Another major seat modification
Well I posted the idea in another thread a while back, then a few weeks ago dug in and started the process. I guess all-told it took about 45 hours to complete, and cost more than I thought it would, but boy did it ever make the wife happy.
Our problem is that, no matter how comfortable the rear seat's foam is, there is simply not enough room fore and aft if you plan on riding a while two-up. We ride 300+ miles when we ride, so my wife being stuck between me and the backrest was not working out. Additionally, the passenger seat's width is only barely adequate. She's 5'4" and 114 lbs, so we can't blame it on her being a chunk. This is my 63rd bike, also, and she's been on almost everything I've had with a passenger seat. Her verdict was that a 1988 CBR1000 Hurricane is more comfortable than the Vulcan. So much so that she refused to ride with me. OH NO- I could see where this was going.
My goals were simple: make the seat wider, and make it longer, while KEEPING the stock backrest. The biggest obstacles were that the seat is one piece and that the backrest is rather firmly bolted to a 'non-movable' chrome subframe (the one the 'trunk' is bolted to). The solution was to buy another seat (so I didn't ruin my stock one) and cut the backrest totally off so that it could be relocated, and the resulting two seat parts could somehow be reattached into another longer one-piece seat. We did some measuring and determined that a minimum of three inches (about the width of a fist) would give her enough room to stay in the seat all day, so I made offsets that moved the backrest's subframe three inches rearward. I figured that, if more room was needed, I could just make longer brackets. I will let the photos provide the details, but suffice it to say the photos don't show any of my mistakes- just the final solutions. The wood, by the way, is there for two reasons: to fill the gap between the seat sections with something firm enough to serve as a base for the foam, and to provide a surface to which the vinyl could be stapled. [Edit: the shot with the wood block isn't here due to limits on photo quantity]
My foam-cutting-and-shaping skills have never been called upon before this project, so the rear foam is a bumpy affair that could look better with more time and money. However, since I proved to myself that simply stuffing wider foam under the vinyl would NOT provide a wider seat, I used a ButtyBuddy and covered the rear seat anyway! So the bumps are hidden. For those who wonder about the foam thing, it's simple: without having a rigid underlayment to support the foam, a wider foam seat will simply fold over and flatten out when it is, uh... sat upon. I tried that a few times and finally changed ideas. All that vinyl was not cheap- one bolt big enough to cover the seat was $19, and that's great, but when you have to prototype something and you ruin three or four bolts, it smarts. Anyway, now we have width, length, comfort, and a relatively stock appearance. The tip-off to its modified state is the subframe offset. It takes about ten minutes to swap the seats from stock to modified or vice-versa. The only other thing I can remember to mention right now is that two areas on the bottom of the 'trunk' had to be opened up so that the bolts would clear. I've ridden in two rain showers and the weather-tightness seemed pretty good, since the cutouts are on the bottom edges and pretty well-protected. You can't see them at all when the seat is attached.
I hope this 'attach photos' thing goes well. I assume you may have some questions, and it will be rewarding to answer them, so fire away. Lastly, things have flipped around in my world completely in the last month, and we're selling the Vulcan. While that's maybe not Earth-shaking, the SEAT and all of the hardware (plus the ButtyBuddy) is going on the block separately, and I figured I'd tell you guys here first. The open market can handle a VN750, but not my longer,wider, wife-is-happy seat set. We believe that you DO need the Buddy unless you're a foam expert, because nothing I did ever made it acceptable to her until I installed the Buddy. Then it was all over- she can go 400+ miles with the same comfort level as my PC800. Not to mention you can pop that thing off in literally three seconds and it looks normal again, plus you can use the Buddy as a portable seat anywhere- camping, at a stadium, whatever. Pretty neat- it can handle 200 lbs.
I guess I should post the For Sale stuff on the For Sale part of the Forum, so look there in the next day or so. Anyway- ENJOY!
P.S. I didn't know until the last here that I was only allowed to upload 5 of my 15 photos. I don't want to cheat and have three posts with 5 photos each, so if that's an option let me know.
Last edited by Covert; 06-06-2009 at 03:09 AM.