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What seat material would you choose?

  • Vinyl

    Votes: 25 75.8%
  • Vinyl sides with leather top insert

    Votes: 8 24.2%
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I am going to buy a Russell Day Long for my 2018 Wing but have a couple questions for those with experience. I will be getting the rider and passenger seat sections done. I am also going to have a riders backrest from RDL. I will have them make a passenger backrest that I will bolt to my pelican box as well for my wife to lean against.

***Note: I typically do mostly Iron Butt Association style riding and am on the bike for long periods of time through ALL types of weather***

Some questions about Russell Day Long and their seats:

1)Ride in vs conventional shipping of the seat: I have the option of doing a ride in (since my wife and I are going to go visit Yosemite and other CA parks)...however, the ride in timing isn’t the best...is it worth the ride in or should I just order it the conventional way? Any major differences in comfort from those that have tried both ways of ordering?

The advantage of the shipping order is that I can add my rear pelican box setup before the trip vs after, test the seat, and have the seat with 3-4K miles before going to CA for our trip...Russell said that if I want any changes I can stop by their shop when on the vacation and they can tweak the seat if needed. Anyone have advice on how their ride in went vs a mailed seat? Anyone ever have to go back to Russell for some tweaks after they had their seat made?

2) I wear and Aerostitch R3 one piece every time I ride. I currently ride in Michigan mostly but want a seat that will work well in hot Southern climates too. I ride in all types of weather. I see that many riders like the vinyl sides with leather inserts for the seating area....wanted to see how many of you have tried vinyl and leather RDL’s and had a comparison between the two (keep in mind I will be in an Aerostitch that doesn’t breath a whole ton anyway)? Or since I’m wearing a suit that doesn’t breath a whole ton in the heat the material of vinyl vs leather on the center of the seat won’t make much of a difference?

3) I will have a half cover on the bike at night but don’t want to have to worry about the seat getting wet if I’m stopping at a restaurant or a rally bonus and it’s raining and the seat will be in the rain...It Would be nice to not worry about it at work too but I would be willing to cover the bike at work if the seat needed it for the 12hrs I’m working. Russell says that the all vinyl with half moon pattern is the most water resistant.

Question is, How did the leather inserts or all vinyl hold up when getting off the bike at restaurants or bonus locations in the rain? Did the seat soak up water quickly or as long as you use good leather conditioner on it it’s fine for those 10 minute bonus stops or 1hr restaurant stops? How about longer stops in the rain or if the bike got rained on at work without a cover on it? My old GL1800 seat was a velour Diamond custom seat and it SOAKED up water and not very enjoyable to ride in when it got wet...I don’t want to have that problem with a RDL.

4)I know RDL has a rain cover...how have people that have used them like them? Would be nice not to have to mess with a rain cover....but again, willing to if it’s needed.

5) Now for a personal preference: My bike is the red/black 2018 Wing pictured below. I have been looking through RDL’s gallery at other bikes. I’m debating at keeping it simple with an all black seat...but also thinking about doing black sides with a red top? How many think that would be pretty slick on my bike or think I should keep it simple with an all black seat?

6) Half moon stitching pattern vs rectangular? Any preference on that and what you all think would look best on a 2018 Wing?

7)RDL heated seat option: Worth it or should we just wear heated pants when it’s cold? I currently have heated gear and pants...my wife does not but can get some. RDL charges about $330 for the heated seat option so not sure if it is worth it or not from people that have had it? Also, does their heated seat option have a low and high heat setting or just on/off? Does it get pretty warm through Aerostitch pants?

Any other advice or experience for a first time RDL buyer?

I know you all have a ton of experience and just want to get this seat perfect :)
 

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Hi,
I have a RDL on my 2008. While I can not answer all your questions, I will chime in with my limited experience. I have the fabric/sunbrella type of fabric on mine. I sprayed it with waterproofing spray lightly. It has held up fairly well with light, steady rain.no leaks, however for heavier storms, I do have a rain cover because I am OCD with not wanting to ruin my seat. I also have a piece of ostrich leather that I sit on for absorption of water of sweat due to high humidities in Florida. You wear Aerostich, I always wear Motoport, always, even in blazing summers. It gets warm but to ME, I feel the extra $330 for heat doesn't justify for me. Yes I live in Florida but have been known to ride to smoky mountains and beyond in late October, November. I'm just not one for the heat even though my bike is equipped. I bought my RDL used actually from someone from S. California, after many pics and phone calls I took a chance. No regrets. I am an IBA member with OEM seat and know the RDL would take me wherever I want to go with no worries of fatigue or pain. Hope this may help somewhat. I read and heard that the stitching on the vinyl ( and maybe the sunbrella too) wouldn't be able to withstand a heavy downpour, why may then seep into seat and interior. Up to this point for me, the seat has been awesome. Good luck with your RDL.
 

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I am going to buy a Russell Day Long for my 2018 Wing but have a couple questions for those with experience. I will be getting the rider and passenger seat sections done. I am also going to have a riders backrest from RDL. I will have them make a passenger backrest that I will bolt to my pelican box as well for my wife to lean against.

***Note: I typically do mostly Iron Butt Association style riding and am on the bike for long periods of time through ALL types of weather***

Some questions about Russell Day Long and their seats:

1)Ride in vs conventional shipping of the seat: I have the option of doing a ride in (since my wife and I are going to go visit Yosemite and other CA parks)...however, the ride in timing isn’t the best...is it worth the ride in or should I just order it the conventional way? Any major differences in comfort from those that have tried both ways of ordering?

The advantage of the shipping order is that I can add my rear pelican box setup before the trip vs after, test the seat, and have the seat with 3-4K miles before going to CA for our trip...Russell said that if I want any changes I can stop by their shop when on the vacation and they can tweak the seat if needed. Anyone have advice on how their ride in went vs a mailed seat? Anyone ever have to go back to Russell for some tweaks after they had their seat made?

2) I wear and Aerostitch R3 one piece every time I ride. I currently ride in Michigan mostly but want a seat that will work well in hot Southern climates too. I ride in all types of weather. I see that many riders like the vinyl sides with leather inserts for the seating area....wanted to see how many of you have tried vinyl and leather RDL’s and had a comparison between the two (keep in mind I will be in an Aerostitch that doesn’t breath a whole ton anyway)? Or since I’m wearing a suit that doesn’t breath a whole ton in the heat the material of vinyl vs leather on the center of the seat won’t make much of a difference?

3) I will have a half cover on the bike at night but don’t want to have to worry about the seat getting wet if I’m stopping at a restaurant or a rally bonus and it’s raining and the seat will be in the rain...It Would be nice to not worry about it at work too but I would be willing to cover the bike at work if the seat needed it for the 12hrs I’m working. Russell says that the all vinyl with half moon pattern is the most water resistant.

Question is, How did the leather inserts or all vinyl hold up when getting off the bike at restaurants or bonus locations in the rain? Did the seat soak up water quickly or as long as you use good leather conditioner on it it’s fine for those 10 minute bonus stops or 1hr restaurant stops? How about longer stops in the rain or if the bike got rained on at work without a cover on it? My old GL1800 seat was a velour Diamond custom seat and it SOAKED up water and not very enjoyable to ride in when it got wet...I don’t want to have that problem with a RDL.

4)I know RDL has a rain cover...how have people that have used them like them? Would be nice not to have to mess with a rain cover....but again, willing to if it’s needed.

5) Now for a personal preference: My bike is the red/black 2018 Wing pictured below. I have been looking through RDL’s gallery at other bikes. I’m debating at keeping it simple with an all black seat...but also thinking about doing black sides with a red top? How many think that would be pretty slick on my bike or think I should keep it simple with an all black seat?

6) Half moon stitching pattern vs rectangular? Any preference on that and what you all think would look best on a 2018 Wing?

7)RDL heated seat option: Worth it or should we just wear heated pants when it’s cold? I currently have heated gear and pants...my wife does not but can get some. RDL charges about $330 for the heated seat option so not sure if it is worth it or not from people that have had it? Also, does their heated seat option have a low and high heat setting or just on/off? Does it get pretty warm through Aerostitch pants?

Any other advice or experience for a first time RDL buyer?

I know you all have a ton of experience and just want to get this seat perfect :)


1. I have been riding on Russell Day Long Saddles since the 90s. I wouldn't ride on anything else, but that is just my personal opinion. I just purchased a 2018 Goldwing airbag model. I too considered their ride-in program to be built during my Road Trip this summer, but coming cross country from NJ it was difficult to nail down an exact date. And after speaking with a rep from RDL, they are pretty booked up during the summer, so if you miss your appointment you might not be able to get your seat made. So I elected to mail my seat in, and I have a build date of 6 March.

2. Benefits of Ride-in over mailing your seat: If you mail in your seat and it requires an adjustment to meet your requirements, I believe RDL will attempt to adjust your seat to your specifications ONCE. If you take advantage of the ride-in service, you are sure to be satisfied before you leave their factory. I think that is the biggest benefit to their Ride-In service.

3. Seat Material: I wear an Aerostich Darien outfit, and my saddles are always leather! Leather is more comfortable than vinyl (again, my personal opinion), cooler in the summer and more comfortable in the winter. A leather saddle WILL require a rain cover. RDL makes one that will also accommodate your saddle and Built-in RDL backrest.

4. My bike is red/black, and I am going with an all-black leather saddle. It is my understanding that it is easier to match up vinyl to the color of your bike, than it is leather, but you should speak to RDL about that if you want to go with a seat portion that matches your ride.

5. I am retaining the OEM heated seat and backrest in my build.

6. I have had both the rectangular and the Half-moon patterns, and I prefer the Half-moon (again, personal preference). It is my understanding that there is less stitching in the Half-moon pattern, so it may be a little more water resistant.

7. Any other advice or experience for a first time RDL buyer: YES, YOU WILL LOVE IT!
.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the good advice Barrycuda67 and Wingman05!

I’m Leaning towards a ride in appointment possibly...one advantage of the ship and install method is I get to break it in and then can stop back out there to see if anything should be changed. My wife likes the shipping idea because then I can get the luggage rack/aux fuel tank/pelican box system installed (I wanted to wait on that until the seat was installed) so that she has a back rest for the trip.

Also leaning towards an all black seat to avoid mismatched red colors.

Any additional comments or your experience is much appreciated!!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I tried to edit the post to include a sunbrella fabric option but can’t edit it. Perhaps a moderator could add the option?
 

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Some questions about Russell Day Long and their seats:

1)Ride in vs conventional shipping of the seat: I have the option of doing a ride in (since my wife and I are going to go visit Yosemite and other CA parks)...however, the ride in timing isn’t the best...is it worth the ride in or should I just order it the conventional way? Any major differences in comfort from those that have tried both ways of ordering?

The advantage of the shipping order is that I can add my rear pelican box setup before the trip vs after, test the seat, and have the seat with 3-4K miles before going to CA for our trip...Russell said that if I want any changes I can stop by their shop when on the vacation and they can tweak the seat if needed. Anyone have advice on how their ride in went vs a mailed seat? Anyone ever have to go back to Russell for some tweaks after they had their seat made?

I used the mail in service, cost about $100 to ship the saddle from Houston to RDL, they paid the return shipping. We had both rider and passenger seats and the passenger back rest remade to fit. Took several pictures of both of us sitting on the bike and sent them in with the order. RDL nailed it the first time. We bought the bike in December of 2012 and had the saddle built in August of 2012, it has been a terrific choice.

2) I wear and Aerostitch R3 one piece every time I ride. I currently ride in Michigan mostly but want a seat that will work well in hot Southern climates too. I ride in all types of weather. I see that many riders like the vinyl sides with leather inserts for the seating area....wanted to see how many of you have tried vinyl and leather RDL’s and had a comparison between the two (keep in mind I will be in an Aerostitch that doesn’t breath a whole ton anyway)? Or since I’m wearing a suit that doesn’t breath a whole ton in the heat the material of vinyl vs leather on the center of the seat won’t make much of a difference?

Our 2004 had the leather seating surface with vinyl sides and while it was very comfortable when dry, it would soak up fast in the rain if not covered. The 2012 has an all vinyl saddle. Although I ride in jeans, I don't get any more perspiration build up on the vinyl than I did on the leather of the old bike.

3) I will have a half cover on the bike at night but don’t want to have to worry about the seat getting wet if I’m stopping at a restaurant or a rally bonus and it’s raining and the seat will be in the rain...It Would be nice to not worry about it at work too but I would be willing to cover the bike at work if the seat needed it for the 12hrs I’m working. Russell says that the all vinyl with half moon pattern is the most water resistant.

Bear in mind that water resistance on a custom saddle that is sewn together is not the same as the stock saddle which is fused together to essentially make a one piece cover. The tiny holes from the sewing needle will leak. In light rain, it is nothing to get excited about but in a down pour, the water will go right through those tiny holes and rest on top of the vinyl inner cover, making a very wet ride when you get back on. If there is any chance of a heavy rain, I will put on either the half cover or the saddle cover.

Question is, How did the leather inserts or all vinyl hold up when getting off the bike at restaurants or bonus locations in the rain? Did the seat soak up water quickly or as long as you use good leather conditioner on it it’s fine for those 10 minute bonus stops or 1hr restaurant stops? How about longer stops in the rain or if the bike got rained on at work without a cover on it? My old GL1800 seat was a velour Diamond custom seat and it SOAKED up water and not very enjoyable to ride in when it got wet...I don’t want to have that problem with a RDL.

4)I know RDL has a rain cover...how have people that have used them like them? Would be nice not to have to mess with a rain cover....but again, willing to if it’s needed.

Nice cover, love and use it.

5) Now for a personal preference: My bike is the red/black 2018 Wing pictured below. I have been looking through RDL’s gallery at other bikes. I’m debating at keeping it simple with an all black seat...but also thinking about doing black sides with a red top? How many think that would be pretty slick on my bike or think I should keep it simple with an all black seat?

I chose gray for the seating area and black for the sides. Major reason is in the Summer with the sun bearing down on the saddle when parked, my seat is 15 to 20 degrees cooler than the black saddles.

6) Half moon stitching pattern vs rectangular? Any preference on that and what you all think would look best on a 2018 Wing?

I really like the half moon pattern and tried to order it but that could not be done with one of the other options I chose.

7)RDL heated seat option: Worth it or should we just wear heated pants when it’s cold? I currently have heated gear and pants...my wife does not but can get some. RDL charges about $330 for the heated seat option so not sure if it is worth it or not from people that have had it? Also, does their heated seat option have a low and high heat setting or just on/off? Does it get pretty warm through Aerostitch pants?

I chose to retain the Honda seat heater. This allowed me to continue to use the bikes seat controller. I hear a lot of bad things about that controller but have never had the first problem from mine.

Any other advice or experience for a first time RDL buyer?

I know you all have a ton of experience and just want to get this seat perfect :)

Answers are in blue.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Answers are in blue.
Thanks Jack! I saw your seat pattern on a BMW on Russell’s page and it’s a cool unique design! I actually thought about black with red lines for a little bit but the wife wasn’t a fan of me trying it in case the red didn’t match quite right. Still, on your bike that is a cool seat design!

Did you condition the leather with anything and it still soaked up water in the rain?

I want something that can get rained on for an hour while we are in a restaurant, go back to the bike, swish off the water, and not ride with a cold wet butt for the rest of the day. My old seat was velour and even though my Aerostitch was waterproof it felt like my suit was leaking but it really was me just sitting in a spongy wet seat :(

Can the vinyl take that and with simply swishing off the water be alright? What about the sunbrella you think?

I have heard that the leather with a good conditioner will not absorb the water?
 

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I vote for all leather, my seat will be gray and black when I get it back in February, my 4th RDL
 

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I have had 5 RDL seats. Because of the stitching, short rain or overnight dew will give you a damp butt. More than that...wet butt. If short rain, after first breakfast stop (sun helps) you will be dry. If in heavy rain then damp butt most of the day. I have learned just put the cover on when done for the day. Very easy and stays in place. Great seat with minor flaw.
 

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EricW88- if your going to sit directly on the saddle, the LESS stiching- the better. I've gone with a beaded cover. The beads keep some moisture off you and allow some air-flow. If you got the heated seat, would you ditch the heated pants? If the answer is no, save the 330 clams and buy your wife something nice....or squirrel it away for another accessory down the line. As you know, the less stuff you HAVE to carry- the better. Good luck, ride safe, and congrats on the new seat!
mh IBA#11052
 

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Thanks Jack! I saw your seat pattern on a BMW on Russell’s page and it’s a cool unique design! I actually thought about black with red lines for a little bit but the wife wasn’t a fan of me trying it in case the red didn’t match quite right. Still, on your bike that is a cool seat design!

Did you condition the leather with anything and it still soaked up water in the rain?

I want something that can get rained on for an hour while we are in a restaurant, go back to the bike, swish off the water, and not ride with a cold wet butt for the rest of the day. My old seat was velour and even though my Aerostitch was waterproof it felt like my suit was leaking but it really was me just sitting in a spongy wet seat :(

Can the vinyl take that and with simply swishing off the water be alright? What about the sunbrella you think?

I have heard that the leather with a good conditioner will not absorb the water?
Hi Eric, I never did condition the leather seating surface on the old bike but all custom saddles are sewn together. Unless there is a way to seal the little needle holes, it will take on water. I wouldn't leave it uncovered for an hour unless there was just misting rain. With the vinyl, it can sit out over night, you can wipe the dew off and ride. If you condition leather it may do the same but the needle holes will still be there. If I had it to do again, I would go for the half moon design, fewer needle holes.
 

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I have had 5 RDL seats. Because of the stitching, short rain or overnight dew will give you a damp butt. More than that...wet butt. If short rain, after first breakfast stop (sun helps) you will be dry. If in heavy rain then damp butt most of the day. I have learned just put the cover on when done for the day. Very easy and stays in place. Great seat with minor flaw.
I just put the rain cover on the seat when I put the rain gear on never had a problem with a wet seat.
 
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EricW88- if your going to sit directly on the saddle, the LESS stiching- the better. I've gone with a beaded cover. The beads keep some moisture off you and allow some air-flow. If you got the heated seat, would you ditch the heated pants? If the answer is no, save the 330 clams and buy your wife something nice....or squirrel it away for another accessory down the line. As you know, the less stuff you HAVE to carry- the better. Good luck, ride safe, and congrats on the new seat!
mh IBA#11052
If your seat is heated to start with like the Wing it is 65.00 to retain the heated seat.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thanks for all the comments everyone! After everyone’s comments I was leaning towards vinyl sides with leather top seating area. Then I had planned on conditioning the leather with something to make it more water resistant.

However, after talking further to Russell Day Long (Spoke to Jay on the phone) he said that if you condition it with a product to be more weather resistant it is essential filling in the pores of the leather and cancelling out the benefits of the leather. He said a conditioned leather would basically be the same breathability of the vinyl at that point.

Jay said that if your riding in jeans the leather would feel much more breathable than vinyl. He said that in mesh riding pants they were close to feeling the same but could still tell a slight difference in breathability comparing leather to vinyl. He said that he had never ridden in Aerostitch or Klim but said that he imagined that since it was less breathable than mesh that I likely wouldn’t feel a difference through the butt area of my Aerostitch when comparing leather to vinyl.

As for rain being soaked up into the seat:
He said for IBA riding and not stopping for rain to put on the rain cover (since I’m wearing Aerostitch and don’t stop for rain) that the vinyl would be much better.

He said that they recommend covering the seat if leaving it out in the rain because the needle stitching holes would allow water in over time...but added that as long as water wasn’t pooling in the seat it would be mostly alright though. He also said that if the bike is parked on the side stand vs center stand that would allow for rain water to run off better and not pool on the seat (therefore helping it not soak up water).

He said the half moon stitching pattern in vinyl would be the best for my needs. He seemed 100% confident that it would be a much better choice for me than a leather top.

He said sunbrella would be definitely the worst choice for my idea of minimal maintenance and waterproof needs.

So I guess I am probably looking at getting an all vinyl seat. The conditioned leather sounded like such a good idea too...but if the conditioner truly just fills the holes and makes it about the same breathability as the vinyl then I guess the durability and water resistant properties as well as lower maintenance of vinyl wins out.

We will see.
 

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Thanks, I have the non tour though so will need to use Russell’s seat heating option.
That's not so bad at least you have the option of other seats since you don't need to plug into the bike or buy the dummy plug to keep the dash light off.
 

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Thanks for all the comments everyone! After everyone’s comments I was leaning towards vinyl sides with leather top seating area. Then I had planned on conditioning the leather with something to make it more water resistant.

However, after talking further to Russell Day Long (Spoke to Jay on the phone) he said that if you condition it with a product to be more weather resistant it is essential filling in the pores of the leather and cancelling out the benefits of the leather. He said a conditioned leather would basically be the same breathability of the vinyl at that point.

Jay said that if your riding in jeans the leather would feel much more breathable than vinyl. He said that in mesh riding pants they were close to feeling the same but could still tell a slight difference in breathability comparing leather to vinyl. He said that he had never ridden in Aerostitch or Klim but said that he imagined that since it was less breathable than mesh that I likely wouldn’t feel a difference through the butt area of my Aerostitch when comparing leather to vinyl.

As for rain being soaked up into the seat:
He said for IBA riding and not stopping for rain to put on the rain cover (since I’m wearing Aerostitch and don’t stop for rain) that the vinyl would be much better.

He said that they recommend covering the seat if leaving it out in the rain because the needle stitching holes would allow water in over time...but added that as long as water wasn’t pooling in the seat it would be mostly alright though. He also said that if the bike is parked on the side stand vs center stand that would allow for rain water to run off better and not pool on the seat (therefore helping it not soak up water).

He said the half moon stitching pattern in vinyl would be the best for my needs. He seemed 100% confident that it would be a much better choice for me than a leather top.

He said sunbrella would be definitely the worst choice for my idea of minimal maintenance and waterproof needs.

So I guess I am probably looking at getting an all vinyl seat. The conditioned leather sounded like such a good idea too...but if the conditioner truly just fills the holes and makes it about the same breathability as the vinyl then I guess the durability and water resistant properties as well as lower maintenance of vinyl wins out.

We will see.
Not to dispute what Jay told you or trying to change your mind. I wish I could sit on vinyl but my butt feels like I have the seat heater on extra high no matter what brand of seat or what type of pants I'm wearing. I have no such problem with leather even though I treat it 4-5 times during the riding season, leather will outlast vinyl if properly taken care of and it just looks the best, IMHO :grin2:
 

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I would choose vinyl in that I think it is more durable in the weather
 

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I had a Corbin in leather, and I now have a Ultimate in vinyl.
The leather doesn't stay new looking very long.
The vinyl stays looking great.
 
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