By June 10, 2009

Corbin aftermarket 2005 Yamaha FZ6 seat review: 2500 miles

One of the things I like the most about motorcycling is setting out for a mid-distance trip. One of the things I dislike the most about motorcycling is how sore my butt gets after riding a few hundred miles. By the time I’ve clicked 500 miles on my trip south to Georgia I am ready to stand for the rest of the evening. It gets worse when I ride multiple days like that; when I was up in New York a few years ago I rode for almost nine hours the first day, then twelve the next, then another eight the day after.

There are a few problems with running my Yamaha FZ6 like that; it’s a lightweight bike and riding on the interstate for that much can be a challenge physically. Installing memory foam in the stock seat helped, but I always kept an eye out for an aftermarket saddle.

A used Corbin seat came up for sale about a month before my last trip to Georgia. The prior owner crashed and was selling parts of his bike. The Corbin is $469 before shipping at full retail; I picked the used one up for $325 shipped. The previous owner packaged it up nicely and it was in great shape when I arrived. It looked brand new.

The lines of the seat are fantastic and the silver pin striping really sets the bike off visually. I was super excited to ride down to Georgia in comfort. I loved my Corbin seat.

That is, until I rode on it.

http://gallery.drfaulken.com/d/6898-2/IMG_9361.JPG

To say the Corbin seat is “stiff” is like saying a porn star is “endowed.” My butt hurt by the time I finished my forty-five minute commute to work. I had heard from fellow riders that Corbins were made of a SUPER TOUGH™ foam that allowed them to retain their shape over time and over many miles. I had also read that it can take from 2000 to 5000 miles for the seat to break in. Holy shit! That’s a lot of break in miles. Some people didn’t want to spend that time wearing the saddle down to be rideable, and some reported that the seat NEVER broke in to their satisfaction. So now I’m in a catch-22 — do I suffer with a stiff seat until it breaks in, with the understanding that that day may never come?

Regardless of the break in period, there are some general design flaws with the seat. For starters, the seat latch design is total bullshit. I had to put three metal washers and buy extended bolts so that the latch would extend out far enough to catch to the bike. I was pissed off about it after spending $325, I can’t imagine how many words my neighbor’s kid would have learned if I dropped almost $500 on a seat that didn’t fit right out of the box.

The shape of the seat is okay for a single rider, but the angle is really aggressive for two-up “pillion” riding. It’s a constant fight for the passenger to keep from sliding forward, particularly as the bike decelerates. It is possible for the pillion to stay in the same spot and not crash into me over and over, but the additional physical and dimensional requirements on the passenger takes some of the fun out of 2UP riding.

The seat material is very slick. I can’t help but slide forward into the tank; the passenger area is even worse due to the seat angle. After logging 2500 miles on the seat the rider area is a little worn and less slick, but the passenger section is still like a newborn’s skin.

Will I eventually be happy with my Corbin? Maybe. Do I think it’s a good value? Not yet, especially given the high retail cost and the installation issues. I also think the shape and material used on the seat is not good for two person riding.

I’m torn between bailing out now and buying a Sargeant, Top Saddlery, or Bill Mayers seat and literally riding the Corbin out. I guess it won’t hurt anything but my ass to put another 2500 miles on this seat.

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Posted in: motorcycling, review

6 Comments on "Corbin aftermarket 2005 Yamaha FZ6 seat review: 2500 miles"

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  1. Sideout says:

    Wow, who would have thought?
    Have you ever thought of trading your FZ6 to a sport-touring bike? I would have never thought that I would enjoy a sport-tourer that much. But Aprilia Futura has blown me away. Hands down the best seat amongst both stock and aftermarket seats I have ever sat on. Of course along with a few other amazing things it has to offer.

  2. drfaulken says:

    I’m working the ST angle, stay tuned ;)

  3. Sideout says:

    Honda ST1300 or Triumph Sprint ST?
    Whichever the case I like what I am hearing :).

  4. Tomax says:

    You’re more than welcome to stable the FZ in my copious garage if you get an ST/FJ! And I’ll even break that seat in for you :P

  5. Gremlin says:

    Take your stock seat to a local upholstery store and have them re-do it. Don’t bother with memory foam, with concentrated loads, it just smashes down. Then get a bead or sheep skin top. The biggest discomfort with long rides is lack of air circulation.

  6. Cap'n says:

    I know you from the sportbikes.net forum – always enjoy your reviews and write-ups. I was glad to find this via google search. I have the same problems, both my discomfort and my wife’s, especially the rear seat angle. I’ve heard enough so-so reviews of the corbin offering, to say nothing of the mandatory shim job, to shy away from them. Thanks for taking the time and the pics.

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