basic gel pad seat modification

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shagzomatic
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basic gel pad seat modification

Postby shagzomatic » Wed Jun 08, 2011 1:46 pm

Well this won't be the greatest howto ever...I didn't do a whole lot of in process action shots, and I took all the photos with my phone because I was too lazy to go back in the house for the camera. :lol: But anyway, here's the basic process on putting a gel pad in your seat.

I spent a lot of time looking around for howto resources on the web, and the one I kept coming back to was diymotorcycleseat.com. There's a ton of good info there.

THINGS YOU'LL NEED
  • a seat to modify.
  • a raw gel pad. We bought one of these from Saddlemen
  • finishing/smoothing foam. I'd recommend going 1/2" thick on this. I bought 1/4" foam out of concern for adding too much height to the seat for Shagzwife, but I ended up double-layering it once she tried it out. I got mine here (I bought 1 yd of 1/4" x 27", about $10 shipped)
  • spray adhesive. I used 3M Super 77, which is easily find-able at Walmart.
  • something to cut the foam (and gel, if you choose) with. Knife, Dremel, etc.
  • stapler (see below)
  • flathead screwdriver or tack puller
  • a marker
  • angle grinder or drill with a low abrasive sanding disc (I used 120grit)
  • respirator/dust mask
  • eye protection

A few notes on those...
Whatever you choose to cut the foam with, you'll have two different kinds of foam you're cutting through. Your seat is going to be a more dense foam than your smoothing foam. I've seen more than once place recommend an electric carving knife for doing foam cutting, since it's essentially a low-rent version of a nice foam cutter. That probably won't work too terribly well trying to do smaller, more precise work, so you'll probably want an exacto or something of the like as well if you go that route. Personally, I just used a dremel with a cutting disc. It did everything pretty easily.

As for the stapler, everyone's posts I read on the web said that a regular spring-action hand stapler won't cut it alone and you'll end up having to pound your staples in the rest of the way with a hammer. Some have had luck with heavy duty electric staplers, but the general consensus is to use a pneumatic stapler if at all possible. You'll want 1/2" crown staples, 1/4" or 3/8" deep.

I had a bit of a saga trying to get my hands on a stapler, so I'll tell you this much.... Home Depot rents staplers, but they only have electric ones typically used for flooring, which are far too long. Harbor Freight sells a pneumatic one for $20, but at the time I'm posting this it's on back order (which with them, who knows if they'll ever get them off back order) and I couldn't find one in their stores [link]. I ended up buying a Craftsman from Sears (this one). It's nice, though more money than I was hoping to spend on this project...but hey, I have a stapler whenever I might need it now, right? That said, I now have a stapler that can be rented for the low low price of $beer. :mrgreen:

I would seriously recommend not skipping the respirator (I just used a cheapo 3M mask I got at Home Depot for a couple bucks) or eye protection. Seat foam dust is some seriously vile shit and will get EVERYWHERE when you start cutting and sanding your seat. I seriously would not want to be breathing that stuff. :fact:
With enough profanity, you can accomplish anything.

CCS/ASRA #380
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Re: basic gel pad seat modification

Postby shagzomatic » Wed Jun 08, 2011 2:21 pm

1. Plan it out
Take some time to plan out what you're going to do. You want to make sure to get gel under your sitting bones, so be sure to get a pad that's big enough to do that, or that you cut your pad so you can get there. Try sticking the pad on top of the seat in a few different positions and see what feels best. It won't feel exactly like the finished product will, but you'll be able to get a fairly good picture. If there are any other pressure points you'd like to eliminate, this is as good a time as any to shave down parts that you don't like or maybe give your tailbone or your manhood some extra space.

2. Take apart the seat
Pull the seat off the bike, then remove the staples with your screwdriver or tack puller. If you have a longer 2-up seat like my FZ6 has, you won't have to pull the entire cover off -- just the area you're modifying, with some extra room around it to work.. I actually left the front part attached, since that was a more complex area for coverage. It caused me a little grief during the rest of the process because I had the cover hanging there with the seat the whole time, but it worked out fine in the end.
2011-06-04_21-55-06_670.jpg
staples out, ready to go


3. Cut and shape the seat foam
Put your gel pad exactly where you want it on the seat, and trace its outline onto the foam with a marker. This will give you your outline of where to make your cuts. Now...start cutting. Be sure to measure your cut depth, as you want it to be exactly as deep as or a little shallower than the depth of your gel pad. If you're going to add more than just a gel pad (like memory foam or something), you'll need to increase your depth to be the sum of everything you're adding. Make your cut on the inside of the line you traced for the pad -- it's easy to shave off a little extra, but you can't add foam back on very easily. Just be patient and always err on the side of caution. Once you've got your desired depth, sand down any foam in your cut-out area to provide a smooth surface for the foam to sit on.

If you have any areas you want to re-shape that aren't really drastic, just spend some time on those areas with your sanding disc. Use smooth, even movements across the foam with steady pressure. Again, be patient and err on the side of caution -- if you get in a hurry and cut out too much foam, you're not going to be too happy.

I used a Dremel for the whole thing, cutting around the outline, then cutting criss-cross lines across the cut-out area and zipping all those little blocks off at their base with the Dremel after that (sorry, no in process pics of this). It worked pretty well overall, and left me with about half the depth I wanted, which I could then start shaving out fairly easily with a combination of Dremel and sanding disc work. I kept my air compressor handy through this whole process, as there were lots of little bits of foam and a bunch of foam dust all over. I stopped every so often to blow all that crap off so I could actually see what I was doing again. Usually when I stopped for that, I'd test fit the pad so I could easily tell if there were any uneven spots and so I could see how much farther I had to go.
2011-06-04_21-56-58_399.jpg
test fitting


I left the gel pad just a touch over flush with the seat foam, so I wouldn't have issues with the surrounding foam having a ridge taller than the gel when the gel compressed under load.
With enough profanity, you can accomplish anything.

CCS/ASRA #380
Pirate Dog Motosport: www | fb | insta

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Re: basic gel pad seat modification

Postby shagzomatic » Wed Jun 08, 2011 2:33 pm

4. Insert the gel pad
Once you're satisfied with your cut-out, make sure all your excess foam bits and foam dust are cleaned out of your cut-out and spray some adhesive in there, then drop in your gel pad (and whatever else you're adding, if you're doing more).
2011-06-04_21-56-09_980.jpg
spray adhesive
2011-06-04_21-59-46_542.jpg
gel pad inserted


5. Add smoothing foam
Once you're done there, give the top of the uncovered seat a spray of adhesive and stretch your smoothing foam over the top. You want a smooth, even finish here -- I started at the center of the nose-end of the seat, pressed back toward the tail, then moved out to the sides from there.
2011-06-04_22-02-42_655.jpg
smoothing foam added


Once you're done with that, trim down the excess foam around the edges of the seat.
2011-06-04_22-12-38_270.jpg
smoothing foam trimmed


In both those photos, you can see a somewhat pronounced ridge in the foam, since the gel pad is sitting just above flush. Those are both taken with only 1/4" foam on, and the ridge wasn't nearly as noticeable once I got the second layer on and we were up to 1/2" of smoothing foam.
With enough profanity, you can accomplish anything.

CCS/ASRA #380
Pirate Dog Motosport: www | fb | insta

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Re: basic gel pad seat modification

Postby shagzomatic » Wed Jun 08, 2011 2:50 pm

6. Re-install the seat cover
Stretch the seat cover back over the top and staple it down. Make sure you don't have your staple depth set too deep or it will go straight through the vinyl. After a couple test staples in a block of wood, I did one test fire in the middle of the bottom of the seat pan to check my depth, which I thought was good...until I fired my first one into vinyl....which went straight through. Whoopsie :lol:

The other big thing to look out for is to not drop your staples in too close to the edge of the seat pan. If you get really close to the edge, you'll be able to see and/or feel the tips of the staples poking up in the foam, and they'll probably eventually poke through the vinyl on the top side of the seat and poke you in the leg or the ass while they're at it.

Leaving the front part of the cover attached helped me a bit here, as I had a solid foundation to work from. The section on diymotorcycleseat.com about re-attaching the cover has a lot of good info, so I won't go into a ton of detail on that, but the thing I found the most helpful was the diagram in the 'Getting a Firm, Even Tension on the Cover' section. Start in the center of the nose and tail of the seat, and move out toward the sides. Personally, I think alternating the sides you're stapling on with each shot is a good way to go. It assures you that you're not going to accidentally pull too much vinyl one way or another and end up having to pull out an entire side's worth of staples back out to re-adjust and get staple-able vinyl on each side again.

I can't speak to how hard it would have been with other types of staplers, but I will definitely agree that if you can do it, a pneumatic stapler is the way to go. I was running my gun at about 80psi and it was super easy.
2011-06-04_22-35-40_363.jpg
stapling done


7. Re-install seat and GO RIDE.
So there you have it. All done.
2011-06-04_22-35-54_500.jpg
FIN.


I forgot to get a photo of the finished product on the bike when we went out for a ride Sunday morning, so you'll have to make do with the crappy dark photo above. :lol:
With enough profanity, you can accomplish anything.

CCS/ASRA #380
Pirate Dog Motosport: www | fb | insta

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Postby L8Braker » Wed Jun 08, 2011 9:15 pm

Nice write-up! :thumbup:
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Re: basic gel pad seat modification

Postby Andyman » Thu Jun 09, 2011 9:42 am

Ya never Mentioned what the wifes verdict was on the finished product being it's her tushy that requires happiness on the bike..

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Re: basic gel pad seat modification

Postby shagzomatic » Thu Jun 09, 2011 9:57 am

Andyman wrote:Ya never Mentioned what the wifes verdict was on the finished product being it's her tushy that requires happiness on the bike..


Well she's only had one ride on it so far... she seemed happy with it, but I was going to leave it up to her to post her thoughts. :)
With enough profanity, you can accomplish anything.

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Pirate Dog Motosport: www | fb | insta

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Re: basic gel pad seat modification

Postby Gre8one7 » Thu Jun 09, 2011 8:09 pm

ive finally bitten the bullet and ordered all the stuff for my r1 seat. My back has been killing me more this year then before so i figure why not.
#27 Yamaha R6