I've always been partial to
the "cafe racer" look, and here was an opportunity to
customize the bike with a factory designed and approved
broke down and coughed up the $270.00 (ouch!) to the
local Triumph dealer, and 5 days later (I ordered it on
a Saturday so if they didn't turn the order in until
Monday it really only took 3 days) it was here.
The seat is stamped "Made
in Italy", so go figure. The solo seat kit comes
with the new seat "cushion", a separate cowl (available
in your choice of Thunderbird Sport colors), and 3 mounting
bolts with nylon washers and nuts.
The cowl must
be bolted to
the seat in 3 places: the rear and the two sides.
The rear bolt is a 5mm Allen screw with a button style
head. The two side bolts are 12mm hex bolts,
rather ugly and I'm on the lookout for some button head
The cowl is a tight fit
over the back of the saddle, and it takes some effort to
line up all 3 holes. There were no instructions
included, so I wasn't sure where to use the nylon
washers, and ended up locating them under the bolt
heads to protect the paint. I took it easy when
tightening the nuts; too much torque would probably
crack the plastic cowl or the seat pan.
The solo seat is much,
much easier to install on the bike and remove than the fussy stock saddle.
The solo seat doesn't have the two "hooks"
underneath like the stock seat
that make it so hard to install or remove.
Installing the solo seat is simply a matter of sliding the
front tab under the frame towards the back of the TBird's fuel tank and then pressing in the male
seat prong into the existing socket on the bike.
It pops on and off very easily.
The solo seat seems a bit
narrower in the front, and maybe it's my imagination,
but I feel like I have more clearance under the seat
when I'm stopped, probably because my legs are closer
The toolkit fits under the cowl
(blue arrow, photo left) and the owner's manual fits under the seat
(yellow arrow) using the
same rubber band holders as the stock seat. I
don't have a scale with the correct range, but it feels
like the solo seat is lighter than the stock seat,
but probably only by maybe 500 grams or less.
The solo seat looks
great, but it's hard as a rock. I mean really,
really hard. When I first sat on it, I actually
jumped up and looked to see if perhaps I left part of
the seat in the packing. No such luck! The
hardness of the seat provides a better feel for what the
bike is doing, because every bump and vibration is
communicated through your lower regions.
After 35 miles, my butt
gets sore, sore, sore! I added a
Butt Buffer seat pad, which
adds some comfort and probably doubles the range, but
the gel in the Butt Buffer gives a squishy feeling that
makes it seem like I'm sliding around on the seat.
I think that's because the seat is so hard that the gel
in the Butt Buffer has nowhere to go but sideways.
I wonder if another 250
clams spent at some custom seat builder would help?
My conclusion is that the Triumph solo seat for this
bike certainly doesn't offer any extra comfort, but it sure
The shape of the solo
seat combined with the "sit up and beg" riding position
on the Thunderbird Sport mean that a lot of weight is
centered right on the two bones underneath your butt.
The bottom line is this: don't
buy this seat if you think it's going to be more
comfortable than the stock unit. It looks great,
but that's about it.
Did I mention that this
seat is hard? Caveat emptor...
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