Installing a new seat cover on a motorcycle seat is an easy task provided you have the proper tools and information. You should be able to do this task on your own in a relatively short amount of time using common household tools and making sure to perform the task with caution and care.
Before You Begin
You will need a heavy-duty stapler (a pneumatic stapler can also be used and will actually work better), pliers, a flat head screwdriver, 1/4-inch galvanized staples, a mallet and a ratchet extension to drive in the staples. (If you do choose to use a pneumatic stapler, the mallet and ratchet extension are unnecessary). Duct tape will also be useful.
If you end up having to replace any sections of the foam in your seat, you can buy the correct type of foam at an upholstery shop. The 3M Super 77 spray adhesive is recommended to connect the new pieces of foam to the old. You can cut the foam with a standard knife, a razor blase, a hacksaw or an electric carving knife.
Work on a clean surface so that the new cover will not be tarnished. Remove the seat assembly from the motorcycle according to the instructions in the motorcycle's owner's manual. Remove the previous seat cover. It will usually be attached via one of four methods: steel hooks, staples, speed nuts or rivets. If the connectors are steel hooks, use a flat head screwdriver to open up each hook about 45 degrees. For staples, use the screwdriver and the pliers to pry up each staple, and then use the pliers to pull them out. For speed nuts, place the blade of the flat head screwdriver beneath the nut's head and pull it up and out. In the case of rivets, you will need to use a small drill to drill through the middle of each rivet, and push them out.
Remove the old cover. Be careful because sometimes covers will be glued to the foam. If this is the case, simply remove the cover gradually, small sections at a time.
Check the foam in the seat for any abrasions or gashes. If they are less than 1/2-inch wide or deep, the under-layer of foam in the new seat cover will disguise them. If they are any bigger, that section of foam must be replaced. Replace it by cutting out the damaged section of foam and then cutting a new section of foam and gluing it into the empty space.
Once the foam is repaired, turn the seat cover inside out. Pull it over the nose, or front, of the seat and work your way over the whole seat. Make sure the seat cover is situated straight over the seat. Turn the entire seat with cover over. Install one staple at the front and one at the back. Use the mallet and ratchet extension to drive the staples in lightly. Pull the seat cover tightly and install staples around the sides. Turn the cover back over and make sure it is still straight. Adjust the staples if necessary. Now install more staples around the side, until there is one staple every 1 to 2 inches.
- Work on a clean surface so that the new cover will not be tarnished.
- In the case of rivets, you will need to use a small drill to drill through the middle of each rivet, and push them out.
- Pull the seat cover tightly and install staples around the sides.
Place the covered seat back on the motorcycle according to the directions in your motorcycle's owner's manual.