By DR Sessum
So, you just got your first Kawasaki Concours 14 and you’ve noticed that it stands a little tall in the saddle, or rather the saddle itself is tall.
Yeah, it’s about 32 inches tall. If you’re like me and sporting a 30-inch inseam, sitting flat footed at a stop is going to be awkward.
There are some solutions, and it depends on how much you are willing to spend and how long you want to wait.
The first and simplest solution is to buy a seat to replace the OEM one. There are several models available, and the prices vary, but they all have one thing in common, the are not cheap. The average price is around $450. Plus, you’ll have to wait for the seat to get shipped to you. And some of these seats are custom made which means more waiting.
The second choice is to modify the stock seat. Before I got my C14 I had a C10 many years ago. The OEM seat on it was a lot worst than the OEM C14 seat. I took my seat to an automotive interior shop. The owner told me that he could rebuild the seat to have the contour that I wanted, and it would be comfortable. He said that he could add a denser foam padding in the areas that got thinner because of reshaping. All I needed to do was to shape the seat and then bring it to him. He recommended that I “borrow” the electric turkey carving knife and use it to carve the seat.
The finished result was fantastic! It looked like a factory job. I took a trip and logged some 12-hours days in the saddle and never felt it. The cost was less than $100 plus my part. He even reused the original cover.
Fast forward. I got a newer model Concours in August of 2020. I took a few trips on it and found that the seat was better than the C10, but it was tall. Backing up the old girl was a pain to say the least.
I thought about buying a new seat for 1 second. Then I realized that I could do the same thing with this seat as I had done with the C10 seat. This time I would do everything. And if it didn’t work, then I buy a seat.
So here is what I did to modify the OEM seat on my 2009 Kawasaki Concours to go from
BEFORE to AFTER.
2 Tools you will need
You’ll need a few tools, but nothing expensive. As I mentioned earlier, you’ll have to carve the foam padding to the contour that you want. I’ve seen You Tube videos where the person is using a razor blade to remove the excess foam padding. This creates a rough surface that is hard to smooth out later.
The electric knife will allow you to carve away thin layers at a time in large widths very easily.
Before we go any further with the carving, we need to remove the cover. For that, we’ll use a pair of pliers, regular or needle-nosed, and a modified flat blade screwdriver to get the staples out.
The final tools you may have but if not, they are available at Harbor Freight. They are a pneumatic or electric stapler and drill with a flap disk or wheel grinding head. (See attached photos.)
The stapler was less than $35 at Harbor Freight.
3 Let’s Begin
3.1 Remove the cover
You only need to remove about half of the seat cover. Start at the front and use the pliers and screwdriver to remove the staples from the bottom of the seat.
3.2 Layout the new design
Next, using a Sharpie draw an outline of the new contours of the seat. I also used a large bowl to set the curve.
My goal was to lower the seat deck 2 inches. I used a square to get the height that I wanted.
As you cut away material continue to monitor the depth with your measuring tools.
Start cutting. Using the electric knife remove layers of material about a ¼” at a time.
I left the front tip of the seat its original height. I wanted to seat contour to cause me to sit back more rather than forward. Further back is where I started cutting deeper into the material to reach the 2-inch depth.
In this photo you can see the air grinder with a rough grinding head. I used that at first. Later I settled on the flap disk head and an electric grinder
Now, you’re just going to cut and measure, and cut and measure.
Feel free to periodically place the seat on the motorcycle during your shaping and try it out for proper fit.
This flap grinding wheel worked the best in removing material evenly. You can shape the foam rubber easily. It left the best results too.
A word of caution:
Wear a face mask and eye protection because the grinder really pulverizes the foam into a semi-fine dust.
One of the other complaints about the OEM seat is that it is wide. As I sculpted it lower in the middle, I also cut more of a slope in the sides.
3.3 The final product
After you have gotten the desired shape, just pull the cover back over the front section. The cover will be loose, so just pull it as tight as you can while using the pneumatic or electric stapler to secure the cover material.
The seat cover will start to tighten up to the new seat shape as you ride, especially when the weather warms.
Yes, I see some bumps that I could have smoothed out better. The good thing is all I have to do is take the cover of and use the flap wheel. I’ll save that for winter.
Right now, it’s time to ride.