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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.

 

Mustang Motorcycle Seat Installation, it’s easy peasy. No, really!

8 Jun

Example of Motorcycle Seat Mounting Instructions

Thinking about switching to a more comfortable seat but you’re just a little bit intimidated by the notion? If you’ve got concerns about replacing your original motorcycle seat, not to worry. It’s a piece of cake — even for those who think a Phillips-head screwdriver is vodka and Milk of Magnesia. You can do the switcheroo relatively quickly and without pain. You certainly don’t have to be a trained mechanic to perform the task.

If you’ve ever taken off your stock seat, you already have the know-how to complete this job. You say you’ve never even looked under your original seat?  Again, no biggie. In most cases, it’s a simple matter of unscrewing a rear mounting bolt and disconnecting the nose (front) of the seat that nestles up to the gas tank. As you lift up slightly on the back of the seat, pull the seat toward the back of the bike and off it comes.

Not only are motorcycle seat mounting suggestions available on our website, but all Mustang seats are boxed up with mounting instructions attached to the seat. For example, if you have a one-piece stock seat and you’re replacing it with a two-piece aftermarket seat, the instructions will take you through the process of mounting both seats. As long as you purchase a replacement seat that’s specifically made for the exact make, model and year of your bike, there’s no need to worry about fitment.

Here at Mustang, we’re very careful to build replacement seats that (more…)

How to Clean a Mustang Motorcycle Seat

13 Apr

Mustang motorcycle seats and accessories are made of the highest quality vinyl and will retain their looks for years. Since you will, however, occasionally want to wash off some dust, mud, grease, bugs, pollen or the inevitable bird poop, here are some things to keep in mind:

  • While Mustang motorcycle seats can be washed with any mild, non-abrasive detergent, we strongly recommend Protect All, a do-it-all type of product that cleans, polishes, waxes, treats and protects every surface.
  • Protect All’s water repellent Carnauba Wax Formula provides durable protection against all elements. As their ads say, “simply spray, wipe, and polish dry for a beautiful, durable, lasting shine.” Protect All’s anti-static property is ideal for treating vinyl to a clean, dry natural appearance. It leaves no oily film and, with regular use, Protect All’s highly effective UV absorber additive helps to protect all surfaces by absorbing the UV light rays and blocking them from reaching the finish.
  • Yep, it sounds like a commercial for the stuff but, honestly, we use Protect All on every seat before it leaves the Mustang Motorcycle Seat factory. In fact, if you stop by and visit our display at any of the motorcycle rallies and events we attend, and you will see cans of Protect All in our toolboxes and under our tables.
  • Do NOT use alcohol-based or other “wax” products on your motorcycle seat. Although Protect All does contain some wax, it will not make your seat slippery or ultra shiny.  You don’t want to make your seat slippery–that is just plain dangerous.

Motorcycle Seat Tip of the Day: The best way to treat scratches or scuff marks… gently apply a very small dab of black paste shoe polish on the affected area. Allow it to dry completely, then buff out with a clean soft cloth.

As always, if you have any questions (about cleaning your Mustang motorcycle seat or otherwise), please contact one of our seat experts using the info available on our Contact Page.