Whether a person is considering buying a used motorcycle, selling a motorcycle, or simply spending some more time in the saddle, the quality and appearance of a motorcycle's seat make a great difference in the bike's value and comfort. Custom seats and even new replacement seats can cost more than a rider feels comfortable paying. Luckily for budget- and appearance-conscious motorcycle enthusiasts, making a custom motorcycle seat is a manageable do it yourself project.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Motorcycle seat pan
- Spray adhesive
- Electric knife
- Seat cover fabric
- Heavy duty scissors
- Heavy duty stapler and staples
Find a motorcycle seat pan. Make sure you start with a motorcycle seat pan that fits the bike you are working on. Junk yards, yard sales, and classified ads on- and off-line all may have motorcycle seats available. Since you only need the pan, appearance will not matter.
Attach a block of heavy duty foam to the seat pan. Using an electric knife and files, form the foam block so that it sits snugly in the seat pan. Use spray adhesive to glue it in place once it fits snugly.
Form the foam into a seat. Start by carving a rough sitting area with the electric knife. Have the person sit on the foam and determine where the foam needs to be shaved away and where extra foam needs to be added. Additional foam sprayed with adhesive can build up areas with too little support. Use a file to fine tune the seat, removing any rough spots or lumps until it feels right.
Make a template. Trace the shape of the seat onto muslin or other inexpensive fabric. Remember to leave plenty of room along the sides of the seat. You can trim any excess fabric away later. Hold the template over the seat to make sure it fits, and make any adjustments necessary.
Trace the pattern onto the seat covering fabric, and cut it out. Heavy duty shears or a razor knife should cut through most suitable fabrics. If one pass of a razor knife does not penetrate the fabric, make as many passes as needed to make the cut.
Cover the seat. Starting at the front of the seat, place a staple in the fabric to hold it in place. Pull the fabric into place along the sides and add more staples as you work toward the back of the seat. Make sure to keep the cover pulled snug, and to check the appearance of the seat often to avoid wrinkles.
Trim excess fabric. Once the seat is fully covered and any wrinkles have been pulled smooth, add additional staples to make sure the fabric will not move. Trim away extra fabric leaving about 1/2 an inch of margin to avoid tearing, and to make it easier to work with if you need to make adjustments in the future.
Tips and warnings
- Leather or vinyl make the most durable motorcycle seat coverings.
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