Medicine for pain in the arse
No more suffering! Our motorcycle seats are modified so at the thought of jumping on the motorcycle, we do not look for further excuses not to ride or dream of a comfortable sofa in the living room of our house.
We have long known that the seats in our KTMs must be replaced. We would not think about it at all if we were only riding off-road when the seats are hardly used. However, every trip over 100 km on tarmac made us realise how the chairs at primary schools we used to go to, were comfortable. 😀
The seat manufactured by KTM is narrow – on the one hand, it is good, because thanks to this, in the part where the rider is standing during off-road riding, nothing prevents him from merging with the motorcycle. A little worse (it is slightly said 😉 ) when we look at the place where our four “beloved” letters should rest… Here, the width of the seat almost does not change, leaving not too much space for a good rest. The flat surface on which you can sit, is only 13 cm wide!!, then the seat gradually falls downwards. These 13 cm is less than the space between the cheeks of many motorcyclists. 😉 That is why I called seats in KTM 690 “thongs”. 😉
OK, no more laughing. Seriously, you cannot comfortably travel a greater distance without experiencing nagging back pain or a reminding hip injury. Unless someone has a stone butt… Besides, the seats suffer from some construction problems and lack of adequate reinforcement of the frame. While at hard terrain every now and then the rider falls at the seat with full impact, the base is subject to a brutal force. If the mounted rubber brackets move a little, or even worse – they fall off, the crack in a frame is just a matter of time. The material used to create a frame is light so the seat does not weigh as much as our expedition luggage. But unfortunately, it is not the most durable. The above-mentioned problems cause that a large group of KTM 690 Enduro users replace the seats with accessories or, like us, decide to modify them.
The first attempts to modify our seats were made by a friend living in the UK – Paweł with the good nickname ‘Sheep’. Passionate with a hundred ideas to ease our problem. Unfortunately, despite numerous tries and attempts, he failed to create a new frame that would last longer than the rule of humanity on this globe or at least survive the life of a motorcycle. 🙂 Shortly before our Eurotrip, he let us know he is not able to finish the project. Still, MANY THANKS Paweł for your help and trying until the end!!
Knowing that we have to face the European route using standard seats, we decided to buy sheepskin pieces that were supposed to ease our suffering during the journey. 🙂 A lot of people travelling on motorbikes with such a ram cover, praise the solution as very comfortable. However, after doing 5500 km from England to Poland through Italy, Albania, Serbia and several other countries, we knew well that if we do not change seats, our journey around the globe would be a difficult experience. Sheepskin indeed supported our journey through Europe, but there was no chance that its use could be our final solution.
Before we left England, I made a small reconnaissance to find out who to go to with the seat modification in Poland. Several friends who already wander around the world have recommended us to contact “Motokanapy“. Andrzej has been on the market for some time and has remade many seats. But most important for me, he had previously dealt with KTM 690 Enduro seats. He knew very well what to do to heal our pain. We agreed on modifications and reinforcements by phone, and after reaching Krakow from the test journey, I packed the seats and sent to Limanowa. All we have to do now is choose the pattern, colour and fabric that we would like our seats to be finished with. We conducted all arrangements using e-mails or messengers, which was very beneficial for us considering that we coordinated from Great Britain. Andrzej kept us updated regularly, and the dose of photos from subsequent stages of change fuelled our joy and showed the course of the metamorphosis. In the end, the seats returned to Krakow after less than a month, but with a completely different shape and comfort as it was before. 🙂
To strengthen the frame, Andrzej used carbon fibre in the main part and kevlar sheets in more fragile spots, so the seat could withstand in one piece the planned thousands of kilometres under the pressure of the weight of us and luggage. After this process, the seat filling went under the knife. The material originally used by KTM was cut out to make room for a new filling. Foams and felt pushed sideways and slowly began to take on inconspicuous shapes. Over time, more angular lines turned into slender and smooth curves. The narrow surface of the seat which resembled a sharp mountain ridge transformed in a moment in a large surface of landing pad for … well … arse. 😀 Out of mentioned before 13, Andrzej managed to squeeze out impressive 26 cm!! The narrow front remained the same allowing to stand freely on the footrests without rubbing against the seat when manoeuvring the body. Great!!
The only thing left was to dress them in a new, well-tailored suit made of non-slip material ordered according to our preferences. Then the seat could be sent back to Krakow. The used material is fully waterproof with the seams secured with waterproof tape, so that on pouring days water does not get inside. Both seats received covers with graphite top and individually selected colours of the sides – dark blue for Monika’s motorcycle and orange for my KTM. In addition to the colour, our seats also differ in height. Monika’s seat has been slightly lowered so she has better contact with the ground when stopped.
Everything looks cool! Check yourself and make your opinion – you can see pictures in the gallery below.
The difference in comfort is huge. The new seat width allows the pair of sitting bones to rest properly on the couch. The seat provides good and comfortable support for the pelvis, thanks to which we could forget about the pain in the spine, hips or buttocks so far. We could focus more on riding rather than constantly changing the position to get some relief. So far, we have not had the opportunity for a long-distance test. There was simply no chance to ride too often, because motorcycles were in Poland waiting for their shipment, and we still worked most of the time in England.
Currently, when I am writing this article, the motorcycles are packed in boxes to the USA, we have almost closed our chapter of life in the UK, the coronavirus is going crazy all over the world, borders are closing and we are developing a plan B, C and D because we feel that our original idea needs to be modified. 😉 Anyway, we are looking forward to the day when we will sit down again on our motorcycles. Then we will also carry out the most important test of comfort and endurance. How many kilometres ahead of us we will not know it until the end. However, we are sure that the modified seats will help us conquer the continents unknown to us.