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Rich's Custom Seat for r1200st


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And for my final post of the evening...


Most anyone with an R1200 ST will tell you that the stock seat sucks. (Of course, many other owners will repeat that claim with whatever model they happen to own.) But just as Light Magnesium Metallic / Sydney Blue Metallic is the fastest color, the r12st's stock seat is the worst. dopeslap.gif


As I mentioned in my ride to Seattle tale, I rode in to Rich's Custom Seats last week and got my stock seatpan customized for me.


I should also mention that I'm writing this as I would want to read it. I read over Mike's "review" of his Rick Mayer seat many times before deciding to get a Rick Mayer seat - which obviously didn't pan (no pun) out because our schedules didn't exactly align. When I make a big buying decision, I tend to devour everything I can on a topic, so hopefully this will help someone else out.


Also, I should mention that a few people on this board (I forget who it was) had mentioned Rich's in Seattle as an excellent custom seat designer/producer. However, his vinyl prices were (are) a bit higher than Rick Mayers, so that came into play. With that said, once you get into leather, the prices are comparable. (I figure that my seat would have run me roughly the same amount from RM without the gel pad.)


So, I mentioned that I had been thinking about a custom seat to the guys at South Sound BMW (Fife, WA), and they were quite positive about Rich (I figured a local dealer would know...) They said to stop by and talk to him. I figured it was a long shot as I was leaving Seattle the next morning.


Well, I popped in, figuring that I'd get some sort of "measurement" or whatever, and he'd say to mail him the seat in a few weeks after I was back in Utah. That wasn't the case at all... Rich simply said something to the effect of "well, these people have been waiting for 3 weeks for an appointment, but you're here now, so don't tell them, but let's do this now." Obviously the man agrees with me that a ride-in is preferrable if you're getting a custom seat.


He pretty much said that he really couldn't finish it that very day, but he'd have me on my way the next morning by noon. Considering I arrived late (30 min) the next morning, he was pretty spot on handing me my seat(s) at 12:15pm. But I'm jumping ahead.


With in a few minutes, my seat cover was off and I was sitting on the bike (with the seat in the high position) doing my best Master Yoda impression with him marking up the foam on the seat.


I should mention that Rich only does the "big picture" stuff himself. He has a couple of people working for him. He will make the major cuts to a seat, and then add foam here and there, but then he has an employee do sort of the tedious work (like pulling staples out of seat covers or getting the foam really smoothed out and symetrical etc.) He does all the major design elements personally. It seemed like a pretty good setup to me.


So this is the seat half-way through:


After he was finished cutting on the seat (a little more from the above picture), he sent me on a test ride. I came back and said it was better, but it was hitting my thighs wrong. 20 minutes later, I was on another test ride with a better fitting seat. I went on three test rides in total.


At the end of the day, I was on my way to the Mariners game with a seat with a gel pad in it and a "skin" of sorts on it, but no leather/vinyl. That was for the next day.


As I mentioned, I arrived 30 min late (9 am). It was then time to pick out the cover. I was definitely going with vinyl if I got the RM seat. The price difference there is quite large. However, Rich's leather wasn't much more, so I opted for leather. Rich said he had a carbon fiber blue leather that would look great with it, so we (the very helpful office manager whose name I'm kicking myself for not remembering right now) put a seat covered in that on my bike. It wasn't even close. However, there was a few shades of silver carbon fiber that looked good, so we tried those. One was pretty much spot on, so that's what I went with.


Now, I think I mentioned in Mike's post that I didn't like the basketweave vinyl look on a seat very much. Well, oddly enough, my opinion changed - and that's good because this really does look a lot like that. smile.gif


A few more pics (with links to larger ones if you're REALLY looking):








You'll notice that he took care (or had his sewer take care smile.gif ) to match the lines of the bike with the seat. That's not something I think would be easily done with a mail-in - especially since this was the first r12st he'd done, although he had ridden one when they first came out... and oddly enough didn't like the seat. eek.gif


I didn't have him do anything but match the seat cover on the pillion seat - mainly because I don't actually HAVE a "default pillion" at the moment, but a friend that rode pillion said she was quite comfy while we rode through some canyons yesterday.


And, ultimately, the most important part of this has to be the discussion of the comfort of the seat. The first 600 miles I put on my bike was on the standard seat. In talking with the dealer, he offered to swap me their low seat. I then put the next 1200 miles on the bike using the low seat, and it is indeed closer to being comfortable (but we're still talking about Boston vs. Chicago whereas Hawaii would be the actual location of comfort.) When I told the dealer I was still going to go the custom seat route, we swapped again.


So, is this seat my "Hawaii of comfort?" No, it's not. But with that said, I'm not sure that's possible on a bike.


What I will say is that it's miles ahead of the stock seat. I left his shop and rode 940 miles home - arriving around 3:30am. There is NO WAY I could/would have done that with the stock seat. I'd have been in an ice water bath in Boise around 10pm.


The seat feels almost hard at some points. I'm pretty sure part of this is just because of the stock foam that's left, and if prior experience is any indication, it will soften up a little. But I do like the gel pad. I tried sitting on one of them for a while at the shop on a hard folding chair, and it does make a huge difference. But getting back to my "hard" comment, it's tough to explain. It feels hard, but it doesn't hurt. The seat almost "wraps around" my butt in a way that distributes the weight much more evenly, and so it makes the whole seat feel hard - whereas the stock seat felt kinda soft in the two small areas where I actually contacted the seat. Perhaps I was just expecting a big old Lazyboy kind of feeling (which ultimately would NOT be a good thing), but instead I got something that fits me very well, so I don't need really cushy foam to compress and fit my body. So I guess that's my point: It doesn't feel like I expected - and perhaps I had incorrect expectations - but it is still much more comfortable to ride than it was before.


I could actually tell that the seat broke in on my trip. The first tank of gas wasn't as comfortable as I would have liked. However, I didn't really think about my butt for the rest of the trip. (Granted, that could have been because I was thinking about my legs, or my back, or my arms or what have you...) Regardless, 940 miles IS 940 miles.


Rich recommended I keep the seat in the high position (he did cut it down a LOT), and move it to the low position for one tank during long rides just to vary things with my legs. With that said, I still think I like it in the low position for normal riding. With the stock seat, I would feel very much "on top" of the bike when it was in the high position. I don't feel that any more, so the high position is actually usable for me now.


So, just 24 or so hours after finding his shop (which is actually not hard for a non-native to do), I rode out of there (with a complimentary bottle of Lexol - which is a nice touch) on my new custom seat headed home to Utah.


I really think that Rich (or Rich's...) does good work, and I don't regret the purchase AT ALL. I just figure that my $650ish investment will make my MUCH more expensive bike "investment" that much better. thumbsup.gif

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Nice write-up! I had both seats done on my '06 RT by Rich on June 23, 06, primarily because my wife complained of pressure points that actually cut off circulation in her legs on the stock R12RT back seat. Rich patiently measured, marked, and re-measured until, after five test rides, the fit was right. I also had him re-shape the stock BMW "back rest" on our topcase. This is now thicker and taller, providing more support in her natural riding position. We rode the bike home that evening, comfortable but not yet really appreciative of the huge improvement.


Early the next morning, we took off for the Lawman 1000 to Eugene, OR. The farther we got, the more we appreciated Rich's work. The real test came the following day when we got on the bike to ride home. When our butts hit the seat, neither of us felt that "second-day ache" that we had always gotten with the stock seat.


After a few thousand miles on Rich's seat, I can highly recommend his service and his product.

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Great report. Those who want to compare what the Rick Mayer seat looks like could check out my writeup of the Rick Mayer Seat. I'm not sure the photo links are working reliably, so you could also check out my photos on TheBoomBlog.


I like the way that your seat has been contoured to the lines of the ST--it strikes me as a better-looking seat than mine. cool.gif But, wow, that's a big difference in cost. ooo.gif While mine is covered in vinyl, which is considerably less costly, I had both the front and back sections recontoured and upholstered for less than $400. The other thing that I'd note is that you indicate that some of the cushioning is fairly firm. I'd actually describe the Rick Mayer as being pretty soft. It's definitely cushy and very comfortable for a couple hours at a time, but I haven't taken a long trip with it yet, so I can't pronounce a final verdict on how it would fare on a long day.


Anyway, well done! thumbsup.gif It's a nice-looking setup and it's good to see that a couple of options have emerged for the ST.

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  • 8 months later...

I enjoyed your article about Rich's seat. It was extremely informative and I'll put Rich on my list. I do think that being personally custom fitted made a big difference. I may try to do that someday.

Your seat looks really neat. I do like the color combination. Thanks for taking the time clap.gif

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Another custom R12ST seat from Rich's. He did this a few weeks back. Note the custom pillion seat - my GF/pillion came along and Rich had her do the "sit test" as well before he sculpted the seat for her. Leather cover. Haven't yet done the definitive comfort test - max ride so far was three hours. The seat was so comfortable I never gave it a thought. We have a four day trip scheduled for mid-June and will give it a thorough test and will report then. I do think that a ride-in fitting will always provide a better result than a mail-in so heading to the nearest reputable shop is probably better than trying to mail-order from a shop that can't see how you sit. CustomSeat.jpg

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That looks great. Thanks for the pic. Beautiful.


I suppose I should give a "10k mile update" one of these days. Suffice it to say: thumbsup.gifthumbsup.gif

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Very nice. The pillion arrangement looks very comfy: backrest and no "edges" on the topline of the saddle. wave.gif

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Yes, but like everything else to do with bikes . . . the more you spend, the more you spend. I told her that I now feel compelled to buy an intercom system for us just to make sure she doesn't fall asleep back there!

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  • 4 months later...
  • 6 years later...

I know it is a flash from the past, but I figured I'd give another view of a Rich's custom seat that turned out very well.



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I have one of his seats on my GS as well. I bought mine second hand, so it's not "custom fit" to me, but I love it. I have many 500-600 mile days on it, and two 900+ mile days on it. I couldn't ask for anything better.

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