Seat issues, please describe yours in detail! - BMW Luxury Touring Community
 
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post #1 of 24 Old Aug 1st, 2009, 11:15 pm Thread Starter
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Seat issues, please describe yours in detail!

I have been reading lots of posts about seat discomfort, and how much everyone loves their Mayer, Russell, etc....custom seats. I have searched extensively through the entire site and have come up with lots of issues, but hardly any real discussion about what was actually modified to fix the problems.

I have been modifying my own seats for a while on my past bikes to great success. I currently have an 05 Lt and a 04 Ducati Multistrada (talk about a bad seat, you LT owners have no idea what a bad seat is!). I have found a great foam supplier and my custom Ducati seat is now better than my factory LT seat, which is a significant improvement. It is now wider, flatter, dished perfectly to fit my anatomy...I can still drag my knee in the twisties and ride 500 mile days easily.

I am definitely going to redo my LT seat, and know exactly what I want to do.

I am wondering what everyone's individual issues with the seat have been, just for my own education. Please post up what you hated about your seat, and what you had adjusted or changed, not just "got a custom". Let me know what you did or had done; more width, dishing, harder or softer foam, gel insert, whatever....

I have a feeling we will come up some common ground here....

All the best,

Mike

Last edited by Samdance; Aug 1st, 2009 at 11:16 pm. Reason: better description in title
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post #2 of 24 Old Aug 1st, 2009, 11:23 pm
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Re: Seat issues, please describe yours in detail!

My issue was the shape. Too much like a narrow bicycle seat. I have no natural padding back there. I had had a seat redone with super foam and outstanding fabric by a great seat builder but the basic shape was still the same. The Russell was the final solution. I got the fat boy springs (internal suspention) and wings to support my bottom. Went from a one hour rider to five days straight with no discomfort.

John
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post #3 of 24 Old Aug 1st, 2009, 11:46 pm
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Re: Seat issues, please describe yours in detail!

Mine is the inseam... starts pinching within 90 minutes and it feel like break-time for the next 30 until I am really ready. I could do 3-4 hours easily without that!

2012 K1600GT

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post #4 of 24 Old Aug 2nd, 2009, 12:14 am
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Re: Seat issues, please describe yours in detail!

I have spent so many years on smaller japanese bikes that the stock LT seat feels like a little slice of heaven. I seldom ride more than three hours without stopping for some reason so I do just fine. After 12 hours for the day I do find myself standing up on the pegs every 45 minutes or so. This seems to be caused from sliding forward on the seat and stabilizing position with glutes.

5-8 hours? No problem!

WAK1200LT
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post #5 of 24 Old Aug 2nd, 2009, 5:21 am
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Re: Seat issues, please describe yours in detail!

Well, to me the riding comfort is a combination of seat and the knee angle. My bike had the new model comfort seat which I could tolerate one hour max before getting the monkey butt effect. I felt like sitting on a round piece of log.

Then I got a chance to test Kontour seat which was done on a older (pre 05) seat pan. Huge improvement. The seat was harder and wider but the upholstery was wrong for our climate. By this time I was convinced that the older model seat was the way to go as a starting point. I purchased a set from "SilverBuffalo" and had the seats done by Russell. The seats are leather upholstered and the rider seat has wings to make it wider. The seat is also quite hard, but this is no problem.

As for the knee angle relief I have the Suburban Machinery peg lowering set. As this was not enough I added powered seat height adjustement.
http://picasaweb.google.fi/pozoizqui...ERSEATADJUSTER#

That resulted to raising the front of the seat, too.
http://picasaweb.google.fi/pozoizqui...TTOCOVERTHEGAP#

And to complete the seat comfort I copied the idea of "bruce200ltc" and added power adjustment for the Bak-Up backrest.
http://picasaweb.google.fi/pozoizqui...CKRESTADJUSTER#

Now I am quite happy with the riding comfort and I usually raise the seat higher on highway riding and keep it low in city riding.

Oh yes, I have the J-Peg XLs as well...

Regards

Ari "the Farkle-Freak-Finn" Ignatius

Hyvinkää, Finland
2004 ('05) LT, Dark Graphite, "Sunset Cruiser II"

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post #6 of 24 Old Aug 2nd, 2009, 7:53 am
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Re: Seat issues, please describe yours in detail!

The stock BMW seat crowns in the middle, causing the majority of weight to be focused on the rider's "taint". My delicate American ass doesn't like weight distributed in this way. I long for a Day-Long; plans for next year.
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post #7 of 24 Old Aug 2nd, 2009, 11:48 am
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Re: Seat issues, please describe yours in detail!

Take a look at this thread and do a search for "seat" in the LT forum and you'll find more than you cared to. I ended up with a Rocky Meyer seat and it made all the difference.

http://www.bmwlt.com/forums/showthread.php?t=36377
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post #8 of 24 Old Aug 2nd, 2009, 12:34 pm
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Re: Seat issues, please describe yours in detail!

I agree with the shape issues. Crown on the soft touch was just killing me. My HD Sundowner is the most comfortable seat I've ever owned. It's wider in the back, settles me toward the back, and gives support there. The Russell Daylong is nearly as good. If I were to change it, I would ask that it "push" me back against the back lip just a bit more. The rear seat was the same for my wife. It crowned down and away. The Russell had "wings" that now center her, and give her stability while cornering hard.
I'm only assuming that has more to do with shape than material, although that seems extremely important.
My FZ1 is incredibly uncomfortable. I took a high speed sander and put a "cup" where I sit. Helped a ton. I've since put a gel pad in there too, but haven't ridden it enough to know if it helped.
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post #9 of 24 Old Aug 2nd, 2009, 12:57 pm
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Re: Seat issues, please describe yours in detail!

I had the exact same question back in 2003!

Here's what I did:

1. I decided from the beginning to use all ISO and military specification components made in the USA instead of cheap foam from China and thin vinyl from Brazil that falls apart in two or three years.

2. I changed the cover to a hydrophobic breathable polyester mesh that cannot wet and allows copious amounts of fresh air to flow directly to your very thin butt skin.

3. I eliminated all stitching and ribs that causes cover failure and pressure points.

4. I found a vapor deposited aluminum barrier fabric made by DuPont that prevents the foam cores from getting hot while sitting in the sun. This same barrier eliminated heat transfer from the rider to the seat, reducing hot spots.

5. I eliminated the need for an expensive extra rain cover since this same barrier fabric is glued on in one piece and waterproofs the foam.

6. I found special 3M foams used by NASA in the space shuttle, by the Army in Apache helicopter seats and also by the Air Force in F-16 headrests. I also found a vibration absorbing foam made from tiny spheres that distributes shock in all directions instead of just vertically.

7. I learned which specific densities and thickness of these foams works best for different weight riders, then combined them into a composite laminate permanently glued together with 3M Super 90 glue so that it will NEVER fall apart.

8. I then guaranteed the labor and materials for life for the original owner, including UV exposure - which no one else did.

10. I learned to do all this while not making your seat look like it came from the TV series "Green Acres". (For all of you too young to know, Oliver rode a tractor)

11. I decided that I needed to personally answer all E-mail inquires within 24 hours.

I've always wondered what the other guys have been doing new since the 1970's.

I really should have patented this design and started a business where you can get all of this professionally fabricated in two days - instead of waiting two months - for an extremely competitive price. Come to think of it - I DID!

How's that for detail ?


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post #10 of 24 Old Aug 2nd, 2009, 2:53 pm
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Re: Seat issues, please describe yours in detail!

Quote:
Originally Posted by RonKMiller
I had the exact same question back in 2003!

10. I learned to do all this while not making your seat look like it came from the TV series "Green Acres". (For all of you too young to know, Oliver rode a tractor)
Ron, I hear ya! As one who spent a considerable amount of time on the old style stamped steel tractor seats, however, I have to say that they were actually quite comfortable for many hours. It was hard to beleive that steel could be comfortable, but the shape was actually pretty good for evenly distributing one's weight and the steel conducted heat away from your derriere and your clothes didn't stick to the steel and cause chafing from friction against your skin.

Yes, those tractor seats were butt-ugly (just had to say that), but were a triumph of function over form. Most really comfortable motorcycle seats that I have seen have a lot in common shape-wise with those old tractor seats. I haven't tried one of your Kontour seats so I can't comment on its comfort, but do agree that you seats are much more stylish!

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post #11 of 24 Old Aug 2nd, 2009, 4:34 pm
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Re: Seat issues, please describe yours in detail!

I've owned a multitude of motorcycles and at least a half dozen after market seats,
the first one was an original "Rocky" Mayer seat that the old man built before he sold his business,
I thought it was a great seat (R90/6)
Next three Russel seats (R80RT) then K75RT and K1100LT.

Never had a single complaint about any of those seats
and that was back when I was still doing high mileage days.

Purchased the K1200LT, got introduced to the forum
and since everybody here raved about the Rick Mayer seat I bought one,

Quality was poor, I sent it back immediately, he redid it (eventually) It still sucked,
I rode out to California, he redid it again (free) and this time I was a lot happier with it.

Unfortunately I totaled the bike about two weeks after that.

Bought another LT it came with a Rick Mayer seat,
it wasn't bad for about 15-20 thousand miles,
then it just seemed like it lost all of it's support,
sent it back, he redid it and it still sucks,
wish I had bought a Russel instead.

I'm to the point where I'm going to redo the seat myself,
as a matter of fact I was looking at foam online just last night,
probably will order some Monday am,
the way I figger it I probably can't make it much worse than it already is.

It doesn't take a rocket scientist (or a surgical nurse) to see that the shape of this seat is just wrong,
my ass is not flat,

this seat is firm in the front and where my thighs are yet soft so I can feel the pan where my tailbone is,
it should be just the opposite, after a couple hundred miles my thighs are "burning" from the stitching
and the place where the two pieces of leather are doubled up and sowed together.

Not only is the shape of this seat wrong the angle of the seating position is wrong
and I've tried it in the upper and lower position.

Is this the kind of feedback you were looking for?
If not well thanks anyway for letting me vent.

I would be very interested in your source for the foam you've used on your Ducati
as this is something I don't know much about and I'll have to depend on trial and error to redo my seat.


Hans
St. Petersburg FL

2002 K1200LTE
"Silver Buffalo" Totaled 5/06
2005 LT
"Esperanza"
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post #12 of 24 Old Aug 2nd, 2009, 5:10 pm
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Re: Seat issues, please describe yours in detail!

Silver Buffalo
You might try Albany Foam And Supply, inc !-800 235-0888, they have foam soft as cotton to hard as a rock.

Dennis
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post #13 of 24 Old Aug 2nd, 2009, 9:11 pm
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Re: Seat issues, please describe yours in detail!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Voyager
Ron, I hear ya! As one who spent a considerable amount of time on the old style stamped steel tractor seats, however, I have to say that they were actually quite comfortable for many hours. It was hard to beleive that steel could be comfortable, but the shape was actually pretty good for evenly distributing one's weight and the steel conducted heat away from your derriere and your clothes didn't stick to the steel and cause chafing from friction against your skin.

Yes, those tractor seats were butt-ugly (just had to say that), but were a triumph of function over form. Most really comfortable motorcycle seats that I have seen have a lot in common shape-wise with those old tractor seats. I haven't tried one of your Kontour seats so I can't comment on its comfort, but do agree that you seats are much more stylish!
Ya know, Oliver DID look like he was having a good ride...
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post #14 of 24 Old Aug 3rd, 2009, 8:19 pm
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Re: Seat issues, please describe yours in detail!

Simply put, the stock seat is a 2 out of 10 - only the stock V-rod seat was worse, so I bought a used Kontour, and used if for a year - with and w/o beads - wasn't much better. This year I bit the bullet and bought a Russell, then put the beads back on. BTW I also have lowered floorboards.

With the setup I have now, I only need to get off at the end of the day - 500 miles isn't a problem. That's a 10x improvement for me.

Good luck
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post #15 of 24 Old Aug 3rd, 2009, 10:00 pm
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Re: Seat issues, please describe yours in detail!

[QUOTE=bflemingor]Simply put, the stock seat is a 2 out of 10 - only the stock V-rod seat was worse, so I bought a used Kontour, and used if for a year - with and w/o beads - wasn't much better. This year I bit the bullet and bought a Russell, then put the beads back on. BTW I also have lowered floorboards.

With the setup I have now, I only need to get off at the end of the day - 500 miles isn't a problem. That's a 10x improvement for me.

Good luck[/QUOTE

Well, if you buy a custom built seat specifically designed for someone else what do you expect?

Like buying a pair of second hand shoes and expecting them to fit properly.

...and you're still using wood beads?! On a brand new custom seat?


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post #16 of 24 Old Aug 3rd, 2009, 10:24 pm
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Re: Seat issues, please describe yours in detail!

For me, the issue is that the bottom of the 'pelvic girdle' (see diagram below) feels like it has compressed all the foam beneath it, resulting in my butt riding on the seat pan.



I'm on a nine-day vacation right now, and I took the time to look at the trip meter when my butt started getting sore. 30 miles - that's it! Riding all day is simply an endurance contest, and at the end of the day the seat always wins. I use 2 sets of highway pegs, plus moving around, stretching, breaks, etc., but the LT seat is a Chinese torture device IMO.

I have no doubt that I need to get an after-market seat, and when I look at what I have spent on many other farkles, gadgets, etc., for the bike I wonder why I didn't do the seat FIRST. I would prefer that seat not have the "tractor seat" look, but in this case I really need to go with function over form, and I understand why the after-mark seat "wings" do their job.

To date, my "solutions" have been low-tech. Each of these has helped but even putting them all together they don't address the root cause of the problem:
  • Bead Rider. It gives a different feel, but the seat still sucks.
  • LD Comfort shorts: Just got these last week and I have to say they really work. For me, they eliminate the pain resulting from sitting on the seams present in most men's under (briefs, not boxers).
  • Suburban Machinery peg lowering kit: This gives a little less angle on the knees, giving relief to those joints but not to the butt.
  • Highway pegs: I have XL Jpegs and Mick-O-Pegs; they both do a good job of providng a different leg position. The problem with the Jpegs IMO is that they put more weight on the butt. The legs feel better but it intensifies the issues with the butt. If I had to choose just one I would go with the MOPs.
I hope this helps.

Howard Schisler
2015 BMW K1600GTL
2009 BMW K1200LT - 60k miles
2012 BMW F650GS (sold)
2005 BMW K1200LT - "Gray Ghost", traded at 120k miles
2005 Honda Shadow 650 (sold)
AMA, IBA, BMW MOA. CCRs: Braselton 2006, Osage Beach 2007, Duluth 2012


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post #17 of 24 Old Aug 4th, 2009, 9:13 am
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Re: Seat issues, please describe yours in detail!

My problem seemed to be pressure on the same points for a long period of time. The seat didn't spread the load enough.
Not an actual solution to this, but adds 5 hours to my ride, is the Bead Rider - I just shift a bit and it relieves the pressure. 3 days of riding and I am back to square one.
One day I will be able to afford one of Rons - till then, the Bead Rider is a good enough 2nd option.

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post #18 of 24 Old Aug 4th, 2009, 9:40 am
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Re: Seat issues, please describe yours in detail!

Quote:
Originally Posted by hschisler
For me, the issue is that the bottom of the 'pelvic girdle' (see diagram below) feels like it has compressed all the foam beneath it, resulting in my butt riding on the seat pan.



I'm on a nine-day vacation right now, and I took the time to look at the trip meter when my butt started getting sore. 30 miles - that's it! Riding all day is simply an endurance contest, and at the end of the day the seat always wins. I use 2 sets of highway pegs, plus moving around, stretching, breaks, etc., but the LT seat is a Chinese torture device IMO.

I have no doubt that I need to get an after-market seat, and when I look at what I have spent on many other farkles, gadgets, etc., for the bike I wonder why I didn't do the seat FIRST. I would prefer that seat not have the "tractor seat" look, but in this case I really need to go with function over form, and I understand why the after-mark seat "wings" do their job.

To date, my "solutions" have been low-tech. Each of these has helped but even putting them all together they don't address the root cause of the problem:
  • Bead Rider. It gives a different feel, but the seat still sucks.
  • LD Comfort shorts: Just got these last week and I have to say they really work. For me, they eliminate the pain resulting from sitting on the seams present in most men's under (briefs, not boxers).
  • Suburban Machinery peg lowering kit: This gives a little less angle on the knees, giving relief to those joints but not to the butt.
  • Highway pegs: I have XL Jpegs and Mick-O-Pegs; they both do a good job of providng a different leg position. The problem with the Jpegs IMO is that they put more weight on the butt. The legs feel better but it intensifies the issues with the butt. If I had to choose just one I would go with the MOPs.
I hope this helps.
My experience is about the same as yours Howard. I am working on some other solutions. I'll let you know if I have any luck.

John

2004 - LT - Anthracite
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post #19 of 24 Old Aug 4th, 2009, 10:46 am
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Re: Seat issues, please describe yours in detail!

My issue with the stock seat was lack of support. Similar to previous posts, the stock seat has a rounded crown which puts all the pressure on two small areas of my butt. Kinda like sitting on a log, similar to my 1972 Honda CB 550. I had my seat rebuilt by Rich's in Seattle. He carved out the stock foam, then replaced it with a denser, more supportive material. I am 5' 8", so I was not sitting at the very back of the seat. He also added some foam to the upright portion at the rear of the seat, which now gives some support to my lower back. The seat itself is now slightly dished, so it spreads the weight over a larger area. The difference was unbelievable...from 60 miles and a lot of pain to 1000 miles and still very comfortable. Since many LT's are purchased primarily for long distance touring, I think a custom seat should be among the first upgrades anyone considers.

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post #20 of 24 Old Aug 5th, 2009, 7:07 am
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Re: Seat issues, please describe yours in detail!

Quote:
Originally Posted by hschisler
If I had to choose just one I would go with the MOPs.
We get that comment a lot. Many customers seeking comfort start by looking at seats since that's where much discomfort if felt. As many have said, change is good. If you can change pressure points, it helps.

I almost never have an issue with seats on any of the bikes I ride because they are all equipped with Mick-O-Pegs which allow me to move my knees down 6-8". That shifts more weight to my thighs. If Mick-O-Pegs don't solve the 'butt' issue and make you comfortable we'll buy them back (less $30).

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post #21 of 24 Old Aug 5th, 2009, 10:49 pm
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Re: Seat issues, please describe yours in detail!

Quote:
Originally Posted by MOPMan
We get that comment a lot. Many customers seeking comfort start by looking at seats since that's where much discomfort if felt. As many have said, change is good. If you can change pressure points, it helps.

I almost never have an issue with seats on any of the bikes I ride because they are all equipped with Mick-O-Pegs which allow me to move my knees down 6-8". That shifts more weight to my thighs. If Mick-O-Pegs don't solve the 'butt' issue and make you comfortable we'll buy them back (less $30).
Jim, you can't have 'em! I like them too much.

The MOPs don't solve my sore-butt problem, and I didn't expect them to. They give my knees a much-appreciated break, with the leg extension provided by your product. When I use your pegs I can feel more weight is going onto my thighs (as you describe), but for me the Final Solution is going to have to be a custom seat.

Howard Schisler
2015 BMW K1600GTL
2009 BMW K1200LT - 60k miles
2012 BMW F650GS (sold)
2005 BMW K1200LT - "Gray Ghost", traded at 120k miles
2005 Honda Shadow 650 (sold)
AMA, IBA, BMW MOA. CCRs: Braselton 2006, Osage Beach 2007, Duluth 2012


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post #22 of 24 Old Aug 10th, 2013, 10:49 pm
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Re: Seat issues, please describe yours in detail!

Quote:
Originally Posted by bowlesj
My experience is about the same as yours Howard. I am working on some other solutions. I'll let you know if I have any luck.
This is also my experience and the diagram shows me exactly where the pain is coming from and it takes about 150 miles on a rough road to feel like the PELVIC Girdle is sitting right on the seat pan and the ride then becomes a torture test.

This with a Kontour seat that has now approx 5-6K miles on it. It is a big improvement over stock but far from the answer for me. I am 5'8" and 190 in my birthday suit. I am quite disappointed and will be having a Kontour seat for sale if I decide to sell my LT or get a Russel saddle made on the stock seat I still have.
The only thing holding me back is the fact that my wife (5'2" 115) is 100% comfortable even after 600 miles and I am way past discomfort and in pain after 200 miles,if doing multiple days

1999 K1200LT 33K miles
1999 Concours 107K Km

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post #23 of 24 Old Aug 11th, 2013, 1:07 am
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Re: Seat issues, please describe yours in detail!

There is something I've noticed on a few forums I visit, there never seems to be any complaints with Russell seats. Not with their comfort, workmanship or customer service. That's why now I just go and get my seats redone by Russell within the first few months of owning a new bike, and forgo the beads, gel pads, air pads, Corbins and factory comfort seats which are really no more comfortable than what the bikes came with.

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1972 Moto Guzzi Eldorado
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post #24 of 24 Old Aug 11th, 2013, 9:31 am
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Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: St. Clair Shores, MI, USA
Posts: 96
Re: Seat issues, please describe yours in detail!

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Originally Posted by LittleJoe
The only thing holding me back is the fact that my wife (5'2" 115) is 100% comfortable even after 600 miles and I am way past discomfort and in pain after 200 miles,if doing multiple days
My GF *LOVES* the back seat, and I've been told that if I screw that up, I'm dead. As the LT is generally acknowledged to be fantastically comfy for the passenger, it sure sounds like it was a fantastic bit of marketing...sell to the passenger!

However, as for the front...did a 200 mile (round-trip) ride, half-way through the return trip (after a few hours off the bike) I'm scaring my poor gf because I'm wiggling around in the seat and trying to stand up for a second or two because of the pain. Come to think of it...the trip home was all freeway, the trip there was all back-roads (twist/turn/stop/etc)...wonder how much of a difference that made?

I've since got a bead pad and Mick-O-Pegs (hi, Jim & Jay! ), but haven't had an opportunity to put a lot of miles on the bike, but it certainly feels a lot better. Of the total improvement, maybe 25% bead-pad, 75% Mick-o-pegs, but ask me again when I've put more than 80 miles on the bike in a day... (lame, I know)
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