Stock Seat Modification
Stock Seat Modification
  One of the most common things new ACE owners want to change about their bikes is the seat. For many people, the ACE seat is just not comfortable enough on long trips. And if you're like me, spending several hundred dollars on an aftermarket Mustang or Corbin seat is just not in the budget. Luckily though, for just a small amount of money and a few hours of your time, you can modify the stock ACE seat easily enough.

  In my case below, I didn't need to change the seat shape much, as I felt pretty comfortable in it in it's stock form. However, I did want to add some chrome studs on my saddle, pillion and sissy bar pad, to match the design of my saddle bags.

Materials & Tools Needed

  1. Wrenches from the factory tool kit (for seat removal)
  2. A pick or small flat bladed screwdriver to remove staples
  3. Black marker
  4. Masking tape
  5. Exacto knife
  6. Dremel tool or rough sanding block to shape the foam seat pad
  7. Plastic wrap (saran wrap)
  8. Staple gun (buy a heavy duty one, not a 'wimpy' household one. Mine cost just $10 over the cheap brands. The plastic seat pan is thick and a small gun will have trouble seating the staples)
  9. 5/16" chisel-point staples.
  10. Optional - Chrome or Brass Studs. I used 7/16" Spots that matched the studs on my saddlebags. I used 93 of them to do my saddle, pillion and sissy-bar pad, with 1" spacing. (bought a bag of 100).

Step 1: Remove the Seat

1. Remove the pillion seat bolt (1), then push the pillion (2) forward and up.

2. Remove the saddle bolt (3) and pull the saddle (4) back and up.
Step 2: (For optional studs)

If you are going to put studs in your seat, then a good idea is to lay masking tape on your seat(s) where the studs are to go. Then mark off the spacing (I used 1" spacing on mine). Then pre-puncture the leather by inserting the studs now right over top the masking tape, aligning them on the spacing marks. On my sissy-bar pad, I only put studs along the sides and top as the bottom was where the zipper was.

Once you are satisfied with the layout and the spacing and have inserted all the studs, pull them back out before removing the cover.

Masking tape used to layout the studs
Step 3: Remove the Seat cover

1. Pry out the staples holding the cover to the bottom of the seat pan and pull the cover back. Leave the staples in at the front of the seat so you don't have to line up the cover when you put it back on.
Step 4: modify the padding

Most people who find the stock ACE seat uncomfortable attribute that to the fact that their tailbones hit the back of the seat. Therefore, just by removing some of the material in this area and smoothing it you can get a much more comfortable saddle.

Mark the area on the pad where you want to change the shape. Cut out the material in layers, making sure you don't go too deep. Use the exacto to do the rough cuts, then clean it up and smooth it out with a dremel or a sanding block. If you are not putting studs in the saddle then skip the next step and go to step 6.
Step 5: Putting the studs in

Start putting the studs in now (masking tape removed from the outside). You will see the puncture marks on the under side of the seat cover from when you positioned the studs before. Put each stud back in the right holes and bend the prongs over to lock the stud in place. This is a bit time-consuming and hard on the fingers but easy to do.
Take note on the pillion. (see photo and arrow). Most people forget about the strap here and they put a stud there which the strap just covers up and bulges. What I did instead was leave the stud out on the pillion, and then put one in the strap, so the line of studs appears unbroken.

Note: There is a plastic waterproof lining over the pad. When you position the studs in step 2, you end up poking holes in this liner. Just to be safe I covered the pad with several layers of plastic wrap before securing the cover back on, just to make sure it stays waterproof.
Step 6: Putting the cover back on

Start securing the cover back on, pulling the cover and stapling as you go. Try to make sure the edges are in the same location as when you removed the staples (the old staple holes are a good guide). The main thing is too keep a firm and even tension on the cover so there are no creases. When you have a sharp corner, you can fold and crease the edge then staple it, making sure the fold is on the underside of the seat pan and not visible when the seat is back on the bike.

I also found that it's almost impossible to get all the staples to go flush on the first try with a manual staple gun. So if the staple went in bad and got bent, I just pulled it out and tried again. However, if the staple went in square but not all the way down, I left it for now and then came back after the cover was secure and using a pin punch and a hammer, I tapped all the staples flush.
Step 7: Putting the seat back on

Note: These bolts holding the forward attach bracket of the pillion with the passenger strap ends had very weak anchor fittings. I spun both of them taking it off. The trick I used to re-tighten them without having to take the seat padding off was to start the bolt, then hold the flat of a screwdriver under the bracket and force it up, putting tension on the bolt and holding the anchor fitting tight against the seat pan (I assume it had a molded shape of some sort to hold the anchor nut). I was then able to get full tightness this way.
1. Insert the saddle tab (5) into the frame cross member (6).

2. Install the saddle bolt (3).

3. Engage the pillion hook (7) over the saddle bolt (3) and pull it back until you can install the pillion bolt (1)
Finished Product:

Here are some photos of how my seats look after I did the mod. I was very happy with the results and it only cost me about $40 in materials (that's including $25 for a heavy duty staple gun!) and it only took me about 3-4 hours one afternoon.


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