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Seat cover replacement
A torn seat cover quickly becomes saturated with water. That's bad for the foam core, and bad for the seat of your trousers. Fortunately Louis has everything you need for a repair. And it takes very little time.
Replacing your motorcycle seat cover
A seat cover has a hard life. It has to stand up to heat, cold and endless UV radiation, not to mention the wear and tear caused by your backside! So it's hardly surprising if your old cover wears rather thin and starts to rip.
A torn seat not only looks seriously uncool, it's also going to get completely waterlogged. Over time, that will irreparably damage the foam inside and corrode the base plate if it's made of metal. It will also leave you with the embarrassment of rather wet trousers – even if it hasn't rained for days! You can patch up the damage with special adhesive tape, but you should really replace the entire seat cover as soon as possible. It's best to remove your new seat cover from its packaging a couple of days before you plan to fit it, and spread it out in a warm room to allow the packaging creases to disappear.
You don't need many tools – screwdriver, pliers, wire brush, glue gun and/or stapler and a utility knife (carpet knife) should do the job. You might also want to get a couple of clamps from your local DIY store, as they are often useful as a second pair of hands, if needed.
Renewing the seat cover – now let's get started
01 – Bend up metal clips
Before you tackle the seat cover, unscrew and remove anything that may get in your way. This includes grab straps, decorative trim, mounts and rubber pads on the underside of the seat. On a metal base plate, you'll generally find metal clips, which need to be prised up with a screwdriver. Then you can use pliers to bend the clips out of the way. On a plastic base plate, the cover is usually secured with staples. Use a slender screwdriver to lever up the staples and remove them.
02 – Removing the old cover
Once you have bent up all the metal clips, or removed the staples, you will be able to take off the old cover. Now check the seat foam and base plate for damage. If the metal base plate is corroded, remove the rust with a wire brush and treat with rust converter. You can then give it a coat of paint, if you like.
Check the foam core for damage and moisture. It's essential to let the foam dry out completely, even if this takes several days. Largish holes need to be repaired, as otherwise the new cover will not sit properly. There is a universal foam repair kit for this job. Cut a small piece to the right shape and size and fix it in position with a few drops of adhesive.
For extra comfort, you can also integrate a gel pad into your seat. In our DIY tip Gel Seat Pad, we explain exactly how to do it.
03 – Fitting the new cover
Now fit your new cover over the seat and align it with the side edges and any grooves on the seat surface to make sure it's properly centred and straight. Double check that the decorative grooves are straight and not wavy, and remember – the more care you take now, the more professional the end result will look.
04 – Tension the cover
Now for the trickiest part – tensioning and fixing your new cover. First, we describe how to fix your cover to a seat with a metal base plate. So jump to the next section if your seat has a plastic base plate. Place the seat upside down on the floor and start at the back.
Metal base plate
Tension the material slightly and clip it in place centrally. Moving outwards from the centre, carry on clipping the cover into place, one clip at a time, alternating between left and right sides until the rounded back end is secure. Now repeat these steps at the front of the seat, making sure that the cover is straight lengthwise.
Also check that the rear edge of the cover does not slip forward. If it does, you will need to pull it tighter at the back. If that causes the seat to become distorted, you will unfortunately need to unclip the cover and start again. In this case, start with the cover slightly further back on your second attempt. Don't bend over the metal clips completely until the very end so that you can make further adjustments if needs be. If the seat has a curvature or ridge, the cover will not lie flat on the foam at this stage, but this will change when you pull the material tight and secure it at the sides.
When fixing the cover at the sides, again start at the back and work forwards. Tension and secure one clip at a time, alternating between left and right sides. Continue in this fashion until you reach the front. Make sure that you tension the material evenly. Every one or two clips, turn the seat over and double check that the cover is still straight.
Plastic base plate
Modern motorcycle seats generally have a plastic base. In this case, tension the cover in the same way as before, but then secure it using a stapler. If you don't have an electric staple gun, you'll need to get yourself a powerful mechanical stapler from your local DIY store – an ordinary office stapler will be no good at all for this job.
To make sure you buy the right staples, take one of those you removed from the old seat cover with you. It's important to get this right because if you use the wrong type of staples, or if they're too long, they would dig into the foam and penetrate through the edges. That will make for a very uncomfortable ride – unless of course you enjoy sitting on a bed of nails.
05 – Now cut off excess material
When you've made sure that the cover is straight and wrinkle-free, bend all the clips over fully onto the metal base plate. Use a sharp utility knife to cut off any excess material which would prevent the seat from lying properly on the motorcycle. But before doing so, fix the cover using the clamps you got from the DIY store to make sure it is tight against the base plate.
06 – Gluing
Once you have cut off the excess material, you can remove the clamps. Glue the loose edge of the material to the base plate using Kövulfix contact adhesive. And to make sure it all sticks properly, apply the clamps again for half an hour or so.
07 – Finishing the repair
Now re-install any decorative trim, mounts and grab straps. Job done! All in all, it's taken roughly half an hour and cost only a fraction of what you would pay for a completely new seat.
The Louis Technical Centre
If you have a technical question about your motorbike, please contact our Technical Centre, where they have endless experience, reference books and contacts.
These tips for DIY mechanics contain general recommendations that may not apply to all vehicles or all individual components. As local conditions may vary considerably, we are unable to guarantee the correctness of information in these tips for DIY mechanics.
Thank you for your understanding.