08 Oct Hell On (Two) Wheels 15 – Sittin’ Pretty
We’re one post away from being entirely caught up with the Vulcan build, so let’s get right to it!
As we mentioned last week, we’ll be building a two-up seat for this bike, completely from scratch. The owner did provide us with a new seat when dropping the bike off, but after modifying the rear end, we found the seat wasn’t fitting correctly with all the new parts involved. Therefore, we realized the best possible direction to take was the completely custom route — after all, if half the bike is completely new, the only seat that will fit to our specifications would be a completely new one. We have a company down the street taking care of the padding and upholstery portions of the seat’s construction, but the fiberglass and skeleton of the seat is all on us. Today, we’ll be working on creating the base skeleton of the new two-up seat. First, using the old seat as a template, Tom took some steel and formed the base shape that we want the seat to be.
Now, the seat’s frame won’t just be sitting on top of the fender and frame — that would involve a good deal of rattling, and that’s not how we want it to be. So we’re utilizing the rubber feet from the original seat, which we’ll be retrofitting to the new skeleton. This way, the seat sits on those rubber mounts, which provide a small bit of cushioning, but more importantly prevent metal-on-metal contact between the seat and the bike itself.
Using a series of custom metal tabs that we cut from a blank sheet, we started tacking the new feet to the frame. We’ve got the seat held where we want it with tape, so it’s just a matter of finding the proper contact points and putting as many of those rubber feet in place that we can.
The seat won’t be held in place with just the tabs. They’re not even really holding it in place; those tabs are there only to prevent the contact between the seat and the bike. One of the methods that held the old seat in place was a small tab on the seat that fit into a slot on the frame. We adopted this method on our seat as well, creating a custom tab from scratch that we’ve since welded into place.
In addition to the tab at the front of the seat, there’s a quick-release mechanism around the middle part of the seat that will hold the seat in place until a cable is pulled tight, which will release the seat from the bike. In order to incorporate this on the new seat, we bolted the bike’s half of the mechanism in place, and welded the top part of the mechanism to the frame of the new seat. We also added another strip of metal between the front and back of the seat, which is what the quick-release is connected to.
Once the “spine” of the seat was in place, we set about adding reinforcements from the edges of the seat towards the center. Just like with the bracket holding the fender to the frame, it’s better to have too much reinforcement than too little. If the seat snapped in half during operation, well, that wouldn’t be too good, now would it?
And now we have ourselves a skeleton!
Now it’s time for our final step in the construction of the seat, before we hand it off to the upholsterer. The bike looks a little like an extra from Dexter’s kill room with all that plastic sheeting, but it’s absolutely necessary for the next step, which we’ll be covering in the next episode of Hell On (Two) Wheels. After that, we’re finally caught all the way up!
Have a great week!