Stock seat modification - Stromtrooper Forum : Suzuki V-Strom Motorcycle Forums
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post #1 of 8 Old 04-09-2006, 02:06 AM Thread Starter
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Stock seat modification

I've spent the last couple days hacking up my stock DL1000 seat, and upgraded the foam with Sunmate and Pudgee. The inspiration for this project came from this great thread: http://11109.rapidforum.com/topic=109076102602 and I want to give full credit in advance to my techniques to this author.

I'm not going to go into as much detail as the post above since you can read there if you want more details.

The plan was acomplish three things: 1) Replace the existing stock foam with high quality foam for a more comfortable ride, 2) Lower the seat, and 3) To be able to reuse the stock seat cover after I'm done.

Here is the stock DL seat, which hurts most people's butts after an hour:



My first task (after removing the cover) was to mark out the lines to guide me during cutting. My goal was to lower the seat height by 5/8 of an inch. To do this, I used a level (bike on center stand) across the seat in several locations, and then marked 5/8" below the level. Then filled in the lines. The side marks are to remove the extra padding so it's easier to reach the ground with my legs:



Another view from the side. Notice that the mark on the back part is only about 1/2" and less towards the back. There's less foam there. Lowering BOTH the front and back rider area the same amount (or close) is critical in order to reuse the stock cover!:



Beginning to cut. The electric kitchen knife works well. Since the blade does not reach all the way across you have to be carefull to not let the end of the blade dig in too much during "blind" cuts. You can always fix that later! It's important to constantly watch the near line and far line (back and forth) while cutting, otherwise you will find yourself cutting too far into the foam:



Here we have the rough cutting done. There's a LOT of work to go



Another shot of the rough cut. Don't over do it, you will have time to tweak later after the new foam is installed:



Now mark the cutout lines on the bottom. The pattern leaves the supporting sections in tact:



I have now cut up through the foam to make holes in the seat, and marked lines 1" from the bottom since the foam I'm using is 1" Sunmate Med-Firm foam. This line is used later for the second layer:



Here I have cutout the Sunmate foam and glued them into the holes with 3M foam glue, and put weights on since the bottom of the seat tray is arced. 3M foam glue is better the contact cement because you have time (30 seconds) to mess with it:



Here's another look with the first 1" pads in place:



Next I have marked lines to make for a larger second layer of Sunmate foam. I use the razor tool shown to help cut out the bottom area, and use the electric knife to make most of the top cuts:



Cutout in the front is done. No cutout (larger area) needed for the back:



Here I have glued in the 2nd layer of 1" Sunmate foam in the front and the back. The back sticks up beyond the seat and will be trimmed later. Notice how much Sunmate I have left over to redo my office chair! And if I'm carefull I'll be able to have enough of the Pudgee (greenish foam) to do the top layers:



Now I will use contact cement to glue down the foam edges on the bottom. See the yellowish glue in a couple places. Contact cements is best here becuase it sticks instantly so I don't have to hold the foam down:



Now I have installed the top layer of Pudgee foam. This foam is the best top layer. It's .5" foam. Notice how I have done this: In order to keep the new height of the seat (5/8" lower), have cut down into the seat all the way across to a level of 5/8". This is because the Pudgee foam is .5" and I want to be able to trim the stock foam down to meet the Pudgee:



Here's a side angle of the Pudgee top layer. The contour of the foam is exactly like stock (except 5/8" lower) so that the stock cover will fit later. The rest is still rough sanded, and is a little higher then the Pudgee so I can sand it down to the level of the Pudgee:



Next comes the final sanding. The belt sander (80 grit paper) is a BIG help in making things flat and nice quickly. Then the little sander is good for fine tuning. Be very carefull with the belt sander! You have be constantly aware of where the sander edges are or you are going rip a big gouge in the foam and/or strip the paint off of your side plastics!



The belt sander makes pefectly flat lines quickly. Especially usefull below the Pudgee which I didn't show. Here the sanding is DONE. Whew, it took a lot of carefull sanding with both tools, cutting with the knife and hand sanding is some areas. Note, you can't really sand the Pudgee so don't even try. Instead use your electric knife to cut it. Pudge is too rubbery to sand:



Another side view of the finished seat. Looks like the stock seat doesn't it?:



Now it's time to hope that the stock cover still fits. For this you need three things to do the best job: 1) A heavy duty stapler with 3/8" staples (not 1/4" like in the stock seat), 2) A bunch of sping clamps, 3) a hair dryer.

1/4" staples don't work. They are too short and will drive you crazy if you try to use them. Instead use 3/8". You can get the clamps at Home Depot for $10 for about 15 of them in a bag. Use ones with a larger flat contact area instead of older metal clamps, so the metal edges don't dig into the cover. You need a lot of clamps so that you clamp down the cover (using the hair dryer to warm the cover), so that you can adjust the cover with no wrinkles before stapling.

Once all the clamps are on (sorry no pic), start stapling and removing the clamps as you go. If everything goes well your seat should look like this:



There are a few imperfections here and there that you can feel if you run your hand over some areas, but they are hard to see unless the light is just right.

I am VERY happy with how this project turned out. It took about 12 to 15 hours (on and off) to complete but was a lot of fun. Sitting on the seat it feels a lot more comfortable and I can almost get my feet flat-footed on the ground now. Big improvement.

Hopefully tomorrow I can ride if the weather doesn't suck like it did today. If so I'll write a little update on how the seat feels. But I'm pretty sure my butt will love it.

'06 DL1000 - Grey
'89 GSXR 1100
'85 GS550E (Suz)
'75 Yamaha MX250B
'73 Yamaha MX125

Keep your feet on the pegs and your hand on the throttle.
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post #2 of 8 Old 04-09-2006, 02:58 AM
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ChrisW123, that is quite a project. A very good write-up too. Keep us updated on the bun factor. Ride On, Ride Safe.

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post #3 of 8 Old 04-09-2006, 05:47 PM Thread Starter
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I rode for about 3 hours today and I must say the "bun factor" is a lot better!

Usually after about a half hour to an hour my rear would start to get "numb" and I'd have to move around or find another position, but with the new seat no numbness at all for the entire time. Maybe a little towards the end of my ride but nothing like before.

And like others have said, I feel like I am more "connected" to the bike. Unlike the stock foam with is springy (spring back immediatly) this foam is memory foam which does not spring back immediatly. This gives a more solid connection to the bike. I love feeling the feedback of the road with this seat. In addition by lowering the seat about 5/8" I feel like I am more "in" the bike instead of sitting on top of it if that makes sense.

I used 3 foam layers:

top: .5" pudgee
middle: 1" med-firm sunmate
bottom: 1" med-firm sunmate

And I'm wondering if using 1" Medium sunmate for the middle layer would have been better. I'm 190lbs and although the seat doesn't feel hard maybe the Medium would be better. In warmer weather however the foam will be more pliable so maybe medium would then be too soft. Hard to tell.

This is a pretty good upgrade and I'm very happy with the results. Total cost was about $80 for the foam and the 3M foam glue. The Pudgee foam is the most expensive at about $40 for a 16" x 16" x .5" piece, but it's a must.

'06 DL1000 - Grey
'89 GSXR 1100
'85 GS550E (Suz)
'75 Yamaha MX250B
'73 Yamaha MX125

Keep your feet on the pegs and your hand on the throttle.
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post #4 of 8 Old 05-08-2006, 10:10 PM
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Since I didnt have a spare seat I was'nt quite so adventours and only did some triming. I found I was always whanting to slide back more in the seat than it would allow so after seeing how the foam can be sanded quite easily on this post I got out the 4 inch grinder with sanding disc.

PS borrowed picture from you to show change as I never thought to take a shot before hand


I sanded the horn away so I can slide back in the seat to where ever is most comfortable, this also has my butt on a wider part of the seat. When I first hoped on after triming I thought " I was hopeing it would be more comfortable than this" but Ive found unlike before I can ride 700 km in a day with no real discomfort where before after 2 hours I started skwirming around every few minutes trying to get circulation back into my butt [without success I might ad] I'm sure memory foam would make it heaps better still and I might get around to it but just this simple no cost mod has made the seat a no big issue instead of a " I gota do something about this bloody seat"

Suzuki 1982 GSX e400, my first
Kwaka 1982 Z 750 terrible bike
Yamy 1980 XJ 650 great bike
Suzi 1980 GS 450 got me around
Suzi 2002 GS 500 a real let down
Suzi 2004 DL 650 now this is a bike
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post #5 of 8 Old 05-08-2006, 11:21 PM Thread Starter
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Great idea Aussie! I didn't really think about doing that in my "project", but it looks like a good idea. I was thinking that I wanted to keep the stock contours as much as possible so the cover would fit good after, but it looks like your cover fits very well with your mod!

This is a great "optional" feature for others to think about when doing their seat. I may even do this myself. I've noticed the same thing as you, where it would be nice to slide back a little further sometimes without hitting that "wall". I think I will do this as a matter of fact, good idea. I'm just dreading redoing those staples again, it was a nightmare getting them back on. Maybe my stapler is just a piece of junk, not sure what the problem was. It seemed like half of them didn't penetrate and I was cussing and pulling them out with pliers, re-stapling, only to have them not go in again! :x

'06 DL1000 - Grey
'89 GSXR 1100
'85 GS550E (Suz)
'75 Yamaha MX250B
'73 Yamaha MX125

Keep your feet on the pegs and your hand on the throttle.
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post #6 of 8 Old 05-09-2006, 03:12 AM
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My stapler was the same only half driveing the staples but it was enough that I could use the pliers to push the staples home easily. Only thing you need to watch is you dont cut out too much where the seat is recessed for the under seat storage or you will be on hard plastic with no foam.

Suzuki 1982 GSX e400, my first
Kwaka 1982 Z 750 terrible bike
Yamy 1980 XJ 650 great bike
Suzi 1980 GS 450 got me around
Suzi 2002 GS 500 a real let down
Suzi 2004 DL 650 now this is a bike
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post #7 of 8 Old 05-09-2006, 08:42 AM
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I changed the seat padding on a previous bike and found that an electric stapler is critical for getting the seat cover back on. It'll cost you a few bucks but its worth its weight in gold. Makes re-installing the seat cover the easy part of the job.

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post #8 of 8 Old 05-09-2006, 08:41 PM Thread Starter
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Yeah, I think I bought the CHEAPEST stapler ("heavy duty") they had. I figured I wouldn't use it that much, but in fact I've used it on several other projects as well over the years.

I may look for something (electric) that can do staples but also drive nails up to ??? size, etc. That way at least you have something you may use for other things as well.

'06 DL1000 - Grey
'89 GSXR 1100
'85 GS550E (Suz)
'75 Yamaha MX250B
'73 Yamaha MX125

Keep your feet on the pegs and your hand on the throttle.
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