Motorcycle Seats and Seat Covers

Time and weather will eventually wear out your seat. You have options, depending on what needs to be replaced.

Baxter Cycle

Seat for a Norton Commando SS by RK Leighton.

Photo courtesy Baxter Cycle

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One of the easiest pieces to damage on a motorcycle is the seat. Even being careful, regular use coupled with the cruel effects of time and weather can leave your motorcycle seat looking less than perfect — and the old foam underneath breaks down over time, providing less support than you might like. What to do? Fortunately, you do have options. Seat foam OK? Then just replace the seat cover. Foam trashed? Replace the seat cover and the foam underneath. Seat pan rusted out? A new reproduction seat might be your best option.

1. Baxter Cycle carries a variety of complete seats, seat covers and seat foam for British bikes. They carry quality replacement seats from two different companies, P&P Seating and R K Leighton, both located in the U.K. The Norton Commando SS shown here sports an R K Leighton seat, which comes complete with chrome trim and gold Norton lettering on the back. Price: $435.

2. The folks at The Vintage Spoke have seat covers for a huge range of bikes, from BMWs to Zundapps. They make a variety of OEM-style seat covers and seat parts, with more than 950 vintage seat covers in stock. The cover we ordered for the 1974 Yamaha DT125 Enduro we’ve been nursing back to health was a perfect fit. Made from quality vinyl, the stitching matched the design of the original and the Yamaha logo lined up perfectly. Price: $49.90.

3. Way back in 2007 we began our “Rejuvenation” project, getting a tired 1971 Triumph TR6C back on the road. The seat pan was riddled with rust, so instead of trying to fix it, we called up the folks at Walridge Motors, who carry a variety of seat parts from covers to bases, foam to trim, and complete seats. We ordered a complete seat made by P&P Seating in Birmingham, U.K., a high-quality reproduction virtually identical to the original, complete with the gold Triumph logo on the back. Good looking and a perfect fit, it’s held up excellently despite plenty of miles. Price: $252.45.

4. Klempf’s British Parts carries a large variety of seats, seat covers, seat foam and other seat parts for British bikes including Norton, Triumph, BSA and more. Shown here is a reproduction seat for a Norton Commando Interstate, an excellent option if the seat pan on your Norton is rusted or wrecked beyond repair. All new, these high-quality seats are made in England using steel seat pans. Price: $468.75.

5. Specializing in new-old-stock and reproduction parts for Honda and other Japanese motorcycles, CMS offers seats for a variety of classic motorcycles. Shown here is their Honda CB500 seat. A showroom-perfect reproduction of the stock CB500 seat, it features a metal pan and is made to exacting standards. The pleated top matches the original design and it comes with a matching strap. There’s no Honda logo on the back, but that could easily be added with a little creativity (and a stencil). Price: €249 (approx. $282 at press time).

6. HVCcycle carries complete seats, seat covers, seat foam and other seat parts for various Yamaha, Kawasaki and Suzuki motorcycles. Shown here is a complete seat for the 1973-1975 Yamaha RD250 and RD350. The seat pan is made from durable fiberglass with a gel coat on the bottom and includes threaded mounting points for your old hinges and latch, while the foam is formed to be an exact copy of the original. The cover is an OEM-style heat-molded design just like the original, and it comes with a hand strap and a stencil for adding “Yamaha” to the rear, if desired. Price: $450.

7. Steadfast Cycles offers seat covers and seat parts including seat foam, seat pans, springs, hinges and more for many British bikes. Steadfast also offers complete seats for British bikes, like this seat for the 1974 Norton Commando Interstate. Made in the U.K., this high-quality seat comes complete with a waffle-pattern top and a seat strap, and it has the Norton logo in gold on the back. Price: $390.

8. Z1 Enterprises offers seats, seat covers and seat parts for certain Japanese classics, including this high-quality reproduction seat for the Kawasaki Z1, which can also be used on KZ900 and early KZ1000 models with the addition of a latch adapter kit that Z1 also sells. The seat’s slightly stepped design helps shorter riders reach the ground a bit easier, and It comes with an accompanying seat strap. The welded pattern on the seat mimics the original pattern found on Z1 seats. Price: $157.99. MC

Custom seat services from Sargent Cycle Products

Sargent Cycle Products offers upgraded seats along with reproduction seats for select old bikes. They also offer their Custom Seat Service, which we wanted to give a try. Editor Landon Hall recently acquired a 1978 BMW R100/7. Despite being a fine-running old Airhead showing some 87k miles it’s cosmetically a little rough, including the seat, with collapsed foam and a cover that was coming apart in several places. A variety of options are available from Sargent, including pan and foam repair plus a variety of stock and custom covers. We had Sargent add their Super Cell Atomic foam at the front and back of the seat (middle photo at left) before adding the new rubber Edgeguard, which protects the new vinyl cover from the edges of the metal seat pan. The seat was then covered in nylon-backed foam to seal the foam composite together before a moisture barrier was installed and the cover was steam-fitted to the seat. We requested a cover with front-to-back stitching to mimic some of the earlier BMW models like the R75/5. After the addition of the Chrome-Tone knock on trim, our seat was packaged up and sent back, ready for many more years of use. Prices vary depending on the condition of your seat and the services requested, but our upgrades came in at $294.95. That’s nearly the price of a reproduction seat, but going this route you can choose your upgrades a la carte, and we wound up with a great-looking seat that offers hours more comfort in the saddle thanks to the better foam.