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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I know there's been a lot of interest in Russell seats, so I thought I'd share a little re: my experience.

My wife and I went to their shop for a ride-in. The whole experience was a real pleasure. They are great hosts and their folks are very impressive. The seat builders are surprisingly young; I thought they'd have a bunch of greybeards. But the two guys I talked to, while seeming quite young, had 10 and 9 years of experience. So they really know what they're doing.

The ride-in was a real win. Both of us got some adjustments after the initial test sitting. If we hadn't been there, we would have either had to make do or ship the seat back for the adjustment.

I got a tour of their facility and process; it was very interesting and a real bonus.

We went with the leather inserts on both rider and passenger. We chose to retain the so-called "ugly bump", so we had it and the backrest recovered in matching graphite vinyl (the same as on the sides of the seat). The advice I received from a number of sources said that, besides saving a little money, the vinyl sides hold up a little better than the leather. The leather inserts provide the extra comfort where it counts.

We went with the graphite color because we liked the look and it seemed to blend well with the tank top and the silver sides. (The real reason is that my wife liked it best, and what she wants she gets on things like this. But I like it too.)

I got a great before-and-after comparison as I've put on about 2,500 miles since the new seat (my wife flew home so she hasn't had much time for comparison yet). The effectiveness for touring is remarkable. I always developed fairly significant "sit bone" pain when riding all day in the past (on all bikes on all seats - but never a Russell until now). That is now completely gone.

The seat definitely takes some getting used to. I had always moved around a lot on the seat...that was my way of dealing with the pain. With this seat, you pretty much need to stay in the pocket that the seat has. At first it seems too restrictive, until you learn that if you just stay there everything will be great. At first I was getting some stiffness in my legs, since I wasn't moving around as much. When I learned how to move my leg position a bit while still keeping my butt in the pocket, all is now perfect.

A great win for me is the extra leg room. They raised me up on the bike by at least 1.5 inches. That makes my knee bend much less severe and that really helps. Plus it gets me up a little higher on the bike and I feel like it gives me a little more connection with the front end of the bike when cornering. Also, I can now dangle my legs when I need a stretch without my boots dragging (much).

So bottom line...I am one happy camper.

Here are a few photos. Note that these were taken just an hour or so after they finished up, so there's still a couple of sewing creases in the vinyl parts. Those went away after a day or so (as they assured me they would).

By the way, my wife likes our "custom" grab handles that you can see in a couple of the photos. We fashioned them from Jeep roll bar grab handles as Edge35 suggested. They attach with Velcro around the bike's hidden handles. They do the trick for her and we like the fact that they're just easily removable attachments that don't change the stock bike.

So here are the photos:

That's Mt Shasta in the background, about an hour north of Russell:







This is on the Trinity River along CA 299:


In Humboldt Redwoods State Park via the Avenue of the Giants:


PCH just south of where it returns to the coast south of the "Lost Coast" (what a ride to get there!):
 

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Boooootiful! I will be going that route when riding season over...altho I do find the stock isn't terrible with a thick sheepskin on it. It'll do for now, anyway.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Reid said:
Boooootiful! I will be going that route when riding season over...altho I do find the stock isn't terrible with a thick sheepskin on it. It'll do for now, anyway.
I, too, found the stock seat OK. My main goal was to get a little more seat height. But now that I have the RDL, I realize there's a big difference in comfort; I just didn't know any better.
 

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That is one nice looking seat (no pun intended). I have been having a terrible time with my stock seat and have been looking at different options such as Corbin or Sargeants. Did you look at these ones and what made you decide to go with Russell?

Thanks for the pics.
 

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Corbin and Sargent don't make custom seats, they make replacement seats. The advantage is that you get to keep (or sell) your stock seat. The disadvantage is that like the factory seat they are also one-size-fits-all, and sometimes, they don't . . .

A true custom seat builder, like Russell, Bill (Rocky) Mayer, Rick Mayer, Kontour, etc. will cut, sculpt, and build your seat to fit your body and your riding position. If it's not right, they'll do it again until it is right. Not for everyone, or for the average rider, but specifically for you.

And that makes all the difference.

I've ridden Rick's seats, owned several Rocky seats, and talked to many Russell and Kontour riders, so I know pretty well how the different seats work, what they're each made of, and just as importantly, how they treat their customers before, during, and after a sale. After all that exhaustive research and all those miles, there was easily a clear winner here.

So when my GTL showed up, I already had Russell seats waiting for it . . .
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Outbacker said:
That is one nice looking seat (no pun intended). I have been having a terrible time with my stock seat and have been looking at different options such as Corbin or Sargeants. Did you look at these ones and what made you decide to go with Russell?

Thanks for the pics.
+1 on Ken's comments.

I had a Rick Mayer seat on my first FJR and liked it a lot. Back then I still liked to slide around on the bike in turns and didn't want to go with the Russell because of its shape.

There are a lot of good after-market seat makers out there, and all of them have their fans (and their detractors). But I talked to a lot of folks and read a lot of posts, and Russell kept coming up as the #1 choice for touring, and they got consistent praise for their customer service. Then I had a chance to see a few in person and sit on a couple to get an idea of what they were like, and that clinched it for me.

As I said in my earlier post, their seat takes a little getting used to, as it wants you to sit in the pocket and not move around. I was used to moving around a lot to keep comfortable - I had to. Once I "got it" - and it only took an hour or so - it was perfect.

I told my wife (only half-jokingly) that I'm going to see if Russell will make me a seat for my desk chair. At this point, I'm more comfortable sitting on the bike than at my desk.
 

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Sorry, but to me that is just about the ugliest thing I have ever seen. It does not look like it belongs on that bike at all. I bought my GTL because I liekd its looks. That seat destroys the look. Besides, the stock high seat is all day comfortable for me, as well as good looking.
 

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Scootr said:
Sorry, but to me that is just about the ugliest thing I have ever seen. It does not look like it belongs on that bike at all. I bought my GTL because I liekd its looks. That seat destroys the look. Besides, the stock high seat is all day comfortable for me, as well as good looking.
That is your OPINION & your are very much welcome to it. My opinion is my butt can NOT SEE the seat so as long as it is comfortable WHO CARES what it looks like. Most of my friends grip about how dirty my bike is most of the time but I bought it to ride, not wash & detail it every time it gets a little dusty. If I wanted to do that I would have bought a bike with chrome (HD).
 

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I guess that we all have different opinions, but I think it looks great. I don't have one on my bike, but if I knew that it would improve my comfort, I would not hesitate for a minutes to get it installed.

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I've been playing around though, with a few things to improve the seats comfort, and for me, previously, the beads and a sheep skin did the trick. I've put up to 1,000 miles on one trip and really didn't fidget or squirm until close to the end.

A while back though, a member of this forum was selling an AirHawk and I figured for the price, I'd give it a try. We, as soon as it arrived, my wife had it on her desk chair for about 6 months!

I finally got it back last month and have become a real believer. It is just slightly inflated and I love it. The air moves a little as I move and gives me a slight butt massage... So far with less than 1,000 miles on it, it is a keeper.

I think a lot of a seats comfort, is your seat. Mine is attached to a 150 pound 5-11 frame. Seems close to stock.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Sorry, but to me that is just about the ugliest thing I have ever seen.
Traditionally, there are two objections to the Russell:
- appearance ("tractor seat"), and
- shape ("can't move around on the bike")

I tried to address both of these with comments and photos so that others can better decide what they want to do. Everyone is welcome to form their own opinions and go with the aftermarket seat (or stock seat) they prefer.

We (and BMW) all balance form vs function. I think BMW did a great job on this bike, but I think they missed it on the wind protection. If the stock seat were higher, I probably would have stayed with it. But I needed more leg room and a higher seat, and I didn't want highway pegs on my bike. Others love them. That's their privilege...they're their bikes. My choice was to go with the Russell...it's my bike.

BTW, I don't feel compelled to comment on things that people have done to their bikes unless they ask my opinion. If I don't like it, I draw my own conclusions and am appreciative of the fact that they helped me make my own informed decision.

My (unsolicited) advice to you is to keep your stock seat, be happy with your bike, and keep...well, let's leave it at that. :rolleyes:
 

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Looks great! I had similar questions/got similar comments with my first Russell. So when W needed a seat for her Spyder, we went with Russell. When I need a seat, that's where I will go. Thot I would miss the hangin off, etc. Nope. Just ride (and ride and ride and ride . . .)
 

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katnapinn said:
That is your OPINION & your are very much welcome to it. My opinion is my butt can NOT SEE the seat so as long as it is comfortable WHO CARES what it looks like. Most of my friends grip about how dirty my bike is most of the time but I bought it to ride, not wash & detail it every time it gets a little dusty. If I wanted to do that I would have bought a bike with chrome (HD).
Actually, how a bike looks is an important part of the purchasing decision to almost everyone. It's not a matter of how much chrome there is , or if it gets a little dusty. Aesthetics is about the overall design and how each element of the design fits together.

I don't really care that someone else's tastes may differ from mine. That is OK. And I would never walk up to someone on the street and gratuitously remark about their bike. But when somone posts pictures on an internet forum and invites comments, they shouldn't get in a tizzy if the comments aren't all positive.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Scootr said:
And I would never walk up to someone on the street and gratuitously remark about their bike...
Nor would I. And I try to act with the same standards of courtesy whether I'm on an anonymous forum, or whether I'm face-to-face with someone.
 

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JimE said:
Traditionally, there are three objections to the Russell:
- appearance ("tractor seat"), and
- shape ("can't move around on the bike")
- cost ("how much?")
Fixed that for you. :D

Note that those three objections always come from folks that haven't yet ridden the Russell seats. Those that have, have nothing but praise for them . . .

Although I will say that aftermarket seats can add some height above the stock seat. It's just the way they do it, adding thicker, higher quality foam, and also spreading your body weight down your thighs a bit to aid in overall comfort. And the internal spring system in the Russell also adds to the height, as well as the comfort. For me, that was a good thing, but it may pose a small problem for those of shorter stature and inseam.
 

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How a bike looks is an important part of the purchasing decision to many people who place a priority on bikes as objects of desire to be admired by themselves and others, but not such a priority to those who value comfort and performance more, where the bike is a tool designed to move the rider through time and space in an exhilarating manner.

Neither attitude is necessarily wrong, they're just different approaches. :)
 

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taylorjn said:
Thought I would miss the hanging off, etc. Nope.
There's really no need to be hanging off the bike on public streets. You can go plenty fast enough without trying to look like Ricky Racer, and you'll have better control, too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
meese said:
There's really no need to be hanging off the bike on public streets. You can go plenty fast enough without trying to look like Ricky Racer, and you'll have better control, too.
And it's not nearly as tiring as just sitting there on your arse. :)

Speaking of the tractor seat...the Russell folks don't take that as an insult at all. They're proud of the fact that the original RDL was made by starting with a tractor seat as the frame. And they certainly recognize the aesthetic objections that some have. They just say "stock seats are made to look good in the showroom, ours are made to be comfortable to ride on".

I guess the ultimate would be to have two seats; one to look good at the Starbucks, one to feel good on US 50. :)
 

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I called Russel Seats today and talked to the lady for a bit, asking questions about the seats and how they are mande and all the information that gathered before the seat is made, and I was impressed. 2 1/2 weeks there plus the time shipping to and from. Figure I would lose the seat off the bike for about 4-5 weeks :( . However it certainly seems the way to go. She has told me a lot of BMW K1600 owners have had their bike seats changed out. So, I think I will wait till the fall in the rainy season and send the seat off then. She told me they are booked solid now till the middle of August, and who wants to lose their bike in August? Not this guy. Maybe even wait till November and get it down then. Thanks again for the pics.
 

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Outbacker said:
who wants to lost their bike in August? Not this guy. Maybe even wait till November and get it down then. Thanks again for the pics.
For us here in Central Texas August would be the best time to send it off. Who likes riding in 110 degrees with 95% humidity, November is prime riding in these parts. :D

BTW I'll wait till after January 1st to send mine off.
 
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