For some time I have been contemplating getting the ninja's seat shaved. I knew that Don Weber of Mr Ed's Moto did custom motorcycle seats. Stacy/Bolty.net has a post here about his work on a seat for her SV, but I've also heard other testimonials from across the U.S. Why not take advantage of having a talented seat builder/customizer close to home.
A couple weeks ago I stopped by to visit with Don at his shop, and discuss what I needed done with the seat. Don knew just what I needed and was sure he could get me closer to the ground and shape the seat for more comfort as well. A date was set. I was fully prepared for a long wait, but he could get me in on a Friday afternoon in two weeks - Yes!
This won't be a full seat rebuild, but rather an alteration to get me lower to the ground. The original foam will be used, though trimmed and reshaped. When it's all said and done, the seat will have minimal padding, but be more comfortable and give me a little firmer footing. I arrive on Friday afternoon and after getting the bike set up the first thing Don does is get the seat off the bike, and pluck the hand strap from the seat. He asks if I want the strap. I say it doesn't matter, and he promptly tosses it in the trash. I do believe that strap offended his sense of style! :)
|Measure and Trim|
He removes the cover and begins the process of measuring, marking and trimming. Put the seat on the bike, sit on the bike, measure this and that, take the seat off, trim and slice some more. It's an interesting process. He trims the original foam down close to the seat pan and narrows the sides. Next he shapes the seat, flattening out the rounded shape of the seat, and leveling out a better sitting area. Throughout all of this Don discusses custom seats with another customer and myself and tells stories of his and his wife, Deb's riding adventures.
|Shaping and sculpting the seat|
|Adding another layer of foam|
|Shaping the next layer|
Once the seat is sculpted and formed to satisfaction, Don adds another type of foam over the top. I don't recall what type of foam, but I think it's to help smooth out the seat and add comfort overall. Whatever, the butt can tell the difference! The seat now has a minimal amount of padding, and Don says I may feel the seatpan underneath. Over all the seat is very comfortable. More comfortable than before, even with less padding. That would be the master touch.
Another part of the process is getting the bike set up correctly for me. This includes adjusting the preload to get the seat a little lower and having it set correctly for my size. We also discuss handlebar reach. Don shows me about where my hands should be while sitting on the bike. My bars are a little forward, but they might work. He recommends using them as they are and see how that works for me. Almost forgot...I was given a lesson on manuevering the bike while standing beside it. A still somewhat scary exercise, but I'm working on it.
At first I wasn't sure if I had gained much footing, but as soon as I went for a ride I could tell that I had better reach to the ground. I spent most of Saturday on the bike for a 100+ mile ride. The sitbones never got tender or achy as they had in the past. The seat shape itself was a perfect cradle. No pressure anywhere. I'm anxious to try a longer ride, but that may not happen for a few weeks. For my commute (just under 70 miles each day) I'm finding the seat just gets better. I used to get a little achy by the time I arrived home, but no problem now.
|Your butt's in good hands!|
Don has a saying: Your butt's in good hands. I'm very pleased with how the seat has turned out. I'm closer to the ground and the seat is much more comfortable than before. I have a feeling I'll never be satisfied with a stock seat again. Nothing beats a nice cushy seat!