2014 Indian Chieftain | DOIN’ TIME

Adding some heat to the seat with a new Corbin saddle.

WRIST: Art Friedman

MSRP (2014): $23,499


MPG: 36

MODS: Corbin heated saddle

I wished for a roomier saddle from my first ride on the Chieftain. I finally have one. While the standard saddle is very nicely padded and shaped for me, it crowds me forward, making the bike just slightly awkward to ride. In particular, the foot controls crowd my 5-foot-10 frame and 32-inch inseam. Indian seems a bit obsessed with making sure it doesn’t stretch shorter riders, offering accessory seats and handlebars to push the rider forward or pull the grips rearward, but for an average-size American rider (which the Internet says I am) it feels a little cramped.

So I asked for accessory seats. The first to arrive was Corbin’s Dual Touring Saddle (corbin.com) with blue piping to (almost) match the bike’s paint, rider and passenger backrests, and an optional heated element. As expected, the Corbin is eye-catching, with real leather, contrasting stitching, and a feathered Corbin logo on the right side. Fringe is standard, and colored piping and/or studs are available at no extra cost. The heating option adds $190 to the $633 price. The adjustable oval backrests add $259 each, with or without studs or matching leather colors. Adding a painted back plate adds $30 per backrest, with chrome costing $70.

Installation was simple: Remove three bolts to release the stock saddle, slide the new seat into place, plug the heater cord into the provided plug, clear the wire and fringe, and tighten the screw on the rear fender. (The Corbin doesn’t use the side screws.)

Overall, the Corbin is about 3.5 inches longer than stock. The back of the rider’s section is about 1.5 inches farther rearward. The rest is additional—and welcome—fore-aft space for the passenger. The passenger also gets a bit more than 3 inches of additional width, though the rider’s portion is the same width as stock. My passenger immediately commented about her improved view because she sits an extra 1.6 inches above the rider. Reduced padding in the rider’s section creates some of that. The lower saddle height made no discernible difference to me, but I missed the plusher padding of the OE saddle. My passenger also preferred the Indian accessory backrest to the Corbin, which wasn’t as full or as tall, though Corbin has other backrest options. I personally can take or leave rider backrests, but this one feels like a good choice for those who like them. If I were doing it again, I’d probably order the Corbin with studs to match the Indian backrest and use that with passengers.

Functionally, the Corbin saddle brings significantly improved ergonomics for average to tall riders and their passengers, while giving away some padding. If the mission is an all-day ride on open roads without a passenger, I’d probably opt for the OE saddle. However, around town, on long stretches of twisty road, on cold days, or when I simply want to show off the looks, the heated Corbin saddle would be my choice.

I’m still hoping to get a Mustang saddle as well, which could rearrange my thoughts.