A custom saddle makes all the difference in the ride for me. A good saddle in leather can run you about $300 - $700 US, but worth every penny.
There are several motorcycle saddle makers of note. The saddle maker with the longest history and most seats is Bill Corbin.
His saddles are noted to be very stiff at first, but soften up over time. Reviews are mixed on Corbin. You can find many other saddle makers listed in the BMWMOA magazine.
I choose a Rick Mayer saddle.
After a return visit for an adjustment, I have had many happy miles on my butt. .
A little history.
Rick Mayer is the son of Bill Mayer, originator of the Day-Long custom saddle. His saddles used a metal suspension spring to support your weight on the outside of your buttocks.
This produced a butt ugly looking seat with distinctive wings sticking out. This design had legions of followers testifying how comfortable it was. Our member Gary Smith has one of these original Bill Mayer Day-Long seats on his beautiful R100T bike.
Open Misc album (Sorry, broken link)
for a front and side view of an original Bill Russell Day Long saddle.
See Bill Russell’s design page
Bill Mayer sold his patent to Bill Russell and got out of the business, temporarily. Bill Mayer got back into the saddle business and used high density foam blanks in his new design which he claimed were as good as the old Day-Long.
In 1998 both Bill’s died. The Day-Long is still produced under the name of Russell Saddles. Bill Mayer’s two sons then got into the saddle making business. Rocky Mayer builds saddles which look much like his fathers last design under the name Bill Mayer saddles out of Ojai California.
He has lots of happy customers. His other son Rick Mayer builds saddles under the name Rick Mayer Cycle out of Northern California. Rick Mayer recently completed the Iron Butt Rally and a quick survey of the custom saddles at the rally showed that the Rick Mayer saddle was the most prevalent amongst the entrants.
I had one of the last Bill Mayer saddles he built before he died. This is the type of saddle that you will get from Rocky Mayer. I found it better than stock but still not quite right. Bill was going to adjust it for me, but we never got around to it before his death.
I called Rick Mayer and he invited me to come up for an adjustment to his father’s saddle. He completely rebuilt my saddle to his design and no charge. He also fed me lunch, entertained me and told me about #269, great highway to the West coast. After leaving Rick’s place, I did a 12 hour ride in Northern California and did not feel any pain.
Either man can build you a great saddle, each has a very different design. A Rocky Mayer saddle has very little stitching showing on the saddle portion, whereas a Rick Mayer saddle is much more decorative looking.
I believe that Rick Mayer is the only saddle maker giving a 100% money back guarantee. Wait until the winter before ordering a saddle, unless you can ride in. In most cases you have to mail in your original saddle pan, unless he has a blank available for exchange.
http://billmayersaddles.com/october25homepage.html for Rock Mayer saddles and see http://www.homestead.com/prosites-rmcycle/index.html for Rick Mayer saddles.
When you read the sites, you will detect a little rivalry between the brothers. There are some ill feelings between them, but my understanding is that Rick Mayer was the only brother to actually apprentice to his father. As usual, a search of AVrider.com on the internet, will show lots of controversy.
And a final word.
I have no connection to Rick Mayer Cycle and he is not a personal friend, I am just a happy customer. All saddles are a personal experience, some butts are more tender than others. You can only choose the best person to work with.
My experience with Rick has been good. I did not use his order by mail process, I can imagine you would want to be patient and do this in the winter. I recommend, a ride in appointment, after all it is only a day’s ride away.
And I did not use his guarantee of a full refund so I can not comment on how well this works. If you find any negative feedback on the internet, bring this up with Rick and give him a chance to air his side. It is easy to slam anyone on the internet, but how many of these guys have actually worked it out face to face.
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