BMW seat on a Versys - Take 3
I have to give credit to Golfmuch for the original idea, and Austin City Limits for further design approaches. "I stand on the shoulders of giants."
Like ACL, I didn't want to cut my stock seat in half, and I also rarely carry a passenger and I use a seat bag, so I also wanted to build a "luggage platform".
I didn't really want to use the plywood/vinyl approach of ACL, but otherwide I used his ideas. I wanted to work in a lightweight, waterproof and sturdy medium for my luggage platform. I chose to work with black plastic cutting boards (as used in the kitchen) in place of plywood.
The cutting boards are a mottled black finish, not totally unlike the black plastic tail section of the Versys. They are 3/8" thick and are relatively easy to cut, drill and sand.
I also didn't want to remove and use the stock seat hardware as ACL did, since I wanted to be able to remount the stock seat any time I wished. The seat hardware pieces are not available from Kawasaki without purchasing the entire seat! So I made my own hardware.
I got a BMW R1150RT "Comfort" seat (thicker and wider than the "Normal" seat) on ebay. I also wanted to avoid cutting the BMW seat in any way that would make it unusable on a BMW in the future. This means my seat sits about 1-1 1/2 inches higher than when you cut off the BMW mounting "cups". I added a front tab that slides into the Versys front seat mount, and 2 front "feet" on the bottom of the BMW cups. I also added a rear mount (aluminum strap with a hole in it) to secure the rear of the seat. The seat sits on the front Versys mount, my 2 added front rubber feet and the 2 rear BMW feet. It is all located and secured by the rear mount.
The rear seat mount is attached to a 6mm stud that a installed in place of the screw that holds the Versys "tool strap catch". The stud had to be bent to achieve a semblance of vertical.
I place the seat on the bike, slide it forward to engage the front mount, and slip the rear mount over the stud and tighten down a wingnut that holds the seat in place. Easy to take off and on, and the stock seat can also be easily installed.
The tail section:
I built a "structural plate" which latches to the stock seat mounts on the frame. It inserts into, and sits on, the seat mid-mounts and latches into the normal seat latch. It sits on 2 rubber feet in the middle area, and sits on the rear frame member like the stock seat. So, it carries its load at 5 points.
On top of this I added the luggage plate. It is meant to be seen, so had to be made with more care. It attaches to the structural plate with 4 nuts and bolts. To top it off, I add my homemade seat bag, which I made from a $15 piece of Kmart soft luggage (I've been using these for years).
One of the main reasons for this project, was that my wife hated the Versys passenger seat. While she may only ride with me a few times a year, we do go on multi-thousand mile trips occasionally. I got my Versys in November, and we have yet to ride it very far 2up yet.
I saw an ad for the Butty Buddy on this website and decided it would make a good bolt-on, comfortable, passenger seat. I found one on craigslist for $20 plus shipping (normally $150!). I devised the appropriate way to mount it to my structural plate (4 bolts), and now we have it all! It takes about 5 minutes to switch from the BB to the luggage plate.
How does it ride? I love it! So far my longest ride was 2+ hours non-stop and I didn't notice the seat at all (other than how comfortable I was). I have an incredible amount of legroom; more than my KLR650 (I have Speedy Lowering Blocks, too). I thought I might continue to use the stock seat for short runs, but the difference in comfort is so great, that I can't bring myself to use the stock seat.
My wife and I took a 1+ hour ride 2up and she declared the BB comfortable.
Sorry for the long story, but this was pretty involved.