Sport Bike Seat Cover Installation Instructions
- Required installation tools
- Flat head screwdriver
- Needle nose pliers
- Heavy duty stapler and staples
- Patience and attention to detail
- Optional installation tools
- Heat gun or blow dryer
- Spray adhesive
Your Sweet Ass Seats seat cover can be installed 2 ways. It can be installed on top of your current stock seat cover, or the old stock seat cover can be removed and replaced with the new. The recommended method is to remove the stock seat cover and install the new cover in it's place. By removing the stock seat cover, you will most importantly remove all of the staples and excess material from the bottom of the seat pan which WILL positively be in the way when stapling the new cover. Some customers prefer to leave the stock cover so that the bike can be returned to stock condition easily if the need ever arises. This will make installation more difficult, because you will have to fight for free surface area in which to staple. Either option is acceptable and yours to choose.
Before removing your stock seat cover, take a moment and feel around on the seat. Pay particular attention to any areas where the the cover doesn't remain touching the seat foam underneath at all times. The seat cover actually stretches above the foam when no pressure is applied. This is common in the butt portion of many seats where he material actually floats above the low lying (negative) area of the seat foam. This isn't necessarily a problem, but when installing your new cover you will have the option to apply spray adhesive in these low lying areas so that your seat cover fits your seat perfectly, showing every natural curve, and improving the look. It is important to take a mental note of these "floating" areas now, so that you can spray glue only in these areas later.
Stock Seat Cover Removal
If you are working with a seat that has a passenger strap, remove the strap and any related hardware that will be in your way when removing/installing the seat cover. Almost all Metric (foreign built) motorcycles have two 10mm nuts or bolts attaching the passenger strap. Beware if your seat is using bolts because the metal nuts on the other side (between the foam and seat pan) will possibly strip out of their PLASTIC slot or socket in the plastic seat pan. Some manufacturers even use locktite on these bolts which further worsens the situation. When removing the bolts it may be necessary to lift the bracket with a screwdriver to maintain tension on the inside metal nuts so that they will not strip loose. **See the pictures**
If you choose to remove the stock seat cover, do so carefully and patiently. Most factory seat covers are installed with heavy duty staples; normally a flat head screwdriver and needle nose pliers are the only tools needed to remove the staples. Be careful not to puncture or damage the foam or your FINGER! Using the flat head screwdriver, carefully wedge the tip under the staple and pry up one or both sides. Once, the staple is pried up, you can easily use the needle nose pliers to pull the staple out completely. Normally, you will just grab the staple and pull, but you should also try other methods. For example, try grabbing the staple with the pliers laying flat on the seat pan bottom. Once grabbed, roll the pliers over to pull the stubborn staple **see pictures**.
Also, please be sure to keep up with all the used staples and dispose of them properly. There is nothing worse than stepping barefoot on a rogue staple! When finished, inspect the seat foam. Minor damage and wear will be masked by the replacement seat cover, but MAJOR damage should be repaired by a professional. We at Sweet Ass Seats would be happy to perform any foam repair; please contact us about our pricing.
In colder climates, it may be necessary to use a heat gun or blow dryer to warm up the seat cover and allow it too stretch more freely. Normally, 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit is warm enough to install any properly built seat cover. The designing of our seat covers allows them to be installed in almost any temperature without problem or use of additional heat.
If heat is used, ALWAYS use great care when attempting to heat up the material. In this situation, less is more; the worst thing you can do is scorch the material with too much heat. A good tip is hold your hand on the opposite side of the material where you are heating. Hold the blow gun about 6-12 inches away from the material. Don't get to close or you risk scorching the material, so keep your distance! When your hand gets warm, remove the heat gun and apply any necessary stretching. If you need to heat the material some more, repeat the process, but be very careful
New Seat Cover Installation
Stretch the new seat cover over the seat and get a feel for the placement. Many times it is easiest to begin by slipping the seat cover over the two front side portions **see picture**. Pull the seat cover snugly so that it fits well and the seam is aligned with the edge of the seat/foam. Check the side to side alignment and make sure that the cover is symmetrical and even. For rear seat covers, you will still follow the same basic steps, working front to back when sliding the cover onto the cushion.
Now begin stretching the seat cover backwards and roll the cover over the sides and back edges. Always use tough love when stretching your seat cover, you want to be aggressive but obviously be aware of the natural limits of the material and do not excessively stretch the cover. Make sure the cover is centered left to right and front to back. The bottom seam of your SBC seat cover is specifically designed to align with the bottom edge of your seat all the way around. Using this design method, you will notice that your seat cover is aligned on the seat very easily.
If you are NOT using spray adhesive, skip to the Seat cover stapling section. If you ARE using spray adhesive, take this time to make reference marks on the foam and seat cover so that you can realign the cover easily, later. Simply, use a pen, sharpie or pencil and place a line or dot on the seat edge, and then a line or dot on the underside of the seat cover exactly where they meet. Place at least two marks on the front and rear, but use as many marks as you need. Remember, after you spray glue and stick the seat cover down, you will not be able to adjust the cover easily. This makes it very important to give your seat cover a test fit to get an idea of how and where you will need to start installing and how and where you will need to apply stretch.
Applying Spray Adhesive
On many seats, glue is not necessary. But, as an option, spray adhesive glue (contact adhesive) can be used to hold the seat cover down in the low (negative) areas of the seat. Applying glue will prevent the seat cover from floating over the low lying areas of the seat, in some situations.
Spray adhesive can also help ease the installation of your seat cover. If you apply a light coat of spray adhesive to your seat and also to the inside of the seat cover, it can provide enough traction between the two surfaces to help you stretch the seat cover and keep the stretch while you staple underneath the seat.
*Beware, using glue can attach the seat cover to the seat cushion so well that damage and imperfections of the seat cushion will be visible. DO NOT excessively apply the glue, and especially, avoid areas of the seat with damage!
Before spraying any glue, read all of the directions found on the label. Follow all instructions provided with the contact adhesive. Also, we suggest protecting the surface you are spraying over. The glue can be very difficult and sometimes impossible to remove, so save yourself some time and an ugly aftermath and spray over cardboard or newspaper.
Like expected, you will need to shake the can first. After that take a test run on a piece of cardboard or the inside of the old seat cover. You want to hold the can upright about 6-10 inches from the surface. The trick is, as soon as you push the button, start moving your hand. You could even start moving your hand before you push the button if you wanted. The point is to always keep moving when the button is pressed. If you don't, you will spray too much glue in one spot. If you REALLY overspray, the glue can actually soak through the material and be seen on the other side. So, BE CAREFUL, and keep moving. Remember, you can always spray more glue, but you can't take it back off.
Apply an even coat, one layer of glue thick to both the seat cushion and the inside of the seat cover (try not to over apply, remember you don't want it to build up and look wet). Before spraying onto the cover, first turn every seam inside out. You want all of the undersides of the seat cover to be exposed and none of the top side when you spray glue. Take special care to not spray glue onto the top (outside) or you have to clean it off later. (See Picture) Allow the glue to dry or "flash" from 30 seconds to 2 minutes. Once the glue is sprayed, take your finger and lightly touch the glue. If it sticks to your finger, it's not ready. Wait until the glue is "tacky", but doesn't stick to and grab your finger before you proceed.
Special precautions for installing when glue is used
If glue is used, you will no longer be able to slide the seat cover onto the seat like you may have during the test fitting process. This time you will need to use your reference marks (very important!) to align the seat cover from side to side. With the cover still inside out, lightly lay the cover down on the seat, keeping it centered side to side and front to rear. This almost always takes a few attempts. Be patient and keep laying the cover down and removing until you have it perfectly centered. Remember the bottom seam on our seat covers is made to barely wrap around the underside of the seat.
During this step NEVER apply pressure on the seat cover against the seat. You want to avoid permanently sticking the cover just yet. So work lightly until you are absolutely sure of the correct placement. Applying pressure and securely sticking the seat cover to the seat is ALWAYS the LAST step.
Now that you have the cover centered, begin by firmly sticking the very center of the seat cover to the seat with the palm of your hand, then, working in opposite directions, stretch the seat cover and wrap it around the bottom edge. Once again, do not press the seat cover to the seat with your hands until you have wrapped the bottom seat cover seam around the bottom seat edge. When the seat cover is stretched and wrapped around an edge, you can hold it in place with one hand and use your other hand to stick the two surfaces together between the center of the seat and the edge that you are holding.
Continue stretching the seat cover and sticking it down to the foam. If the cover doesn't stay in place or you finish stretching the entire cover proceed to the next section, seat cover stapling.
Seat Cover Stapling
Sweet Ass Seats seat covers are designed to fit a wide range of seat foam conditions, from brand new to extremely worn. For this reason, ALWAYS test fit the seat cover and draw reference marks for alignment of the seat cover BEFORE attaching any staples. Heavy Duty Staples are recommended. When stapling press firmly with the stapler. With most heavy duty staples, it actually takes quite a bit of pressure. Air or electric staplers will help a great deal, and will not require that you "press down" so hard. If your staples don't shoot all the way into the plastic of the seat, your can use a "special" pair of pliers to squeeze the staple in a little further (see picture).
Very Carefully stretch the cover over the seat aligning the previously drawn reference marks. Usually it is best to work from front to back, rolling and stretching the seat cover down onto the seat. Be sure to evenly stretch the cover in all directions for a proper fit. The seat cover has a built in seam around the bottom edge. This seam is designed to wrap around the bottom edge of your seat without being visible. The flap of material sewed at this seam is too be used to attach staples to the underside of your seat. With the all corners aligned place one staple on each side of the seat to hold the cover in position. Work in opposite directions, always jumping across to the other side of the seat after each staple.
Pull the seat cover from front to back and stretch the back section down and around the rear of the seat. Align the stitch seam with the bottom edge of the seat and put one staple in the middle. Next, stretch the seat cover in the middle from side to side again aligning the stitch seam with the bottom edge of the seat. Attach staples on each side.
Stretching the seat cover evenly around all edges, work in a cross pattern stapling one side then the other side until you've gone all the way around the seat. This step should be very simple if you stretch the cover evenly and always align the bottom stitch seam of the cover with the bottom edge of the seat.