A bike like the Triumph Bonneville practically cries out for customizing. My own Bonnie suggests it to me now and then, but I usually ignore its pleas. Still, I have to admit the café-racer look appeals to me and, as long as it didn’t affect the function of the bike, I decided to dip a toe in the Ace Cafe styling pool and try a Corbin Vintage Gunfighter seat. What I found is it not only made the bike look better, it’s also a functional improvement over the stock seat.
The Vintage Gunfighter can be made in dozens of colors and materials in the seating section, side panels, welts and tail section. Call me a traditionalist, but I went with black everywhere, including the default black leather seating section. Corbin makes its own seat bases out of a thick material it calls Fibertech. It’s heavy but sturdy. The seat came ready to install, but the bracket in the back didn’t line up with the holes in the frame, and no amount of pushing down on the seat was going to make it. The bracket is bolted on, so I spaced it away from the seat base with flat washers—problem solved.
Looking at it, I had half-expected the narrower Corbin to feel like sitting on a padded 2-by-4, but while it was firm like most Corbin seats (and has softened up some with use, again like most Corbin seats) the Comfort Cell foam was shaped just right. The raised rear section is nicely placed to add lower back support, and while it rules out carrying a passenger, I can put soft saddlebags over the hump and secure them so they won’t slide off.
The leather seating surface was very slippery at first, enough that I had to brace myself every time I braked hard to avoid a change in vocal range; it might have been caused by the combination of the leather and the material of my riding pants, but it’s gotten better over time. The narrow front portion of the seat makes it easier to plant my feet at stops, and the swoopy café-racer styling gets compliments at some of them.
I’ve taken some long rides on the Gunfighter and it’s a distinct improvement over the thinly padded slab that comes with the bike. And not that I care—much—but the bike looks really good with it. I love it when form and function go together.
The Corbin Vintage Gunfighter for the Triumph Bonneville fits 2001-2014 Bonneville, T100, Scrambler and Thruxton models; MSRP is $393.
For more information: Call (800) 538-7035 or visit corbin.com
(This Gearlab review was published in the January 2015 issue of Rider magazine.)