Custom Seat Project

Mods and upgrades that don’t fit any of the above topics such as, bars, seats, fenders, etc.
burkbuilds
Posts: 350
Joined: Thu Jan 14, 2010 9:29 pm
Location: Rome, Georgia

Custom Seat Project

Postby burkbuilds » Sun Oct 24, 2010 10:37 pm

Well, I'm at it again. This will be my second custom seat for my 500, 3rd custom seat I've done overall. I would love be able to just purchase a seat that is comfortable to me and meets my specs, but that just doesn't seem to be an option on this bike. So, I've taken what I have learned from my previous two custom seat builds and started working on a new seat. It will probably be about another 3 weeks before I am finished, but here's what I've done so far with pictures. I started by purchasing a seat on e-bay that I could modify using part of the original seat pan. I wanted to have a single seat and I wanted it to have a release lock instead of bolting down like the Vulcan's OE seat does. I also wanted to be able to switch back to my old seat if I wanted to so the lock couldn't interfere with the OE fit.
After stripping the padding off the OE seat, I started cutting with a hacksaw to modify the pan.

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I found a GZ250 seat and lock on e-bay and installed them.


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Then I checked to make sure it latched properly.

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I started by using some cardboard to make a template for the shape I wanted.


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Next I transferred the pattern to some 1/4" plywood.
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I glued and screwed some blocking to the underneath side of the plywood to give me a place to attach some supporting material.


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I thought I had some more pictures of some blocking I screwed into the seat pan but I seem to have missed those shots somehow. Here's a shot of some OSB screwed into that blocking.

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I'm going to submit this and start a new post so I don't have as much to lose if something goes blitz on me.

burkbuilds
Posts: 350
Joined: Thu Jan 14, 2010 9:29 pm
Location: Rome, Georgia

Re: Custom Seat Project

Postby burkbuilds » Sun Oct 24, 2010 10:57 pm

Next I added some more blocking to attach my perimeter plywood to.

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I then cut some 3/8" "bending" plywood to get the shape I wanted and then glued and stapled it to the blocking.


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I cut and shaped some pieces to go on the sides up towards the front.

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In case anybody is wondering why I'm using wood, it's just that my skill set is in wood. I've been a woodworker since childhood and a carpenter and cabinetmaker most of my adult life. If I was a welder or sheet metal worker, then this would probably be done in metal. I've always believed that you should lean on your strengths whatever you are doing, so I chose wood as my material for the base. I realize that this has some weaknesses.
To help solidify all of this and make it watertight, I fiberglassed the entire structure back to the seat pan.

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Well, I still have a lot more to do, but I had to stop and head back to school, so I'll have to wait until next weekend to finish the fiberglass. I'll try to post updates as I go. I'm hoping that I can finish the fiberglass and the foam next weekend and maybe get my wife to take it to the upholstery shop for me. Maybe I'll actually have it done in two more weeks. Of course the best laid plans of mice and men come often to ruin.

burkbuilds
Posts: 350
Joined: Thu Jan 14, 2010 9:29 pm
Location: Rome, Georgia

Re: Custom Seat Project

Postby burkbuilds » Mon Nov 01, 2010 12:12 am

Update on my seat progress. I was able to get the fiberglass finished and painted and the foam installed and shaped to my liking. Next it's off to the upholstery shop to get it covered. I should have it back in no more than two weeks.

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Next it was time for a test ride to see how it felt.

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The seat felt good but it was to high, so back to the shop where I removed about 3/4" using a hot knife and then re-shaped the contours with a surform file from lowes. After a few more test rides and mods to the shape I was satisfied with it and now it looks like this.


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This week it heads to the upholstery shop to get covered. I should have it back in a few weeks at most. I'll post more pics when it is finished.

burkbuilds
Posts: 350
Joined: Thu Jan 14, 2010 9:29 pm
Location: Rome, Georgia

Re: Custom Seat Project

Postby burkbuilds » Sat Nov 06, 2010 1:24 pm

Hey, I already got the seat back from the upholstery shop. He did a nice job covering it, great work. I put it on and did a short (45 min) test ride. The seat felt good, but the backrest is to low and rubs my hip bones, gotta modify that this weekend. Here are a few pics.

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My two hour ride back to Atlanta later this weekend should tell me if I have been successful in creating a more comfortable seat for myself. I'll let you know how that goes.

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Jablonsky
Posts: 113
Joined: Thu Jan 21, 2010 2:21 am
Location: Slovenia, Europe

Re: Custom Seat Project

Postby Jablonsky » Sun Nov 07, 2010 6:13 am

The saddle itself looks nice and comfortable. Good job! 8-)
The only thing I'm not too sure about is how I'd feel, sitting so high. I'm curious to read your report.
No hay banda. No hay Jablonsky. Todo está grabado. Nada es lo que parece, todo es una ilusión.

burkbuilds
Posts: 350
Joined: Thu Jan 14, 2010 9:29 pm
Location: Rome, Georgia

Re: Custom Seat Project

Postby burkbuilds » Sun Nov 07, 2010 10:21 am

I was able to elevate the backrest 3" using some checker plate aluminum. I'll try this out and see how it feels. More adjustment or a different design may be required.

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burkbuilds
Posts: 350
Joined: Thu Jan 14, 2010 9:29 pm
Location: Rome, Georgia

Re: Custom Seat Project

Postby burkbuilds » Sun Nov 07, 2010 10:25 am

It definitely changes the riding position. It seems a little strange sitting up that high, but the airflow over the windshield is still going over my helmet not buffeting my face,

so that's good and I had no trouble scraping my pegs in a sharp turn Friday morning, so handling does not seem to be an issue. I don't know if I just adjusted to it quickly, or

if it really didn't change the dynamics much, but it still handles great. I think it makes the bike look smaller or me larger though when I'm sitting on it.

User avatar
Jablonsky
Posts: 113
Joined: Thu Jan 21, 2010 2:21 am
Location: Slovenia, Europe

Re: Custom Seat Project

Postby Jablonsky » Sun Nov 07, 2010 12:28 pm

burkbuilds wrote:... I think it makes the bike look smaller or me larger though when I'm sitting on it.


To be honest, you do look like Yogi Bear on a scooter. But a happy Yogi Bear, and that's all that matters ;)
No hay banda. No hay Jablonsky. Todo está grabado. Nada es lo que parece, todo es una ilusión.

burkbuilds
Posts: 350
Joined: Thu Jan 14, 2010 9:29 pm
Location: Rome, Georgia

Re: Custom Seat Project

Postby burkbuilds » Sun Nov 07, 2010 9:16 pm

I just finished a two hour ride on the new seat and it was very comfortable. I felt about like I would if I had been sitting in a nice chair for two hours in my living room. The back rest however, is still low. I need to figure out a way to elevate it another 1" -1 1/2"

burkbuilds
Posts: 350
Joined: Thu Jan 14, 2010 9:29 pm
Location: Rome, Georgia

Re: Custom Seat Project

Postby burkbuilds » Wed Nov 17, 2010 10:34 pm

I took a four hour ride on the bike last Thursday afternoon. Really enjoyed just toolin' around North and West of Atlanta in the countryside. I kinda navigated by the sun until I finally hit Highway 27 just south of Rome and then headed home. At the end of the ride I felt fine. No butt cramps or tiredness at all. I love this new seat. It may look a little goofy, but it sure is comfortable for me to ride on. :D


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