice.
Plus, many people love black.
#4. Black works well with other bike colors
Extending on the previous point, the seat color not only has to look good in isolation but also has to complement other colors on the bike.
The motorcycle’s color and aesthetics are mainly visible on the fuel tank and the casings. The rest of the parts including the seat are usually low-key.
As a result, the seat color must complement the main motorcycle color and aesthetics.
Guess which color complements well with all the other colors?
Black it is.
You can argue for other colors but nowhere do they come close to how well the black color complements other colors on a motorcycle.
Imagine a fuchsia seat along with a neon green fuel tank color!
Black color is simply too good at accentuating other colors.
Regulations don’t mandate black seats
Many people think the black color is mandatory. It’s not at all the case. Black seats are not at all mandatory.
Do laws and regulations mandate black color seats on motorcycles?
No again. Laws and regulations do not mandate black color seats on motorcycles anywhere across the world.
While there are laws that mandate color restrictions on motorcycles – for example, the tail lights must be red, the same does NOT extend to the seat color.
The bike manufacturers are free to choose whichever color they want their motorcycle seats to be.
There is absolutely no legal mandate to keep the motorcycle seat black in color.
There are other seat colors
There are other seat colors apart from black on many motorcycles.
Brown seats are a pretty common sight nowadays. Again, brown seats hide the dust well too.
Light-colored seats are still rare on motorcycles. Unless you go the custom route and have a thing for light-colored seats, you won’t find them easily.
Even the different seat colors apart from black usually satisfy the above reasons we have mentioned:
- The seat color hides the dirt well
- The seat color is appealing
- And complements the other colors on the bike well
If any of these three conditions are not met, most likely, that seat color won’t be found in a factory-manufactured motorcycle.
Can you change the motorcycle seat color?
You can change the motorcycle seat color.
You can either remove the seat cover or the upholstery and change it.
Or you can change the entire seat altogether – which is dumb and difficult.
One key thing. Some countries might have an approved set of motorcycle seat colors that the rider needs to adhere to.
Nothing to worry about though. The seat color shouldn’t be something too flashy or hideous.
But apart from that, in most regions, there are no restrictions on motorcycle seat covers.
Is it illegal to change the bike seat color?
It is NOT illegal to change the motorcycle seat color. One can change their bike seat color without any problems. Some regions might have restrictions on having seat colors from a specific list of colors. But still, they cover most conventional colors.
Black is the best motorcycle seat color. Other dark seat colors that hide dirt also work best. Brown and gray color seats suit the seat well too.
Motorcycle seats get hot when exposed to direct sunlight and during hot weather. Black color seats get much more heated when compared to light color seats. Similarly leather gets more heated compared to synthetic seats.
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