Author Topic: Improvement of pillion seat  (Read 506 times)

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JohnnieK

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on: December 27, 2020, 01:42:21 pm
The wife complains that the pillion seat was designed for a skinny 12 year old, so I decided that something needed to be done to rectify the problem. After consulting the infinite wisdom of Google, I still had no solution, so I decided to make a more comfortable pillion seat.
I kept the bracket that the stock seat bolts onto as that is quite a sturdy bracket. I then made a small steel frame to bolt onto that bracket. The steel frame holds the new seat as well as provide fitting points for future side panniers. I took a piece of 20mm ply wood that I had lying around, cut it to the size I wanted and then put 120mm high density foam on it and covered it with fake leather that I purchased for this.
I also made it so that I could easily add the base plate for the top box. That slides into the tubing of the frame and is secured by 2 bolts.


JohnnieK

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Reply #1 on: December 27, 2020, 01:45:44 pm
and some more pics of the finished project. Not bad for R100 (about 5 UK pounds) and a couple of hours work. The steel and wood were all left overs from previous projects.


axman88

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Reply #2 on: December 27, 2020, 06:19:24 pm
Nice, practical solution!

I'm probably the wrong guy to give advice on pillion seats.  Although I put the bracket on my C5, I didn't put a pad on it, to avoid being asked for rides.  I'm about 15 stone, so this seems logical.

However, I did purchase a set of seats like these, for another project:  https://www.ebay.com/itm/Royal-Enfield-Classic-Bike-350-500-Front-and-Rear-Pillion-Seat-With-Fittings/333423909764
This is to illustrate that there are available aftermarket pillion seats that have larger and wider faces.

If those RE pillion seats are designed for average indian woman, your wife's estimate is pretty close.  The average indian woman weighs about 50 kg and is about 5 feet tall.  That would be about the size of an average 14 year old in the UK.
https://www.onaverage.co.uk/body-averages/average-child-weight


gizzo

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Reply #3 on: December 27, 2020, 09:16:19 pm
Good job.
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AzCal Retred

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Reply #4 on: December 27, 2020, 09:22:17 pm
Well done! "If momma ain't happy, ain't NOBODY happy..."  ;D
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heloego

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Reply #5 on: December 28, 2020, 06:10:14 pm
"Well done! "If momma ain't happy, ain't NOBODY happy..." 



What he said!  ;D
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dickim

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Reply #6 on: December 29, 2020, 01:28:34 am
I fitted pretty much same (no diamond stitching) to my 14 C5 cream and tan. Bit of re-fabrication so now fitted to factory rear seat frame allowing me to take on & off quickly. Front seat a bit hard but o.k whilst my wife loves rear seat for size rather than crazy little "Pad"


Bilgemaster

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Reply #7 on: December 29, 2020, 04:13:28 am
That's a great job done with a sterling motive. Such occasional sincere demonstrations of regard for the other's comfort and pleasure is what keeps couples together.

It's a win-win: You get to admire your craftsmanlike handiwork, and she'll have bragging rights with friends and in her own noggin easily worth a diamond tennis bracelet. Well played, Sir!
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grey pegasus

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Reply #8 on: December 29, 2020, 09:11:27 am
Well, I agree that the pillion seat as installed by the factory is very uncomfortable. However, that is all I am able to agree to.

The factory pillion seat is rather narrow (about 150mm) with a length of 310mm. However, we should remember that it is mounted on an Indian bike. In Indian it is required to   have a saree guard installed on the left side beside of the back wheel and a handgrip for the pillion on the right side. The background is that most Indian pillions, especially the ladies, do not sit in riding direction, but diagonally to it.  In this sitting position, the pillion seat dimensions fits much better to the pillion’s butt, even European ones. For the export models, RE omitted the saree guard and the handgrip, but did not adapt the pillion seat.  However, that is only one problem.

The seat upholstery has a height of about 70mm what should be sufficient for a comfortable ride. The shape of the upholstery prevent it. The seat is not flat on the top side, but convex. It is like sitting on a stubborn horse without a saddle fitted. The pillion will not find a comfortable position and the thickness and low stiffness of the upholstery leads to a steady sliding around of the pillion who will not find a comfortable position. Needless to say that such an ongoing movement will bring some disturbance in the whole bike and make the driver’s life no easier – especially as he also has seat related problems. We will see later what is wrong with the driver’s seat.

For the pillion seat modification the stock frame is a good base, plywood more likely not. Wood is sensitive for humidity and tends to crack when loaded. We should not forget that a seat is a safety-related part of the bike that has to carry the pillions weight, as well as withstand vibrations and blows from uneven roadways. (The stock bumpers will do it more or less, but more often less).  For the pillion seat base I would prefer metal over wood.
You choose a piece of 120 mm thick high-density foam for the seat pad. Why such a thickness?  Thickness is no guaranty for a comfortable ride. Such a thick peace of foam will not have a good lateral stability and has the tendency to tilt sideways when loaded. The pillion sitting position is much higher over ground than with the stock seat and more wavering, even when the seat is wider. Additional, you added some height by the welded frame.
Your replacement seat looks convex at it’s top side as the stock seat was. The pillion will not find a stable sitting position. The lack of a handle grip should make it more difficult do find a stable position on a jello.

When I got my C5 my wife complaint after the first ride that the pillion seat was not useful. Therefore, a modification was necessary. My first attempt was to replace it with a second driver seat. I made an adapter plate and brackets to mount the seat on the stock frame. (I did not allow myself any modifications to the seat or the frame.) The seat nicely fitted and my wife was happy, but I recognized that she was squirming to find a good position – as I did on the driver’s seat.  Even the padding is sufficient, you will sit on top of the bike instead of “inside” as it should be when this seats are installed. Therefore, a different solution was desirable.
Above, I already hinted at driver seat problems. Even the seat may look comfortable, it is not. You will not find a good sitting position and as the rear shock absorbers are not really do what the name implies; bad roads are a pain for the back. Well, there are springs below the seat giving the impression of a swing seat and some comfort. In reality this springs are a pure fake. You could replace them by massive metal hardware and nothing would change.

The swivel point of the seat lays inside the bracket below the seat’s front end. There is an axle that holds the seat and allows it to turn around it when the springs are compressed. However, this in a wrong impression.  The axle has a square shape as well as the hole in the frame’s mounting bracket. The seat-mounted bracket has a square hole, too, where the square shaped axle fits.  No movement is possible. It acts as a sturdy connection and no seat swiveling is possible.  When replacing the seats this problem should be fixed also.

When realizing that the form of the seats was the problem more than a lack of padding I decided to mount some older RE factory seat. I don’t know on what model they were installed originally, but as they are marked with the old factory logo and the old name Madras instead of Chennai they may be from the late 70’s. A very similar type is still available in India today and offered by auction houses.

The main difference to the stock seat is the shape. A pronounced seat recess prevents the passenger from slipping back and forth. You sit down and stay in place. As the upholstery is much thinner, you will sit in a deeper position – “inside” the bike instead of “on the top”.  A thinner upholstery does not mean a lack of comfort – it is just the opposite situation.

I machined a new swivel axle for the driver’s seat to convert it to a real swing seat. The rest of the mounting hardware was unaltered and the factory springs were reused.  The sitting position is very comfortable, especially the suspension.
For the pillion seat adapter brackets were machined from aluminum, so no modifications to the seat itself or the stock frame were necessary. The factory pillion handle grip was reinstalled in it’s original position. No springs were placed below the pillion seat to keep it low on the frame and allowing a sturdy mounting for more stability. For the sake of pillion’s comfort the doubtful factory rear shock absorbers were replaced by Hagons what dramatically improved the overall behavior of the bike.

All modifications were made with the classic appearance of the bike in mind, but satisfying the intention to make some essential improvements.
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Nitrowing

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Reply #9 on: December 29, 2020, 07:47:14 pm
The average indian woman weighs about 50 kg and is about 5 feet tall. 
That's my next holiday getting booked!  ;D
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Narada

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Reply #10 on: December 30, 2020, 05:15:53 am
That pillion seat by Jonniek looks fine to me, and it sounds like it's getting the job done!  :)

The set up by Grey Pegasus looks fine too, tastefully done with nice craftsmanship. To each his own.  :)

I would like to add that I find my 2015 C5 seat to be perfectly comfortable on all my rides, often all day including dirt roads!   :o

Further, I was quite impressed by the front seat mount which looks to create a torsional effect with its rubber core working with the rear coil springs to create a comfortable ride for me. It has never even occurred to me to change it...go figure, ha ha!  ;D

Having no need for my pillion seat (wife prefers to ride in sidecar rig), I removed the pad and added a cargo rack to its frame!  8)
« Last Edit: December 30, 2020, 05:34:24 am by Narada »
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axman88

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Reply #11 on: December 30, 2020, 07:21:31 am
In reality this springs are a pure fake. You could replace them by massive metal hardware and nothing would change.

The swivel point of the seat lays inside the bracket below the seat’s front end. There is an axle that holds the seat and allows it to turn around it when the springs are compressed. However, this in a wrong impression.  The axle has a square shape as well as the hole in the frame’s mounting bracket. The seat-mounted bracket has a square hole, too, where the square shaped axle fits.  No movement is possible. It acts as a sturdy connection and no seat swiveling is possible.

Further, I was quite impressed by the front seat mount which looks to create a torsional effect with its rubber core working with the rear coil springs to create a comfortable ride for me.

I concur with Narada.  The front mount is a rubber torsion spring, with solid rubber bonded to the inner and outer housing, allowing rotation of the square inner housing, but providing progressive torsional resistance.

My C5's seat springs definitely flex and compress, and the seat occasionally bottoms out, and I have the marks where paint from the pillion frame has transferred itself to the vinyl of the seat to show for it.  This might be a result of my being 15 stone, or about 105kg, in jeans and a jacket.

I calculated that my pillion passenger, could weigh as much as 155 lbs if I don't want to exceed the vehicles GWVR, and she's willing to ride wearing only a helmet. 

A side note.  I compiled a list of motorcycle capacity vs curb weight, and of the 22 machines I researched, the Royal Enfield C5 was 2nd on the list, with a capacity / curb weight of 92%, only exceeded by the Suzuki S40 (aka "Savage"), which can manage to carry MORE than it's own weight of 380 lbs.  At the bottom of the list were the big machines like the Harley FLH, the Honda Gold Wing, and the Yamaha Venture, which can only carry about half of their curb weight.  It seems very odd to me, that a machine like the Honda GL1200 Gold Wing, which weighs 780 lbs, is only rated to carry 390 lbs, while my 2012 RE C5, which weighs only 427 lbs, can manage 392.

By attending any motorcycle event with a strong showing of the American Iron, Big Twin riding contingent, will quickly reveal that motorcycle GWVR numbers are largely ignored by a lot of very big boys with their big girls on their big bikes.


JohnnieK

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Reply #12 on: December 30, 2020, 07:24:06 am
@greg pegasus: I made the seat out of materials that I had in my garage. That is why it is 120mm foam as I had a piece of 120mm foam. Same with the ply wood - it is rather sturdy with hardboard on both sides. It only overlaps the steel frame by about 25mm so I'm not too worried about it breaking. Wife is very happy with the improvement, so I am happy too. Your setup looks really good.

@Narada: That is one sweet looking C5. I'm interested in the hard luggage on the bike. Where did you buy it ?


Narada

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Reply #13 on: December 30, 2020, 04:48:24 pm
Thanks Jonniek!  I got my panniers from "Blue Garage" in India. Here is a link to a 7 page thread where a few of us were working through purchasing and installing panniers. Link is included there on page 1. In this thread it is discovered that they are available on ebay as well, but without the RE paint.

https://forum.classicmotorworks.com/index.php?topic=22561.0

I've also included a picture for comparison, that I recently posted in another thread showing my RE soft bags which I've now switched back to, having finally obtained (highly elusive European) brackets for proper hanging.

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