Triumph has a nice selection of accessories for their line of motorcycles, and I was intrigued by the solo seat that’s available for the Thunderbird Sport.
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 upgrade.
I finally 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 replacements.
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 together.
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.