I originally wrote this article for CRFsOnly.com’s form. It is a sticky on that site. Since the original post, I have taken photos of another seat that I shaved and modified the content. The basic instructions are the same.
Before you begin
Shaving your dirt bike seat is a one-way ticket. You may be able to take more off, but you cannot put more back on. A shaved seat is a good alternative, or addition to, lowering your bike by using a lowering link or internal suspension work. I can pretty much guarantee that it will not look stock, and it will make your seat harder. If you have a KTM, the latter will not matter much as you are already sitting on a plank.
For me, I have found that shaving the seat provides a wider base that is actually more comfortable than some stock width foams. I also like that I can ‘roll’ the edges of the foam by sanding it for an even more custom fit, although you can do this without “shaving” the seat. The largest advantage is the ability to save myself from tip-overs because my feet are a bit closer to the ground. Having some additional clearance when things get rough is an added bonus. Still, a shaved seat is not for everyone and it can be costly if you mess up.
Before you proceed you may want to consider an aftermarket seat foam in either low, or soft. Durelle Racing, Guts Racing, and Enduro Engineering, and likely others, make some nice alternatives. I have personally owned seats from Durelle and EE. Both are high quality foams. Soft gel foams are heavier than stock seats but you simply cannot get a more comfortable units. However, there is a cost beyond time and there are no assurances that you will like a lowered seat. I am also not a fan of most seat covers, including the ones that come with those seats. I am pretty sure one of them was nothing more than vinyl – your cover should have some stretch to it. If you are looking for a new cover regardless of the reason, give SDG a look. I have been more satisfied with their covers over any other that I have purchased. Having said all that, if you are planning on buying an aftermarket lower seat but are just not sure if the lower height will be a benefit, go ahead and whack your stock unit down and see how if feels. You can always replace it with a stock height from the aftermarket companies, or the OEM.
If you decide to take the plunge, take your time. I am sure it goes without saying, but remember you can take more foam off but you cannot put more foam on. Okay, technically you could add foam, but we will stay away from that one for this article.
Tools, Time, and Materials
This list seems a bit long, but I am guessing you will have just about all of it on hand. It takes about 60 to 90 minutes of your time depending on how the cover replacement goes. This does not include any dry time for glue should you find the need to repair any splits in the foam.
- Power sander (finish sander is preferred) or sanding block
- 120-180 grit sandpaper
- 60 grit sandpaper for use by hand (no power, no block)
- Flat blade screwdriver
- Permanent markers, 2 colors are better
- Long sharp knife, or electric carving (preferred) knife – you could probably use a hot knife foam cutter foam wire but it may be harder
- Ruler, preferably something with some flex
- Sharp scissors
- Shoe Goop or similar flexible adhesive
- Spray paint, cheap in any color, just not the same as the seat foam
- Staple gun, electric, pneumatic, or manual with a strong hit is required
- Stiff wire, aluminum tie wire is best
- Masking tape (optional)
- Electrical tape (optional)
- Punch (or use the screwdriver)