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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.


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.


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.

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: Chapter 2, Assessing Your Needs

27 Jan

This is the second chapter in our ongoing “Motorcycle Seats 101” blog series.  “Assessing Your Needs” (no pun intended) is intended to help motorcyclists who are thinking about buying a replacement seat.

There has been a huge influx of motorcycle seats available for bike models in the past decade or so — available in a range of styles and prices. Take the time to think about the type of riding you do, the style you want for your bike and what it is specifically that you hope to achieve by making the investment in a new seat.

The type of seat you purchase usually depends on the type of riding you do or a certain look you are trying to achieve. Ask yourself the following questions:
• Do you mostly ride around town or do you take long trips?
• Honestly assess your height vis-à-vis your bike model.  Does your seat help you to put your feet flat on the ground for safety and control at stops?
• What percentage of the time do you carry a passenger?
• Is your bike stored outside during the riding season or is it always under cover?
• Are you looking for a comfortable touring seat or a one-of-a-kind custom seat for your show bike?
• Will you need a sissy bar for either passenger back support or to secure luggage on long trips?

With few exceptions, we ride for the fun and thrill of it.  Before purchasing a replacement seat, spend some time to select perfect seat that will enhance the look of your bike while making riding enjoyable for both the driver and passenger.

Motorcycle Seats 101: Chapter 1, Seat Fitment

22 Dec

Replacing your stock motorcycle seat with a Mustang seat is easy.  Have you ever taken off your stock seat?  If so, you are well on your way to installing a Mustang seat.  If you still have concerns about replacing your original motorcycle seat, rest easy. It’s a relatively simple process and you don’t have to be a trained mechanic.
Mustang is very careful to build seats that use stock mounting points. We try to make the installation as easy as possible.  If different hardware is needed for mounting the new seat, it will be included with the new seat.
Mustang seats come with printed mounting suggestions; we are also creating a library of video mounting instructions.  For example, you may be mounting either a one-piece or a two-piece Mustang seat.


As long as you purchase a Mustang seat that is specifically made for the exact make, model and year of your bike, there’s no need to worry about fitment.  Choose your seat style, mount your new seat and ride in comfort and style!Passenger Backrest

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!