Friday, January 06, 2006

Your Most Sensitive Asset!

When I bought my motorcycle a few years ago I thought it was the greatest thing since sliced bread, but just like any fling, the flaws start to creep out slowly over time. Last summer I noticed that I simply can't ride long distances in comfort anymore because of the seat on my bike. Now I don't think I've aged that much in so few years, and as far as I can tell my butt hasn't undergone any bizarre transformations. So the only logical explanation is the bike's seat.

Luckily, I'm not the only motorcyclist out there without an iron butt - so there are many aftermarket saddles available. Here are a few of the ones that I've been looking into:

-- Corbin: They've been at it a long time and their saddles have a good reputation. They've recently started adding nice options like backrests and heated elements. The price isn't too bad, but you've got to keep in mind that the padding is somewhat generic, where many other saddlemakers ensure a custom fit. One advantage to the Corbin saddles is the fact that they manufacture their own pan; so you're not sans-seat for a few weeks while your new saddle is on order.
-- Russell Day-Long: The Day-Long seat is a favourite among Iron Butt association members; so that should be a good enough reference for you. These are made to measure, so you can't simply order one over the net and install it. The ideal situation is to ride in and have them measure and fit the seat; if not you must at least send them some pictures of you sitting on your bike so they can estimate riding position, height, etc. Aesthetically, some find it ugly (I do too), but I think this is more a case of function over fashion.
-- Bill Mayer Saddles: Really nice saddles that use molded urethane foam. Rocky Mayer now runs the company that still holds his father's name. Bill was known as both the Saddle Meister and the Dr. of Buttology! He was one of the original custom saddle makers having designed the original "Day-Long" saddle, and many still swear by his designs. I like Rocky's seats because their designs are simple: less stitches, no pillow stitching, etc.
-- Rick Mayer Cycle: Rick is Rocky's brother. So they've both learned from the best, and their styles are somewhat similar. I find Rick puts a little more work into the top stitching, creating nice symmetrical designs. He uses various densities of foam and memory-foam to offer a custom fit. Many who have gone to Rick's shop to have their seat custom fit have commented on what a great guy he is and how he goes out of his way to make things right.

These are the main players, but if you're a tinkerer you might want to consider re-upholstering your own seat. If so, please check out Sunmate Cushions who manufacture much of the foam used by custom seat makers like Rick Mayer. I've actually decided to go this route. I figure that if I screw up, I'll simply have the seat redone anyway - so I don't have very much to lose.

Writing and travel broaden your ass if not your mind and I like to write standing up.” - Ernest Hemingway

No comments: