If choppers are sundaes, seats are the icing on the cake. That's a mixed metaphor, but you catch our drift. Tooled and stitched leather are the preferred media for first-class seating on most custom motorcycles. Fortunately, there's a thriving cottage industry of garage tanners and leathermen who are dedicated to this craft. If you prefer stitched vinyl or more supple fabrics, both furniture and automotive upholsterers have been known to ply their craft for backstreet builders. When applied with heart and skill, even an old bandana can be great upholstery for a hand-built deathtrap.
Seat pans come in many shapes and sizes, and nearly as wide a range of materials. We've seen great seats built on tin, fiberglass and steel bases, and more than a couple guys out there have constructed perfectly good seat pans with stolen street signs. There's no end to the creativity, and sometimes, no accounting for individual taste.
Brown naughahyde with nickel snaps
The classic cobra king-and-queen with sky-high sissy bar backrest
a simplified take on the classic cobra solo seat
Kitchy or cool? You decide. Whichever you choose, the color and craftsmanship on this Bates-style spring-mounted solo seat is unassailable
Rich patina is something you can't counterfeit
Another vinyl-covered solo seat, this time with a tasteful diamond stitched pattern
When you use your illusion, anything is possible. The black leather solo seat on Gilby Clarke's chop simply rocks
Anatomically proportioned for his riding pleasure
The throne on this tasteful panhead looks mighty inviting
He's a cowboy, on a steel horse he rides
Would you still have a smile on your face if you had to stare at sweaty biker ass all day?
This recessed seat nestles into the rear stays of the frame and looks good doing it
Solo seats look best when the springs are properly aligned and mounted on the frame. Leather washers beneath the coils reduce squeeking
Two bucks at Farm and Fleet and still going strong
Practically perfect in every way
Wild John has a plan, and it includes whip stitching and plenty of hand-hammered rivets. Nice work, brother
They call them tractor seats, but this oversized solo looks anything but agricultural
Brown is the new black. Or is upholstery the new hand tooling? Where's our DicE magazine style guide when we need it?
Would you trust a strange caligrapher to write exactly what you want to say? My back tat was supposed to say "Money, Power & Respect," but a Japanese friend told me it says, "blows goats for dinner."
A tooled seat as finely crafted as the rest of the bike is a thing of beauty and a joy forever
A mid-sized cobra still has plenty of bite when it's mounted on the right machine. This set-up seems to be saying, "I want to be free to ride my machine without being hassled by The Man!"
Don't you dare call this bike a chopper. It's a bobber, and it says so right on the oil bag