We reported on the SHAD seat for the new Suzuki V-Strom 1000 in February 2015 and the first available seat arrived from the factory in March and I've been riding with it ever since...weather permitting!
While SHAD may be best known for their motorcycle luggage, they also make "comfort seats" for motorcycles and scooters,, including Honda, MBK, Piaggio, Suzuki and Yamaha.
This is the new seat for the 2014 Suzuki V-Strom 1000 ABS (Blog) and it's available with either white or red trim and in heated or non-heated versions.
The seat has a very nice covering that is claimed waterproof, with stitching around the edges and a mildly pronounced bolster for the rider.
When the stock Suzuki seat and the SHAD seat are placed side-by-side, the Suzuki seat looks decidedly unfinished and perhaps even slightly crude in comparison.
So on looks alone, the SHAD seat has the Suzuki seat beat by a mile. Or a couple of kilometers...
Otherwise, the overall dimensions, the base plate and the mounting system are all nearly identical between the two.
In fact, the SHAD seat clicks perfectly into place on my V-Strom with less effort and less fuss than the stock seat, which for some reason always needs to be convinced to re-connect to the bike.
The SHAD seat is a perfect fit and alignment with the V-Strom, so someone at SHAD did their homework.
Installing the SHAD seat couldn't be easier.
The mounting bracket towards the rear (underneath) the stock seat is held by two 10 mm nuts that are held by only a tiny bit of torque. Remove the nuts, swap the bracket over to the SHAD seat, tighten the nuts and you're done.
Don't over-tighten; I'm not sure what the torque specs are for these two nuts, but it isn't much.
You don't want to crack the plastic seat base and the flexibility of the base pushes the bracket against the nuts to keep them in place.
That's it -- you're ready to mount your new seat and go.
If you have the heated seat, you can opt to install the wiring harness.
I had quite a bit of head-scratching on this because you're looking at the very first V-Strom seat to arrive in the U.S. and the instructions for installing the heated wiring harness weren't completed yet.
Plus, the weather turned from ice-cold winter to beautiful spring literally overnight, pushing the need to connect the heated seat wiring harness into the background as riding the dang bike took preference.
Since then, SHAD has posted the updated wiring harness installation instructions (.pdf), although one of my guys came over and helped me figure it out before the new instructions arrived.
The wiring harness kit consists of one harness with the two-stage (plus on/off) controller and another harness with a relay and ground/power wires to connect to a switched power source.
SHAD includes a replacement harness for the latter that allows you to connect the seat directly to the battery, but I recommend using the switched power source.
SHAD says the seat has a built-in circuit that will prevent overheating and battery depletion, but why take the chance? Do it right and connect it to a switched power source.
The heated seat on/off harness and the relay harness each have two-prong connectors that plug into a single four connector input on the bottom of the seat, so that part is easy.
I use one of the Eastern Beaver "3 Circuit Solution" harnesses on the V-Strom, which is a bit bulky but fits under the seat.
The advantages of this harness is that you only have to attach it to the battery, then you can add any of your other accessories to the harness, rather than having to add multiple terminal rings to the battery terminals, which means disconnecting the battery every time also.
The "3CS" is available in several formats, with or without relay, switched or un-switched, which makes it easy to connect the SHAD harness to a switched power source.
If you're going to add lights, horn(s), heated seats or clothing, you may find that using something like a switch block or the Eastern Beaver product will pay off in the long run.
It would have been nice if SHAD had mounted the heat controller right on the seat, like it's done on the BMW C 650 GT scooter (Blog).
But, it was probably easier and cheaper to use a remote switch/controller, so that's what they did.
The new V-Strom has a fairly nice "dashboard" or instrument panel that can be used to flush mount or stick-mount your various controllers.
I used some 3M double-sided tape to mount the SHAD heated seat controller to my V-Strom.
The controller turns the heated seat on and off and it has two settings, marked "36" and "42".
I assume that means heat in Celsius, which would be 97 F or 108 F (rounded). To be perfectly honest, I'm not big on heated seats (or heated grips).
Think about it: if it's cold enough to need a heated seat, you're wearing insulated pants. Insulation insulates against cold...and heat.
Thus, I find it difficult to feel the heat from any heated seat I've tried when I'm wearing winter riding gear.
But, I can fully understand why some owners desire a heated seat and/or heated grips.
And if you're wearing jeans, it's a different story of course.
I suspect on a cool summer night when riding home after a warm day, the heated option will come in handy.
It's difficult to quantify the heat output, but it feels about like the BMW scooter heated seat, which also had two "speeds": warm and warmer.
SHAD says the heated seat uses 15.5 Volts max and has a "consumption at 12 VDC and 42°C of 1.2 Amps, ±0.1 Amp". The seat hardware meets IP68 and the controller is IP67 rated and the seat working range is −40 to 85° C.
This is where it gets a little tricky.
After all, you buy an accessory seat mostly for comfort, right? After riding with the SHAD seat for a few weeks, I can't really say that it's overwhelmingly better than the stock Suzuki V-Strom seat.
But, I seem to be less sensitive to seat issues than other riders. I'm usually pretty happy with whatever seat the factory threw on the bike.
In fact, I was pretty happy with the stock V-Strom seat right from the start. It's wide and flat and allows me to move around, and those are key features for me.
The SHAD seat feels much the same, although it feels to me like it has a slightly rounder top profile.
This became one issue for Burn, because he said it felt like the seat was pushing him up "under there", causing some discomfort to his, er, enlarged prostate. (Note to older V-Strom owners: try before you buy!)
One of the best features of the SHAD seat for me is the slight bolster behind my rear. It's the one thing that's missing from the stock seat in my opinion.
The bolster helps keep me from sliding back when grabbing a big handful of the overwhelming V-Strom 1000's torque. Yet, the bolster doesn't get in the way like some do. I can still move around enough to stay comfortable.
The stock seat and the SHAD seat have nearly identical measurements, but the slightly different upper profile of the SHAD seat give me a little more support I can feel under my thighs.
One thing's for sure: the SHAD seat looks way better than the rather plain Suzuki seat.
The covering is much nicer-looking and the red stitching looks fab. I'm 60/40 on the "VS1000" logo stitched on to the side, however.
I could have done without that for sure, because Suzuki has too many logos on the V-Strom as it is. But, I suppose it spices up the overall look.
I haven't seen the white stitched version other than in photos.
I've been thinking of having the front "beak" and the aluminum trim on the tank and bags painted metallic red, just for something different, and I'm thinking the red stitching will help that along also.
I wish Suzuki had made the Adventure model in something other than overall black...
The SHAD replacement seat for the V-Strom has a list price of $389.00 and the heated version lists for $489.00, which seems reasonable for a semi-custom seat replacement.
I'm not sure how much a Suzuki replacement seat would cost, but I suspect around the same.
While I can't say that the SHAD seat is overwhelmingly different from the stock seat, that may not be a bad thing, as seats are a very personal choice and it's almost a throw of the dice as to whether an accessory seat will be an improvement.
I'm sure for many V-Strom owners who are more seat-senstive than I -- and there are plenty, as I've read on the various forums -- the SHAD seat will be a welcome replacement.
In looks alone, it beats the stock Suzuki seat and if you spring for the heated option, it's definitely something added to the mix.
Overall, I really like the SHAD seat and the design, build quality and execution are excellent and based on my experience, you should have no problems easily and quickly fitting your new SHAD seat to your V-Strom.
From "N" (April 2015): "From what I understand about seat design, the "domed up" portion in the middle that would press against your underside early on in the ride would gradually settle down with longer distance rides.
With a few seats I've tried on different bikes, it seems like the seats that were initially less comfortable got better the more distance I racked up over the course of a day. Definitely spot on about the looks though. That seat is quite sharp looking."
Rick's Reply: I put the stock seat back on the bike, can't get used to the SHAD seat. The factory in Spain took it back to see if there's anything wrong, I'll keep you posted if I learn anything.