My Custom Leather Seat

By David Sawyer

For more than 20 years of owning Goldwings I have spent most of that time using a Corbin Saddle. My 1984 1200 was my first experience with Corbin and it was fantastic. My 1500 98SE also used a Corbin seat I bought second hand but it was never as comfortable as the one I had on my 1200. After a few years it was really showing signs of wear and there was a rip in one part of the seat. Since I have been tooling leather off and on for more than 30 years and started when I was in Jr. High School. I decided to take the leap and try and make a new seat covering for my Corbin. This entire project was a lot more than I ever thought it would be. It is surprising how many compound curves there are with that seat bucket and while I am still disappointed in Corbin for their quality I do tend to understand. When I torn the old seat apart I found that while it was supposed to be the top of the line ďLEATHERĒ seat it was only 10% leather. The rest was vinyl. I think I understand that because vinyl is much easier to stretch over the bucket then leather is. I have done motorcycle seats in the past but those were single rider pans and those are pretty simple to do. Also as I said I have been doing leather work off and on for years but since I had not done anything in a while I did a lot of other items before going into the seat. Wallets, belts, book covers, etc.

In any event I took to making the pattern but my idea of making the pattern using the old seat was a mistake because while it was vinyl, it had shrunk over the years of use. That forced me to make the pattern by hand and by trial and error. This is not like sewing a pair of curtains. After you make the physical pattern you have to draw your artwork onto the leather, then you have to carve the artwork and then you have to tool it. Once you do all the tooling you can paint/dye the artwork then stain and seal it and then you get to the sewing and stitching. Any mistake in the process and you will have to start over.


Shows some of the tooled pieces before coloring.

It took about 8 weeks of just tooling (3 or so hours a day) to tool the main seat. It only took about a week to do the passenger backrest and 2 weeks to do the driver backrest.

I used an AirRider memory foam GelPad for padding on the seats.


Drivers Seat


Driverís seat part 2


Driverís Backrest Front View


Driverís Backrest Rear View


Passenger Backrest


Passenger Seat


Full Seat

The seat is very comfortable, so much more than the original Corbin. Over time and use the leather will become softer and even more comfortable.