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Meet Mike Skoczylas, Foam Department Supervisor

3 Jul

Before coming to work at Mustang Seats over three years ago, Mike worked at a gas station and a recycling plant.  About the only thing he liked about his past jobs was having weekends off.  He applied to work at Mustang because it was a better opportunity for him and closer to home.

Mike and his two co-workers in the foam department make hundreds of foams each day.  He also enjoys cleaning the molds and making them nice and shiny.  Mike feels the best part of his job is seeing Mustang seats on the street and knowing that he made the foam for every one of those seats.

When Mike isn’t working at Mustang, he enjoys ice hockey, hiking, fishing and he also plays on a softball league.  He has also been a volunteer firefighter in Three Rivers, Massachusetts, for the past ten years.  Mike has received both First Aid and CPR certified training.  He has also been certified by the Fire Academy on Levels 1 and 2.  Mike likes helping people and says he never knows what he’s getting into when he responds to the fire alarm.  On a recent memorable rescue, Mike helped get a victim out of a car after an accident using the “Jaws of Life.”

Mike is in a committed relationship with Emily who works as a third grade teacher in Ware, MA.  They enjoy going to the nearby Yankee Candle outlet and driving to places they’ve never been before.  Given both of their busy schedules, they are really happy to just spend time together!

The Perfect Fit: Meet Oscar Medina, Seat Assembler

24 May

When you receive your new Mustang seat, you should know that you have not purchased a motorcycle seat that came off an assembly line.  You are the owner of a seat that was made by one of our Mustang “seat assemblers” at our factory in Three Rivers, MA.  While Mustang has different departments within our factory that create our baseplates, foams and covers, the actual “assembly” of these three seat components are the responsibility of a “seat assembler”.  Oscar Medina takes great pride in assembling all the elements together so that they will become a well made, comfortable and good looking seat.

Oscar came to Mustang with an upholstery background, having worked at his uncle’s company for three years building restaurant booths.  He enjoyed building the restaurant booths and was quite good at it, so building motorcycle seats seemed like a perfect fit for him and Mustang!

 

Oscar is a dedicated family man, who dotes on his one-year old son Oscar, Jr., describing him as a “mini-me”.  Since family is very important to him and his partner Karla, they try to do activities that are family oriented, such as attending church, fishing and other outdoor activities.  Maybe that is why he feels the best thing about Mustang is the people he works with:  everyone is like one big family at the factory.  In fact, Oscar and his family like the quaint New England town of Three Rivers so much that they may move there in the near future.

 

Oscar takes a lot of pride in his work and hopes Mustang customers enjoy riding on their seats as much as he enjoys building them.

 

Motorcycle Seats 101: Covers Uncovered

20 Apr

As with a custom suit or the upholstered cover on your couch, well-designed covers on aftermarket seats must be meticulously pieced together and sewn to fit tight contours for a true custom-looking seat. The best aftermarket seat covers are individually hand-sewn, not mass-produced.

Stock seats, on the other hand, are covered with molded vinyl that usually doesn’t provide a perfect fit when it comes to the contours of the foam mold or cushion. That means any discrepancies will result in wrinkles or bulges—especially over time.

Keep in mind that, unlike the molded cover on a stock seat, the process of stitching the covers of aftermarket seats creates tiny holes. While these can be filled with a waxy substance, water can still seep through. On a quality seat, water will not deteriorate the foam; it will just drip out through a hole designed for that specific purpose in the baseplate. To avoid damp rear ends, riders may fill the stitch holes with Pledge or another clear waxy substance. A note of caution here: Never apply wax to the entire seat — you do not want to be sliding right off the seat when going around a tight corner.

The most popular seat cover materials are leather or vinyl but there is a wide range of quality within each of these categories. Riders should choose the material that best meets their needs, preferences and budget.

Leather is more likely to be used by a smaller custom seat builder. It is premium priced and can be dyed in a variety of colors. Consider the type of riding you will be doing, where the bike will be stored, how long you want the seat to last and how much time you will devote to maintaining the leather on your seat. Many of us have leather jackets, gloves, purses, briefcases or leather seats in our cars, but few people leave these leather items outside, exposed to the elements.

Many major aftermarket manufacturers build seats with a vinyl cover. Depending on the grade, vinyl can be surprisingly similar to leather. The highest-quality expanded vinyl has the appearance of leather but has the durability and resistance to the elements that exceed original equipment standards for motorcycle seats. Maintenance shouldn’t ever be an issue with a premium vinyl — no fading, no treating or oiling. Just wipe it clean when you wash your bike. Unlike leather, top-grade vinyl will not dry out and crack, nor do you need to worry about it getting wet. It doesn’t fade and it requires practically no maintenance.

Whether made of leather or vinyl, look for the following features on the cover of a quality seat:

  • All seams should be sewn twice for strength.
  • The bottom edge under the seat that is attached to the baseplate should be hemmed.
  • The edges of seats with skirts should be finished with braid.
  • Pillow top seats should be tufted with covered buttons, which are double-tied with four cords, not two, so as to not lose their buttons.
  • The cover and stitch pattern for each model and style should complement and enhance the shape of the seat and the flow of the motorcycle.

Stitching should be evenly spaced, In our continuing series “Motorcycle Seats 101,” we have recently delved into the basics of baseplates and the mystery of foam—and how they combine to provide comfort for drivers and passengers. Today, we are unraveling the secrets of the cover on a seat.

  • uniform and tight.

While some riders like seats that are plain, others prefer the look of decorative studs and conchos on their seats. The best studs are chrome-plated brass that won’t rust. Top-quality conchos are made of heavy die-cast zinc (not a thin stamping) and are hand tied with genuine leather straps.

Our next chapter in this series will show you how our Mustang craftsmen take all three of these seat components (baseplate, foam and cover) and assemble them together to produce the most comfortable, highest quality motorcycle seats in the world.

 

Trimmed to Perfection: Meet Mark Ammann, Foam Trimmer

28 Mar

Inside every Mustang seat is a foam or cushion. Every foam was created by pouring Mustang’s “secret” foam recipe into a mold to be cured. Once the newly formed foam is removed from the mold, it has to be carefully trimmed along each edge. One slip of the knife would mean the cover of the seat wouldn’t fit snugly. (If that were to happen, Mustang would scrap the foam and start over!)

Not only has Mark Ammann been Mustang’s foam trimmer for the past 13 years, Mark is Mustang’s first and only full-time foam trimmer.

Mark says that his favorite part of the job is the people with whom he works – they always lift him up when he’s feeling down. His least favorite part is the wrist pain that comes with trimming hundreds of foams each day. In addition to trimming all the foams Mustang makes, Mark also does manual cycle counting every single morning to make sure the foam inventory is accurate.

Prior to joining Mustang, Mark worked for two years with his cousin at Deluxe Check Printing as a stock collator which fed the press operator. As soon as Mark heard that Deluxe was closing their operations in Massachusetts, he went right to Mustang and applied for a job.

Mark is single and enjoys ten-pin bowling, roller skating, mountain biking, watching movies and checking out new malls. He loves doing things on the spur of the moment. For years, he has had an interest in lighthouses and all things Harry Potter. In fact, Mark is a wonderful amateur writer and is working on his 4th Harry Potter sequel where he showcases his bright imagination and keen grasp of the J.K. Rowling characters. Mark loves dogs and cats; his sister works in a veterinary office. His parents live nearby in Monson.

Mark has had a front seat noticing all the changes Mustang has gone through during his 13 years here. He enjoys the new racking system which was instituted in last fall which he believes makes it easier for him and the foreman to keep track of the foams he trims.

Mark hopes to make Mustang his home away from home for another 13 years. Why? “Mustang is a good company to work for with good benefits and good people. What more could you ask for?”

Thanks, Mark!

What’s All the Fuss About Foam?

2 Mar

Ever really think about what’s inside your office chair, couch or motorcycle seat?

In most cases it’s foam, and that’s the subject of this 4th chapter in our continuing series “Motorcycle Seats 101.”

For a seat to be comfortable, “it’s what’s inside that counts”. The most important component of comfort no matter what type of seat you are sitting on is the seat foam–both the quality of the foam itself and its shape.

Not all foam padding is created equal. There are essentially two ways to make a “seat shape” out of foam. You can take a large cube of foam and then whittle and grind it down to the shape you want (a relatively cheap and easy process) or you can create the foam in the density and the exact shape you need…all from scratch.

Mustang has perfected a “controlled density” polyurethane formula with the perfect mixture of open and closed foam cells to provide all day comfort for riders. For example, an open cell foam can be easily squeezed or flattened (like a kitchen sponge) while closed cell foam is extremely firm and can barely be compressed (such as a firm life preserver).

Before the foam is mixed, however, a heavy-duty fiberglass mold must be created to perfectly match the seat shape that was designed in Mustang’s R&D department. Once the mold is perfected, the liquid foam solution is poured into the mold.

The lid of the mold must be quickly and securely closed to withstand the force as, within minutes, the chemicals react and the liquid is solidified within the mold–a process similar to a giant waffle maker.

As soon as the foam has cured, the lid is opened and the foam mold is extracted and ready to be hand-built into a Mustang seat—but that’s a later chapter.

Mustang’s high quality foam usually feels firmer than stock but is less firm than other aftermarket seats. It will compress enough to mold itself to your body shape within about 15 minutes of riding time–every time you ride. You do not need a “break-in” period to be comfortable. Your 100th ride will be equal to your 10,000th mile.