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Tale of the Tail, or how I finally found the right seat. (way long)


Couchrocket

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OK, I'll admit it up front, I'm one of those people who sometimes does research by trying everything until I finally get it right. Not always the economical way to do things, but some things you just can't research w/o actually "trying" them.

 

So, here's my Tale of the Tail, in looking for the perfect saddle 'for me' on my R1150RT. I'm posting this and "telling tales on myself" in the hope that it might be instructive for someone else out there of "my stature" who rides an 11xxRT

 

Stats . . . . this is the important part of "my story:"

 

I'm 5'10" tall, 30" inseam on a good day, and weigh somewhere north of 275. In other words, blessed with the family gene for embonpoint.

 

I'm a devotee of Russell Day Long saddles and have had them on several bikes I've owned. They're wonderful, they're marvelous.... on a Valkyrie, and on a GL1800.

 

They're also wonderful, marvelous, etc., on an RT, but THEY'RE TOO DAMN TALL when made for a chubby guy like me with short legs.

 

To Russell's credit, they reworked my saddle twice at no charge... heck, I'm friends with them and even have helped them with some photography in the past. But, with a big enough tractor seat for my fat butt, with those springs in there that require a fixed amount of room, even with Russell and co. trying to keep it as low as possible -- I ended up with a GREAT seat, that even in the low position on the bike had me perilously on my tippy toes at a stop. I lived with this for a while, since the seat is so comfy, but finally had to "do something" as it made routine stops more "thrilling" than I like, and tricky ones on gravel, dirt, uneven surfaces, etc. "way more than thrilling" and down right unsafe.

 

Okay, so I have this beautiful Russell which would be perfect for a truly chubby guy who also happened to be 6'2" . . . sitting out in my garage.

 

So, since Rick Mayer is only a little farther down the road from where I used to live than Russell, I get myself a ride-in with Rick. Nice guy, great quality seats. He tells me right up front that I'm border line "too chubby" for his seats and wonders if I might be better off giving Russell another shot at adjustment. But I go for it and have him make me a nice seat. Very comfy!!! Great quality!!! AND, I CAN PUT MY FEET ON THE GROUND!!!! I'm a happy camper. But, Rick is right and in about 300 miles I'm squishing the seat flat, and by the end of the day it ain't so comfy any more. NOT THE SEAT'S FAULT, MY FAT BUTT'S FAULT. Great quality product. Just not the right one for "me." I should have listened to Rick.

 

Okay, okay, so I figure I'm screwed with the RT concerning a custom seat, and I buy off the board here a set of stock seats of the "Non-comfort" variety. I put seat jacks on the bike, and voilà! A seat that doesn't hurt my butt, and with which I can put my feet on the ground with it set in the middle position! Cool... I think. But, after about 200 miles the seat starts to be a pain in the butt. Big surprise, NOT. While better than the so called "comfort seats" the stocker becomes less than comfortable for an all day touring saddle. RATS.

 

So, I read about these "Air Hawk" things.... sounds interesting. The stocker w/ jacks is good for daily putting about, and if I get the Air Hawk for the "long days" I should be good. NOT. I now have an almost brand new Air Hawk out in the garage, right next to the Russell. I guess for some folk the Air Hawk might work great. For me it was weird. I messed with it for weeks trying to get "just the right amount of air" per their instruction sheet -- and never got it comfortable. It always felt mushy, and also like a bunch of stuff was wadded up under my private parts. Dang.

 

Well, I move south. Now located in greater LA LA Land, I visit my old friend Doug. He's got an LT, but also rides a KTM 950. He had Rocky Mayer (Bill Mayer Saddles) make him a seat for the 950. I sit on it. Man, the foam is stiff. It feels pretty good.

 

I make myself a ride-in appointment with Rocky. I explain my "tail of woe" (I love puns) to him, and sheepishly admit my folly in "owning one of everything" and ask him his opinion. Now, right up front one of the things I loved when I met Rocky is that he's a big guy! He says he's 285, but at least his height / weight chart doesn't tell him that he's about a foot short!

 

Okay, so he's now filled in on my dilemma and we start with my seat. Guess what? He's got different densities of foam. Some of them can even handle a guy of my Newtonian accomplishment. And, his seat design for the RT "to my mind at least" seems to be along the lines of what Russell does, albeit a little less tractor-like. And, no springs.

 

As the morning rolls along, we make a selection re foam density, we do about 3 test sittings on the bike, on test sit #4 we've got it close enough where Rocky points me to Highway 33 and says, "'Ride north young (old fat) man' for a while and see what you think. Ramble through the twisties long enough to really get a feel for how it is working." I do so. I'm amazed, I'm happy, I'm comfortable and planted on the bike, I CAN PUT MY FEET DOWN! I ride back to the shop.

 

Okay, that part's done. Now, "paper or plastic?" Uh, I mean, "leather or vinyl?" I tell him how I've never had problems with vinyl seats, that I don't sweat much for a fat girl, etc. and how as much as I love the look of leather when it is new, I'm not much into the look of "old leather" etc. I'm leaning in the direction of the basket weave vinyl on top and the plain stuff on the sides.

 

Rocky politely tells me that a good vinyl is fine, but for a fat guy, the basket weave doesn't do so good in the long run. (He was more diplomatic than that!) So, I go for the nice leather looking black vinyl stuff "all around."

 

Here's the end of my tale. My tail is now happy, and I have "happy feet" that reach all the way to the ground. I have enough miles / hours in the saddle to know it is a great "all day" seat. I feel planted on the bike.

 

So, if you're a fat guy like me with short legs, and reach to the ground is a problem, and you'd like a custom saddle . . . there might be something to be learned from my expensive journey to posterior paradise. grin.gif

 

Oh, and if you're a fat guy who's 6'3" have I got a deal for you on a Russell.

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Does 220 count as fat? I just did my first 500 mile ride (one sitting) on a stock 1100RT seat and THE PAIN. I had a comfort seat on my 1150RT and even that got a little rough after a number of hundred miles. smirk.gif

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Scott:

 

I generally try not to chuckle at others' misfortune, but I couldn't help laughing at your tail's tale. grin.gifthumbsup.gif I've been on similar quests. Mine go quite quickly from sublime to ridiculous.

 

"Newtonian accomplishment?" That's new to me and lmao.gif

 

Let the garage sale begin!

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Scott, I can thoroughly understand your situation. A month or so ago I bought my first BMW, a beautiful, dark blue 04'RT. It came with a Russel D/L seat. It is extremely comfortable but VERY thick. In the center position, while moving, the seat is perfect. At a stop however I am on my tip toes. Can't use the lowest seat position until I move the power commander the bike also came with. I'm in the process of getting used to it all, and will probably just make do.

 

By the way, I'll be the 5'11" 270lb guy staying a couple of doors down from you in Torrey! See you then. thumbsup.gif

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