When you think of motorcycle seats, the Corbin name might pop into your head. But the visual cues that accompany that name might be less clear. Maybe that’s because Corbin seats don’t fit the common idea of the so called standard motorcycle seat. They can be single or two-up, with backrests and without, in every color or combination of colors you can imagine, in leather, vinyl or exotic materials, heated or not, and custom stitched with nearly any logo or design. This riot of variety is no mistake, either; it’s the way things work at Corbin and it comes right from the top, from Mike Corbin himself.
Mike’s always been a creative person (he has dozens of patents) and creative people tend to be receptive to off-the-hook ideas from other people. Corbin has made it a point to be vastly accommodating to radical ideas. One-of-a-kind seats for customs present no problems at all. If you can dream it up, they can make it. Better yet, if Hollister, California is a stop on your next ride, you’ll see that the company has configured their factory there to offer a Ride-In service. You ride into a staging area, discuss the issues to be addressed and the seat you want with a Corbin technician, then you can stroll into the Wizard’s Café for some typically American fare—and wait while your seat is made. Once it’s done, the technician installs it on your bike and you roll out, perched on your comfy new saddle. Talk about putting out the welcome mat!
A word to the wise: factory ride-in hours change with the seasons so call before you go. Smart bike owners go online to pre-order saddlebags or a fairing and have those installed while they’re on site, too. Smarter still, schedule an appointment to minimize your wait time. If a ride to NorCal isn’t in your near future, you can catch Corbin at dozens of rallies across the country where installation is always free.
As Director of Marketing Greg Hurley explained, many seats for Harley-Davidson models can be modified from a standard Corbin design to match a rider’s stature and riding style. If ground reach is an issue or you want to alter distance to the bars, that can be addressed. And if you’re thinking that all this tailor-made attention results in a high price tag, not so. “Typically there’s no extra charge for making modifications from one of our saddle designs, and it’s one of the services riders rave about,” said Greg. “Our Ride-In service is really popular. During Corbin Rider Appreciation Day in July there’s always a line out the door.”
Something we appreciate about the Corbin operation, besides the fact that they’re a custom manufacturer born and raised in the U.S.A., is the respect they accord the people who work there. Mike refers to his employees as “American craftsmen” in honor of the handmade, one-off character of the products they make and he recognizes their pivotal role in the quality of the finished product. We listened in as a Corbin technician (Mike calls them Wizards!) discussed a seat with a Road King rider and his passenger. The technician’s questions showed not only a command of seating position and weight distribution but also a working knowledge of details particular to certain model bikes. It was impressive.
One vital aspect of Corbin seats, and a feature they tout, is the kind of foam material used in their saddles. Mike Corbin invented—and patented—integrated comfort cell molded foam technology for motorcycle saddles. Unlike soft foam that develops depressions over time that can create uncomfortable hot spots, the contoured shape of Corbin’s seats provides greater contact area. Better weight distribution means no pressure points plus more time in the saddle without constant shifting and repositioning to stop the pins and needles in your butt. “The first reaction is sometimes: ‘It’s too firm’ but once people give it some time they realize the benefits,” said Greg.
Head to Corbin’s website to view their finished seat gallery. You’ll also find information there on fairings, saddlebags, even furniture from the Wizard’s workshop. Earlier this year Mike also reintroduced his Warbird kits and components for FXR models, parts he first released in 1994. Their aerodynamic lines hit styling cues from swift Warbirds of note from aviation history. This re-release was so well received that within months kits were released for Dyna-Glide models, too. And yes, every part is made right at the Corbin factory in California, U.S.A.
Corbin • Hollister, CA
800-538-7035 • www.corbin.com
Posted by Sam Kanish