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Mustang Hits The Road For 2013 Rally Season

27 Feb

Riding season is finally here and the entire crew at Mustang Motorcycle Products is more than ready! To celebrate our 2013 mission statement — “It’s All About The Ride” — we are hitting the road with a new look and a new big rig to help launch the season in style as part of the Bike Week festivities in Daytona Beach, Florida.

If you are planning to take Spring Break early and going to Daytona for Bike Week, be sure to stop by the Speedway to see Mustang’s new look and new products first hand. “After 30 years of making the world’s most comfortable motorcycle seats, our focus has shifted to the ride ahead,” says Product Manager Matt Kulman. “Mustang now has seats for Gold Wings, with Victory Cross Country and Triumph T100 models coming very soon.” Which means Mustang may just have a seat for you!

“We have several other exciting additions to our full range of seats for metric cruisers and Harleys to be announced very soon,” Matt adds. Some of this excitement stems from collaborations with our friends at Küryakyn and racer-turned-designer Roland Sands. “Working with talent like this has resulted in cutting edge designs that are combined with Mustang’s well-established reputation for comfort.”

We are proud of the fact our seats are still handcrafted in the historic facility in Three Rivers, Massachusetts, but we recognize that it was time expand into new markets. To help get the word out, we are taking our rig on the road, starting with Bike Week in Daytona. Be sure to stop by the Mustang display at the track to see what’s new. While you are there, check out the RSD café racer seats (available exclusively through Drag Specialties) and our full line of luggage… and don’t forget to get a copy of our 2013 catalogs for Gold Wings, Metric and H-D® applications.

Of course, even if you can’t ride to Daytona for Bike Week, you can still “Like” Mustang on Facebook@ www.facebook.com/MustangSeats.

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.

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!

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

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.

 

The New Color of Comfort

18 May

How could Mustang improve on their growing line of low, lean but still comfortable Wide TripperTM seat styles?  By introducing them in Mustang’s new distressed brown, ultra premium vinyl for a distinctively cool, worn-leather look!

The fully adjustable driver backrest removes easily without tools and folds flat so you can still comfortably swing your leg over to mount your bike.  The 14” wide solo fits 2008-up FL models and is shipped complete with a matching mini bib plus chrome mounting hardware to give it a finished look for one-up riding.  The matching passenger seat is 11.5” wide.

 Mustang’s Wide Tripper Distressed Brown Solo with Driver Backrest is $489; the matching rear seat is $169.  Solos are also available in black, with or without a unique diamond stitched pattern.

 

Mustang seats for Metric Cruisers and H-D® models are all proudly handcrafted in the USA.  For more info call 800-243-1392.

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: 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.