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Recovering AMotorcycle Seat In Embroidered Leather

May 2002                                            by Kimberly Zabrocki                                               Pictures below

My Moto Guzzi V50II's 1980 vinyl seat was showing its age with cracks and widening holes. John Z (my husband and business partner) likes leather work and offered to make my Guzzi a custom leather seat cover, complete with embroidery touting her pet name, "The Nifty Fifty."

The first step was taking apart the old cover and using the sections as patterns for cutting out new leather pieces, which were oiled with leather oil.

Then he sanded the rust off the seat pan and whittled the front of the pan down a bit. It rested too close to the gas tank and the vinyl had rubbed against the paint. The pan was primed and painted.

John Z freehand-stitched the stock "quilted" design into the leather top --
in the same design as the original vinyl one which had embossed fake stitching.

The old vinyl seat had "Moto Guzzi" rather badly stenciled on the back. Now those words are embroidered in bright white thread -- much more elegant!

John embroidered "The Nifty Fifty" on each side in red, colorfast, sun-resistant thread.

Then he stitched it all together, going to extra trouble to make detailed finishing stitches, cut down the foam (still in good shape after 22 years) on the front of the seat (to match the cut-down pan), and used contact cement to hold the leather edges to the pan.

He even made a waterproof cover that will protect the seat when it rains. Thanks, John Z!

       -- Kim Zabrocki                                              *** YK2

John Z poses proudly with my bike ... I love this seat because it maintains the integrity of the original. But it's much better than the one that came from the factory. Even though the foam wasn't replaced, there's just something about leather that makes it more comfortable. But what I like best is knowing there isn't another seat like it in the world! It was a blustery, rainy, 40-degree May day (yes, May!) in northern Minnesota when the seat was finished. I about froze my fingers washing and polishing Guzzi. Didn't have time for a real ride but couldn't wait to test both bike and seat so I wore my parka and helmet and rode a quick half mile, grinning all the way. I love this motorcycle and its new seat -- thank you, John Z! ***

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