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Discussion Starter #1
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.
 

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Good information here. I personally already have a Russell on my DL-650, but I know they do not make seats for many bikes. Besides, variety is the spice of life and customer service is very important to me. I might have to give Seth Laam a try if I get another bike when it comes time for a custom seat.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Good information here. I personally already have a Russell on my DL-650, but I know they do not make seats for many bikes. Besides, variety is the spice of life and customer service is very important to me. I might have to give Seth Laam a try if I get another bike when it comes time for a custom seat.
Seth is a good guy. I believe at this time he is the least expensive. His workmanship is outstanding. His seats have been quite popular with the 1400 Concours group and numerous reports can be found on the Concours Owners Group forum.
 

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We need a sticky listing custom, semi-custom, and production aftermarket seats.

Thanks for telling us about Laam. More info, please.

You know of the custom seat maker in Oregon, Mr. Ed's Moto in Albany? One man operation but good rep.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Seth is pretty much a one man shop. He says he would like to stay fairly small because he feels he can keep it more personal that way. I believe at this point in time he is the least expensive of the ones I've mentioned.
Laam Custom Motorcycle Seats

I know of Mr. Ed's. I grew up in Albany and my recollection is that he did auto upholstery under that name for many years, at least I assume its the same guy. I've seen his bike seats but have no direct experience with them.

I do know that Rick Mayer has had some complain about his customer service. I've had him do 5 seats on different bikes, including the two 650 Vstroms I've owned, a 955i Tiger and a GL1800. I've done both ride in and mail in seats.
I never had a problem with him, he did what he said he would and in one case he went back in a seat to modify it at no cost as he said he would.
I think like many people who are running a small operation and working for themselves he has a fairly strong personality and I could imagine how with some people there could be conflict. One also has to remember that customers aren't always the most reasonable people in the world when it comes to their expectations. Motorcycle owners are no exception and especially when behind the anonymity of a keyboard.
Since this is going beyond just the California seat makers I should also mention Rich's which is located in Seattle. I had him build a seat for my SV1000. It was done in CF leather and was a very nice piece of work and extremely comfortable considering the more sporting nature of that bike. I don't know much about his construction methods except that he does use the stock pan. I probably know most about Rick Mayers only because I watched him build three of my seats and got a pretty good idea of the process.
 

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Tall Man's reference to Rick Mayer's phone communication rings true (pun intended) because most of the time when he is in the shop he's actually working on seats instead of sitting at a desk waiting for the phone to ring. It's a small operation run out of a small shop out in the boonies. He offered me coffee while waiting for my seat to be finished, and when I subsequently asked about a bathroom he directed me to a tree out back of the shop.

So it's a pretty low-key enterprise, and there's nothing wrong with that. I'm very happy with the seat, BTW.
 
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