Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: Central MA, USA
While the NM4 has a much better saddle than most bikes, it still isn't perfect. At least for me.
On longer rides, I can start to feel the seat pan, and on one ride, I hit a good bump that was enough to leave me with a sore butt. Even given the width, it seems that all my weight was centered on the middle of the seat and the extra width wasn't doing much.
Now, I'm 220lbs, so that might have something to do with the matter. I'm also talking about rides that exceed an hour in the saddle.
So, I visited a local shop (New England Trim) and talked over my options with the owner.
My three desires in having seat work done were:
1) Comfort - Use the full width and eliminate the "bottom out" of the padding to hit the seat pan.
2) Heat - The NM4 does not have you moving about as much as some more upright bikes and I've found my rear getting warmer than comfortable on hot days.
3) Sun Absorption - Is there any other seat cover material that would not become a hot plate if you need to park in the sun.
Sadly, it seems that #3 is virtually impossible. We discussed all the options and unless you put a bright color on, there isn't much of solution. However, the solution to #2 might help here...
#2 is being addressed with a custom made cover pad. This is made from the multi-layer material used to make heated and cooled seats in automobiles. The idea is that there is no way to build a seat that protects the foam from weather and sun and still allow air to move through it. Even if you are not in the rain, a damp or humid day would end up passing moisture into the foam which would encourage mold to grow.
By making a custom pad that hooks to the seat, it will stay in place and allow air to move a little between me and the seat. Also, when in place, it shields the vinyl from the sun, and should be a lot cooler and will cool off as airflow occurs. I hope that this does the trick on those really hot days. Best of all, this will be custom made for this saddle and easily removed when not needed.
OK, now comfort. My #1 issue.
The stock foam was removed and 4 different density foams were used to reconstruct the seat. The first is a very dense base layer designed to provide a solid foundation and prevent the middle of the pan being felt through the padding. On the outside edges, a slightly less dense material was used and transitions to a softer material as you come to the center. Over the entire top, a thin and soft material is used to provide a blending. Over all this, the stock cover still fits and if you did not have two saddles side by side, you would not be able to tell any work was done. I was amazed how vastly improved the ride was given that you don't see anything.
The foam work is amazing too. I should have taken a photo when he had the cover off to show me. You could clearly see the different foams as they are all different colors, but the thing that I found interesting was how blended and shaped the final product was. It simply looked like a single piece bonded to the pan with various colors applied. But I could easily feel the difference when touching them.
I took the seat for a ride last night and was amazed at just how much better it supported and that I could not feel the center ridge of the pan at all. I purposely hit a bump and loved the way I felt the hit, but not in just one point like the stock saddle, but rather across my entire rear.
So, I took the seat back today to be finished.
Finished? Yes. Now that the support has been fixed, it is time to add the final comfort suspension. Suspension? Yup. In the form of a gel pad. This will ride above the 'foundation' layer and under the mixed support layer. The purpose is to allow some 'spring' for those harder hits and a means to damp vibrations. This piece is $100 in itself, and looking at it you'd never think it helps at all. It's not that thick and certainly does not feel soft. But it works by allowing the gel to move in the material. This provides a shock absorber type action for larger hits and damps vibration.
I should be picking up the final product tomorrow and I'm pretty excited!
2015 NM4. took delivery on Sept 13, 2014
Mods: homemade bracket for topcase, modified NC700S center stand, rear brake at left hand using Silver Wing master cylinder, Amps Rugged Mount 12v GPS charger/mount, USB power at handlebars, Hot Grips heated grips, Clearwater Glenda LED driving lights, SAE power port, Mo-Door hidden garage opener, Custom seat foam and gel pad with hot weather top pad.