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DIY Reupholster Motorcycle Seat


Motorcycle-RideAs a motorcycle owner, reupholstering the seat is something you may have to do at some point. For example, you might need a new seat if your old one begins to deteriorate after years of use, sustains damage in an accident, or is too low, too high, too angled, or too uncomfortable in some other way. Reupholstering a seat is also something that will eventually appear on your To Do list if you enjoy restoring vintage bikes in your free time. Regardless of the reasons why you’re tackling the job, here’s how to do it yourself:

  1. Remove the seat pan from the motorcycle using a screwdriver. Be sure to keep the screws in a safe place so as not to lose them.
  2. Carefully remove and discard the staples used to attach the upholstered seat cover to the seat foam. Retain the cover itself for reuse (if intact) or to trace as a pattern for a new cover.
  3. Use the old seat foam as a pattern for your new foam. Replace it with a sturdy base layer of dense closed-cell foam and a top layer of softer polyurethane (open-cell) foam.
  4. Determine the desired height and angle of the seat, and then trim the new foam to these custom dimensions with an electric carving knife. Go slowly and recheck the fit as often as necessary during this step.
  5. If the changes you made to the new foam are within an inch or an inch and a half of the original dimensions, the original seat cover should still fit. If the changes were more substantial, cut a new cover out of leather or vinyl using the old cover as a pattern. Just make sure to allow for extra inches where needed.
  6. Staple the seat cover to your new foam seat. Start by stapling one side and then placing the next staple directly across from it on the other side. Keep the seat cover taut throughout the process to yield a smooth, wrinkle-free finish.
  7. Replace the seat pan on the bike and reattach with the screws.
  8. Go for a test ride and make note of any abnormalities or imperfections that need to be adjusted.

Whether you have to replace or restore a damaged seat or simply want a more comfortable ride, doing the job on your own is a great way to save money. Check FoamByMail.com today for the closed-cell and open-cell foam required to complete this DIY project.

38 thoughts on “DIY Reupholster Motorcycle Seat”

  1. I am re-foaming my seat on a 2019 Yamaha MT-09. Any suggestions on what I need to purchase would be appreciated ?

  2. Hi,
    I have a Suzuki motorcycle and after a few hours of riding I am more than ready to get off. But for long trips this can be a hassle. I am thinking of placing foam over my existing seat to see if that gives me an easier ride. can you recommend a foam or combination that might work. FY, I have used the Airhawk system but this has not worked for me either. Thank you.

  3. I am looking at replacing the foam on a 2-up seat (combined main and passenger seat combined) and would like to have a 2 layer foam system. I am looking for something that provides a firm seat, but a little cushion to it for comfort. Can you recommend a base layer foam, as well as a “thinner” top layer foam that will work well together?

  4. I am making a custom seat that will only be about 3 inches thick. what would be the most comfortable foam I could use?

  5. I am working on a 1978 Honda CB550, with an edict that everything must look like it could have if the factory made it today and cleaned up the lines a bit and trim the fat. With that directive, I’d like to take some height out of the seat. I’ll use the original seat pan, but I’d like to create a seat that is 40-60% the height of the original. New covers will be made to match the original look. We would like something dense and plush at the same time. We’d like to be able to put a full day in on the bike without the rider’s behind in serious grief. Is memory foam an option? Should we use a multilayered approach? I’m not sure where to begin on this. Thanks!

  6. Hi, I have a double seat in my cruiser, with the passenger seat raised 4-5 inches. I would like to add some foam to The drivers portion of the seat, to level both the seats. What is your recommendation?

  7. I have a KTM 1090 adventure bike. After several hours the seat becomes painful. I think adding additional softer foam on top would help. What do you recommend?

  8. MY CRUISER SEAT IS UNBEARABLE AFTER 45 MINUTES,,, WHAT WOULD YOU SUGGEST FOR HOURS OF COMFORT,, 04 HERITAGE SOFTAIL…THANKS

  9. I’m building a cafe racer CB750. I’ve modified the stock seat pan. It has a saddle shape raised in the front and back. Not sure what foam to use or how thick. I figured no thicker than an inch and a half or less. I’d like to keep it as thin as possible but reasonably comfortable.

  10. Doing a motorcycle seat, you recommend for base a fence closed cell, and top layer of soft poly open cell.
    Trying to keep seat as low as possible, but comfortable. what thickness and type of each would be best? Also what is the minimum size sheet of each I can get? Thanks

  11. Hello.

    I’m trying to get a motorcycle seat more comfortable, the zonr where the rider sits, is pretty thin and is pretty hard.. but i cannot just add foam over it as the rider is short.. i want to remove some of the existing foam and phase in a newer better one.. what should i use? It will be 1-1.5 in in thickness.. supermax foam?

  12. I need a 12″ x 26″ x .75″ closed cell foam pad for a sport bike seat. The cut edges need to be able to be sanded/smoothed to allow changing position when riding aggressively. Please advise which of your products would be best for my application. I’m looking for firm, not cushy. I spend most of my riding time hanging off the bike balanced on my toes.

  13. I have a BMW F750 GS motorcycle with the standard seat, which is too hard for long rides and touring. I want to remove about 1″ of the top layer of foam where I sit and replace it with something more comfortable. I’ve considered your neoprene foam, but I’m worried it will retain too much heat in the summer. Is that true? What can you recommend?

  14. Have a Harley touring solo seat from TCMT. It’s relatively stiff, it’s suppose to be lower so the foam appears to be thin. What can I do to make it more comfortable and maintain the height?

  15. This is a challenging request. Typically you would need to go thicker in the padding to increase the comfort. The foam type we suggest is our neoprene foam for your application. At least 1″ is suggested, but there are other thicknesses available.

  16. I’m redoing the rider and passenger seats on an older Royal Star Venture. I want max long distance comfort especially for the passenger. I don’t know how thick the factory foam is. Please recommend foams.

  17. Have a hartco seat 2001 goldwing hard want to cut out front and back want foam or gel or both cut place with gel and cover whole seat with thin condensed foam need price for foam and gel.

    Need foam and gel for 2001 goldwing seat hard.

  18. Many adventure motorcycle oem seats are hard and dome shaped. These are not comfortable for long 5-8 hour ride times. I’d like to retain my oem cover but replace the “foam” to improve comfort, and flatten the set but not increase heat. Basically removing bit of the current material then add a layer of your suggested material.

  19. Hi I’m re upholstering my seat and want to add an embroidery design on top. I’ve seen people use a thin foam while doing that embroidery, what foam would you recommend?

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