Motorcycle Seats 101: Covers Uncovered

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20 Apr 2012

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.

 

5 Responses to “Motorcycle Seats 101: Covers Uncovered”

  1. Tom September 21, 2013 at 7:10 pm #

    i have bought two mustang studded solo seats in the last month and both had wrinkles towards the top of the seat.how do you get those out? or did I just have bad luck twice?

  2. Bill March 24, 2014 at 11:44 am #

    Please contact our office (800)243-1392 M-F 9am-5:30pm Eastern to speak to our customer service department about your options, or you can email us at info [at] mustangseats [dot] com. Thank you.

  3. Acm August 18, 2015 at 7:14 am #

    Guys nicely explained about uncovered seats. Good article. Motorcycle seat covers quality explained is so good/

  4. Danny Pumphrey August 4, 2016 at 1:42 pm #

    I paid almost $800 for what are your seats and it rains and I get my ass with and y’all don’t guarantee your seats so I can be waterproof if I didn’t know this I would have never bought one of your seats I think they’re pieces of shit cuz you get your ass well after rain the next day if I had known this I would have bought it a good seat I damn sure would not have bought one of yours I’m very unsatisfied

  5. beau tarsha June 4, 2017 at 1:03 pm #

    Ordered a front an rear seat with backrest. They said 3 week back order. Called after 3 an a half weeks. Was told id have it by end of month. End of month came, they said they are on track with 3 week back order. Its been 4 an a half weeks!!!. Still no word an no seat!!. Should never had pre- paid…oh yeah the first one ordered was delivered in 4 days. Catalog said it was for my 2016 heritage. Guess what? Type o in catalog, wrong seat and i had to pay the fricken return shipping.

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