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Discussion Starter #1
I have two of these seats - the one on the bike and another that's pretty rough - the cover is shot. I'm going to set the good one aside and modify the other. The plan is to pull the cover and reshape the foam and have a local upholstery guy recover it. I'd like to stick with the OE pan - the hinge, lock, etc. But, I'd like to shorten the seat by about 4.5". This is where it I've got questions...

If I cut the pan, I lose the rounded, turned down edge at the back. My guess is that makes upholstering the seat tough. Can I just notch and bend the end to recreate that shape. Or, should I enlist the welding skills of a buddy and replace that end?

The bike:
1XjPUtA.png

The seat:
yN1DEym.png
 

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Leave your foam overhanging the pan by 1/4 - 1/2", to leave a soft edge for the material. Even if you don't, the upholstery guys should have some edging material to put over the sharp edge.

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have you thought about making a fiberglass replica of the steel pan? Or better yet sourcing a different pan that you can modify?

For instance I have found these old Corbin Gentry "chopper" or touring seats have shorter than stock pans, are metal or fiberglass, and have bolt on hinges and latches that fit the stock bike. Case in point:
https://www.ebay.com/itm/1974-Honda-CB550-CB-550-Four-H345-seat-Corbin-Gentry/230667499286?hash=item35b4dab716:g:PvsAAOxybLpRhe47

for years I picked up these seats for $10-$30 so I wouldn't pay $60 plus shipping for a beat chopper seat literally nobody wants. just go to swap meets, or keep checking CL for them, or try SOHC4.net forums.

and then there is always this option:
https://texavina.com/cb550-cb550k-74-76/
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Great info - leaving the 1/2', having the upholstry guy trim the edge.

I like that $75 seat... more than my current, not as much as the planned seat - I do want to lop off the 4.5" and I want dark brown (the burgundy on the tank/side covers is going away)

Those ebay seats... Those are tempting. At $180-200, it's hard to beat. I'm sure, after my time, (buying that electric kitchen/carving knife), paying the upholstry guy... maybe it'd be cheaper to make/modify my own... maybe. Have you heard anything about those seats? Quality good? Okay?

Thanks!
 

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also, how close is this to what you want?

https://www.ebay.com/itm/1972-1976-Honda-CB500-Four-K1-K2-CB550-CB550K-Seat/264234473563?hash=item3d859a185b:g:mzYAAOSwxupchj-J&LH_ItemCondition=4

I think an upholstery shop is gonna charge you way more than $75 for a custom seat cover and foam job.
Hey Geeto, I tried to send you a message, but your forum inbox is full.
Can you please email me, so I'll have your address, to ask you a question about BMWs?
Or text, 609-668-8530
Thank you
Mark Kouri
www.MerlinCycleworks.com

Or

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:I been repairing these things since I was 12 years old, the concept of hiring an upholsterer to give me a foam job lol

Find an old leather couch or chair that is bound for a landfill, strip the upholstery leather off that and stretch it over whatever shape you end up making, if you can get away without a stitched seam you are laughing. Should not be all that difficult if you retain enough of the original fasteners and use liberal amounts of contact cement.
Note: leather is only waterproof if you put a waterproof backing on it, if you put it directly on foam the foam will soak water :| and you will need a rain cover
or only ride indoors. You can buy adhesive back sheet rubberized waterproof membrane stuff that is used in construction to back the leather, stretch it over the saddle first so that it holds your leather into shape and not out of shape :|

If anybody walks up to your bike and smells your saddle to see if it is real leather, make sure you point and yell pervert!
 

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Making a seat is so easy. I use marine-grade foam. It's dense, for good support, holds it's shape, and won't hold water.
Rarely does an eBay seat match the contours of your frame, and look cheap, in my opinion.
If you go way back on my Instagram, you can see step by step of my method for making a seat. Merlincycleworks on Instagram.

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There are lots of metal working videos on youtube that will show you how to put that lip back on there if you want. Speaking of marine... There are a couple of videos at the bottom of this page. I have bought material from them and are good to deal with. That material that stretches in both directions would make your life easier if you want to do it yourself.

https://www.sailrite.com/How-To-Projects-Guides/Projects-and-Tips/RV-Auto-Projects
 

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I can't picture the transition from seat to fender after the cut, but you might want to consider the aesthetics before you cut anything and do your seat fabrication with it in mind. The only thing I'd add to the points above is that I usually hollow a spot in the foam and add a gel pad insert. Find a old "car coat", nice, soft leather in large sections.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I can't picture the transition from seat to fender after the cut, but you might want to consider the aesthetics before you cut anything and do your seat fabrication with it in mind. The only thing I'd add to the points above is that I usually hollow a spot in the foam and add a gel pad insert. Find a old "car coat", nice, soft leather in large sections.
You're right woodsman. 4.5" is the wrong number - cuts too much off. that's the most that can be cut off without getting into the OE mounting points. 2-2.5" is the likely amount that'd be sliced off.

You guys got me wanting to do this myself!
 

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It's a lot easier to handle if it turns out crap and you don't have to pay large $ for something you don't really like,
+ if you make it yourself and it needs changes you know exactly how to do it :| seems like a no brainer.
 

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You guys got me wanting to do this myself!
It's pretty much the only way you'll probably "save money". Plus skills development so that's a plus.

I'm teaching myself how to sew and recovering our bar-stools in home so I can learn to do motorcycle upholstery. I have a friend who does it as side work and she has no shortage of business.
 

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It's pretty much the only way you'll probably "save money". Plus skills development so that's a plus.

I'm teaching myself how to sew and recovering our bar-stools in home so I can learn to do motorcycle upholstery. I have a friend who does it as side work and she has no shortage of business.
My guy charges $200-$350 for fancy coverings, so there's money to be made.

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It's pretty much the only way you'll probably "save money". Plus skills development so that's a plus.

I'm teaching myself how to sew and recovering our bar-stools in home so I can learn to do motorcycle upholstery. I have a friend who does it as side work and she has no shortage of business.
If you are thinking about a machine. I bought one of those cheap chinese ones off eBay and it has worked out ok so far. It was easy to amortize the cost because I used it to sew together a winter boat cover for a 35' wood barge. Those videos at Sailrite are pretty good. They have generic ones on different types of seams and excellent ones on how to make patterns. They also sell pattern material that is clear plastic, but has threads running diagonally through it so it retains its shape. Not necessary for a M/C seat, but great for larger stuff. As for a machine. I'm sure your friend can guide you. but try to get one with a walking foot and one that will sew a fairly wide stitch so the material won't pucker. While learning... basting tape was my best friend. Not great for M/C seats because if any of it sticks out of the seam it will collect crap, but when trying to shove material that is 10' wide though the machine it helps. Another thing I found about the sewing machine is you need one that has some grunt at very low speed. Sometimes when going around a tight corner I'll just crank it by hand.
 

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Geeto, watch the how it's made video, making a horse riding saddle.
Note how they double thread stitch the leather ;)


Leather works pretty good at covering a cow, would be a bitch to cover a cow with woven synthetic material :|
 

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Leather is pretty simple to work with. Sharp tools, tough thread, hot rocks, water, add effort with patience.

You might want to do a rough model before you start. I find corrugated cardboard works, squishing sections of the air tubes helps form it. And in Canada we get duct tape training from our youth so no brainer there.
 
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