What is it that sets a custom bike apart from a stock bike? Maybe it's the sheetmetal, or an over-the-top paintjob. Either way, if it's a custom bike, you should have a custom seat. We always notice hand-tooled leather seats, which is why for this manufacturer's showcase, HOT BIKE wanted to shine a light on those who deserve it by focusing on some of the leather craftsmen in the industry who've made a name for themselves by the incredible hand-tooling work that they do. We called up four leather craftsmen and told them we wanted to see what they could do. They were given free reign and their leather work did the talking.
To level the playing field, raw seatpans from Biltwell were sent out to each hand-tooler. Chris Collins, from Biltwell, hand-hammered the first original solo seatpan for shape and curvature, which is the same model pan currently being used for all Biltwell seatpans. It's functional, with comfortable styling, a narrow profile, short, supportive nose, gently sloping sides, and a subtle rear kick to keep you from sliding off your ride. The pan is now stamped from heavy-gauge, high-tensile steel and features ribs and indents for added rigidity and stiffness. There are four threaded mounting bosses TIG-welded into position, and the entire pan is powdercoated for beauty and weatherproofing. You can also get the custom-molded foam for the pan made of medium-density polyurethane foam padding, not a shapeless wedge of open-cell foam (satin black plated raw seatpan with molded high-density foam, MSRP $77). Once all the builders received the pans, they went to work. You too can get your hands on one by calling (951) 699-1500 or visit www.biltwellinc.com. HB
Here is the Biltwell pan that each seat guy was given; you can see the ribs in the pan for strength and the medium-density polyurethane foam. It fits the pan nicely and can be trimmed down to better fit your needs.
Here is the Biltwell pan that each seat guy was given; you can see the ribs in the pan for
To mount the seat to your bike, you can use your own bracket or get a Biltwell bracket kit. This bracket is made of 4130 Chromoly with all TIG welds and black electroplated finish (MSRP $44).
To mount the seat to your bike, you can use your own bracket or get a Biltwell bracket kit
DUANE BALLARD CUSTOM LEATHER
Lake Elsinore, California
Duane Ballard has been working with leather since he was around 10 years old. It was a skill taught to him by his mother, who was taught by her mother. His family used to make wallets and belts to supplement their income from his grandfather's gas station. Being around motorcycles his entire life, the two just kind of came together for him one day while tooling a seat cover for one of his dad's bikes. Then he tooled a seat for a friend's bike, and from that day he has always managed to stay pretty busy with leather. Over the last five or six years his business has grown, taking him from a small backroom shop in Phoenix to a larger shop in Lake Elsinore, California. Duane has been asked many times to do wallets, belts, and toolbags for customers to match the seat he made for the bike. Once he is sent a pan for a seat Duane draws something up and works the details out with the customer via phone, fax, or email. Once they are happy with the artwork, he starts tooling the leather. Once he's done, the seat is packed up and shipped anywhere in the world.
DUANE BALLARD CUSTOM LEATHER
Duane used brass hole rivets for the lacing, not just punch holes. Then he added a little pinstriping style cuts at the nose of the seat.
Duane used brass hole rivets for the lacing, not just punch holes. Then he added a little
Along all the edge cuts of the design, Duane used a stone tip punch then back dyed all the lines to give the design a weathered 3-D effect.
Along all the edge cuts of the design, Duane used a stone tip punch then back dyed all the