jaytee Posted October 6, 2007 Share Posted October 6, 2007 Wow! What a trip! Just got back from a 1300+ mile loop from southern California, across the Sierra Nevada, through Hollister, over the coastal range, across the Golden Gate Bridge, and down the coast on Highway 1 - what a trip! I will post pics and comments in a different thread. This thread is to talk about the "reason" that I went on the trip in the first place: a custom seat from Corbin for the R1200ST. First off, a little history... I have owned 5 Corbin seats before this one, one of which I did a ride-in custom fitting for. That seat was on a Corbin pan, and was pretty straight forward. The ST was a completely different story. First off, no one makes a pan for the ST - there just aren't enough bikes in production to justify the outlay of cash, I suppose. So, the seat was going to have to be made on my pan. That presents both opportunity and limitations, but more on that later. After our first day driving up 395 and across on the 9-mile canyon road over the 9200ft Sherman Pass, we dropped down through the rolling foothills of the Sierra, and on across the San Joaquin Valley to Hollister. The next morning, bright and early, we arived outside their doors: We pulled into the bike bays where my ST and my riding partner's Roadstar Warrior were joined by a Buell Ulysses, a brand new GS, a Dynaglide, and an ST1300. Alan (my riding partner) was there to have his 3yr old Corbin stinger adjusted for a few niggling concerns. Since the Corbin doesn’t make a pan for the ST, they have to use the existing pan. In order to make sure that the front and back seat match up properly the technician carved away most of my foam, leaving a 1/4 inch border all around the seat about 2-3 inches high. Then with paper and tape, he made a well to pour the foam. The type of foam they use is poured in a liquid, and then it rises and sets in about 10-15 minutes. This is where the first difference comes in. Normally, they have a seat mold where they assemble the pan and pour in the foam which rises a bit larger than the mold, achieving the typical Corbin density (fairly hard). But on my seat, without a top mold, it looks more like a cake. The result is a somewhat less-dense foam. The shaper then begins to cut down the seat to match what he thinks would be a good starting point. After an hour or two of sitting on it and asking for many changes, the rough blanks are finally done. In the end, I had them cut additional foam from a solid (hard) block, and put that higher density foam on my seating surface as I wanted a firmer seat than their uncompressed foam would allow. I did leave the less-dense foam on the back seat as my wife prefers a softer feel. My goals for the front seat shape was to remove the crown in the top front which gets pretty uncomfortable on the 'boys' after a half-hour riding, and to curve up the back in order to keep my hips from rolling backwards under vigorous acceleration. After much fiddling, I opted for the seat in the lower position in front, and the higher position in back. I am a little concerned about the inability for the rubber spacer block under the seat to properly support the middle of the pan, and I may eventually get another one and cut it down to properly fit. The back seat I wanted to eliminate the forward slide of the passenger, and make a nice comfy butt-cup for my wife who is ~5'6" and 115-120lbs. This was much easier to accomplish, especially because my wife wasn't there to complain! This is the point at which he began the mockup for the cover. I needed to pick materials for the cover. After thinking of navy-blue and grey, and several other blue-gray combinations, I finally settled on a more conservative textured black for the top cover, and a very soft almost glove-like dark grey leather on the sides. I knew I wanted stitching but most of the stitching patterns they had were too... flamboyant, and inappropriate for the BMW, IMHO. The pattern I liked the most was actually on the ST1300 which was having his foam reworked. So they pulled that template and shrunk it for my seat. It took about 30 minutes of shaping, reworking, and stretching to get the cover on to the assembler's satisfaction. They had to use staples instead of their normal rivets because of the way the stock pan differs from their pans. One advantage to using the stock pan is that everything latches up nice and proper. Also, the stock pan is considerably lighter than the Corbin manufactured pans. Unlike most of Corbin’s seats, even the ride-in fittings, there are no templates for my seat. Every step is literally hand-made. It means a lot of effort goes into this seat, which took from 8am to 2:30pm to complete (mainly due to my pickiness on seat shape). It also means not everything is perfect. There are slight variations in symmetry (Although you can not tell from first look), and the fit is not 100% uniform. Finally finished, the issue of price came up. Remember that they made this seat completely custom with multiple foam densities, and essentially took an entire work day for one of their 3 custom seat technicians to complete. I already knew that they claim not to up-charge custom seats, but there is no price list for the R1200ST. My expectation was that given the ST has a 2-part seat, the price would be similar to the RT. Without heat the front would be $439, and the back would be $299. So I had budgeted $750 for the seat. Well, since they couldn't find an ST, they used the F800ST as the model for price (which is a small one-piece seat) and charged me.... drum roll please.... only $399!!!!!! Wow. Well, I tipped the shaper/assembler a $20, and got a couple free meals from their cafe (very good food), got a guided tour through the facility, and chatted with Mr. Corbin himself (who was out poking around because an insurance adjuster was there to renew his liability insurance). I was informed that they had no broken bones in over 40 years there, and that even though Mr. insurance man was unhappy with the full-access Corbin gives its customers to the shop, Mr. Corbin was not going to change that. After ponying up my 4 Benjamins, we took off to give the new seat a true test. Up to Santa Rosa, then the next day across to Stewart's point, and down the coast to Santa Cruz, then along Highway 1 through Monterey, Big Sur, and Morro Bay, then back home. Total trip: 1400 miles, 900 of which were on my new seat. IT was a night and day difference, with no soreness or aches from the seat at all. The seat felt wonderful, although I admit the slight lack of symmetry bugs, but I know it’s a hand-made item and not something from a perfect factory mold. Rating: * * * * - Materials * * * - Fit and Finish * * * * * - Comfort * * * * - Style * * * * * - Cost Total Rating: 4.2 Stars And finally.... The seat itself. I hope you enjoyed this picture tour and review of my new Corbin seat. It was a blast and a great reason to get the bike out for its first road trip. JT Link to comment
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