Road test: Custom-seat
Most of last summer I was toying with a seat project. I don't have half the fabrication skills of any of the really inventive folks in the group. But I figured no one knew my butt like me, so what the hell. I picked up a stock seat cheap on Ebay and removed the ragged cover on it. The foam was a bit dirty but in surprisingly decent shape. I gave it a good deep cleaning with soap and water, then used the shop vac to get as much water out as possible before letting it air dry. Then I began the trial-and-error process to mold it into something I could actually stand to ride on all day. I worked on it in fits and starts most of the summer, but the ride back from KL in August 'bout near killed me so I got a little more serious about it after that.
I knew one of the big "pains in the @55" (literally) on the stock seat for me was the rise to the passenger seat that created a serious pressure point. So I began by carving that back in quarter-inch increments. In between each cut, I initially would throw the old cover back on, so I could test-sit it. I'd swap out the seat with the stock one on my bike, then ride it to work a day or two. That 30-mile (each way) commute would typically be just enough to start experiencing numb butt, so I could at least get an idea of how much improvement I was getting with each cut. Eventually, my poor upholstery skills in putting the cover back on and off were too much, and I switched to just putting an old pillow case over the seat for the test ride! Looked dumb but served its purposes.
After I got the rise back far enough where I wanted it, I also noticed that my little lawn tractor seat was more comfortable than the stocker on the bike. I started looking at that to see if I could figure out why. For one thing it (like the Mustang beloved by many here) was wider, but that sort of fabrication on the seat pan was beyond me. I noticed that there seemed to be a little drop -- a ditch, if you will -- before the rise at the back of the seat and wondered if that helped relieve pressure. I looked closely at every online image of the Mustangs I could find, and
in 2D it looked like they might have this feature also. So I started trying to replicate this on my experimental seat.
I also stole some of the concept on the Corbin, by narrowing the sides a little on the front third of the seat. A little accommodation to my fat thighs.
Finally I got the foam where I wanted it. I shaved the height of the main seat area down about a quarter inch to allow for a layer of new foam. Then visited my local auto upholstery shop. He added back a ľ inch of some fairly high density foam, then recovered the whole thing in some nice vinyl -- WITHOUT the buttons that IMO serve no other purpose than to collect water on wet rides and dirt the rest of the time. He wasn't able to exactly contour to my little "ditch" at the back (at least not without a lot more cutting and sewing than I wanted to pay for!), so it is not visible in the cover, but you can just barely feel it when you apply pressure with your hand.
By the time I got all this done, it was late in the year, and other than a few short rides and a couple of commutes to work, I hadn't really been able to test it until today. In the spring and fall I get one weekend in between my son's sports seasons where I don't have one or more games to go to on a Saturday, and today was it. WX called for partly cloudy and high of 60, so the stars were aligned for me to get a good test ride. Got just over 100 miles in, looping around on the great back roads (with a sprint up Pilot Mountain) and a a little freeway time. About 2Ĺ hours nonstop in the saddle and I could have gone more. I wouldn't call it "sofa-comfortable" as some folks have described their Mustangs, but I was satisfied -- and a damn sight better than stock!
The cost all together was about $250, including the old seat off Ebay (so I wouldn't FUBAR my original seat) and the professional upholsterer. A little over half of what I could get a Mustang Wide Regal for (IF I could even find one anymore).