Riding a motorcycle is one most freedom-inspiring moments in life. The downside to tearing up any respectable amount of black top is, quite literally, a pain in the backside. Even though most cruisers and standard motorcycles are designed primarily for the long haul, their seats tend to lose a bit of comfort somewhere between home and the middle of nowhere. And sport bikes, well, their seats might as well be wooden planks covered in leather. The aftermarket provides a few options, mostly in the form of detachable seat pads that mount on top of the stock seat to provide a little relief. Most seat pads range between £32 to £97, but a similar pad can be constructed at home for far less.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Polyurethane cushioning foam
- Leather or marine-grade vinyl sheet
- Bread knife
- Leather or denim sewing needle
- Heavyweight cotton
- Tape measure
- Adhesive spray
- Cotton webbing strap
- Paper or cardboard
- Permanent marker
- Neoprene (optional)
Sit on your motorcycle for a few minutes, just long enough for your body weight to leave indentations on the seat.
Examine the seat, looking closely at the indentations left in the cushion when you were on the bike. These indentations are pressure points indicating the areas of the seat that be helped by the additional padding.
Measure your seat around the pressure areas, taking measurement from front to back and side to side.
Create a template for your pad using a piece of paper or cardboard.
Lay the pad template onto your cushioning foam and outline with a permanent marker.
Cut the cushioning foam using a knife to carefully form your pad. Additional layers of foam may be cut at this time to increase the padding thickness, if desired.
Test the foam's shape by placing it onto the motorcycle's seat. If the foam is too large, trim it down slightly to fit.
Trace the outline of your foam pad onto the backside the vinyl.
Cut the vinyl with a pair of strong, sharp scissors, leaving at least 3 to 6 inches of "extra" material around the edge of your pad.
Spray the area where you plan on placing the pad on the backside of the vinyl with spray adhesive. Let it sit for five minutes to allow the adhesive to get tacky.
Lay the pad onto the backside of the vinyl and fold in the excess flaps until the vinyl is snug against the foam.
Sew the flaps together to close the pad. Alternatively, you could use spray adhesive to seal the flaps; however, the adhesive may not bond as strongly and cause the pad to open.
Cut a piece of neoprene to the same shape as the pad. Although this step is optional, the neoprene sheet will help to prevent the pad from sliding around on the seat.
Spray the top of the neoprene sheet with spray adhesive and wait for five minutes.
Place the pad onto the neoprene sheet and let cure.
Cut the cotton webbing strap into matching sets of two to four pieces. These will be used to secure the pad by wrapping around the seat.
Attach the strapping by sewing it onto the pad.
Remove the seat from the bike and place the pad on it. Wrap the straps around the seat until it is tight and mark the spots where the straps overlap.
Place Velcro at the overlap spots and cut off the excess strapping.
Place the pad on the seat.
Wrap the straps around the seat and attach to the matching strap's Velcro.
Mount the seat on the bike and go for a long ride.
Tips and warnings
- Cutting the foam is simple, but a sharp bread knife, or power knife is recommended for the actual cutting.
- Rushing may cause more problems than its worth, so slow down and do it right.
- If you don't feel confident that you can complete this project, especially when it comes to sewing vinyl, take the pad to a local upholstery shop for best results.
- Use caution when sewing vinyl. The thickness of the material may be difficult to work with and may cause the needle to slip or break occasionally. Take your time.
- Be sure to add the straps to secure the pad to the seat.