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Wherein I either make a seat or a fool of myself

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by NashGTI, Oct 27, 2018.

  1. Mailman

    Mailman Hardly a Guru Top Contributor

    When we build things ourselves and do our own work, we tend to be our own worst critics. We know where all the flaws are and our eyes go right to them. The details that drive you crazy.....most folks wouldn’t even notice. We tend to look at the whole picture. You are creating a very unique bike with some very interesting touches.
    Keep up the good work! :thumbsup:
  2. Jim

    Jim I have a plan. It's something to deviate from. Top Contributor XS650.com Supporter

    Yeah.... what Bob said above. And just as importantly... your skills got better. Nobody starts out creating masterpieces. It Takes practice. Keep at it... you'll get there. :D
  3. NashGTI

    NashGTI XS650 Addict

    Pounded out some garbage the last couple days and learned some stuff. Most importantly I rode the bike again. Wife said "It doesn't look terrible" and I suppose I would agree with that statement under the provision it be followed by including that it does look like someone who can't sew and has never done anything like make a seat cover before.
    Seating position is high and the seat itself is firm. Higher seat than my F4i but the bars are higher too. After riding the F4i exclusively for a few months the bike feels like a dual sport, high narrow and light. Rear suspension was firm before and feels even more so now though that too can be just because of riding the softly sprung Honda. I was going to weigh the parts to see what difference in overall weight has happened but wasn't thinking about that yesterday and threw away the piece of the fender I removed.

    I rode just a quick 20 minutes or so, but boy did I miss this thing. I work less than 4 miles from home in a suburb of Nashville and the XS is vastly better suited to the commute than my CBR.
    So now I need to get to work on a better seat cover, something I can have more patience with. Hopefully coupled with the experience of this one it should turn out way nicer. I don't know that it could get worse without just falling apart. Internet beers all around boys, I feel like celebrating.

    Attached Files:

    MaxPete, Mailman, gggGary and 3 others like this.
  4. NashGTI

    NashGTI XS650 Addict

    Good day for my ego today. I have the day off for Memorial Day where the car dealership I used to work for has always been open so I was able to get on the bike and ride up and talk to some of my old coworkers and they were all super complimentary about the bike. I've been putting pictures of the work up on Facebook all along too but I always just assume nobody there has been paying attention. Some of the guys were telling me they've been watching the photos and looking forward to seeing the thing when it was done. One even referenced the seat hinging up which he had to have seen watching the video I made after finishing the metalwork.
    Even a few of the workers there now that I've never met came over to check the thing out and remarked how cool it is. One of the guys who had been watching the work said he had never noticed the back end of the cowl being crooked too so that's nice too.
  5. NashGTI

    NashGTI XS650 Addict

    Well, gotta throw things in reverse for a bit now. Got enough stitching onto the forever seat cover to realize that the materials I've got aren't going to work out the way I want. The foam I've got isn't dense enough to make the pleating come out consistently so I've had to order some new stuff. Amusingly a couple guys have asked how comfortable seat that I have on there right now is, as if the purpose of doing all this was to make the thing more comfortable than the giant squishy stock seat.
    MaxPete, Mailman and gggGary like this.
  6. NashGTI

    NashGTI XS650 Addict

    Messing with things again, the results so far look good enough but it's been a pain in the ass to actually do it. Trying to use a sewing machine to do at least the pleating and it's not super happy doing it, the thread keeps bunching up and jamming the machine. Or the bottom thread breaks and you do an entire line without realizing that you aren't actually sticking thread in till you go to move to the next line. Or the spool on top hangs and pops off the machine.

    The other problem I'm having is that the material is so shiny that I can't see the lines I put on it when using the machine so I end up trying to make lines half blind. I got so frustrated with the machine last night that I just walked away, will try to do more today.
  7. 59Tebo

    59Tebo 59Tebo Top Contributor

    You did the best thing last night, of just walking away. Now you can come back at it with a fresh head. Unless you do this sort of thing from 9:00-5:00 every day, with pro tools and materials, you're going to have problems. Try not to become discouraged. Your results so far look awesome! If that's how it's going to look when you're done, it'll be great! Let us know... (we're nosy like that :wink2:)
    Wulfbyte, MaxPete, Jim and 2 others like this.
  8. kshansen

    kshansen XS650 Junkie Top Contributor

    Yes don't think that all the guys who do great work of any kind never had days like that! The thing is to know when to walk away and let you mind relax.
    And even if it takes a few more attempts you will learn a little each time.
    Wulfbyte, MaxPete and Jim like this.
  9. MaxPete

    MaxPete Life with Lucille...I suggest, she decides. Top Contributor XS650.com Supporter

    It looks superb Nash - really. I am very impressed and envious of your sewing skills!:bow2:

    Wulfbyte and Jim like this.
  10. fredintoon

    fredintoon Fred Hill, S'toon. Top Contributor

    Hi Nash.
    sewing vinyl is a bit beyond a modern domestic sewing machine's ability.
    After I got frustrated trying to sew vinyl on my domestic machine I used
    a neighbor's industrial sewing machine which just aced the work.
    Mind you, grandma's 100 year old Singer would likely ace it too.
    TwoManyXS1Bs likes this.
  11. kshansen

    kshansen XS650 Junkie Top Contributor

    If grandma's Singer was a treadle operated machine I'm sure it would! Mom had one of those when I was a kid and I learned how to sew using that machine. The foot treadle gave a good feed back that the electric foot throttle machines just don't!

    Sad story about that old Singer of mom's. Seems she was doing some house cleaning and rearranging of furniture and decided to put it out in the front yard to give her some room to work. That's when dad assumed she was wanting to be rid of it so he put it in the truck and put it in the dump at the quarry where he worked. When mom asked where it went dad said I thought you were tossing it out! Sure enough when dad went to the quarry to retrieve it someone else had carried it away.

    But Nash, don't give up and I'm sure the next time things will go better. Might even pay to do a Google search to see if there are any videos, there seem to be ones for just about everything these days!
    TwoManyXS1Bs and Jim like this.
  12. NashGTI

    NashGTI XS650 Addict

    Well, the pleats are anchored but the stitching isn't the look I want so I guess now I'll go over everything by hand. I want the silver stitching to be visible and the way it's in there right now it just isn't.
    It's like the rest of the bike right now though, it looks good in pictures or from a hand full of feet away.

    *No skill was used in the making of this piece*:thumbsup:

    Addition to this while I'm thinking about it, I weighed the various bits and what I've got here the new seat with everything is four pounds heavier than (most) of the parts I took off the bike. One thing unaccounted for though is the back half of the rear fender that I cut off which I threw away back when I cut it off so no actual weight there, but maybe assume two pounds of metal and filler on it. That makes the new stuff probably about two pounds heavier while bringing the weight farther forward and somewhat higher. It's anybody's guess as to whether that makes a discernible difference in the way the thing handles, I do know that to the limits that I ride the bike there is no change what so ever.
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2019
    gggGary, GLJ, TwoManyXS1Bs and 3 others like this.
  13. kshansen

    kshansen XS650 Junkie Top Contributor

    Hey who's going to notice when you are leaning hard into the curves?

    And I give many more points towards a bike bike that was done by the owner such as yourself than one that was built by a custom shop with the only tool the owner supplied being a credit card!:cheers:
    Mailman, gggGary, GLJ and 3 others like this.
  14. 59Tebo

    59Tebo 59Tebo Top Contributor

    What kshansen said, Nash. You get all the street cred for building it yourself. Most of the gleaming, stupendous motorcycles out there are owned by people with too much money, who couldn't even handle an oil change. Take the ultimate pride when someone asks "...where'd you get the bike?" And your reply is "I built it myself." Minor defects (only you can identify) and all. :rock:
    Mailman, gggGary, azman857 and 4 others like this.
  15. kshansen

    kshansen XS650 Junkie Top Contributor

    Could not have said it better myself! I always have to laugh to myself when someone brags about the custom bike "THEY" built when I hear that it was just assembled from parts ordered out of a shinny catalog and the paint and engine work were done by a custom shop.

    Now I have nothing against someone hiring a shop to do work one does not have the skill or facilities to handle but too many will try to take all kinds of credit for other peoples work.
    MaxPete, Mailman, gggGary and 2 others like this.
  16. NashGTI

    NashGTI XS650 Addict

    Taking a break from the 90*F grass cutting to share that it's nearly done.

    Bottom panel sewn on after being cut for nearly a week. The week at work was a little crazy so I got a whole bunch of nothing done Mon-Thur. Got home at a decent hour last night and got the bottom panel about two thirds on then woke up this morning and got the bit finished up this morning. Looks kinda like a toilet seat to be honest.

    Then it's mostly onto the frame. I've got the left front corner left to hook together and then some tightening up across the back/top. For now though it's back outside.
  17. NashGTI

    NashGTI XS650 Addict


    ...but I don't have good pictures yet. Maybe tomorrow I'll have time while it's daylight but the plan right now is to go on a long ride tomorrow with a couple coworkers but don't know where or how long just yet. Garage pictures for now then.

    And couch pictures from before I put the seat back on the bike.
    Also one on the bike with garage clutter.

    For real though, I want to say thank you to everyone on here for the motivation and compliments. That stuff made me feel a lot better about things going through the process. I want to say it on here too despite knowing he'll never see it, I owe thanks to my boss for letting me use the facilities and materials to be able to mess with all this stuff.

    So again, thanks to everyone and I'll get better pictures and probably even a video sometime soon.

    Attached Files:

  18. NashGTI

    NashGTI XS650 Addict

    As promised pictures in the sunlight and a video.


    That's me sitting on the bike courtesy of my wife, shows my positioning on the bike and why I'm in no huge hurry to put rear sets on.


    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Sep 15, 2019
  19. gggGary

    gggGary Stop that! Top Contributor XS650.com Supporter

    Looking good!
    NashGTI, Paul Sutton and Jim like this.
  20. Brassneck

    Brassneck XS650 Guru

    Glad to see you finish this project! How's it feel sitting on it?
    MaxPete, 59Tebo, gggGary and 2 others like this.

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