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Discussion Starter #1
I ordered the seat on July 13, and it arrived via UPS Ground on August 7. The company was out of seats for 1100 Classics, so they had to have one made at the factory.

The one I ordered was the non-studded seat with backrest and rain covers. Everything arrived well packed. The seat looks to be very quality all around.

I installed it this morning in less than 30 minutes, and that included rounding up a couple of tools needed. Very easy job. The backrest just slides into the slot on top of the back of the seat. They recommend sandwiching the velcro flap that covers the slot when the backrest is removed between the bottom of the backrest and the seat. There is an adjustment bolt there that could wear into the seat covering over time. The only problem is the backrest does not easily lock into place with the velcro flap in between.

There appears to be at least double the amount of padding compared to the factory seat, when compared side by side. Picture a crescent moon vs. a half moon.

After putting the Ultimate Seats brand upholstery conditioner on the seat ($17 extra), I was ready for a test ride.

Bike: 2004 VStar 1100 Classic, 38K miles. All relevant parts are factory for this seat review.

Rider: 6'1", 225 lbs, fairly proportional. Wearing blue jeans and an X Element armor jacket with a foam back pad, gloves, Tourmaster boots.

Riding area: Rural; state and county highways, few stops and 45 to 55 mph speed limits. Upper 70s and low 80s for temps.

Initial sit, 0 miles: Backrest seems intrusive. Pushes rider's torso a few inches forward, making cockpit space seem more cramped. Feet far enough forward to actually easily access highway pegs. Angle of backrest is adjustable, and it was back as far as the adjustment screw allowed. Backrest forces upright stance. By the way, these are not necessarily complaints; observations from a direct user.

First stop, fuel tank fill up, 11 miles in: The seat's strengths are obvious after this first 15 minutes. The padding is not cushy; in fact, the stock seat might have more initial cushion to it. However, it is supportive under the butt and on parts of upper thighs, dispersing the rider's weight to a larger area, which is probably the main issue with the original seat that Yamaha uses. It also causes you to sit in the bike rather than on the bike, which is how the stock seat made me feel; despite the fact that the Ultimate does not raise or lower your seating position compared to stock. The incline of the seat itself from your arse to the tank is the likely reason. I am not exaggerating…the difference between the Ultimate and the stock seat is quite dramatic.

I tried several different angles/positions with the backrest/seat combo on the way to the fuel station. I found the backrest pivots and allows freedom to choose a spot where you are most comfortable on the seat. I think the initial impression that I described as "intrusive" was really just because it was so different than what I was used to. The backrest provides very good lumbar support, but is a tad too small for the large surface area of my back. Perhaps the foam pad of my jacket was interfering somewhat too.

Something significant I noticed in the first 11 miles: The Ultimate seat/backrest combo had a weird, but very positive side effect. It made the bike feel more stable. I could do very low speed lock-to-lock turns and come to a stop and sit upright with my feet off the ground for a few seconds. Why? My guess is how it planted me in position. I think I was using my back and legs far more than I realize to hold my body in place with the old seat. The Ultimate seat/backrest freed up my back and legs to contribute to the stability of the bike / not interfere with the stability because I am now sitting in it, as mentioned before. This was totally unexpected.

After 11 miles, nothing sore…but, at such an early point, I wasn't sore on the old seat either.

Next stop, lemonade at a fruit stand, 45 miles in:

By now, I was in the seat for about 45 minutes straight with only a few stops, each no more than 30 seconds long.

On the stock seat, I relished the opportunity to stand at stop signs and red lights to get some relief for my bum. At the few stops I made, I stayed right in the seat. No need to get off and lose the painful burning sensation that we all know from the stock seat.

I did get a little sore - the same kind of sore one gets from sitting in the car for too long. I don't blame the seat for that; I think that tends to happen no matter what after being in one position for a certain length of time. When I got off, I was completely fresh and able to walk around freely with no numbness, unlike the stock seat.

I could feel the seat slowly taking the shape of my butt and settling in a bit. Unlike the stock seat, it continued to absorb my 225 lb weight and suspend it. The seating position/seat/backrest was contributing to pleasurable ride.

Third stop, for fuel again, 90 miles in: The seat continued to do its thing. Not perfect; I was getting a little fatigued from the ride itself, wind, etc, etc. but the seat was still holding its own. A little muscle soreness in the glutes continued, as noted above. I was ready to go home. The Utlimate seat cannot make the 1100 Classic into the Ultimate bagger. It can only do so much and this bike is not really that comfortable for long distances.

Home, 100 total miles: I was tired, but overall the seat did as advertised. It continued to provide a fairly comfortable seating position even after nearly one hour straight of riding at one point. The Ultimate is not perfect. I would rate it as very good at this point. I will continue to chime in as I continue to ride with it. I have a 500 mile trip planned in the upcoming weeks, so that will be the "Ultimate" test.
 

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good review, I want one but I just cant get past the outrageous price for a seat that not even leather. I still might pull the trigger at some point though. I weigh 155 lbs so the stock seat isn't bad for me. I'm more interested in the backrest. Also on the 950, once you put the ultimate rider seat on, the stock passenger seat wont fit any longer so you have to get both. :-(
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
good review, I want one but I just cant get past the outrageous price for a seat that not even leather. I still might pull the trigger at some point though. I weigh 155 lbs so the stock seat isn't bad for me. I'm more interested in the backrest. Also on the 950, once you put the ultimate rider seat on, the stock passenger seat wont fit any longer so you have to get both. :-(
Interesting on the 950…didn't know that. Mine fit on easily along with the stock passenger seat (which no one has ever ridden on, so no reason to get the Ultimate as a replacement).

For me, I do not care whether it is leather or not…I want comfort. Looks come second (insert wife joke/comment here). Hell, I rode through a thunderstorm two Fridays ago…still haven't washed bike yet! Most guys with cruisers would have done it that night. The seat does look good and it would take a "motorcycle person" to notice that the rider seat is different than the pillion.

I put on another 20 miles last night. I am back to being uncomfortable with the backrest, as I initially was. It is too far forward and makes you want to sit far ahead on the seat with your ____ on the tank, just to get the recline angle that the seat seems to encourage with its shape. So, I took it off on the way home. This provides much more room and the seat itself has pretty decent padding behind your butt to help. I did take another look at the backrest when I got home, to make sure I had it installed and adjusted correctly. Its pretty simple; there's only one way to do it, and I had it correct. The adjustment screw only lets out so far, then they alter the threads to keep it from loosening up and falling out, so that is where the recline adjustment stops. Not ready to make any claims about the backrest yet, but I am beginning to wonder if that is worth the extra $200.
 

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Good to know. I can see how it could limit your positioning on the seat.
I think they have a return policy... Like 30 days or something like that.
 

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Thanks for the review, it was very informative. I've been thinking about putting an Ultimate seat w/backrest on my 950T and your review definitely helped. I still want the backrest and I hope you'll have a few more updates before too long. I'm going to wait until next year to do the seat.
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
Dave, it is this level of customer service that helped make the decision to go with Ultimate. Other forum users should know that the high level of service continues in the buying and shipping process.

Unfortunately, I think I may have to return my seat.

As I have exceeded 200 miles of seat time, I have found the seat base sagging under my behind, giving me a sensation that I am sitting in a bucket. My knees are now higher than my hips, which is not a comfortable feeling for me. Also, the recline angle of the seat base from the tank to the buttrest (not sure what the technical term is) is too steep, trapping me in the saddle. Also, the buttrest itself is reclined back too far, causing me to exert effort muscle effort in holding my torso up. I felt soreness in my back today when riding without the backrest.

As for the backrest, it causes me to be wedged uncomfortably in almost a squatting position with a lot of forward pressure from the backrest on my lower back. This forces me forward on the backwards-sloped seat, so there is no support for my butt and too much forward pressure on my lower back. The backrest does not allow me to sit back fully in the seat, with the thumb screw adjusted for maximum recline.

On today's ride to work, I stopped 15 miles along the way to remove the backrest. That was better, but as I continued the next 25 miles, I seemed to sink lower and lower in the seat as it is too soft for me and provides little thigh support. Same thing on the way home; I tried it with and without the backrest and was so uncomfortable either way (but for different reasons) I could not wait to park the bike and get off.

I replaced the Ultimate with my stock seat this afternoon. Otherwise, I do not want to ride it.

Why so different now than my original post? I am not sure. I think the seat base was firmer when I first installed it, providing resistance to my weight (6'1", 225 lbs) and support. Now that is have broken in and memory foam has contoured to my butt, which I think it is designed to do, it just changed the shape of the seat and riding position enough to make me miserable.

ALL THIS BEING SAID…I do not blame Ultimate. Everyone's body is different, and everyone prefers a certain riding position. Some people like to sink into the seat. I hate it. It makes me feel trapped and unsupported. This reflection review applies only to me, my butt, my preferences. My customer experience with Ultimate has been excellent, and I have emailed them to ask if there is anything I can do because I would rather stick with their product than go with another brand or, heaven help me, the stock seat. Unfortunately, as much as I looked forward to the Ultimate seat being the answer for me, I don't think it is. However, this is just me.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
One more thought: I need a better long distance cruising bike…1100 is great, but I think I have outgrown it.
 

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Dave, it is this level of customer service that helped make the decision to go with Ultimate. Other forum users should know that the high level of service continues in the buying and shipping process.

Unfortunately, I think I may have to return my seat.

As I have exceeded 200 miles of seat time, I have found the seat base sagging under my behind, giving me a sensation that I am sitting in a bucket. My knees are now higher than my hips, which is not a comfortable feeling for me. Also, the recline angle of the seat base from the tank to the buttrest (not sure what the technical term is) is too steep, trapping me in the saddle. Also, the buttrest itself is reclined back too far, causing me to exert effort muscle effort in holding my torso up. I felt soreness in my back today when riding without the backrest.

As for the backrest, it causes me to be wedged uncomfortably in almost a squatting position with a lot of forward pressure from the backrest on my lower back. This forces me forward on the backwards-sloped seat, so there is no support for my butt and too much forward pressure on my lower back. The backrest does not allow me to sit back fully in the seat, with the thumb screw adjusted for maximum recline.

On today's ride to work, I stopped 15 miles along the way to remove the backrest. That was better, but as I continued the next 25 miles, I seemed to sink lower and lower in the seat as it is too soft for me and provides little thigh support. Same thing on the way home; I tried it with and without the backrest and was so uncomfortable either way (but for different reasons) I could not wait to park the bike and get off.

I replaced the Ultimate with my stock seat this afternoon. Otherwise, I do not want to ride it.

Why so different now than my original post? I am not sure. I think the seat base was firmer when I first installed it, providing resistance to my weight (6'1", 225 lbs) and support. Now that is have broken in and memory foam has contoured to my butt, which I think it is designed to do, it just changed the shape of the seat and riding position enough to make me miserable.

ALL THIS BEING SAID…I do not blame Ultimate. Everyone's body is different, and everyone prefers a certain riding position. Some people like to sink into the seat. I hate it. It makes me feel trapped and unsupported. This reflection review applies only to me, my butt, my preferences. My customer experience with Ultimate has been excellent, and I have emailed them to ask if there is anything I can do because I would rather stick with their product than go with another brand or, heaven help me, the stock seat. Unfortunately, as much as I looked forward to the Ultimate seat being the answer for me, I don't think it is. However, this is just me.
CandyRed-
Yes, everyone's body/butt is different - that is why we have our 14 day trial period. We don't want to add to your 'seat collection' if the seat isn't working out for you.

As far as the memory foam goes, it doesn't really break in to the shape of your butt. Instead, the memory foam is injection molded into the finished product of the seat. So, when you sit on the seat, it acts like a suspension system, always trying to get back to the original shape that it was formed into.

The 'bucket' shape of the seat is an intentional design by us to sit you 'in' the seat, not 'on' the seat. Again, must people like this, but it's not for everyone.

That being said, thank you very much for giving us a shot - and if there is anything that we can do for you in the future, please let us know.

Best regards,

Dave
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Dave is right. Most cruiser riders want to sit in the seat, not on the seat. Most of the aftermarket seat manufacturers design their seats to sit the rider like Ultimate does, so I am not sure what direction I am going to go from here. I

Tre607, even though it didn't work out for me, I would recommend Ultimate to anyone who wants a comfortable seat that sits you like a traditional cruiser, down in the bike.
 

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Sounds like the ultimate seat didn't work out for you. Good luck with finding a seat that does work well for you. Just an FYI regarding the backrest for anyone considering buying the seat/backrest. Ultimate makes an offset bar that allows the backrest to be moved much further back. I think it was about $20.
 

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CandyRed, thank you for taking the time and effort to help those of us in the market for a new/different seat. I'm sorry the Ultimate seat didn't work for you, and I hope should I make the purchase next year that I can do a similar style review that can help others the way you've helped here.
 
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