Seats are about one of the most important components in a car’s cockpit, other than the steering, brakes and accelerator pedals. Needless to say, amongst the occupants in the car, the driver should be placed in the centre of attention, since he/she will be doing the most important aspect of being in a car; driving. It is imperative that a seat should be made or designed to withstand frequent usage, deliver comfort and some degree of stability.
While sports/performance categorised vehicles get basic sport seats as OEM fittings, the common vehicle on the road is typically fitted with plush leather seats or at the very least; drab fabric. These are okay for the day-to-day commute; for the sporty driver though, the stock seat just would not make the cut. Since motorsports activities such as gymkhana, trackdays and drifting push vehicles to their limits, the drivers are also experiencing what their vehicles are going through; lateral G-forces, hard acceleration and heavy braking. This is where the bucket seat comes into play.
The properties of a bucket seat are as good as a bible to a motorsports’ driver. Although these seats don’t score the highest in the comfort department, they still provide a reasonable level of comfort, while ensuring sufficient body-hugging to keep the occupant snugly planted in his/her seat while G-forces attack the physical limits of the human body. This is especially essential for drivers who are participating in motorsports events that call for hours for driving at the limits.Parked alongside a stock seat, the bucket seat has a higher thigh support area to keep the driver’s lower limbs from splaying, while a broader shoulder area keeps the upper body from excessive swaying.
Comparatively different also are the materials used to make these seats. The backing of a bucket seat is often made from fibre-reinforced plastic or carbon kelvar. Synthetic leather wrapped seats offer little resistance, while choice fabrics provide a better hold in extreme situations. Bucket seats are also relatively thinner to allow the driver to better feel the vehicle, as well as the road. With a lesser, simpler construction, the seats are generally lighter.
Full Bucket Seat
- Single mould construction
- Better contour design
Semi Bucket Seat
- Double piece construction
- Designed for comfort and versatility
- Sturdy, albeit heavier
A full bucket seat is fine; if you are headed for the that trackday soon, or if you are a regular track junkie. For a daily drive, the full bucket is still fine; albeit a little irritating to be climbing in and out of it! Also, do check that the seats are installed properly; there should be no creaks or looseness! A bucket seat offers generally lesser comfort as compared to a plushy, stock leather seat (naturally). Since bucket seat generally have high surface areas, getting in and out of it is going to present a little challenge.
These may cause a little frustration, especially on a rain-soaked day in an open car park when one is trying to fudge out of a seat while desperately trying to open an umbrella. Since most of these seats are generally wrapped in fabric, these maybe more susceptible to stains and physical wear and tear. The thinness of the bucket seat might just get on the nerves of folks who are looking for a comfortable ride home after a hard day at the office.
So, what is it going to be? We hope we have helped clearing an otherwise clouded decision!