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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
So I've been eyeballing these awesome seats from Baldwin, Spencer, Corbin, etc. Beautiful but expensive. Being the crafty DIY and cheap bastid that I am I thought I could tackle this one myself and save myself $300-$600.

There is a very good DIY site here on modifying your seat:
http://www.diymotorcycleseat.com/
This was the basis for the finer techniques to do the job right. There are some good youtube vids on building custom seats as well if you search. One of my favorites was a guy in Germany that builds custom seats for BMW's. He is also VERY expensive, but they are really nice.

One of the things that I have never been able to figure out is how to get the seat cover to follow the contour of a seriously dished out seat. I took a ride to my local Ducati dealer today and found that they don't even try to get the cover to follow the dish on their twenty thousand dollar motorcyles. So if it's good enough for a Ducati, it's good enough for my Versys. Once you get the cover stretched on there good you're only talking about a quarter inch or so and your butt presses the cover down into the seat anyway.

I stopped off at my local upholstery supply place and got a piece of 1" thick memory foam - that really cushy stuff. Remnant - $3.

The German guy I mentioned glued this awesome foam covering over the seat foam under the vinyl. Darned if they didn't have this stuff, so got a yard of that - $15. And a can of spray contact adhesive for upholstery work - $7.

I also bought some extra high density foam that I did not use, and some really cool textured marine vinyl that looks like the stuff Baldwin puts on his seats. I figured if my original seat cover wouldn't go back on or got ruined then I would just have to make a new one. $15 for a yard of that stuff but didn't need it for this go-round. Last stop at home depot for a grinding wheel to contour the foam - $6, and I already had monel staples for my staple gun.

Okay, how to do it...

Remove the seat, turn it over and remove all the staples going back to the pillion. I left it on, turns out it didn't need to come off. The pillion foam is seperate from the pilot seat which is easy to remove. I toyed with adding some foam to the nose and cut a piece to fit under the stock foam, but once I got my seat contoured and ready to cover it was evident I didn't need it.

Now with the cover off I drew out where I wanted my 'dish' with a sharpie pen.





One of the things about the stock seat is that it tends to dig into the side of my thighs especially when I put my feet down when stopped. So I knew I wanted to narrow it just a bit to make that part more comfortable. I also hated the way the slope of the seat would keep pushing you into the tank. It's a very uncomfortable shape. Plus it's harder than hell.

Next I took a serrated bread knife and sliced off about an inch of foam and ground to the rough shape that I wanted.



The grinding wheel works really well but the foam pieces go everywhere - do this outside or where you can make a big mess. I did mine on the patio and I had foam everywhere including myself. You have to be carefull because it really cuts into it. You don't want to take more off than you want. It's easier to take more off as you trial fit it and sit on it. A lot harder to add foam back on.



Once I got it to the basic shape I wanted I tried it on the bike and sat on it.





Once I got the shape where I wanted it I spent some time getting it perfectly contoured and all smoothed out and even on both sides. I ended up taking just over an inch off the deepest part, and reshaped the sides. There is plenty of foam on this seat, I was really surprised that I still had quite a bit of overall thickness to the base seat foam.

Now I took my memory foam and cut it to the basic shape I wanted. My butt is pretty small so it didn't need to be real big. If you've got a bigger butt then you would want to widen your seat and/or make your soft section larger. The DIY seat website explains how the bones of your butt need a soft spot to sink into and this is what reduces hot spots and fatigue. Plus the shape of the dish distributes your weight all over which makes it a helluva lot more comfortable than the hard plank we get from the factory.





I traced around my new butt pad and removed the foam so it would sit flush with the rest of the seat.



I used an exacto knife but a razor blade would also work, cut into the seat foam about an inch and then shaved down and used the grinder to resess the area for the memory foam pad. You could also use a gel pad and do it the same way.

Each step of the way I would put it on the bike and sit on it to make sure I was getting it to where I wanted it.







Next I used my spray contact adhesive and coated the cut-out and the memory foam and glued it in.





By now it was getting dark and wifey wanted to get a pic of me with the foam dust all over but you can hardly see it. The seat pan is looking good now.



This stuff is the cats-meow for finishing it up. It has a dual density foam with a fabric finish on one side, 1/2" thick. It gets glued to the finished seat foam with the contact adhesive. Any slight imperfections are gone and you have a gorgeous finished seat foam to install the vinyl cover over.









Continued in next post...
 

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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
Part 2 of CUSTOM SEAT HOW-TO

Part 2...
*********************

Reinstall the seat cover. Start with the nose, then the sides, and staple all around. You want to use 1/4" monel staples so they don't rust. You need strong hands, or an electric or phneumatic staple gun for this step.



Back on the bike in about 2 hours. And oh so comfy. Can't wait to try it out on the road.







Basic tools, about $25 in materials, and a couple of hours, and I've got a very comfy seat. I'll post some more pics when I get some daylight. Couldn't be happier.



Now I still have my yard of custom vinyl for a new cover. Perhaps the next iteration will get a custom-sewn cover. For now the stock cover is just fine, and it fit right back on.
 

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Very nice! Looking forward to the ride report.
 

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Good work CJ.
Do let us know how it feels.

Seat modification is my next priority for the Versys.
I can do 12h/500km rides per day on the stock seat but there is no point in suffering and sliding to the tank.

Some bookmarks for research:

http://www.diymotorcycleseat.com/index.php - Mentioned above and considered helpful by many.

http://www.knoplace.com/Gel_Pad_Installation.html

I also collected a gallery of 100+ pictures from this and UK forum of various methods to modify the seat.
If anyone is interested and want to save hours of search let me know.


Cheers.
 

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It may not work out the first time you do the mod on the seat but you can always keep working on it and you will get it right and the cost in nothing compare to the after market seat.:thumb:CJ.

:cheers:
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
Good work CJ.
Do let us know how it feels.

Seat modification is my next priority for the Versys.
I can do 12h/500km rides per day on the stock seat but there is no point in suffering and sliding to the tank.

Some bookmarks for research:

http://www.diymotorcycleseat.com/index.php - Mentioned above and considered helpful by many.

http://www.knoplace.com/Gel_Pad_Installation.html



I also collected a gallery of 100+ pictures from this and UK forum of various methods to modify the seat.
If anyone is interested and want to save hours of search let me know.

Cheers.
I had not found the knoplace site, it's a good one. The 'smoothing foam' as they call it is the ticket. The cover goes on looking as smooth as the factory does it.

Post some of your pics that are applicable. It's not that hard of a job. Maybe we can help out some more of our inmates. :D

I found the thread here on seat mods after I did mine. Oh well. There are some other good attempts. I had not thought of removing foam from the bottom. Still, I think the top contour is a problem, needs more of a dish as opposed the flat plank as designed. Lots of talent on this site.

I like how Baldwin does his seats. And the Ducati's are real comfy too. Basically took their lead. I do believe the Baldwin seat is a good value for someone that doesn't want to mess with it themselves. Half of the cost is a really nice new cover.

I'll post some new pics in daylight, and a ride report with some miles on it.

I maybe tackling a radiator screen next. :p
 

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Do please let us know how it feels after some miles in the seat. Good post, love all the pics. I keep wanting to fix my seat, but I chicken out every time.
 

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Good stuff Chris!

You live near what would probably be the heart of Upholstery Heaven. In Detroit I worked with many trimmers and some of the very best came from SoCal and were Mexican-American. Very talented people, maybe a valuable source of good info.

Your technique is excellent. Maybe a good retirement income when that day comes, or do it part-time for some of the inmates around here.

V-Zee
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Vee-Z, my favorite upholstery supply - A1, is in Santa Ana. Pretty much 'little tijuana'. They are all chattering in spanish! This gringo is clueless. :D

Okay, riding update for today. Decided to ride out to Riverside to Malcolm Smith Motorsports because I know they're open on Sundays, and they have LOTS of bikes. 50-60 miles round trip. Yep, fell in LOVE with the KTM 990 Adventure. Oh well, fodder for another thread.

The new seat is fantastic. A thousand percent better. No more riding up on the tank. My butt is cushioned in memory foam and fits right in there. I wouldn't mind the whole seat being a little bigger, but will see how it does on the next long distance run.

As promised, some pics in daylight...

The memory foam or a gel insert really helps. Your stock seat doesn't do this:



More pics so you can see the new profile/shape of the seat. The dish of the seat is really not apparent from a side or top view. If you look close, just in front of the pillion you can see the curved part of the dish at the back of the seat. When you sit on it, it's definitely there, hugs the cheeks real nice. :p





In this next pic too, just in front of the pillion you can see the curved part of the dish. As we've seen here and elsewhere, the smoothing foam really works well - you can't tell it from the factory finished seat foam once it's covered. No bumps or lumps, nadda.



 

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Discussion Starter #14
Does anyone have a good recommendation on where to buy the gel or memory foam online?
These folks have them. I understand they can be trimmed to fit.
http://www.thepropad.com/Pro-Pad-Polymer-inserts-Prodlist.html

Someone somewhere mentioned they found some gel foam packs at walmart.

Memory foam can be had from most any foam cushion outlet. The problem with memory is that it can compress considerably, letting you bottom out. My insert is 1" thick and I have not had that problem, like it a lot.
 

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That's a good job CB. I've narrowed and lowered a few seats myself. At least that much usually isn't too expensive, just laborious.

A guy named Spencer (out of Florida) does a great job at a very reasonable price, for those that don't want to take on the job themselves.

He did my Versys seat, and I'm happy with the results. He also pointed out, that I wouldn't have known, the V seat has a ridge at the back of the drivers part, which makes lowering it very much impossible.

He only charged 90 bucks to lower and insert his "long distance" modification (supracor foam) to both the drivers and passengers parts. Also modified the seat angle so I no longer slide into the tank.

Just another option. Anyone wanting to go this route, google "spencer seat mods", you'll find him.
 

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I tackled this project after reading CB's (and others) terrific posts on the subject. After sculpting the foam, including taking some of the passenger portion to move the seat pocket back, I added about an inch of soft foam over the top, tapering out at the edges. This opens up the seat to peg relationship which also helps out the knees.
I spent less than a dollar for the foam in a fabric store, used a buddy's upholstery tacker to re-install the seat cover, and had the seat off for 24 hours. Well worth a try if your bike is parked for the winter, you can always send it to Spencer if you don't like the result.
 

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I tackled this project after reading CB's (and others) terrific posts on the subject. After sculpting the foam, including taking some of the passenger portion to move the seat pocket back, I added about an inch of soft foam over the top, tapering out at the edges. This opens up the seat to peg relationship which also helps out the knees.
I spent less than a dollar for the foam in a fabric store, used a buddy's upholstery tacker to re-install the seat cover, and had the seat off for 24 hours. Well worth a try if your bike is parked for the winter, you can always send it to Spencer if you don't like the result.
Actually, Spencer told me after having modified my FJR seat he couldn't do anything with it. He said it had to be OEM.

Didn't ask if that was true with all seats, so maybe want to double check on that if anyone is thinking of that as a "fall back".
 

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Excuse me, but what is "this stuff"? Exactly. As in the stud thats the cats meow. 1/2" foam. Where do I find that. As soon as I get my house (next week) this is my project, but gonns shave the seat down to look flat like a dirt bike. I don't want no passengers
 
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