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Corbin Experience

2643 Views 3 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  Ndr
I thought I’d share this with fellow kawa-boys.

Some riders are perfectly happy with the stock seat on Vulcan. I am not one of those. In fact, I found it most uncomfortable even on a short 20 minute ride. The pressure points develop very fast. Every time I go over an obstacle or just a bump on a highway I would lend off-center on the seat, and that not only uncomfortable but also somewhat hazardous.

(Vulcan 900 with stock saddle)

The stock Vulcan seat is convex shape with very soft foam. This design is suitable for sitting on the bike with your fit down on the floor of the showroom while you are chatting with the salesman. Not for riding. The convex shape means a single pressure point and the soft foam collapses in no time at all. In the end after about 20 minutes you are essentially sitting on a ball. To make matters worse the shape of the seat throws me sliding forward every time I brake. Being in pain and humping the fuel tank every time I stop is not my idea of a good enjoyable ride. A different saddle was due. Something convex like a shallow bucket, rather then concave like a fish-bowl, and with more contact area so that it distributes the weight evenly.

(It is perfectly OK if your opinion is different to that of mine, we all have different body shapes and riding style preferences).

There is a thread about a better seat for Vulcan on this forum

After combing Internet sites, reading a bunch of reviews on opinions on the forum(s) to see what people say about different seats I’ve decided to try a custom saddle. There were other choices, but most of other options required a purchase over internet of their take on the perfect saddle, it was unclear whether or not it could be returned if not satisfied with the shape and reviews ranged from "love it" to "hate it". So by process of elimination I have arrived at Corbin.

The reviews of Corbin seats very from 1 star to 5 stars. BUT! I’ve noticed a pattern. Most five star reviews came from the folks who went to Corbin factory to get their seat custom made specifically for them. Most single star reviews were from the folks who ordered their Corbin seat online and the Corbin stock shape did not quite work for them. Also it seems that Corbin customer service over internet leaves a lot to be desired. I have almost scratched it off the list just for that, but it turns out they are not too far from where I live. Thus since Corbin factory located in Hollister California, just some 100 miles away from my house, I’ve made an appointment for a Saturday and rode my bike there.

Winter time is not very busy for them. Which is good for me. It is less of a zoo and folks at Corbin have a lot more time to give attention to you. I arrived at 8am and was met by a chap that works there. He was one of the saddle techs, they are called "wizards". He welcomed me to the factory, invited me to park my bike inside in the designated area and showed me where to check in. The lady at the desk took my info and in no time I was back with the "wizard".

We started with the stock Corbin seat mold for my Vulcan 900. Just to get an idea what to modify specifically for me. Juan the Wizard installed Corbin stock mold on my bike (that’s the same shape I would have got if I ordered over the Internet) and offered me to go for a ride to get a feel for it. Just sitting with my fit to the ground was not very comfortable. A bit too high, a bit too hard. This is where stock Vulcan seat wins, but as soon as I took off - the difference was huge! While not perfect, the Corbin stock seat was already a huge improvement to the Vulcan stock. Almost no pressure points, you sit like in a lazy-boy chair. I did some twists, and some straights, went over a few bumps to get a feel for what I want to change in the Corbin stock and came back to the shop.

When I got back, Juan the Wizard was waiting for me with a hunk of foam attached to the metal mounting plate in a rough form of what is to be my custom seat. By that time there were four more customers trying their butts on different seats being assisted by other wizards. I explained to Juan what I want to change: spots where I want it to be deeper where I want it to be shallower etc and he placed marks on the blank, than took-of to make the first version of the custom mold. I went to the Wizards Cafe located right on the premises. Got some coffee (free of charge) and chatted with other riders at the counter while Juan was making merry with the hunk of foam. In about half an hour Juan fetched me from the cafe. The first version of the seat was already installed on my bike (no leather or anything, just the mold mounted on the steel plate). I took it for a ride again. Some time later I was back with some more modification requests. This process repeated about four or five times until the form of the seat was perfect for my body shape.

Once the shape was locked in, we went to choose the material. There is plenty to choose from. 32 different types of high quality leather 8 types of vinyl with 28 different colors to choose from. Several stitching patterns, or you can draw your own custom pattern if you are artistic enough. You can choose what parts of the seat are covered with what type of material. Choose any combination you like. Any color of the stitching and different variations of their logo. (The price is the same).

After choosing the leather, the color, the pattern and figuring out a two-tone design the girls at the leather stitching department began their magic with the sawing machines. I man rolled up to me, quite dignifying, he asked how I like it so far, and told me to feel at home and go around the factory check things out. This is when I’ve noticed they do not have a sign "Employees Only beyond this point" anywhere. Unusual. The man did not mention his name, but I recognized him from the photos. It was Mike Corbin himself…

…After a breakfast at Wizards Cafe and few hours of watching TV in the lounge my seat was ready. $393 + California tax and I was on my way home.

(Corbin saddle on Vulcan 900)

To check out my new saddle in action I took a long way home. Some Interstate, some twists to the coast and the coastal CA1 up north to where I live. I rode that road before on Vulcan stock seat and I had to stop for few minutes every half an hour to let the pain subside. Not this time! This seat is a throne, worthy of a king. While it is harder then the stock, it so much more comfortable since it distributes my weight evenly over a larger contact area. It is like a properly made body-hugging bucket-seat. Bumps, twists, no problem. I arrived home, feeling I could go for a lot longer ride with no pain problems. (so I did)

If you live close enough to ride to Hollister CA, or if you are planning on visiting our state this summer and you are not happy with your seat. Stop by in Hollister and check them out. Whatever your body form is you will not regret it if you made it custom for you rather then buy online.

Ride Safe!
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Great article and beautiful seat - only point I would argue is I don't know any 900 owners who like the stock seat lol. I was fortunate and got the Mustang seat for mine.
Again, looks awesome.
Looks awesome! I sure wish they were closer so I could get a custom seat done, dang...

Nice score! Im glad you're enjoying it.
Cool, nice writeup. I've been thinking about a Corbin, but have yet to pull the trigger.

Perhaps I'm one of the VERY few who like the stock seat. Then again, with the 2014, I've got a newer design of the seat. I'm guessing MaKaw made some improvements in comfort.

Then again, I was also one of the few that was comfortable on the stock VN750 seat as well...
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