After several years of talking about riding to Sturgis, I finally decided to actually make the journey. I just recently moved to the Minneapolis area, a total distance of 600 miles on the dot to Sturgis. I have been riding for years but I typically go on 100-mile weekend jaunts and for years while living in California I risked my life splitting lanes to get to and from work. Born without an ass and with plans in my head to make it in one day, I knew my number-one challenge would be seat comfort. I did not want to get more than 100 miles into the trip and be miserable—you know, when your ass goes numb and you start shifting from butt cheek to butt cheek in an attempt to relieve the pain while at the same time your back is tightening up. I was going to enjoy this trip that I had talked about doing for way too long!
To assure a success, I looked to the guys at Saddlemen to cure my issues. Mentally they could do nothing, but physically they had the answers. Doctors of comfort, Saddlemen's elite, Rick and Jerry, went back to their vast inventory of seats to find the perfect solution for my needs. They proudly introduced me to the Explorer RS seat. They reassured me that this seat would do the job. It's split-cushion design separates the seat area from the lumbar support. It allows your butt to stay planted while alleviating any pressure on your tailbone and back. The next major component was Saddlemen's patented shock-absorbing SaddleGel. It instantly reminded me of ectoplasm out of the movie Ghostbusters. They could not tell me what the components of the mystical gel were or they would have to kill me. The gel is strategically inserted in both driver's and passenger's portions of the seat. They must know the importance of keeping the passenger happy on a long trip. Not only does it address the comfort aspects, it also looks great on the bike. Form meets function.
My ride is a Dyna Fat Bob, so the next area of concern was where I would carry five days of clothing and other paraphernalia needed for Sturgis. The first step would be a set of Cruis'n Slant Shock Saddlebags. We first mounted the S4 quick-disconnect kit. The bracket would keep the bags in place and with the twist of four locking keys, the bags could be disconnected and removed from the bike with ease. The saddlebags had strong internal reinforcement, contoured the shocks, and fit the style lines of the bike. The next step for additional luggage space was to outfit the bike with a BR1800 back seat/sissy bar bag. It can be used as a sissy bar bag or as a back seat bag depending on what bike you ride. This bag is tough, functional, and looks great. What was really cool was the bag has a backrest that would add even more comfort to my ride. If rain was to present itself, it has an integrated rain cover that pulls out of a compartment. The bag is a blend of thick fabric and leather-grained materials. It actually holds up its rigidity without anything packed in it. I loaded the saddlebags with plenty enough clothes and gear for the trip. I was amazed how much stuff could fit in the Back Seat Bag. The sides zipped out for extra space and the top and front of the bag had numerous compartments. I kept one of the larger top compartments free to fit souvenirs. Another great feature is that the top of the bag has a nice strap device to secure your jacket. Now, I am an advocate of the use of proper riding gear, but at the same time, if I passed out due to heat exhaustion 30 miles into the trip, that would not be safe, now would it? As soon as I hit the highway, the wind dropped the temperature and I suited up with my Icon gear.
I have heard nothing but great things about the Saddlemen product, but now it was time to put them to the test. It was either going to be a numbing experience or a great first ride to Sturgis. I was all pumped up that day and ready to get to the rally. I had a full tank of gas, I turned up the tunes on the Memphis Shades fairing, and I was off!
I instantly saw a big group of riders with gear heading the same way. We rode 120 miles and the bikes got thirsty for gas. I hadn't realized I already clicked off more than 100 miles. No sore rear or back! All signs pointed toward a great ride. I decided to continue the journey at my own pace and wished the others a safe ride. From this point, I rode nonstop, just stopping for fuel and quick bites to eat. Fast forward ahead and I knocked out 600 enjoyable, scenic, exhaust-purring miles in less than 12 hours. I am happy to report that Saddlemen delivered! Despite my bony ass and my bad back, the seat performed incredibly. Honestly, not once during the trip did I have a numb feeling. The solid construction of the bag and saddlebags held up to highway speeds. There was no flopping around. They were always secure.
On the way back home I pulled off the trip in one day again. Once I got all settled, I converted the bike back for local cruising. I believe you can make your ride two bikes in one. I use the fairing, bags, and Explorer seat for distance. Everything can easily be converted with ease in just a couple minutes. I put on Saddlemen's Profiler seat. It is a comfortable, low-profile slammed seat for two. It incorporates the same combination of SaddleGel and variable density foam in the driver's position. The seat fits the cruise style of the bike just as the Explorer does when the bike is in its long distance form.
1. Arriving at Saddlemen headquarters. The Dyna awaits its conversion.
2. On site was enough sewing machinery to keep up with all of their demand.
3. Endless seat designs are available.
4. Precision sewing goes into each product with attention to detail.
5. SaddleGel is being created.
6. The SaddleGel is getting ready to be inserted into the seats.
7. The Profiler seat gives the bike that sleek custom look while being comfortable at the same time.
8. Rick and Jerry fasten down the Explorer seat.
9. The quick-disconnects are simple to install.
10. The S4 Quick Disconnect Kit mounts to the existing bolts on the Dyna’s rear struts.
11. The Cruis’n Slant Shock Saddlebags are paired with the quick-disconnect mounts.
12. The saddlebags are a great fit. They take advantage of all the space available without hitting the lights or exhaust.
13. The BR1800 is held secure with adjustable straps. Your gear will not end up on the side of the road.
14. Instant rain protection.
15. Great feature when it is hot out and cruising down Main Street.
16. The added backrest on the back seat bag provides additional back support.