New Seats - points to consider NOT a rant - BMW Luxury Touring Community
 
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post #1 of 9 Old Jun 5th, 2009, 12:30 pm Thread Starter
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New Seats - points to consider NOT a rant

I will refrain from mentioning names - that isn't the point of this. I just want to share my experience (and frustrations) with those of you wishing to follow my footsteps.

My son rides a GS, and I ride an LT - neither stock seat worked for either of us. Last year, I bought an aftermarket seat from a forum member - which still wasn't enough for me, so I decided to pursue a personal custom, rather than someone else's - & my son went straight for the personal custom.

I did my research here, and on other sites, and my son was on the phone - I had a second seat & he did not.

I placed my order in February & got a production date in mid-May - then sent my second seat in early March (actually, had my Office Manager send it for me). My son could not accept a delay like this, and found a vendor who promised a two week turn around. He sent his seat in, and got the new one back in less than a week! I was impressed, but have purchased from that manufacturer in the past for other bikes & found the seat to be too hard for me, so I left my order in place.

I decided to upgrade my order slightly in early May - a little over a week before my "production date", and after four attempts at contacting the vendor, finally got through and was told they were awaiting my seat. Fortunately, it was sent by FedEx and I had a signature, date, and reference number. Lo & behold, there was a seat being held under my office manager's name, waiting for an order!!? If I had not called, I would have lost my production date, and probably not had my seat before Christmas.

The production date arrived, and the company rep call me to correct a few issues in my request, and the seat was shipped yesterday (that's 13 working days in process - 4 longer than it takes to produce a Positron Emissions Tomographic medical scanner?)

All representatives from the company were (stressed) pleasant on the phone, and worked hard to fix the issues, when identified - but the entire effort amounted to a frustrating consumer effort. Based on my research, the company I chose was the top of the heap, but I really think there's an opportunity for someone offering better service and attention to detail.
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post #2 of 9 Old Jun 5th, 2009, 5:34 pm
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Re: New Seats - points to consider NOT a rant

Having dealt with more than one seat manufacturer with varying degrees of success there are a couple of points to consider. 1. This is a busy time for them. Riders are getting ready for the prime riding season, most of us wait until the last minute to order our goodies instead of using the winter to get ready. 2. Most of the seat manufacturers are fellow riders with small staffs and enough room to work on a few seats at a time. We don't buy enough seats to justify a major manufacturing effort. Frankly, we are lucky to have as many choices as we do.
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post #3 of 9 Old Jun 5th, 2009, 6:03 pm Thread Starter
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Re: New Seats - points to consider NOT a rant

I agree with the choice bit - but ordering in February, for a May productuion date that requires almost three business weeks to complete IS a bit much - don't you think? All of these are expensive choices -

First the almost lost seat, with no call looking for a match, then the time: Let's see - give them one day to design the seat & two days to do the foam, then one day to cut the cover, and one day to assemble & box to ship Let's see, that's only five (5) days - what are the other 8 used for?

I've run job shops most of my career - if my performance were like that, I'd be living with my dog in a box under a bridge.
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post #4 of 9 Old Jun 5th, 2009, 7:14 pm
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Re: New Seats - points to consider NOT a rant

You must have the same seat I have. Sent mine in with a 6 week "production date". About 5 days past that date, and nothing from the company, I called. They "lost" all the photos I sent in and asked that I resend them. WTF? Why didn't they call me at the production date? Sent the photos in, then they called back with a "question" about my order, which I had already addressed both in the initial order and in a follow-up note I put in with the seats when I shipped them off.
Long story short, I was without the bike for just over 8 weeks, and I'm not entirely happy with the seat. Think I'm going to send it back for another 8 weeks? Not hardly.
And you know what the worst part is? My Harley Davidson Sundowner seat, stock off the shelf, is much more comfortable. THAT SUCKS!!!
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post #5 of 9 Old Jun 5th, 2009, 9:11 pm
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Re: New Seats - points to consider NOT a rant

Quote:
Originally Posted by bflemingor
I agree with the choice bit - but ordering in February, for a May productuion date that requires almost three business weeks to complete IS a bit much - don't you think? All of these are expensive choices -

First the almost lost seat, with no call looking for a match, then the time: Let's see - give them one day to design the seat & two days to do the foam, then one day to cut the cover, and one day to assemble & box to ship Let's see, that's only five (5) days - what are the other 8 used for?

I've run job shops most of my career - if my performance were like that, I'd be living with my dog in a box under a bridge.
I agree things could be better. My point was that many of the seat manufacturers are small, basically mom and pop efforts. When we collectively order a couple of hundred seats at the start of the riding season it's a lot of work for a hand full of workers, it's going to take a while. Especially since the most common approach is to rebuild your seat once they have it so every seat is a hand built custom. Without a large staff to over see production things will get over looked and mistakes will happen. Often the owners are on the floor helping to make the seats which means the business side can suffer. As a small business owner I know full the hassle of being pushed to the limit when things are busy. As tempting as it is to expand, the reality of being in an industry that will not support that expansion during the slow times is a frustration that will chase away those who don't love what they're doing.
Now, if you are in a hurry, there is always Corbin. They make their own seat pans and usually have the common models in stock. I have ordered from them and had my seat in less than a week. Their seats are okay but I'd rather wait for Russell, either of the Meyers Brothers, or our own Ron.
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post #6 of 9 Old Jun 5th, 2009, 9:29 pm Thread Starter
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Re: New Seats - points to consider NOT a rant

I don't disagree with your comments, or view, and I'm sure the seat will be terrif (positive mind-set here ). However, our newbes might read this thread & make an informed decision.

Even the ride-in appointment: No weekends, two days, and 4 to 5 months out. Had I know all of this, I probably would have "suffered on" with my used aftermarket seat...

Knowledge=power
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post #7 of 9 Old Jun 5th, 2009, 11:39 pm
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Re: New Seats - points to consider NOT a rant

It's not so much a point of view, it's an unfortunate fact. I agree it's good for those who haven't experienced the challenge of buying a custom seat to know what's involved. I try to schedule seat upgrades for the off season when it's easier to get an appointment but that means I have suffered with the stock seat longer than I care to. My last seat was done by Bill Mayers and the wait was only two weeks (and it was the busy season). Maybe I got lucky. By the way, Bill has Saturday appoints available.
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post #8 of 9 Old Jun 6th, 2009, 7:39 am
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Re: New Seats - points to consider NOT a rant

I cannot honestly complain about the stock seat on the '99; I need gas before my butt is tired. I've been on 400-mile trips and don't have issue with the seat.

I doing a Saddlesore 1000 next weekend, though. That should truly test my "satisfaction".

Avatar credit: Curtis Callaway, 2009
Rider of Stahlross
1999 Basalt Grey LT
2001 Classic Red Ducati 748
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post #9 of 9 Old Jun 6th, 2009, 10:36 am Thread Starter
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Re: New Seats - points to consider NOT a rant

I can't comment on all of the vendors, other that relay what my son was told - I hear the "impatience of youth"...

One would think that as a minimum option - say $100 - for the use of a "reclamed" seat pan. I suspect that the pan is the same for all the LTs - and from the comments I have received, many others have had similar issues.

I'm not saying buyer beware - just be informed and prepared.
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