Buddy Seat for 2000 Road King

Discussion in 'Touring Models' started by daves_daily, Oct 24, 2010.

  1. daves_daily

    daves_daily New Member

    I am looking for a saddle for my Road King - the closest thing I can find to a classic Buddy Seat. Not a seat with springs - a big old nostalgic, iconic dresser saddle. Usually they came in white back in the day, but also tan and black. People would customize them with fringes, Conchos, chrome diamonds and other adornments, particularly along the large curved flat back area framed by a V-rail. V-rails were also subject to some fancy work from braiding to reflectors and everything in between.

    There’s got to be a current mfg that offers this saddle. While they could come smooth typical patters were basket weave; textured (like vinyl car tops – pebble texture). Perhaps the most common pattern was upholstered lines running lengthwise. These were not police saddles per se, though many metro departments employed them in black and white. These saddles nearly always featured a V-rail around the back for passengers to hang on to. They're big enough for two but of a solo design in appearance. Very much the stock saddle for touring models up into the early 70s.

    I got the Road King because I've always wanted to customize a dresser. My idea of what this is, exactly, is not reflected by modern Electra Glides, which is a shame. There is a lot to a name. Road King is much closer. I've looked at Mustang and Corbin. Corbin with the V-rail is close but quite a ways off from capturing the classic lines of Harley full-dress saddles from the late 50 to early 70s.

    If you google Buddy Seat the images are what I’m looking for – except for the ones that aren’t; are sprung (that’s an older pre-50s era look). Fifties to me anyway I was born in 54.
  2. bobwire

    bobwire Active Member

    d-d look on ebay, they got a lot of old seats...............bw
  3. daves_daily

    daves_daily New Member

    Thanks Bobwire. I hit eBay first thing. Lot of Softail specific seats come close in New Old Stock and gently used condition. I didn't find any new OTS, OEM or after-market replicas for my series of Road King. Of course, there's not a whole lot of difference between that and a saddle for an Electra Glide series FL.

    Looking for a mfg who makes these new. You know how there's ten-thousand aftermarket outfits big and small that make saddlebags? Heck, there's a saddlery and tack guy in Temecula who makes saddle bags for Harleys. Says it's taking up a lot of his business! I bought a SAA Colt rig from the guy or I'd never know his shop existed - this is the thing, he doesn't even advertise that on their website! mshelhart

    Hard to believe that this iconic saddle isn't also being manufactured today for all the touring models. It's the progenitor for all solo and buddy designs and it isn't replicated? Can't imagine the Motor Company still has a patent on it. Of course that's the first place I looked.

    Fitting an old FLH may or may not translate well. I realize it's just a fabrication job - basically any hot rod fabricator upholstery outfit could retro-fit an old saddle to my '00 Road King - close enough. I'm just amazed is. Are my memories so different than any other guy in my generation or my brother's? He was born in about 41 - I was a freak of nature at the time Mom was 40, made national print.

    I digress. My impression on this is very vivid of a fit-to-frame saddle like, but very distinct from big stock (solo) saddles are today. This didn't end with the spring era. I think the actual blue FLH in "Electra Glide in Blue" had a big white saddle - that flick isn't that old... Ok, it' IS old but not THAT old. I'm thinking the spring version went out of inventory late 50s early 60s. My brother-in-law had a huge flush-to-frame white saddle on his sky blue and white Electra Glide circa 59 - 64.

    So, I'm going to disagree with myself - this was predominant touring saddle style for 20 or so years on Harley and Indian. Indian's 1953 Chief had a post and I think that was the transition phase that probably contributed to fringes coming into vogue, springs were far more attractive.

    Most people today would assume these saddles were solo but they're not. Point being, I can't be the only one, but one of many for whom the Buddy Saddle remains indispensible to the term "full dress."

    Most modern Indians come stock with a similar but more Indian-esq saddle, check the 2010 Vintage Chief that saddle nails the spirit while not being a HD retro knock-off. It's all Indian. Whenever I see one on a 50s survivor, restored classic or even on high performance resto-mods I'm taken right back to my earliest impressions of Harley Davidson motorcycles. Bigger than life, intimidating machines to even think about riding. Any guy who could muster up the nerve to climb on a beast like that for the first time, much less ride all time had what I wanted. Truly, as a little kid it was right up there with flying a jet fighter.

    Well, that impression never left me getting there was inexorable. I still love a classic Triumph, BSA, Norton - but I wasn't intimidated by them - they were and remain very approachable. Big old Dresser, took me a day or two to let the clutch out. Went right around our tract a few times and dropped it in my first hard left! Didn't bother anything, my last Bonnie would have easlily sustained $800 in damage. With the Harley it's a clean set of highway bars off eBay, good to go.

    If you've read all this then you have a similar romance with motorcycles in general and Harleys in particular. And I'm particular, when it comes to this saddle gig. Corbin Classic Solo with V-Rail is a great looking saddle that captures the spirit. And it's not lik emy wife is going to jump on, she can barely tolerate my driving in the Mustang. Still, it is a smaller, lower, more modern form-fitting design than the old Buddy Seat couch of yore...

    Thanks for getting back.
  4. Jack Klarich

    Jack Klarich Expert Member

    Too bad you can not find this seat, It is a very handsome seat IMO, I had one but had no use for it I ended up trading it for Fishtail exhaust system for my 92 FLHS, sure do miss that seat and bike.That seat had a pogo that went in the frame if I remember right:s
  5. daves_daily

    daves_daily New Member

    After lookking through a lot of old images it does seem dated. I have to admit. The Corbin will do just fine. It's too bad though that one of the big saddle outfits doesn't replicate the FLH seat, but fit it to the contours of the bike like Indian is doing. Seat like that, you can controll the bike with you hind end. No different than early bicycles, riding no hands. Could do that all day long on my old Schwinn Varsity. Wouldn't dream of trying it on either of my modern road bicycles. I say "modern" one's about a 73 Peuget PX-10. But that bike set world records and won the World's and the Tour. Not my particular bike but the exact same model. It's a tad more forgiving than my more radically racked road 2007 bike. Both have ultra slim "clinchers," skinny tires rinning about 130 PSI.

    With the old Schwinn riding hand's free just came naturally, very stable platform. All my Triumph's were easy to steer, just think about being in the next lane and you're there, drive themselves around curves. Lean all the way over and scrape the pipes, foot peg rubber, no problema. The Road King has a really nice two part saddle where the driver's seat is big, it's just not Buddy Seat big.

    I may very well try to fabricate an old buddy seat frame to mount like a modern saddle and upholster it so that it sits in low enough not to stick up like the old buddy seats did. Got to go to netflix and play Electra Glide in Blue... Actually, I don't think it's on their play list. Like Two Lane Black Top - I guess you just had to be there to appreciate some things. In "retrospect" I can see why they're not popular anymore, they sit on and above the bike where contemporary saddles sit in and the front describes an un-broken, elegant flowing line with the tank in profile. Corbin does a nice job of capturing the asthetics without looking dated, yet manages to recall the best of the Buddy Seat's style.

    Too bad it's a solo.:newsmile040: