The poor man's better seat - dumpster diving at its best
I have a 2004 Wee with a stock seat. On long rides I've suffered all of the usual ailments. I slide forward, back up onto the passenger seat, stand, sit with my feet on the rear pegs, anything to relieve the discomfort. And whenever I get back from a long ride I sit down at the computer and start re-researching better seat options. Sheep skins, Air Hawks, gel seat cushions for cars, Seat Concepts, Corbin, Sargent, Barca Loungers (er, I mean, Russel Day Longs). But the price of admission as against my limited add-ons budget reins me in every time.
So, a month or so ago I received a bluetooth keyboard from China; a cheap Ebay purchase to use with an iPad, to make it a little more typing friendly. The keyboard came without a case, and in my briefcase or backpack, wouldn't have taken much abuse. So I conceived of ideas for an envelope or sleeve style case for it. I knew there was some quilting fabric around the house - I could just sew something together to protect the keyboard from bashing.
A day or so later was the night before garbage day in our neighbourhood, and I noticed neighbour had put out a wetsuit. Now neighbour is a rather greasy looking appliance repair guy who has seen the wrong side of a lot of super sized Big Mac meals. I'm sure he may have once fit this wetsuit, but no more.
So there it was by the curb. Wetsuits are made from neoprene, and this one was the jacket with farmer john style body. Neoprene is the material that my old netbook case was made of and it worked brilliantly for that. I figured that all I needed to do was cut a sleeve or a leg to length and slide the keyboard in - sew an end or a side and Bob's your uncle. And so I did.
Then I walked the rest of the wetsuit out to the garage and tossed over the seat of my Wee, just to get it out of the house and to keep it handy in case I needed to alter or try again on the keyboard case.
Hey! Wait a minute. Some dirt bike seats are neoprene covered, aren't they? And so they are.
The first effort was literally cutting a square out of the back of the jacket of the wetsuit and laying it over the seat. This is very thick neoprene, and the dense material adds significant protection to what become sharp seat edges over a long ride. However, the square moves around on the vinyl seat and if I stood on the pegs the thing would easily blow off. So I considered ways to secure it to the seat - velcro, duct tape, bungee cords or sewn on elastic straps.
Then I looked at the farmer john part of the wetsuit. The farmer john is like overalls, with a zipper that runs from the neck halfway down the chest. Below the zipper the wetsuit goes all the way around solidly. I cut across the shoulder seams and then all the way around at about the waist, then cut out what is the chest area including the zipper, leaving the back in tact with the complete waist as a circle. With a little scissoring to accommodate the rubber seat bottom bumpers the piece pulled over the stock seat like a t-shirt and fit like it was made for it. The part under the seat sits right over the battery compartment and the back up to the shoulders runs up on the top of the seat to the tank.
I went for a ride. Results were good. I'm sure it's not a RDL replacement but the price was right. Unfortunately, the neoprene still slid around on the vinyl seat, and if I stood on the pegs the front edge blew back and folded over. That didn't actually cause an uncomfortable seat, but it generally meant that I had to get it all flipped back in place while riding in order to sit as intended and get the full benefit of the neoprene over edges. The solution was to wrap the shoulder pieces over the front of the seat and staple them to the underside. I briefly thought this would be a problem as being too permanent, stapling right through the seat, getting soggy when wet, or otherwise damaging the seat pan, but no issue, and as many will know, removing a few staples from the seat pan plastic is fairly easy if I want to remove this thing.
So here are a couple of pictures. I would call this bodge job a success. It's added a very little bit of height - good for me as I am long of limb - and added significantly to pre-squirming riding time. The neoprene still moves around a little on the vinyl seat, but no more than an Air Hawk or a sheep skin. And thinking about it now, although I haven't had a rain ride with this thing on, neoprene is a little bit of a sponge but I don't think it should be any worse than the pooling I get on the stock vinyl seat. Lorry, of Outback Motortek fame suggested tucking some bubble wrap under it to add some cushioning, and I will try that some day soon.
If I was to do this again I would have kept more of the neoprene below the waist, so that it would cover farther back on the seat. And yes, I have the inside of the wetsuit material facing out. The original outside is royal blue and fairly faded.
'04 650, and goshdarnit it's fun - matte silver (#9 in the Silver 'Strom Club)
farewell to an '81 KZ550, '83 GPz750, '83 V45 Sabre, R-Reg GT380, '84 GPz550, early '70s DT175, and a '72 Peugeot 102
Last edited by KZDon; 07-31-2015 at 12:07 AM.