Kenny from Signal Hill Cycle Works stopped by to show us his newly completed custom, a rubber-mount, Daytec framed non-bagger. We call it a non-bagger because while there are no provisions for hard bags, it has a dual-shock rear setup and a rubber mounted engine, so it’s definitely comfortable and has a bagger feel while riding it.
Kenny came to Saddlemen for his custom seat, a SaddleGel-equipped Solo with custom, color matching leather laces. If you have a custom seat project and want a comfortable, good looking seat to match your bike, contact a Saddlemen rep at 800-397-7709. We can offer you exotic hides like alligator and ostrich, custom embroidery options, a variety of flame choices, etc., limited only by your imagination!
For more than 10 years, Norwegian-born Helge Pedersen and Olga, his sturdy BMW motorcycle, traveled vagabond style across six continents, through 77 countries, and over 250,000 miles, more than ten times the actual distance around the world. The result of this incredible journey? “10 Years on 2 Wheels,” ISBN-0-944958-38-9, an 8 1/2? x 12? hardcover book of 208 pages, with 200 color photos and 9 maps, is an unusual and exciting travel story of the history of a wanderer with an address that read simply, The World.
Here’s an excerpt:
Helge Pedersen Comments on Gel for Iron Butts
How far did you personally ride last time out? 300, 500 miles? Why did you stop?
Most people on a long trip complain about having a sore rear end. Sounds like me. I just can´t stand it sitting endlessly on the bike hour after hour without moving my butt. Sometimes I stand up while riding, other times I let my feet hang out in the wind while stretching. Eventually the time comes when I have to stop and take a break. My butt has had it…
In order to relieve this problem, I have tried all kind of saddles and I have found out that there are really bad ones. But there are some good ones as well. What surprises me, is that people will spend 10,000 dollars or more on a bike that comes delivered with a terrible saddle. The brakes, engine, paint job, along with everything else are just perfect, but the stock saddle sucks. It might look good on the bike, but a few short miles down the road you’ll know it definitely doesn’t feel good on your rear end..
Relief, however, is in sight. According to Saddlemen in Los Angeles, California, they have built the perfect saddle. This innovative company has researched other “seated” user groups and found for instance that people bound to wheelchairs were sitting on silicon gel..
Some manufacturers of bicycle seats claim that their silicon gel seats are the best in the world. How about your wife? You can just ask the experts. Women have been using silicon for all kinds of self improvements and we all like it don’t we? So why not make a saddle for motorcycles built on the same principals: make ‘em look good and feel good.
No More Aching Butt
Some three years ago, I noticed that my butt hurt. I’ve been accused of being a pain in the butt occasionally, but never the other way around and I didn’t like it. And being extremely quick on the uptake, it didn’t take long for me to realize that it only hurt when I was on the bike.
At the time, my 1989 FLHTC had about 65,000 miles on it and factory saddle had slowly, almost imperceptibly worn out over the four years I’d had it. Finally, it split and I had to do something about it. And as fortune would have it, I was in Sturgis at the time. I decided to hit all the seat makers and buy something I liked. Well, that was my plan anyway, it didn’t work out that way.
I sauntered outa the motel that morning and another writer I knew was there riding a fresh Road King with this really neat looking seat. He explained it was a new Saddlemen gel seat. WOW, I’m a sucker for new, improved etc.!! So off to Saddlemen’s booth at the civic center in downtown Sturgis to see the recently introduced road sofa.
I quickly learned that they produced three variations of this saddle for my bike. I could choose between leather, vinyl or a marine grade cloth covering for the seat. The demo seat they had available had the cloth covering.
I was a lot more interested in hearing about the gel material for the seat. As a young troop at Walter Reed Army Medical Center during the Vietnam debacle, I had observed severely burned patients and others who could not move about due to their injuries, we placed on gel beds. The theory being the gel would distribute weight evenly help to alleviate pain and to prevent bed sores. The folks from Saddlemen told me that this was the idea behind their road sofa. They did emphasize that it would take 500-800 miles to break in the gel seat. So, I had 'em bolt one on for a test drive..and it was comfy. I liked the cloth seat very much. It also was fairly hard on the ol' buttocks.. but I remembered the break in period and figured it would get softer.
It turned out, the demo seat was the only one they had. So I put in an order for the cloth covered one and headed home with my aching butt. A few weeks later this huge box arrives and in it a seat!! It bolted right up…the backrest slipped into the holder and off I went to ride the entire length of Route 66 for Hog Tails magazine.
AFTER ABOUT 600 HUNDRED MILES I BEGAN TO WONDER IF IT WOULD EVER BREAK-IN… BY 800 I WAS SURE IT WOULDN’T… BY 1000, IT WAS THE MOST COMFORTABLE SEAT I’D EVER BEEN ON!!!
The gel had, almost unnoticed by me, formed to the shape of my uuuhh… cheeks. This had become the most comfortable seat I had ever been on.. bar none.
I also discovered some advantages I hadn’t expected. Not only was the cloth cool in summer, it was warmer on the cold days as well. But the biggest advantage I noticed was, once I got comfortable on the seat.. I didn’t move around and the cloth held me where I wanted to be.
By the way, once my wife caught up to me, she also observed and extended break-in for the passenger seat .. but now that it has conformed to fit her, she won’t ride with anything else. She also commented on the fact that I didn’t squirm around at all and that she didn’t feel the need to move either.
The folks at Saddlemen explained to me that the break-in period is dictated by the riders weight. Lighter/ longer… heavier/shorter.
OK… now for the nitty gritty. The seat has been on my bike for three years and some 15,000 miles. It’s been through hundred degree days in Texas and temperatures well below zero in the garage enduring the Wyoming winters. I’ve washed it every spring with Woolite and dried it with a towel, reapplied Scotchguard and that’s it. How has it held up?
In a word GREAT
The pictures you see here were shot while the bike was down to be painted this winter. I can’t find any sign of wear on the cloth or the vinyl parts of the seat. None, zip, nada… as far as I can tell, the color hasn’t even faded.
The gel is a marvel. It’s still comfortable and molded to my derriere. Neither heat nor cold has effected it’s ability to evenly distribute my weight. And in the cold months, it has an unadvertised quality. Leave your bike in direct sunlight or use a heating pad or something like that to heat the gel and it stays warm for a longtime!! A bun warmer!!!
But be warned, I learned this in Albuquerque the hard way, leaving the bike sitting in the sun for 2 hours, and then hopping on.. and right off!! Yeehaw!!
I quickly learned to cover the seat!
Saddlemen makes a number of gel seats, and can add it to yours. I recommend it. And I have to say, that while having to protect the seat with a baggy cover during inclement weather is a pain in the butt, the pain this seat prevents more than off-sets the slight amount of inconvenience it causes!!
You’re looking for a seat… and want a comfy, long-lasting one… try out the Saddlemen gel seat.
Behind the Scenes
The Saddlemen Story
A History of Quality and Comfort
This profile originally appeared in Parts Unlimited’s online magazine.
The Saddlemen/Parts Unlimited relationship has been as long (20 years!) as it’s been successful. In fact, this team-up is so strong that you won’t find Saddlemen’s products in anybody else’s catalog. The synergy here has resulted in more Saddlemen product reaching more happy riders, and those riders are smiling for good reason. Saddlemen is a motorcycle seat, bag, and luggage specialist and that expertise–along with decades of experience–is plainly evident in everything Saddlemen makes.
And speaking of synergy, Saddlemen designs every seat with complementary luggage and accessories in mind, and vice versa. Whether your look is smooth, flames, studs or conchos, with Saddlemen products it’s easy to get an integrated look from front to back.
BST Enterprises, Inc. was founded in 1987 by Tom Seymour, initially specializing in comfortable seats for touring motorcycles marketed under the Travelcade brand. Two years later BST started working with OE motorcycle manufacturers and grew that involvement to include most of the leading U.S. and Japanese based OEMs. In 1989 BST also began production of Pony Express-style throw-over saddlebags and matching tool bags and in 1991 the Saddlemen division was started to concentrate on the custom Harley and emerging cruiser markets. Today Saddlemen is the only brand the company is known by. Ever the innovators, Saddlemen introduced strap-on gel pads in 1993, spawning a copycat industry that continues to grow today. Saddlemen was first, though, and is re-inventing this product segment for 2008. Watch for it.
Saddlemen blends artistry and engineering into every seat it makes to provide show-quality saddles that are also a comfort improvement over the stock seat. Every seat is manufactured from the ground up in the USA, too. All design, R&D and seat production is done in Saddlemen’s manufacturing headquarters in Rancho Dominguez, California. Computer driven controls are used for key processes including foam pouring, shipping and even customer service. Those Saddlemen seat covers, for example, are cut out using a computer controlled cutting table that guarantees consistent pattern sizing every time.
An exclusive foam formulation is poured into custom contoured molds and the famous SaddleGel is inserted. Saddlemen is the innovator in gel use for motorcycle seats, developing this long-life formulation after dozens of trial-and-error attempts and lots of miles of testing. SaddleGel dampens shock and vibration, it reduces pressure points and makes for an enjoyable ride no matter how many miles are covered or how many hours are spent in the saddle. Once the seat cover, the foam and the pan are all finished they’re assembled using high-quality stainless steel rivets to bring it all together and every seat is closely inspected before leaving the facility. Higher volume luggage products are also produced overseas where manufacturing is done under Saddlemen’s strict guidelines to produce the broadest range of high-value motorcycle luggage on the market.
And right from the start Saddlemen has supported the sport. This is a company of enthusiastic riders. Tom Seymour, Saddlemen’s founder, was a racer from the ‘60s to the ‘80s and is currently an AMA Life Member as well as an active trail and road rider. In the ‘60s Tom was president of the Yonkers M/C Club, the oldest AMA Charter Club. It was back then that Tom rode to Daytona for the first time, and he’s missed nary a year since along with attending most rallies like Sturgis, Americade, Laconia, Laughlin and all the others. Saddlemen has always been a big sponsor in motorcycle competition, too, including road racing, motocross, enduro, drag racing, speedway and flat track. Racers who’ve received Saddlemen support number in the hundreds and include names like Hayden, Bostrom, Carr, Springsteen, Hale, Pegram, Eslick, Poovey, Coolbeth, Mees–plus the land speed record BUB 7 streamliner that achieved 350-plus MPH. And when those guys get off their racebikes and record-holders to hop on their streetbikes you know those bikes are set up with Saddlemen seats and luggage. And as we said, most everyone on the Saddlemen staff is a rider, too. You might have been lucky enough to ride across the country with them on the Kyle Petty Charity Ride, or possibly at one of Drag Specialties’ annual dealer rides. Their enthusiasm extends beyond the product and right into their daily lives.
All of this–the total involvement in the sport, the decades of experience, the innovative seats and luggage, the constant R&D to keep those seats and luggage in tune with the times and assure perfect-fit applications for the newest machines, the quality of the materials and construction–all of that and, of course, the coordinated Saddlemen look makes Saddlemen seats and luggage a great choice. Parts Unlimited has it all.
SaddleGel Technology Keeps You in the Drivers Seat
Without question SaddleGel is the most important breakthrough in motorcycle seating in decades. This amazing product will totally change the amount of time you spend on your motorcycle. Every type of riding just got more enjoyable. When you throw your leg over your motorcycle, you know you will be comfortable!
I rode from Los Angeles to Las Vegas on my custom seat with SaddleGel and it made the ride immensely more enjoyable!
-Metric Thunder Bob
SaddleGel provides the following benefits:
- Redistributes weight over a larger surface area
- Particularly effective in a fixed seating positions
- Reduces high-pressure points or “Hot Spots”
- Dissipates weight concentrated by hip joints
- Increases blood flow previously restricted by compression of muscle
When it comes to motorcycle seating comfort, nothing compares to a Saddlemen seat with SaddleGel. Whether you’re looking for a large, touring seat for long-distance riding, or something low and slammed to the ground, SaddleGel gives you unsurpassed riding comfort. If SaddleGel isn’t in your seat it can be on your seat. Saddlemen’s original SaddleGel Gel Pads are available in three sizes to fit on top of your seat or anywhere else you want to use them.
Reduces Vibration, Eliminates Pressure Points
By evenly distributing your weight across the surface of the seat, SaddleGel absorbs and elminates the extra pressure that is normally experienced at hip bones and the tail bone. These pressure points or “hot spots” create a loss of blood flow, causing discomfort. By increasing circulation, your aching butt is eliminated.
It is true that SaddleGel works wonders for seating comfort, but Saddlemen doesn’t stop there. Saddlemen’s integrated seat designs include a selection of materials that work together to make our seats as comfortable as possible, while still giving your bike show-quality style.
I just finished an 8,000 tour and the most important change to my bike was the Saddlemen Stealth. The stock seat is slanted slightly toward the front, forcing you to push on the bars to maintain position. The level seating of the Stealth, and the gel material, provided a huge improvement in comfort over my previous tours. I knew from my last trip that it would be a painful for me to ride long days on a stock saddle. Thanks for providing a superior alternative.
- Steve S.
Thunder Bob and Tom Monroe award the first Tattoo Saddle
This profile orginally appeared on Metric Thunder’s web site.
MetricThunder.com conducted the Thunder Saddle Tattoo Contest sponsored by Saddlemen, which ran monthly from November 2006 through June of 2007. Thunder Bob and Tom Monroe introduce the first winner of the contest in Indianapolis.
It’s an online tattoo contest where the winner receives a custom Thunder Saddle for his/her motorcycle with the tattoo embossed in the seat of the saddle.
Contestants submit a photograph of their tattoos at the MetricThunder.com website. Celebrity judge Keith Ball of www.Bikernet.com selects the best of the best for that month to be stitched into a custom Thunder Saddle.
We have seen some really outstanding ink work from Bikers and I’m excited to see the finished product on the Thunder Saddles.
- Keith Ball, Bikernet.com Owner.