Motorcyclist - - Contents - BY JERRY SMITH

I just picked up a 1983 XJ750 that was tuned up by the pre­vi­ous owner, so it runs re­ally well but looks a lit­tle shabby. I love the look of the ribbed bench seat, but since the bike sat out­side, it’s faded and cracked and the foam un­der­neath is crum­bling. Not only does it look ter­ri­ble, but it’s pretty un­com­fort­able to sit on. My dealer can’t get me a new one, and the seats I’ve seen on ebay aren’t in any bet­ter shape than the one I have. Are there any other op­tions? Gabe Hung Red­mond, WA


You’ve prob­a­bly al­ready dis­cov­ered that a new old stock (NOS) seat, pro­vid­ing you can find one at all, could end up cost­ing you more than you paid for the bike. There are, how­ever, cheaper ways to go.

We got lucky with our first search for a seat cover for your bike. Sad­dle­men (sad­dle­ sells a one-piece re­place­ment cover for $72. It’s de­signed to look like the orig­i­nal cover and is made of Sad­dle­hyde, a pro­pri­etary weather-re­sis­tant ma­te­rial. Sad­dle­men also sells a foam-re­pair kit to re­store dam­aged pad­ding, though it men­tions that if your pad­ding is more than “slightly” dam­aged you might need to buy two kits. Sad­dle­men also told us, “De­pend­ing on the level of dif­fi­culty, there’s a chance we can fit a reader’s seat into the line to be re­paired.” Read that as, “No prom­ises, but we can try.”

If you’re feel­ing handy, you could make your own seat pad with a new piece of foam, an elec­tric carv­ing knife, and the old foam for a tem­plate. Once you get the shape right, at­tach the cover to the pan with a sta­ple gun or take it to an up­hol­stery shop for fi­nal as­sem­bly.

In the event you de­cide you’re not that fix­ated on a stock-look­ing seat af­ter all, send the old one to a cus­tom seat maker like Bill Mayer (bill­may­er­sad­ for a to­tal re­build. BMS cus­tom builds a foam base and cover to fit your size, weight, and rid­ing po­si­tion. It won’t look stock when it comes back, but it’ll feel so good you might not care.

Got a ques­tion you want an­swered? Send it to mc­[email protected]­nier­

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