Regular readers may recall that when we went to Thunder Beach at Panama City Beach this past fall one of the things I had on my wish list was getting the far too soft foam in our Road King CVO’s saddle replaced with a more dense foam. I struck out with all of the saddle vendors as they were only set up to do gel inserts not re-working and shaping a saddle with new foam.
This past weekend on our trip to Dahlonega, Georgia I was reminded I still needed to do something with the saddle as I was pretty much sitting “in” the saddle with my sit bones pressed against the seat pan instead of “on” the saddle with a little padding to spare. Mind you, I’m not what you’d call a big guy at just 155 lbs, so I’m not sure how the larger Road King CVO owners have been able to deal with these saddles, other than replacing them.
Anyway, with a 450-mile ride down to Daytona Beach just around the corner in two weeks I decided to see if our local Harley dealer’s staff knew of anyone in the local area who did custom saddle work. They’d given me a great lead on a local paint & body work guy who specializes in Harley’s that helped out my friend David so figured they’d probably know of someone. Well, they did: Marietta Auto Trim.
I stopped by the shop on Tuesday with my Road King saddle and the saddle off of the Wide Glide so that I’d have a point of reference for what I was looking for in terms of saddle feel. The Brawler saddle that came on the Wide Glide was actually very comfortable, so that was the benchmark. Joe is their motorcycle saddle guy and he quickly realized why I wanted the saddle reworked and knew which material to use.
I left the saddle with them on Tuesday and by late Thursday afternoon it was done! Joe shaved-out the majority of the foam foundation from the seating area of the saddle, laminated the new foam in its place, and then spent the better part of the afternoon reshaping the foam to match the contours of the original foam foundation.
I picked the reworked saddle up today and after re-installing it on the bike, went for a short 5-mile ride to see how much of a difference it made: Wow! It was so nice to be sitting “On” the saddle. In fact, I had to get used to the higher ride height since I was no longer sinking an inch into the saddle. The true test will be the trip down to Daytona, but I’m cautiously optimistic that the saddle will be fine.
I must say, given that this is the first time I paid a lot of attention to the saddles on the Road King I was pretty disappointed at the quality of the Harley-Davidson workmanship. Neither the rider or passenger’s saddle covers are what I’d call “symmetric” or “centered”. At first I thought Joe had put the cover on a bit off-center until I got out a tape measure and discovered that the original cover was lopsided to begin with. He’d simply put the cover back on the way it was and it’s skewed a bit to the right. Same with the passenger saddle: the leather “tuck & roll” insert isn’t exactly squarely positioned either. Pretty sad.
Here’s the nose of the rider’s saddle; not exactly symmetric and it’s not an optical illusion or anything Joe did: it’s the way the saddle cover was made in the first place:
Post Script: The re-worked saddle is outstanding! I had a little bit of a hotspot on the longest leg of the ride down, but that may have had something to do with the stack-up of material between me and the saddle: jeans, heated pants, leather overpants. But that was it and we spent a lot of saddle time on that trip. Couldn’t be happier and I’m glad that I have the same saddle, as the pillion saddle and backrest are fine and I like the look. Still need to get the leather covers squared away and aligned.