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Seats and Cushions, how to make a pillionpassenger smile with relief!
Today - SEAT COMFORT, and the comfort of your beloved PILLION rider (possibly your wife ... so keeping her happy is rather good for YOU!)
My wife LOVES the open roads and the gorgeous countryside we used to tour through on my big 1900cc Roadliner, but the long hard pillion seat on the bike just got the better of her in the end. It's just REALLY uncomfortable. Not just a numb bum ... but really sore lower back and traumatised, ummm, sensitive bits! I have recently gone about finding a solution and while it did involve a purchased product, that product required some serious modification by ME in my little "man-cave" to make it secure, safe and usable.
While recently on a day ride with my cruiser club I noticed that one of the female riders had a strange, lumpy looking cushoin over her seat. I enquired, and discovered that it was an AirHawk cushion and that even though she had a lower back injury this thing allowed her to ride in COMPLETE comfort. I sat on it ... I was impressed. The cushion is made of tough neoprene and is made up of air cells that evenly distribute your weight, avoiding any pressure points getting sore or and absorbing vibration from the bike (and my 1900cc DOES vibrate!) and from the road. I did notice that it seemed a little insecurely attached and although she seemed happy with it I found myself wondering if I'd roll off it when riding hard!!! Worse, how much more precarious would that be for my wife who doesn't have the benefit of settling in to the rider's seat, tank between legs and handlebars in hands.
I ordered on nevertheless. I got the "small pillion" version (not cheap, $139 for something that really is quite small), 30cmX40cm, with the plan of mounting the longer side accross the seat to avoid her inner thighs going numb from the edge of the seat. It worked BRILLIANTLY (I cannot recommend these things more highly!!!!) but the elstic straps gave me no confidence so see the pictures to see how I made the thing rock-solid-secure and safe. Although I could not eliminate the slight "rolling" feeling that happens as weight shifts on the seat, I used fine, plastic coated cable, wrapped in gaff tape to further prevent it from cutting through the attachment tabs, and secured the seat by running this cable through the seat connection and BOLTING them to the same bolts that hold the "hang-on" strap in place. I similarly used cable at the back and tightened it by twisting a loop of it and then putting a bolt nut on that too! I then used the provided elastic straps as well, but frankly I think they do nothing other than just neatly covering up some of the cable.
I also used rubber washers and spacers to densely cushion all seat mounting bolts and further minimise any rattle or vibration coming up through the bike (see photos).
Does it work? YES ... we've been on two nice long rides this week and all of the previous discomforts are completely gone. It might not sound like a big deal ... but now my wife can share my adventures with me again, and that's really special.
Why is this relevant to this forum ... because it's an important motorcycle product which required some extra special attention to fitment with whatever tools and materials I had to hand. I'd love that big first prize tool set, because I often find myself doing the oddest things with makeshift creations! Anyway, the pictures show how I managed it, I think.