Pursuit Horizon – Amanda’s DIY Gel Seat for CBR600RR11 Jun 2012, Posted by Trip Prep in
It was only a two hour ride but my ass was numb, and when I got off the bike so were my legs. This was not going to fly on our trip, where we could be riding for 4-5 hours at a time and maybe more. I started searching for gel seats for the bike, and the prices were incredible. Incredibly high I mean; upwards of $200 for a tiny little seat? No thanks.
So I started looking at what other people had done. Some used shoe inserts (doesn’t seem thick enough), some use gel pads from bicycle seats (I’ve read this breakdown in the sun quickly). While perusing a Parts Unlimited catalog ; I saw that Saddlemen offers a “Raw Gel” that you can use to customize your seat; at $65 for the XL size I jumped on it and decided to devote a day to the comfort of my ass.
First things first: Supplies.
T-handle to take off seat , Razor, Headliner Foam, Sharpie, Ruler, Flathead Screwdriver, Pliers, Spray Adhesive, Raw Gel, Scissors, Staple Gun, 1/4″ Staples.
Once you have the seat off of the bike you need to take off the leather covering; which I might add is stapled a ridiculous amount of times. (32 to be exact)
Before you start removing staples, run the sharpie around where the leather meets the plastic saddle. This will give you a good guideline when you are
recovering the seat. Use the flat head screwdriver to gently pop the staples up, which you can then remove with the pliers. Some of them come out quite easily, some don’t. Pay special attention on this step, you don’t want to rip the seat cover. This is what your seat should look like.
Next you will want to fit your gel to the portion of the seat you sit on most. Since I am so short I tend to sit on the VERY front of the seat. The foam that is stock is at least 3” thick. The gel pad is around 1” thick.( I usually tip toe my bike. After switching to the gel I gained at least an inch, so I can now almost touch the whole ball of my foot on either side.)
You will need to trace around where the stock foam will meet the gel since even the XL is not big enough to cover the entirety of the seat.
Now that you have where you would like the gel placed, you will need to separate the foam from the plastic saddle on the bottom. Be extremely careful with this. I gently pulled on the front of the seat to get it to lift in one piece, then worked my around until the whole thing popped off.
Now that the foam is off, you will need to cut out the foam on the line which you made earlier. Be sure to shave down a good amount of the foam from the underside (since the gel is significantly smaller than the foam) so you retain the stock appearance and there isn’t an obvious size difference when you recover it. Here’s what mine looked like.
Now you will need to cover the plastic saddle that you removed the foam from earlier. I covered mine with headliner fabric (you can get at any fabric or upholstery store) to get better adhesion with the gel and to give me a little more cushioning. Trace and glue on.
Now you’ll want to fit your foam and gel onto seat. Trace out on gel where it will need to be cut if you have any overlapping on either side. Remember when you cut gel to use SHARP scissors (this stuff is sticky!) and to angle to edges of the seat where the inside of your thighs rest. If you do not, it can make a massive lip which is not only annoying and painful to the inside of your legs, but an eyesore as well.
After you glue the foam and gel on using the spray adhesive, you will notice a lip between the two materials. We don’t want this showing when we recover the seat. The lip between the gel and the foam I covered with GAFF tape since it is sticky as hell, but you could just as easily use DUCT tape. Do NOT tighten this tape down. You are just trying to build up the seam between the two. If you do tighten down it will show as a divot when you re-cover. To give it a uniform look and to also provide a bit of heat resistance; I put another layer of headliner foam on the top of the gel. This is completely optional.
After everything is glued down and dried, it is time to recover with the leather seat cover. Try your seat cover on first and make sure everything is a uniform height and even. Once satisfied you can start re-stapling the cover back on. I tried to staple into the existing holes that came from the factory; try to use the ¼” staples. Anything longer will protrude into the seat itself.
I have since rode the bike a few times, and the difference in comfort is AMAZING. No more “hot spots” that make my ass go numb. It literally feels like I am floating on the seat. It is so much softer and the seat height is so much lower that it does lower me about an inch. All in all it was well worth the time and effort. It took me about 4 hours from start to finish.