How To Fix Your Motorcycle Seat

Don't let an old seat ruin your bike.

cushion, motorcycle seat
Crumbling CushionJulia LaPalme

I just picked up a 1983 XJ750 that was tuned up by the previous owner, so it runs really well but looks a little shabby. I love the look of the ribbed bench seat, but since the bike sat outside, it's faded and cracked and the foam underneath is crumbling. Not only does it look terrible, but it's pretty uncomfortable to sit on. My dealer can't get me a new one, and the seats I've seen on eBay aren't in any better shape than the one I have. Are there any other options?
Gabe Hung, Redmond, WA

You've probably already discovered that a new old stock (NOS) seat, providing you can find one at all, could end up costing you more than you paid for the bike. There are, however, cheaper ways to go.

We got lucky with our first search for a seat cover for your bike. Saddlemen sells a one-piece replacement cover for $72. It's designed to look like the original cover and is made of Saddlehyde, a proprietary weather-resistant material. Saddlemen also sells a foam-repair kit to restore damaged padding, though it mentions that if your padding is more than "slightly" damaged you might need to buy two kits. Saddlemen also told us, "Depending on the level of difficulty, there's a chance we can fit a reader's seat into the line to be repaired." Read that as, "No promises, but we can try."

If you’re feeling handy, you could make your own seat pad with a new piece of foam, an electric carving knife, and the old foam for a template. Once you get the shape right, attach the cover to the pan with a staple gun or take it to an upholstery shop for final assembly.

In the event you decide you're not that fixated on a stock-looking seat after all, send the old one to a custom seat maker like Bill Mayer for a total rebuild. BMS custom builds a foam base and cover to fit your size, weight, and riding position. It won't look stock when it comes back, but it'll feel so good you might not care.

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