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Sargent Backrest Pad Modification


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Readers Digest Version:


Bought a standard Sargent backrest for RT and it was way too thick, 3x the depth of the OEM. Found out after the fact Sargent will make a custom model, but doesn't make a 'skin' to put over the OEM. Looking at the back of the OEM pad it appeared to be a pretty simple 'staple-in place' around the perimeter affair, much like the saddles, so I opted to cannibalize the one I bought to create my own "cover" for the OEM vs. paying a re-stock fee, shipping, etc. to exchange the one I had for a custom.


Having never done any saddle upholstery, I thought it turned out pretty well:




Other photos:


- A bit more of a side view

- The view of the backside before installation

- The left-overs



More than you want to know...


When I bought our new-to-us RT in August I knew that I'd need to either lower the suspension or get a custom saddle to deal with my somewhat short inseam. Since I had a Corbin on my CBR1100 and recently put a Rick Mayer on my R11S, I thought I'd give Sargent a try as they seemed to be pretty popular on the RTs.


Being a bit anal, I also ordered the 33L backrest pad to replace the BMW OEM pad so the new saddles and pad would have the same fabric and piping. Just going from the photos I was able to find I assumed (wrongly) the Sargent backrest pad would be a direct replacement for the OEM model.


When it arrived I was surprised to see it was a bit over 1" thick, nearly 3x as thick as the OEM pad and it also used a completely different bolt pattern that required adding 3 new holes to the top case. After doing the initial installation is was pretty clear the pad was way too thick: even without gear on, my tookus couldn't rest where it was suppose to on the new pillion saddle... which meant Debbie's wouldn't either.


I contacted the vendor (great pricing by the way) and they didn't know of any other options, only what was in the catalog so my recourse with them was return it for a refund, less a 10% restocking fee. Well, that wasn't going to work, I still wanted to have a backrest pad that matched the saddle fabric.


So, I contacted the folks at Sargent and learned that while they didn't offer a simple 'skin' to put over the OEM pad, they would make a custom backrest pad that would be the same thickness as the OEM pad. Hmmm. Given that I didn't want to sink any more $$ into this seat upgrade the rep at Sargent and I both had the same thought: just cut up the backrest pad I already had and use the outer cover as a new cover for the OEM saddle.


So, that's what I did. With electric staple gun and razor blade in hand, I cannibalized the brand new, $80 backrest and used the outer cover as a second cover over the OEM backrest's vinyl cover. To get the material to lay flat I had to remove the zipper and take care to position the piping seams around the outer perimeter of the OEM pad, but the end was about a 9/10th solution... which is to say, it was good enough.


Lesson Learned: Don't assume too much based on a bad photo of a product on the web. The Sargent web site's photo of their backrest didn't suggest it was as thick as it was, nor was it mentioned. In hindsight, I should have done a little more homework. However, that said, I don't think the cost or end result would have been all that different.

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How do you like the Sargent Seat? I tested one for 30 days and liked it. Ordered one with dual heat.


While no where close to being broken-in, the immediate differences from the stock saddle aside from being lower (which in and of itself takes a little getting used to, i.e., lower CG, ergos) were no more sliding forward into the tank, no searching for the 'sweet spot' and more lateral support. In other words, it' more like a saddle than a seat, which is a good thing. Quality is excellent at first blush as are the attention to detail, weight, etc...


So, at this point I'm pretty pleased and I suspect that it will only get better the more I ride it. I want to say that it took about 1,000 miles before my Rick Mayer saddle on the R11S really came into its own, so that's what I'm guessing for the Sargent. Debbie seems to be pretty pleased thus far as well... now that the backrest is fixed.

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