I was not happy with the stock seat and passenger pillow on my sportster. I (6') felt like I would like to have some more room for my legs, and my girlfriend was not too comfortable riding as a passenger. Not feeling like spending $600 on a new deluxe seat (but feeling like having one), I started to check the second hand market.
This is the bike with the stock seat.
After a while I found this Corbin seat in a local ad:
Reading the excellent sportster mailing list at sportster.org, it seems like Mustang and Corbin are the two brands people seem to be most satisfied with, and that the stock seat is crap compared to these. (I would like to stress that I have no affiliation whatsoever with these companies.)
The previous owner had, like me, a -95 sportster, so I thought it would be a no-brainer to mount this bolt-on seat on my bike. I was wrong. (Well, perhaps not about the brain stuff, but it sure was not bolt-on...)
I thought I had asked the previous owner if he had the large 3.3 gallon tank (like I do), but obviously I had forgotten. After suggestions from the very helpful people at the sportster mailing list, I had to admit the seat was made for the smaller tank (that was stock for the -95). In order to let the seat come down properly over the frame, the seat would have to be pushed almost 1/2" further, but the hard plastic inside the seat made that impossible. This was obvious when loosing the rear tank mount:
Also, the frame front seat mount would, as shown in the image below, not hold on to very much of the seat fron mount. But if the seat was in the "right" position, the back mount would be about 1" in front of the mounting hole in the rear fender. :-/
The great people at the sportster mailing list then told me Corbin seats are not only well-known for being good seats, but they (I quote) "are legendary for not fitting well". Also encouraged by a friend who has been working a lot with old British sports cars, I decided to:
I drilled out just as many pop rivets needed for me to flip the cover back from the front. Then I could use a handsaw and a knife to cut of the front of the hard plastic interior. After testing the modified seat on the bike for clearance, I could just to flip the cover back and re-attach it to the seat with new pop rivets.
Now, when the front was modified, it looked like this:
And with the cover re-attached:
(As you can see the seat looks the same as before, but if you press the front now it will be soft instead of hard.)
The rear mount was moved towards the back:
Mounted on the bike (now with perfect fit!), it looks like this:
Compare that to the stock seat:
There are several things that are good with the new seat:
I know one might hesitate when it comes to digging into an expensive motorcycle seat with drill and a handsaw. But what I did was quite simple, and I am totally happy with the result. So feel free to be inspired by this page! (But do not blame me if things go wrong with your seat ;-).)