This is one of those jobs that I always hated, installing a new seat cover. But with just a bit of know how and a few tools, it is really an easy process.
Here we have the new foam and cover for the 2016 KTM sxf and xcf models. KTM’s new design seat is not bad, but for long days in the saddle, it could use an upgrade. One of the things I have found is the foam in the new style seat seems to break down relatively quick.
Seat Concepts has made the install job even easier now by sewing little sleeve covers onto each end. Just slip them on and forget about having to stretch the cover to get the proper tension or alignment on the fabric.
First and foremost is the stapler. I use the Central Pneumatic wide crown stapler from Harbor Freight. I don’t always go in for “cheap” tools, but this is actually the model they use at Seat Concepts for the job and I have had very good luck with it. It is inexpensive enough to justify the expense, about $30. It uses T-50 stables which are super easy to find.
1/4″ T-50 staples, 3/8″ will also work
Small flat blade screw driver
All purpose adhesive
Step by Step
With the seat upside down on the work bench, use the flat blade screw driver to remove the staples. I typically slide the blade underneath and twist to force one end loose. I go all the way around like this and then come back with pliers to pull each the rest of the way out.
Pull off the old cover and foam. The foam is partially glued in place. Remove any pieces that stick to the seat base, but it does not have to be very clean.
Test fit new foam to see correct alignment.
Put adhesive on seat base at front, each side in the middle low point and at the rear. It does not require very much. Just about any adhesive should work; contact cement, spray glue, hot glue, even RTV silicone.
Place the new foam on the base and press against adhesive.
Lay the new cover out, upside down, on the bench and place the seat and foam onto it. Don’t worry if the foam wants to move around. Just make sure it stays about in the correct position.
Hook each end of the seat cover over the seat base and fasten with one or two staples.
Pull the seat cover into place at each side, near the middle or at the low part of the seat to see how much fabric should lap over. Keep in mind this is a “no cut: cover so it will fit with very little overlap. There will not be any waste to trim.
Place two staples on each side at this middle location.
Turn the seat over to check alignment and fit.
Next, split the difference half way forward and half way to the back and add two staples on each side. Again, turn over to check for alignment.
Now you should be able to finish stapling all the way around, direction doesn’t matter.
Be careful when holding fingers close to stapler head. This is how to get the best fit, but don’t shoot yourself.
To help get a tight fit, use your hand against the seat base to compress the foam and free up the material.
If it is particularly cold, heat the fabric up first to help it stretch better.
Small wrinkles or imperfections will likely go away after some ride time.
That is about it. It takes a bit of practice to get it down. Don’t worry if your work looks a little ugly on the underside, no one will ever see it. Having a good stapler is most important. I did this job for years with a hand stapler and it never yielded good results. The staples would never drive in fully, they typically bend and I would have go back over them with a hammer.
This is the stock KTM foam that we removed. My thought is that the holes are what allow the foam to break down quickly.