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Old 04-16-2012, 02:15 PM   #1
tshelfer
 
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Seat Pad on the Cheap

Last fall I bought a Sargent seat. I've loved it on numerous countryside cruises. But when I went to the hill country last month, my experience with a 4-hour ride was less than stellar. Around the 2-hour mark, the saddle and my backside conspired to find a couple of pressure points. Result: pain on both sides of my tailbone, and I had to make additional, unplanned stops to ease the aching.

I'm getting ready for a trip out to New Mexico next month, and decided I would need a little extra padding. Through googling, I quickly learned that lower-cost seat pads run at least $50 and get poor ratings on Amazon, and Airhawks are around $130.

So I decided to experiment with a homemade seatpad. After a little thought, I remembered an old Z-Rest backpacker sleeping pad. I paid $20 for it in 1997, and it'll never be used again.



Using simple tools - a marking pen and a pair of kitchen shears - I made a trace of the saddle onto the Z-Rest, then cut it out. I used a pair of 6" bungee cords as straps to hold it in place.



At a later date, I may put permanent hooks on the bottom of the saddlle. But for now, I simply hung the straps around the saddle supports.



And this is the finished product, as it currently sits on my V-Strom.



It's not exactly gorgeous, but what the heck - I ride a V-Strom, right? Anyway, I've road-tested it for about 20 miles up and down I-20, and it'll get a longer test tomorrow - a run down to Burleson.

First impressions - Definitely a bit softer. The material, which is similar to an egg carton except thicker, is not prone to slipping, so it stays in place pretty well so far. The thickness is only about 3/4", and it compresses under my weight - so I don't feel any "taller".

If it works out, I'll probably find a few needed improvements. But that's okay, because I saved the Z-Rest and have enough material left over to manufacture versions 1.1 and 2.0 if necessary.

Total cost - Well, $0 given that I was on the verge of tossing the Z-Rest anyway.

Now, can anybody recommend a way to color it black without ending up with clumps of spray paint that will cling to my butt after a prolonged ride?
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Old 04-16-2012, 03:52 PM   #2
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Re: Seat Pad on the Cheap

Get a sheepskin cover for it. Alaska Leathers is always a good buy.
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Old 04-16-2012, 04:13 PM   #3
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Re: Seat Pad on the Cheap

That would be version 3.0 -- actually spend money.
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Old 04-16-2012, 04:16 PM   #4
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Re: Seat Pad on the Cheap

Well then.... I suggest a Sharpie marker if you have one just laying around.
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Old 04-16-2012, 05:04 PM   #5
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Re: Seat Pad on the Cheap

Get some vinyl and just cover it like you would a seat.
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Old 04-16-2012, 05:16 PM   #6
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Re: Seat Pad on the Cheap

Did someone say cheap! Love the seat pad, Tim! Don't know how to turn it black though?
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Old 04-19-2012, 03:18 PM   #7
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Re: Seat Pad on the Cheap

Great upgrade!

You might be able to dye it with cloth dye from the supermarket or Walmart (but the foam is probably waterproof?). If you do, I'd rinse it well before riding in the rain.

I have an Alaska Leathers sheepskin over a gel seat - really good combination for long days. The first rain left my butt black though (on gray riding pants).
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Old 04-19-2012, 03:40 PM   #8
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Re: Seat Pad on the Cheap

You're the 2nd person who's mentioned the sheepskin. I might try that if I find a cheap enough source. I did 110 miles on it earlier this week and it was quite comfortable. A bit tacky looking, but comfortable. I'll also consider the cloth dye. Good suggestion - thanks.
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Old 04-19-2012, 07:55 PM   #9
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Re: Seat Pad on the Cheap

I've heard that Ikea has reasonable sheep skins. Might be worth a call.
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Old 04-19-2012, 08:32 PM   #10
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Re: Seat Pad on the Cheap

I think you need to leave it the color it is. Nothing you dye it with is going to stay on it, and you'll end up with the color running.
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Old 04-20-2012, 01:04 AM   #11
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Re: Seat Pad on the Cheap

I suppose I could go to Academy Sports and see if they sell Z-Rests in black or red.
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Old 04-20-2012, 07:03 AM   #12
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Re: Seat Pad on the Cheap

I got some sheepskin pieces on eBay for not a whole lot of money. There are crafters who use them for making vests and such but have remnants that aren't useful to them. Those pieces are available. I have brown so if you can stand that, I'd be happy to give you what I've got. I am notorious for "Projects That Never Get Finished" so I don't have plans for the remaining pieces. I think
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Old 04-20-2012, 07:46 AM   #13
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Re: Seat Pad on the Cheap

isn't it going to tear where you put the hooks in?
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Old 04-20-2012, 07:58 AM   #14
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Re: Seat Pad on the Cheap

Cool fix tshelfer. Here's a similar take on the same idea.

I started with an inexpensive automotive gel seat pad from Wally World. I measured it against the seat on the BMW. The tape indicates the loop on the back of my tank bag that will serve as the forward anchor.



I measured the pad and the seat to decide how to cut it.


After removing the gel pad I marked the cut with a ruler and seamstress chalk.


Years of sewing boat canvas taught me that staples are a lot easier to use than pins and that cheap singer sewing machines will work on heavy material IF they are well oiled.


I added straps by sewing them into the new seam and then cut the gel pad with a utility knife.


The pad installed. I don't like having to remove the seat to install it and those little get-offs that dirt riders experience had proven that Wally World parts are not quite up to snuff. Still I use it if my track is almost all pavement.



m
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Old 04-20-2012, 08:19 AM   #15
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Re: Seat Pad on the Cheap

Paint the bike to match the new pad! Or just put more green on the bike so the pad doesn't stand out.
C'mon...you knew that was coming at some point.
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Old 04-20-2012, 09:33 AM   #16
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Re: Seat Pad on the Cheap

SKatZ, do you think you can mail a piece for under $10? That's about my budget for something that's intended to be a freebie.

Morgan, it'll probably eventually tear. but that stuff is actually a lot tougher than it looks in the picture. I think it'll survive a couple of long road trips. I don't need to use it all the time - just when I'm in the saddle for hours at a shot.
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Old 04-20-2012, 12:20 PM   #17
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Re: Seat Pad on the Cheap

It's yours - no worries. PM me mailing info and I'll get it out to you! I'll send you some thread, too. I got some artificial catgut to use - tough stuff!!! It came on a spool that is probably a lifetime supply for me so I'll wind some up for you.
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Old 04-20-2012, 12:52 PM   #18
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Re: Seat Pad on the Cheap

PM sent. Thanks.
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Old 04-20-2012, 01:41 PM   #19
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Re: Seat Pad on the Cheap

You might want to consider adding some small grommets to the holes where the hooks go, just to ensure no tearing. You can also check out the remnants bin at the craft/fabric store to see if you can find a bit of fabric to cover over it (like a sheepskin would) for under $5. You could also create a pocket/pillowcase out of the fabric and put the grommets through the fabric and the pad together.

If you don't have a tool to install the grommets, you might want to check with a local seamstress or shoe repairman. They can probably throw them on for just a dollar or two, and you'd be done.
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Old 04-20-2012, 02:30 PM   #20
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Re: Seat Pad on the Cheap

The grommets would be a good addition. Of course, if we keep adding these fancy improvements, pretty soon the price of this freebie will be hitting upwards of $5!
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