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Installing A Mustang Seat — Our IT Guy Says “IT” Is Easy!

8 Jan

Back in October I had an opportunity to step out of my normal role of managing  Mustang’s IT infrastructure. Instead of bytes and cyberspace, I had a real world opportunity to help out our art director Julie with a photo shoot. I was a little worried that I might be biting off a little more than I could chew since it has been 16 years since I have ridden anything with two wheels (a reckless driver curtailed my riding days). My only experience “installing” Mustang seats has been helping getting many of the mounting instructions web-ready for publication on mustangseats.com. However I was looking forward to sinking my teeth into this project, so to speak.

We gathered some Mustang seats, assembled some Biker Essentials merchandise and then brought in some friends of mine whose entire family are avid riders. We also had three different bikes to put seats on for the photo shoot: a Yamaha 1100 and two Honda 1800 VTXs. In a matter of a few minutes my buddy, his brother-in-law, and his dad had their stock seats off. Actually seeing the stock Honda and Yamaha seats made me respect the construction of a Mustang seat… from its baseplate to its high-density foam to its synthetic leather cover. The quality and difference is both tactile and visceral. After holding my buddy’s stock VTX1800 passenger seat and then holding the replacement Mustang seat I could instantly tell why Mustang’s tagline says: “what a difference comfort makes!”

With the seats off, the other guys went to get dressed in some of the pretty cool Biker Essentials gear, leaving me to install the seats. Now don’t let the title “IT Guy” fool you, I know which end to hold on a screwdriver. In the less than 10 minutes, I had the Mustang seats installed on each bike. Simply slip the front tongue into the receiving bracket, bolt down the back or side bolts with the provided hardware, and the solo seats were on. Two-up seats are a snap, too. Slip the front bracket into the special slotted nut and bolt down the passenger pad, check to make sure everything is tight and the two-up seats are good to go.

The initial response from our “models” when getting back on the bike was a universal “Wow!” That was satisfying to hear. When their wives and girlfriend got onto the passenger pads and said the same thing again, it really showed that Mustang does it right.

As far as installing a Mustang seat , I can personally say “IT” really is an easy install! In fact, I’m looking forward to helping out again.

Bill Bulman

IT Guy at Mustang

Saying Good-Bye and Good Luck to an Old Friend

2 Oct

In May 2002, Jeremy Pardo found himself between jobs.  His father worked in maintenance at Mustang at the time so Jeremy applied.  Jeremy was hired to work in the metal shop.  In an industrial accident, Jeremy drilled through his hand and was placed on light duty in the warehouse where he never left.

After approximately three years working in the warehouse, Jeremy was promoted to shipping supervisor.  He had displayed a very strong work ethic and was a natural.  Jeremy says that Mustang is a great place for people who have ambition but you have to be a hard worker and he is!  Jeremy enjoys being the Supervisor because it is a challenge every day to get everything done.  And Jeremy has gotten it all done with calm professionalism and a smile on his face no matter what.

Jeremy feels the most significant change he’s seen at Mustang over the years was the move from the old facility in Palmer to the current building in Three Rivers.  Jeremy said pretty much everything has been upgraded.  In particular, the warehouse went from cement floors to wood floors and Jeremy says it was like walking on springs at first!

Despite Jeremy’s positive experience at Mustang, he always wanted to join the army.  He did not join after high school due to the birth of his son.  He did not feel the army life would be healthy for a toddler.  His wife has always supported his desire to join the army but also wanted him to wait and then they had a second son.  Jeremy’s boys are now ages 7 and 11 years old.  Jeremy and his wife feel the boys are old enough that this won’t be traumatic for them.  On the contrary, Jeremy’s family is excited that they are going to see new places and meet new people.  “We really haven’t traveled much out of the Northeast Corridor so we are excited to see what else is out there.”  As you can imagine, the family is hoping to ultimately be stationed in Hawaii.

Jeremy’s last day at Mustang will be 11/23/2012.  He leaves for the army in January 2013 headed to Fort Jackson, SC for 9 weeks of basic training.  Basic Training will be followed by 18 weeks of education at signal corp school in Georgia.  Two weeks before he graduates from Georgia, he will be given his first communications assignment.  Once Jeremy gets his assignment, his family will most likely be able to join him.

Jeremy is most excited about the travel and education his army experience will afford him. After signal corp school, Jeremy’s title will be “multi-channel transmission systems operator maintainer”.  After his army service, Jeremy will be qualified to work on cell phone towers among other things.

Jeremy says he remembers every day he has spent at Mustang.  “I can remember things that happened the first day I was here right up until yesterday and there are no real negatives.”

Jeremy plans on using everything he has learned at Mustang in his future jobs and add to his skill set.  Jeremy regrets nothing he has done at Mustang and is proud of Mustang as a company and grateful for the skills he has learned here.  “I am proud to have worked here.” Jeremy says “I will definitely try and come back to say hello, I just don’t know how long I will be away from the area.”

Back in May 2002, Mustang was one lucky company to have Jeremy brighten our doorstep.  Mustang has benefitted immensely from Jeremy’s dedication, commitment and hard work every day of the last ten years.  No company could have asked for more than what Jeremy gave which was 110% all the time in everything he did.  Mustang’s loss is the Army’s gain.  So it is with heavy hearts and lots of good wishes that we send Jeremy and his family off to their next great adventure. Good-bye, Jeremy!  Thank you and Good Luck!  We will miss you.

Mustang Annual Picnic Brings Lots of Fun for All

7 Sep

August 18th turned out to be a sunny, pleasant, balmy day for the 163 Mustang employees & family members who attended Mustang’s Summer Picnic 2012. Employees with families in tow started arriving at the park at 10:00 am for a fun-filled day at Six Flags Amusement Park in Agawam, MA.

Some stayed in the park and tested their mettle on rides like the new Goliath roller coaster while others spent the morning cooling off in the water park.

Starting at noon, everybody made their way to River’s Edge Picnic Grove and quickly identified which pavilion was Mustang’s. Employees and their families first posed for a souvenir photo taken by the company’s HR Manager, then dug into a lunch buffet consisting of hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken, salads and all the fixin’s.

The kids thought the best part was the portable freezer stocked to the brim with frozen treats like ice cream sandwiches and fudgesicles. It was such a thrill to meet the families of co-workers, some of whom we’d only heard about and now could put a face to a name.

Some families showed up with newly acquired toys such as inflatable bats and colorful capes. The parents wanted to linger over lunch, enjoying the seating in the shade. The kids, however, were eagerly encouraging a return to the main park so as not to miss any of the excitement. By 2:00 pm, the buffet was being packed up and the last of the employees were making their way back to the main park where there awaited costumed characters, spontaneous group dances, a parrot show, a refreshing water park and all the rides and excitement you could ask for.

The following Monday, employees received their souvenir photos of the day and reminisced about the wildly successful 2012 Company Picnic thanks to Mustang and Six Flags.

Report from Americade Rally in New York

11 Jun

Mustang’s Human Resource Manager, Cathy Twiss, spent a day at Americade in beautiful Lake George, NY.  Here is her view of the rally:

June 7 was a lovely sunny day as I drove through the Berkshires on my way to attend Americade, arguably New England’s biggest bike rally.   As I rode into lovely Lake George NY, there were thousands of bikers and the excitement was palpable.  Nobody was in a rush because everyone seemed to understand that it was the journey, not the destination, that was the source of joy at this particular event.   As I walked to the main gate at Tour Expo, Lake George beckoned with calm water and a pristine beach.   Tour Expo is located at “Million Dollar Beach” which is aptly named.

The first thing I noticed was the Mustang logo on the white pillar of the main gate.  Perfect.  I walked through rows of vendors selling everything from motorcycle sound systems to beef jerky.  Everyone was in a good mood and enjoying the weather.  I made my way to the Mustang booth where employees in red shirts were showing customers seats, saddlebags, tank bibs and a variety of other high quality wares.  Three customers were on three different bikes trying out their Mustang seats, wiggling and bouncing to get a better sense of how the seat molded to their body.  Many were smiling and exclaiming “soooo much better than the stock seat!”   Customers who purchase a Mustang seat may have it installed for free by the booth staff.  Customers are issued tickets which allow them to bring their bike into the show and then into the Mustang booth for the install.  The old seat is shipped home for the customer for their convenience.  Many people were availing themselves of this service.  Mustang staff moved quickly and efficiently and the day passed with uneaten lunches lying untouched.  One customer walked by the Mustang booth carrying Roxy, the best dressed dachshund of the day.  Roxy was wearing Harley Davidson gear which included a leather doggy vest, a tiny leather doggy hat and smokin’ doggy goggles.  This was one laid back lady.  Roxy lamented that Mustang does not make a seat quite small enough for her canine behind.

As I made my way back to the parking lot at the end of a long day, I thought about what I had witnessed.  I had seen and heard first hand the fellowship of strangers coming together, bound by a common interest and love of motorcycles and riding.  All other differences were set aside.  Everyone accorded one another a sort of automatic respect simply by virtue of being a fellow rider.  We all knew we had something in common and somehow it made life better.  I was proud that Mustang was at the heart of it all and proud to be associated with Mustang.  As humans, we have a need to belong and a need to be a part of something greater than ourselves.  For one day at least, for one glorious day at Americade, we all did belong.  I only hope this feeling of kinship lasts throughout the year.

Cathy Twiss

African Safari: Hunting for Comfort

4 May

I admit it. After decades of working our booth during Bike Week in Daytona, I opted for a slightly different destination this March: two weeks in Botswana and Zimbabwe. But, let me assure you, after over 30 years at Mustang, I can never stop thinking about seats and posture and back support and comfort—even if there are no motorcycles within hundreds of miles!

Our group would head out every morning at 6am with our guide but, within five minutes, I’d have a jacket rolled up and tucked behind me to support my lower back in our Toyota Land Cruiser. It took us safely through streams and elephant herds but I sure was wishing for a better seat as we bounced along rutted paths and over tree trunks. Verdict: exciting but not comfortable.

Speaking of riding, birds are really smart to hitch rides on a “moveable feast” impala while enjoying a smorgasbord of fleas, ticks, etc. One of nature’s great symbiotic relationships and looks fairly comfortable!

At my urging for a photo op, our guide squatted on a termite mound. His shoulders were a little hunched and his back should have been straighter but he had no desire to stay there very long anyway.

We never saw a hippo actually sitting but I learned that they are pretty smart.  They spend most of the incredibly hot days “standing” in the water which is not only comfortably cooling but also provides buoyancy to comfortably relieve their legs and feet from holding up a couple tons all day!

This baby baboon seemed quite happy letting Mom do all the walking.  Wonder if they were part of the family who ripped through the sides of one of our fellow travelers’ tent, tearing open the luggage and consuming 11 days of Imodium and Ambien?  We spent the next week looking in the trees for sleepy, constipated primates….

Some days, we spent hours driving without seeing another human being.  Somehow our guides were able track (as in footprints in the dirt) plus listen to the warning cries of other animals so we could have a couple leopard “spottings.”  (Mandatory pun, sorry.)  Now this fellow looks perfectly comfortable—full, straight spine support and a clear view of prey, including tourists (click on picture to “spot” him).

Even more difficult to find are cheetahs, but we met up with one who had been raised since being found as an orphaned new born.  Mom would have been very proud of her teenager cheetah’s posture:  proud, shoulders back and, when one of our group got a little too close, incredibly fast to turn and snap.  We kept our distance.

When you first encounter a lion in the wild, you immediately understand why they are the King of the Jungle.  Regal, self-assured and comfortable wherever they decide to sit.

A few days later near Victoria Falls, we went to a lion preserve where, after a little training, we took turns petting one of the King’s cousins.  We had to carry a stick and NOT pet close to the head.  A half-dozen guides were within five feet but, as comfortable as the lions were, we  tourists were nervously, excitedly, thrillingly uncomfortable.

 

No safari is complete without the requisite ride on an elephant (I did the camel in Egypt in 2010, so this was de rigueur).  A word about elephant seats:  whether solo, two-up or a threesome, how the hell did Dr. Livingstone ride these creatures for months?  Did I mention that it’s a long way up there and that elephants stop every five feet to eat tree branches and defecate every two minutes?

Beautiful countries, friendly people and thrilling interaction with wild animals.  It was an incredible safari but not a lot of comfort to be found.  Sure wish I had packed a Mustang touring seat with backrest.  Maybe next time.

Motorcycle Seats 101: Seat Construction: Baseplates

10 Feb

This is the third chapter in our ongoing “Motorcycle Seats 101” blog series. “Seat Construction:  Baseplates” is intended to help motorcyclists understand the basic construction of most seats—this is not specific to Mustang.

Motorcycle seats are made up of three essential parts: the baseplate, the foam and the cover (sometimes these are also referred to as the pan, the cushion and the top).

Before describing these three layers of a seat, you should know that some aftermarket or custom seat makers may use one or more parts of the original (stock) seat rather than actually provide you with all-new components. For instance, many custom seat shops simply take your stock seat off your bike and recover it with a different cover, just as an upholstery shop would recover your living room couch in a different fabric. Other custom seat shops might reshape the foam on your original seat and add their own cover.

If you and your passenger are comfortable on your stock seat and just want to change the look of your motorcycle, changing the cover on the stock seat is a reasonable way to go.

But for the large number of riders who do not find their stock seat comfortable, the best solution is a new seat “from the bottom up.” There are a few aftermarket seat manufacturers that create seats from scratch.  The following describes these three basic seat components:

Seats are constructed on a single baseplate (both the driver’s seat and the passenger’s seat are built on the same, single baseplate) or a two-piece baseplate (two distinct seats). Both of the pieces on a two-piece baseplate can be attached for two-up riding or separated to ride as a solo seat.

Most stock seats and a number of less expensive aftermarket seats are built on plastic baseplates which are cheap to build but are far less sturdy than other materials. Higher quality baseplates used by aftermarket manufacturers are constructed of either marine-grade fiberglass, finished with a high-gloss gel-coat, or black, epoxy powder-coated 16-gauge steel.

The baseplate is the starting point in the design of a motorcycle seat. Ideally, the baseplate is designed to mount the motorcycle using the exact same mounting holes or brackets as the stock seat. (Nobody wants to drill new holes in their frame or fender.)

The notion behind creating an aftermarket seat is to make it far better than the original. That requires a good seat designer to roll the motorcycle into their studio, remove the stock seat and set it aside. Then, starting from scratch the designer creates a baseplate as the foundation for a great seat.

One of the best ways to assess the quality of a motorcycle seat is to turn it over and examine the baseplate area or “underbelly.” When you pick up a premium seat, feel the weight and balance. That alone should show you how substantial a custom seat is compared to most stock seats.

It can be difficult to determine whether a baseplate is fiberglass or steel, but it’s pretty easy to tell if the baseplate is plastic. In some cases, you can actually flex a seat made on a plastic baseplate and literally snap it in two with a little effort.

Whether your new custom seat is built on a fiberglass or steel baseplate, be sure to look for the following features:

• All exposed brackets (visible when the seat is mounted on the bike) should be chrome plated.
• Polyurethane rubber bumpers should be strategically located and riveted to the baseplate to protect the paint and minimize vibration. (Bumpers made of polyurethane are ozone protected and will not crack with age.)
• The edge of the cover material should be hemmed, not just cut off and left ragged.
• The cover should be riveted to the baseplate at close intervals around the edges. (Most stock seat covers are merely stapled on.)
• Although not readily visible, if you were able to lift up the cover, you could note whether a steel-reinforced, impact-absorbing vinyl-edge trim had been secured to the edges of the baseplate to protect the seat cover material from wearing.

•    A label specifying what make/model/year of bike the seat is designed to fit should be visible as well as the manufacturer’s name, warranty and contact information.
•    Finally, complete mounting information should be attached to a replacement seat.

In our next segment we will discuss foam.  See you then!

Motorcycle Seats 101

9 Dec

Every driver and passenger rides on one but just how often do you think about what you are sitting on during your rides?  We’ll bet your response depends largely on how happy (comfortable) your bottom and your back are at the end of a day’s ride!

We are introducing a five-part series “Motorcycle Seats 101.”  This brief but comprehensive overview is designed to help you make an informed decision when buying a motorcycle seat–whether you’re looking for a seat or saddle made of the highest quality materials, attractively styled, designed for comfort, reasonably priced or all of the above!

As you know, replacement motorcycle seats can be purchased from the original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), such as Yamaha, Kawasaki, Suzuki, Victory, Honda and Harley-Davidson. Replacement saddles are also available from aftermarket seat companies whose main business is the production of seats, not motorcycles. These businesses include C&C, Corbin, LePera, Mustang and Saddlemen, and a multitude of smaller, custom seat builders.

If you simply want to change your seat style or you need to replace a worn-out seat — and improved comfort is not an issue — buying a seat from your OEM might just be the ticket.  Truth is, most motorcycle manufacturers (OEMs) concentrate most of their time and money researching the bike engine and aerodynamic design of their bikes, rather than putting a lot of effort into their seats.

Aftermarket seat companies place all of their focus and effort into providing an array of seat styles and features because that’s usually their primary business.  These aftermarket manufacturers sell their brand of seats directly to OEMs, offer them through a distribution channel to dealers or directly to dealers, or they market the seats directly to the riding public.

Small-scale custom seat builders often work directly with the individual rider, building a seat using the original baseplate and the original form. Custom builders may offer a unique selection of baseplates, materials and stitch patterns.

Check back next week for first of five chapters that Mustang Motorcycle Seats has compiled to bring you up to speed on motorcycle seat basics:
• Chapter 1: Seat Fitment 101
• Chapter 2: Assessing Your Needs
• Chapter 3: What Makes a Seat Great?
• Chapter 4: Seat Features
• Chapter 5: The “Bottom Line”

Meanwhile, feel free to post any seat questions or comments here and we’ll address them below or in our next blog.

Thanks and Happy Holidays from all of us at Mustang Seats!

Close Encounters of the Harley Kind

6 May

Mustang Seats employee Jason Montanari says he’s been watching our product go out the door every day for the past five years. So when the opportunity arose to see our seats on a trio of Harleys, Jason was all over it. Seems he was coming back from a hike at Quabbin Reservoir with his mother when he spotted five Harleys parked off in the distance. Noting that three of the bikes sported Mustang seats, he and Mom moseyed over for a closer view.

Unfortunately, one of the riders spotted Jason and Mom hanging around so close to his coveted ride and he approached the pair with malice written all over his face. Watch this two-minute video to see what happened when Jason tried to explain his interest in the bikes to a very suspicious rider. It’s a pretty nice story, especially when told by this veteran Mustang seat maker.

Reflections from the Backside of a Bike

22 Apr

Editor’s Note: We asked Ann Altieri, Mustang’s marketing coordinator, to give us a first-person account of what it’s like to ride in the passenger seat of a motorcycle.  Below, she describes the attributes — and disadvantages — of being the person behind the person behind the handlebars. Here are her thoughts on playing second fiddle on the seating chart:

Reflections from the Backside of a Bike
By Ann Altieri, Marketing Coordinator – Mustang Motorcycle Seats

Ann with her driver, Randy.

When it comes to road trips on a motorcycle, the glory goes to the rider. Let’s face it. Even when viewed from a distance, the passenger on a motorcycle appears to be an afterthought. Excess baggage. Extra weight.

Well, I’m here to tell you that I’m one of those people who prefer the perspective from the passenger seat, because we definitely have a different view of things (literally) when it comes to the best place to be on the bike. There are plenty of advantages to bringing up the rear, and not the least of these is fewer bugs in your teeth.

In fact, having a rider right in front of you deflects more than insects. If the person behind the handlebars is a significant other or even more special, there’s the closeness and warmth of wrapping your arms around him/her. And if it’s a buddy doing the driving, you’ve got an instant windbreak — even at arm’s length.

Let’s not forget the views afforded from the passenger position. Outside of directly in front of you, the world is your oyster. Unlike your two-wheeling chauffeur, you’re allowed to take your eyes off the road. You’ve got unobstructed views from both sides, and the rear also, if you’re willing to toggle your position around a bit and turn your head.

And being out in the open, there’s really nothing between you and what you’re looking at but open space. No dirty windows, no stickers, no doors or even (more…)