Russell, Mayer and Laam seats
Seats are a common topic of discussion on forums and i thought it might be useful to offer a bit of background, such as I know it on the seat makers in the area around Redding California.
By way of history, Bill Mayer senior designed the seat that is now produced by Russell (with changes I'm sure) many years ago. I used to see them advertised in magazines in the 70s. It uses springs in its construction as well as foam and became widely regarded as perhaps the most comfortable seat design produced for long distance touring.
Somewhere along the line he sold the desgin to the people who are now producing the Russell Day Long seat.
There are two Mayer brothers, Bill jr (aka Rocky) and Rick. Both of them also produce seats in seperate businesses. They also both have different approaches to seat construction.
Bill uses foam cores that he has poured, then shapes them for the rider and builds a cover for it and attaches it to the stock seat pan. I believe he has different density foams depending on rider weight.
Rick's approach is to cut down the stock foam in the seat then uses different density foams to create the seat shape. For example he uses a very stiff foam to create the 'wings' that give outward support and he uses a foam much like the 'pudgee' foam that hospitals use in mattresses to prevent bed sores in the center area. He then builds a cover to fit it.
Seth Laam is a new name to most, also from the Redding area. He worked with Rick for a number of years before going on his own. His build approach is similar to Rick's, adding different densities of foam where needed and building a cover to fit.
I've had seats from all of these sources and believe that any of them are capable of delivering a very comfortable seat. Most will tell you (even the other makers) if the rider is very heavy that the Russell would be the best choice because of the spring suspension system used.
Costs vary between them. In general I believe the Russell is most expensive. I believe that Bill Mayers is next the Rick's. At this point in time I believe Seth is the least expensive.
My most recent seat buying experience was for my 1400 Concours and i had Seth Laam do it. I have to say that I don't know that I have ever met anyone in the industry who is more focused on customer service. He likes to talk to the customer on the phone, after intitially telling him what I wanted he called me when it was going into production and then again on the day he shipped it and once more later to see what I thought of it. Each time emphasizing if there was something I didn't like that he would be happy to make any changes necessary. Hard to find that kind of service.
Hope that some of this might be useful to those contemplating having a seat redone.
'14 HD FLHR
'01 HD FXD
'09 HD XR1200
'79 BMW R100