A recent trip from Los Angeles to the AMA Superbike race at Laguna Seca left me with a lasting appreciation for Harley's cool Road King - and a serious dislike for its passenger accommodations. My usually-tolerant passenger was almost reduced to tears after the nine hour tour, even with frequent stops to ease the pain. And when your significant other's derriere isn't happy, believe me, you won't be either.
Luckily, salvation lay just a short drive north from Laguna Seca in Castroville, site of Corbin's manufacturing plant. Upon seeing the Road King parked out front, one staffer remarked, "That's our Christmas bonus right there." Apparently my passenger hasn't been the only one complaining about the accommodations.
While the rider's portion of the stock seat is wide and comfortable, the passenger area is oddly dished. This design limits movement and forces all of a person's weight onto a small area. Also, the stock seat's studs scrape against the saddlebag lids if you don't open the bags carefully. Ours had already suffered some scratched paint, and the seat had lost a stud.
Corbin's staff gave me a multitude of styling and comfort options for their saddle, including cover material, stitching style, stud pattern, piping color and backrests. I opted for a leather cover with simple stitched design and brown/gold piping that perfectly matched the King's paint on its Harley Davidson logo. I also selected black studs that offered a more subdued look than the stock items. A final touch was the removable and fully-adjustable passenger backrest. You can choose to have a backrest fitted to the rider's seat as well, but I was comfortable without it, and preferred the styling sans backrest.
Despite being crowded with riders heading to Laguna, Corbin had me on the road just over two hours later. The new seat looked terrific with its leather cover and attractive stitchwork. Its stud pattern was tastefully done, and in a slightly higher location than the stock studs so as to allow better saddlebag lid clearance. The perfectly-matched colored piping was a nice styling touch, and added an extra flair. An inspection of the stitchwork showed that all seams and edges were firmly attached, with no loose or frayed edges or stitches.
We hopped on and wiggled our butts around to get a first impression, as all new saddle owners must do. My section of the saddle felt slightly wider with a deeper section to it, although at a standstill it did rub the inside of my legs a bit. Of course, I was happy with the stock saddle; the real test was what my passenger thought of it, and only a road test would tell.
Within a few miles we knew the Corbin saddle was a hit. Gone were the burning-butt hot spots of the stock unit. Now my passenger was able to relax and enjoy the ride, meaning that I too was able to sit back and enjoy the ride! Plus the backrest provided her with a secure way to lean back and stretch out, without the fear of falling off. Even after our nine-hour return trip to Los Angeles, she voiced nothing but praise for the Corbin saddle. Plus the folks at Corbin assured me that it gets better after 2,000 or so miles of break-in. If it's this good now, it will be superb after molding to your individual backside, all of which makes for a good excuse to keep groveling friends off your ride.
Corbin's Road King Dual Tour saddle retails for $479. Options include fringe ($20), a chrome V-rail ($119), a luggage rack pad ($99) and backrests ($179 each). Right now this seat is one of the most popular items in Corbin's extensive line. This reflects both the discomfort that Road King owners are finding in the stock item, and the appeal of Corbin's saddle. If you ride solo, you can get away without it, but if you ever, ever carry a passenger, the Corbin Road King Dual Tour saddle is a must have.