Bill Mayer Saddles Custom Motorcycle Seat
It all starts with a photograph. No let me back up a bit more than that. It actually all starts with your butt complaining about your current seat. Then you start looking at new seats because a happy butt equals a happy rider.
But what happens if every stock aftermarket seat falls short of your expectations?
You take a photograph or three depending on your seat needs. Or if you live in California, or like long rides, you can pop over to Ojai, Mill Mayer Saddles and have Bill Mayer III, better known as Rocky, or one of his trained staff measure you and determine your needs in person. This personal service is great and if you can geographically swing it I’d recommend doing so……for those of us that can’t the photo option works pretty well.
I’ve had every major “production aftermarket” seat on our modded 2005 FJR1300 and none of them worked perfectly for my needs. Either the seat was too hard (“oh this brick is padded with a dense South American hardwood….how nice”), too short, too wide, too narrow, etc..
Now I’m not an “Iron Butt” type of rider, preferring to ride hard in the twisties to chugging 5 hour energy drinks just to stay between the white lines, so some of the custom-made saddles out there look too “wingee” for me. I mean if my seat bears a striking resemblance to the rear-end of a ’59 Impala then something is horribly wrong.
After perusing though the custom seat builders and their foam-filled, be-winged wonder seats, I turned to the biggest name in the biz, Bill Mayer Saddles. An email and telephone call later and I had arranged for my worn out (but newly recovered) stock seat to be re-made into a Bill Mayer custom saddle.
Rocky carries on the work of his father, Bill Mayer II, who designed the legendary (in some circles) “Mayer Day-Long Saddle”, and custom builds seats for any bike out there; “any bike, any butt” is their company motto.
The main reason they can build a seat for any bike out there is that they don’t build a custom seat pan – they use yours. Bill Mayer Saddles takes your old seat, strips it down to it’s base and then builds it back-up to be better than it was before.
I’m not going to go into details here about foam density ratings, cell structure, ILD (firmness) or any other specifics about the types of foam BMS uses for a number of reasons; A) it’s proprietary; B) it’s boring as hell unless you’re a foam-geek; and C) I fell asleep while Rocky was explaining it to me due to reason “B”. Suffice to say, they use top quality foam in multiple densities, types, and firmness ratings to custom make the seat to your specs. (note: I did NOT actually fall asleep)
The first part of the ordering process (unless you go there in person) is filling out an order form that you print out from their website. On this form you’ll record not only contact details but also personal details like weight, inseam, and height for both you and your passenger if a pillion is being made as well. You’ll also write down what kind of riding you do; I told Bill Mayer Saddles that my riding distance was between 10-400 miles in a trip (commuting, Sunday rides and short trips) and my bias was towards sport-riding over touring. After that comes taking photos of the bike, you on the bike, and (if needed) you and your passenger on the bike.
Once I got that done I sent the photos and form via email (and included a copy in the box) and then shipped my old seat off to Ojai, CA.
After about 2 weeks (I sent the seat to them right around Christmas so there was a holiday delay) I got a big box back. How exciting!
Bill Mayer Saddles can cover your seat in either leather or vinyl depending on what you want to spend and what your needs are. Since I’m horrible about washing and waxing the bike, I figured I’d be horrible at keeping a leather seat moisturized so I went with vinyl.
The BMS seat was a bit wider than stock with an entirely different profile to it; much more like a touring seat than a sport seat. I was concerned that this would hamper me from moving side-to-side during corner strafing runs but that isn’t the case. The reason it doesn’t is because the seat is very narrow at the front, the place where you spend your time when cornering, and widens at the rear, the place you spend your time when not cornering.
Overall comfort is much better than any seat I’ve had on the bike; not surprising as the seat was custom built for me and not to some generic form. I noticed my wife moving around to relive hotspots less on a recent 200 mile ride than she has ever done before as well; proof that the pillion is just as comfortable as the rider’s portion.
Since putting the BMS seat on the FJR, I’ve become a true believer in custom-made motorcycle seats. It only makes sense that since every rider is different their needs for a seat would be different as well. This is something that neither OEM nor the production aftermarket seats can deal with as both are built to satisfy as wide a range of riders as possible – kind of like a “jack of all trades, master of none” type of philosophy.
For around the same price as a high-end production aftermarket seat, you can have the folks at Bill Mayer Saddles custom build your butt a perch that will keep your mouth smiling for mile after mile.
Give them a call or drop them an email to start making arrangements to have them build you a custom motorcycle seat today – your butt will thank you (how your butt thanks you we don’t want to know).
http://billmayersaddles.com/ or call them at 805-640-9146