Motorcycle Seat Upgrade on the Cheap

May 24, 2017

This is a rundown of how you can easily upgrade an OEM motorcycle seat yourself by insetting some high-grade ‘Pudgee’ foam. An affordable option when you can’t justify a custom built seat from one of the pros. Motorcycle seat comfort is subjective but for me this made the stock seat magnitudes better for long days on the bike and was a fun project.

Tools and Materials

What you’ll need (with links to what I use):

In this I’m going to show how I upgraded the stock seat from my R1200R by insetting high quality Pudgee foam. We will not be reshaping the seat, as that is more advanced, but upgrading the OEM seat.

Pudgee is an orthopedic viscoelastic foam from Sunmate that, unlike gel, is not affected by temperature. I think Pudgee is the way to go for long days on the bike as it’s supportive yet conforms better, in my experience.

Getting Started

First step is to remove the staples and cover. Do this very carefully and be patient if you are planning on reusing the stock cover.

Laying out where to remove from from the stock seatOnce you’ve got the cover off use your marker to draw a line down the center of the foam, long ways, as a reference point. Sketch out the shape where you will add the Pudgee, roughly a bit bigger than where you sit. In my case I made it wide enough that it just reached where the edges of the seat start to curve down. For ease of install try to keep it to the flattest part so you aren’t altering the shape of the seat at all.

Cutting the foam to add to the seatNow that you have the shape of the area you’ll be removing use your marker and ruler and draw a grid on this area. Mine was roughly 1.5″ squares but this doesn’t need to be precise or accurate.
Make a paper template of the area and use this to trace and cut out your foam insert from the Pudgee. Continue using the silicon spray on the blade, reapplying as needed, this made a huge difference for me. I cut my insert about 1/8″ bigger than the hole so I could trim it until it just fit.

Cutting the Stock Foam

This is where it starts to get fun. What you do next depends on the thickness of the foam you are using. I use 1/2″ Pudgee  so I set my retractable knife to 1/2″ depth as we only want to cut as deep as the thickness of the foam insert, no deeper! Now that your knife is set to the correct depth Removing foam from the stock seat(double check before proceeding) spray the blade with a little bit of the silicon spray, this will keep it from dragging and catching when cutting the foam. Take your time and start cutting along the grid lines using multiple passes. We are not yet removing the squares, just cutting the lines.

After cutting the lines it’s time to start removing each square. Push each square to the side and cut at it’s base until it can be plucked off the seat. Once again go slow and take your time with this. After the squares of foam are removed go back and smooth any peaks or high spots.

Adding the Pudgee Foam

Pudgee foam inset and gluedNow trim the Pudgee foam insert a little bit at a time with your knife until it fits very closely into the recessed hole you made in the seat. You can see where I cam up a couple mm short in this pic and had to fill it with a strip of additional foam. If you are happy with the fit and done with any adjustments spray both the seat and the Pudgee with the foam adhesive. Allow it to get tacky for a while and then insert the Pudgee into the recess in the seat seat.

Spray the entire seat with  light coat of the adhesive and attach the headliner foam, this helps smooth any minor imperfections, but only the most minor ones. If you have any big gaps or bumps fix them before adding the headliner s these will show through the cover. I let my seat sit overnight just to be sure it was completely dry before putting the cover on.

Putting the Cover on and Finishing Up

Putting the seat cover back on

Wrap the seat with the plastic film to help keep it waterproof. Put the cover on the seat and get it aligned. Make sure the cover is on straight an put one staple into the front of the seat seat pan through the cover. Pull on the cover and do the same in the center of the rear. If it looks straight go ahead and start pulling and stapling all the way around, alternating sides. If it starts looking wrinkled or uneven stop, pull some staples out and stretch and staple it again. Take your time and do not pull too hard. Make sure the cover is both even and taught without being super-tight. It helps to do this on a warm day or with the cover slightly warmed.

Some folks get away with using a manual or electric staple gun but I wouldn’t go with anything other than pneumatic. I tested both before I bought my pneumatic staple gun and wouldn’t go back. You don’t need a big compressor, I get by with a cheap little 2 gallon electric. I set my compressor to just have enough oomph to put the staples in flush and no higher.


Finished seat back on the motorcyclePop the seat back on your bike and you should be good to go! It’ll feel a bit hard at first but will brake in after a couple hundred miles.

You’ll notice my seat does not look stock, since it wouldn’t be any extra work I decided to get fancy with an aftermarket cover from Luimoto. It took a couple weeks to get it as my order was custom but turned out great.

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