Rain cover for motorcycle solo seats
Moto Guzzi V700, V7 Special, Ambassador, 850 GT, 850 GT California, Eldorado, and 850 California Police models
Many of today's modern motorcycles come with waterproof seat covers direct from the factory. However, many older or replacement seat covers are stitched or made of non-waterproof material. This becomes quite problematic when rain is encountered. A wet seat can take a long time to dry out and is a most unpleasant perch on which to sit oneself.
In the summer of 2004, my wife Angela and I moved from Eden Prairie, Minnesota to Odessa, Florida. I quickly learned that Florida receives a serious amount of rain; 52 inch annually in Odessa compared to 33 inch annually in Eden Prairie. If I was going to ride whenever I wanted to, I needed to improve my gear. I already had my Aerostich Darien suit and my Oxtar Matrix boots...both perform very well in the rain. However, I discovered that my stitched police solo seat became completely waterlogged, absorbing rain like a sponge. I was essentially sitting in a bowl of water. Not even the Gore-Tex material of my Darien suit could keep my bottom dry. I decided I needed a rain cover.
When I initially wanted a rain cover for the Moto Guzzi Classics police solo seat on my Ambassador, I couldn't find a ready-made product. So, after much careful thought and planning, I decided that I could make my own rain cover from vinyl and elastic. The next time Angela and I were at the local discount store, I told her I needed to go over to the sewing department. She inquired as to my peculiar desire and I shared with her my brilliant idea.
Instead of the
Oh, Honey, you are so smart and wise (and handsome)! response I was hoping for, she looked at me skeptically and gently explained that the vinyl might be too thick and the elastic too thin.
She suggested I look for a more flexible material. But, her suggestion fell on deaf ears. I wanted my rain cover to be durable. I chose the heaviest and stiffest vinyl available, flat certain I could make it work.
Back at home I pulled out the sewing machine and then carefully measured and cut the vinyl and elastic. Everything was set and I started to sew the vinyl. Only, it didn't want to move...it would just stick to the surface of the sewing machine and make a bunch of stitches all in the same place. Somehow I forced my way past that problem - breaking only a dozen or so needles in the process - and got a hem sewn into the vinyl.
Now it was time to feed the elastic through the hem I had just sewn. Only the vinyl was so thick and stiff that it took me near forever to get it all the way through.
Finally, through stubborn determination and bull-headed will power, my masterpiece was complete. I had triumphed over adversity and proudly took my precious creation out to the garage. I asked Angela to witness my moment of victory.
It looked terrible. I mean really terrible.
Fit is not the word to describe how it went on the seat. A big ugly piece of vinyl scrunched up and sort of covering most of the seat, it resembled a shiny black diaper. I sat on it to see if things would improve. No luck. It didn't afford any movement, bunched up in awkward places, and kept me stuck to the seat.
A total failure. There was no way I was going to be using this. I should have listened to my wife. (It'll never happen again, Sweetheart. I promise!)
At this point I resorted to garbage bags until I could find a professionally made rain cover.
Harley Davidson was the first company to come to mind as they have produced jillions of solo seat equipped motorcycles over the years.
- Cost: USD $29.95.
- Fit: I purchased part number 51638-97. It fit my police solo seat very well. The elastic had the right amount of stretch and there wasn't an excessive amount of material.
- Waterproof test: I did a quick waterproof test with the rain cover and found it not waterproof at all. The test: I turned the rain cover inside out so as to form a bowl. I filled the rain cover with about a gallon of water from my sink and held it up. Water dripped through immediately. I took a quick look at the Harley Davidson website and discovered that the rain cover is only water resistant, not water proof. Good grief, I didn't think I'd have to verify that before placing an order.
- Real world use: It passes rain water through to the seat and back to my bottom quickly and efficiently. Even indirect spray from the garden hose while washing the bike will dampen the seat underneath the rain cover.
- Durability: Seemed fairly durable, though I'm not sure what for? Perhaps it would hold up well when used as a drip irrigation system in the back yard.
- Final thoughts: The Harley Davidson rain cover is a product that does precisely what its name states: it covers a seat in the rain.
- Website: http://www.harley-davidson.com
Russell Cycle Products
Fed up with the rain cover from Harley Davidson, I ordered a rain cover from Russell Cycle Products (you know, the makers of the
- Cost: USD $40.00.
- Fit: Russell initially sent me their smallest size...which ended up being way too big for my police solo seat. After speaking with them about it over the phone, they offered to make me one smaller using measurements that I provided to them. They were very friendly and easy to deal with. The replacement rain cover fit very well. The elastic has the right amount of stretch and there isn't an excessive amount of material.
- Waterproof test: I did a quick waterproof test with the Russell rain cover and while not 100% waterproof, it is very close. The test: I turned the rain cover inside out so as to form a bowl. I filled the rain cover with about a gallon of water from my sink and held it up. No immediate leaks. I left the water sit for about an hour. Upon reexamination, the underside of the cover was damp. This is in stark contrast to the Harley Davidson cover, which when filled with water passed it straight through in droplets.
- Real world use: I used this seat cover during a great many rainy rides in Florida and along the East Coast (especially riding to and from the Virginia rally). All told, I'd guesstimate that I've ridden 3,000 miles of heavy rain using this cover on my seat. It does a pretty good job of keeping the rain out. But with enough rain, the seat eventually becomes damp underneath the rain cover.
- Durability: This rain cover saw a great deal of use when I lived in Florida and held up very well.
- Final thoughts: The Russell rain cover is made of a thick black material. It comes with a stuff sack made of the same material which helps prevent abrasion when it is stored within my metal toolbox. All in all, a good product.
- Website: http://www.day-long.com
CoverAlls no longer makes motorcycle seat covers.
King of Fleece
Jim Morabito read my reviews of rain covers for motorcycle seats on my website. He owns the company, King of Fleece, and sent me a solo seat rain cover for my Ambassador and asked me to evaluate it. Jim is polite and easy to work with. I was more than happy to test his product.
- Cost: USD $99.95.
- Fit: I was sent A-100. It fit my police solo seat very well. The elastic has the right amount of stretch and there isn't an excessive amount of material. The cover has two Velcro straps on either side that are intended to connect to one another beneath the seat. While I can appreciate the intended benefit of these straps, there is no easy way to connect these when the solo seat is bolted in place on my Moto Guzzi Ambassador. During my test I tucked these straps up under the seat to keep them out of the way. I will remove them permanently by cutting them off.
- Appearance: The material is very nice quality and the seat cover looks fantastic. This is by far the best looking rain cover that I've ever tried (or seen). Even without the Velcro straps in place, the cover conforms nicely to my seat. The material itself stretches and that permits it to conform nicely to the seat.
- Waterproof test: With the material being so stretchy, I worried that the rain cover might not be waterproof. I did a waterproof test with the King of Fleece rain cover and found it to be 100% waterproof. The test: I turned the rain cover inside out so as to form a bowl. I filled the rain cover with about a gallon of water from my sink and held it up. No immediate leaks. I left the water sit for about an hour. Reexamination revealed zero indication of leaks. This is a definite improvement over the Russell Cycle Products rain cover and a huge improvement over the Harley Davidson rain cover.
- Real world use: The cover stays put while riding and I don't even think about it being there. Living in Cave Creek, Arizona, rainy rides are much more infrequent. I have not yet been able to test the cover during a rainy ride. However, it has kept the seat completely dry while I was washing the bike with a power washer (with ample water directed at the rain cover).
- Durability: The material is altogether different from that of the Harley Davidson, Russell Cycle Products, and CoverAlls rain covers. It is stretchy but very strong. The material seems of excellent quality and appears to be more than up to the task.
- Final thoughts: The King of Fleece rain cover uses high quality materials, is well designed and conceived, and is professionally constructed. It is an excellent rain cover and I recommend it without hesitation. I really like how the material stretches to conform to the seat. It definitely gives a very professional appearance. It will also pack small enough to easily fit in my toolbox. I highly recommend King of Fleece rain covers for motorcycle seats.
- Website: http://www.kingoffleece.com