View Full Version : So you wanna do something with that stock seat...?

01-23-2005, 02:12 AM

Yes, I know there are some people that think the stock GS seat is fine. My butt would beg to differ. So after 20K miles of never getting around to it, I finally broke down and decided to use the foam that has been sitting in my garage for the last year or so. It was intended for another GS... Debbie's zook GS500. She decided she liked her stock seat so I inherited some nice memory foam and some other firm foam. I pulled a staple out of the GS seat and headed to Home Depot to get me a staple gun and the right sized staples. Back home, I pulled the rest of the staples.


The cover comes off the foam with some gentle prying. It is glued to the foam with contact glue. I just went slow and tried not to tear the foam. When I finished, it looked like some kind of strange sponge cake.


The foam is also glued to the seat pan. I slowly worked my way around the edges peeling gently until everything came off. What I found was a bit disappointing. I can't believe where the BMW twits put the bolts for the mounting bracket. They are right where my pelvic bones sit, right in the low spot of the saddle shape, no wonder I was hurting so bad :roll: The soft stock foam would crush down and I was sitting on these screws!


I ran over to Mom's and swiped her electrical knife. I grabbed a Sharpie and marked out the area that I wanted to remove. This is the area where I will replace the existing foam with the firmer foam that will hold my butt up off those silly screws.


A few minutes later...


For some reason I was sweating when I got done with this. It was cool in the house but I had a giddy nervous sweat going... At this point, there was no going back. Fortunately, when removing the old foam, I had the presence of mind to do it in large chunks instead of lots of tiny pieces. This allowed me to add some foam back where I had removed a tad bit too much.


I used some spray contact cement that bonds like crazy. I got one shot to get something in the right spot, then it was STUCK. This stuff came out of the can like silly string, flying all over the place in a whispy stringy stream of incredibly sticky goo. It was a little breezy outside so I got it all over me. My knuckle hairs were glued together. It was strung from my hat to my jacket, to my gut and all the way down to my freaking boots!! :lol: Let me tell you that it hurts when several knuckle hairs get pulled out at one time!

I think the firm foam came from REI or some place similar. I think it is the same stuff that many of the sleeping pads are made of. These sheets were 24" X 24" and two sheets was just enough. Before spraying the goo from ****, I dry fitted the pieces to make sure I could get two layers in place. Then I sprayed goo everywhere...


I let the pieces sit for about 10-15 minutes after spraying them, then I CAREFULLY lined everything up and pushed the pieces into place. Here's the goo I used, nothing special and about $7 a can. You could do quite a few seats with one can.


Once the first layer was in place, I used the electric knife to trim things up a little.


Then I added the second layer of the blue foam (each layer is 1/2"), trimmed it up and fitted the seat cover back over everything for a look.


It looked a bit rough and the seat cover did not hide as much of the underlying imperfections in my sculpting as I had hoped. I took it out to the garage and put it on the bike for the butt test. I could feel every lump and bump where I did not get the sculpting perfectly smooth. The problem is that the electric knife is good for rough cutting, but not for fine cutting. It would have been nice to have some kind of belt sander or a hotwire to slice through the foam evenly. In the end, I decided to see if I could fit one 1/2" layer of the soft memory foam over the entire seat to smooth things out and also to give me a tad bit of cushion over the top of the very firm blue foam.

To give the entire seat a more uniform look and to hide the seams where the different areas of foam come together, I decided to cover the entire seat. Once again I embraced the flinging goo. This stuff became like industrial strength boogers on my fingers that wouldn't come off! Anyway, with a little help from Debbie, I slowly laid the final layer down on the seat making sure it is spread evenly so I don't get any weird wrinkles anywhere. I let it dry a bit and then trim it up.


It looked a bit fat so I was concerned the seat cover wouldn't be able to reach everywhere so I could restaple it to the pan. However, this foam is VERY soft and crushes down easily at the edges. I got the cover back over the foam and then started the stretching process. I smoothed from the center out to the edges, making sure it was the same on opposite sides so that I would have the same amount of overlap for stapling on the underside of the pan.

My staple gun sucks. I threw down $10 bucks on a staple gun and I expect it to at least get the staples into the plastic :angryfir: Instead, it puts the staples in about half way, no matter how firmly I try to hold it against the surface. I wind up having to come behind with a flat head screw driver and carefully pushing each and every staple all the way down. My thumbs were killing me from pushing on the shaft of the screw driver. However, when I finally get it done, it looks pretty good. BMW had glued down the edges of the seat cover originally and I thought I was going to do likewise (and may yet), but for now, I am just going to leave it at the staples. I take it out the bike and mount it so I can repeat the butt test. It feels great! :dude: It feels a little thicker between the legs, but I like it because it increases the pressure area and thus reduces the load for any given point. I can still easily flat foot the bike, the seat height remaining unchanged.

Here's the final product.


I figure it can't be any worse than it was before and I only spent $15 :wink: Of course, I got the foam and glue free, hehe. I think that was about $50 when Debbie originally ordered it. I'll hopefully take it out for a spin tomorrow and will report back how it worked.


01-23-2005, 07:35 AM
Excellent project with pictures, very educational!

Any hair left on the knuckles?

01-23-2005, 10:00 AM
I eagerly await a story of Tourmeister somehow getting glued to his seat. ;-)

01-23-2005, 02:19 PM
Outstanding article. I'm thinking of doing the same thing but only because the bike sits so tall I want to get a bit of lowering.

When looking at the staples I considered using screws as they would be easier to install. I tested my staple gun and it hardly got the staple started. Would you suggest just going back with staples?


01-23-2005, 02:23 PM
What about a pneumatic stapler for more 'umph' getting the staples into the plastic? It's very common for your basic staple gun to not get the whole staple buried in some of the medium-to-hard materials. Electric staple guns aren't much better, they just jam up faster.

01-23-2005, 02:29 PM
What about a pneumatic stapler for more 'umph'

Is that something you can rent? Never seen on but I have air here at the house.

01-23-2005, 02:30 PM
(In my best smug voice)...I like Corbin seats. :-D I pay my money, sell off the stocker to offset the cost (usually to someone who has attempted this modification) and ride on very happily. OK, OK....I tried it once, and destroyed thew seat. I never could get it to my liking cosmetically.

01-23-2005, 02:38 PM
I have a brad nailer you can try, but I know there are staplers out there. Might want to try the Lowes or Home Depot rental area and see.

Harbor Freight (www.harborfreight.com) has air staplers for $30 and up. Check this one (http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/Displayitem.taf?itemnumber=40116) out. Now that I think about it, I'd love to have it in my arsenal for upholstery...

Vee Dub Nut
01-23-2005, 03:00 PM
Looks good Scott.... I would be afraid it wouldnt look to good after I got it done. I have a buddy that owns an auto upholstery (sp?) shop so he makes me good deals on recovering and refoaming. Nice work and good write up :chug:

01-24-2005, 09:18 AM
I've also seen electric staplers...

ps. Thanks for sharing...

Tx Rider
01-24-2005, 05:37 PM
If you look at the staplers they will usually say how strong they are on the packaging. As well you don't need very long staples. The electric ones are pretty strong if ya get a decent one.

Looks like a good job Scott, I went with 1/4 neoprene for my top layer. :)

I've seen guys smooth the foam with a drill and a sanding disc, but a thin layer is easy and safe.

BTW did you grind down those screws? I think I'd have ground em down as far as I could safely go.

01-24-2005, 11:05 PM
:tab Nah, did not cut them off. Thought about it and figured with all the new foam it would be a moot point. Riding to work today I could not feel them at all. The long ride this weekend will be more telling though...

:tab The 1/4" layer would be good for just smoothing things out. But I also wanted it for that initial sink into the foam and then have the firm stuff support. That helps reduce the intensity of the pressure points.


01-26-2005, 11:11 AM
Using a grinder works great on the foam, just use a VERY light touch.

Scott, where did you get the 1/2" memory foam?

01-26-2005, 01:55 PM
:tab uh... I forget... Debbie ordered it on the internet from some site I sent her. However, it has been over a year and I no longer know where the link is. I am sure of you do a search for "memory foam" you will find plenty of places that sell it. "Developed by NASA!!" :roll:


01-26-2005, 02:24 PM
Here's a good source for the memory foam (custom sizes):

02-11-2005, 11:18 AM

I can't remember what you had on the vfr. Have you had a corbin or a sargent and can compare your mod to them?

02-11-2005, 11:20 AM
:tab I had a Sargent on the VFR. My mod is between the Sargent and the stock in terms of comfort. It was my first attempt though :shrug:


Sleepy Weasel
02-11-2005, 02:00 PM
:tab uh... I forget... Debbie ordered it on the internet from some site I sent her. However, it has been over a year and I no longer know where the link is. I am sure of you do a search for "memory foam" you will find plenty of places that sell it. "Developed by NASA!!" :roll:


You're not talking about that "Tempurpedic" stuff, are you? It always cracks me up when they say "The only mattress recognized by NASA."

Like some rocket scientist stands next to one of theirs and a Sealy, saying, "Well, that one on the left is a mattress, but I don't recognize what that thing on the right is..."