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The Story Behind Duane Smith Custom Seats

Dear motorcycle enthusiast,
When I first got my new 99 Road Glide I couldnít believe how comfortable it was. But after a 1200 mile weekend I decided that it was not as comfortable on long rides as I thought and I needed an Ultra Seat. After a trip to my local Harley Davidson shop, a new seat, and another long ride later I decided I didnít like that seat either. I went back to the Harley shop, a SunRay with heat this time; 600 miles into my first ride I didnt like that seat either.


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I rode a combination of these three seats for the next three years. During this time Butch Donahue asked me if I could cut down a stock seat for one of his customers. I have 30 years of upholstery experience. and three of the wood boats I have upholstered have won best in show in the US, so Butch knew I had the necessary skils. I reshaped the foam, reinstalled the cover, and brought it back to the Harley Davidson shop. The customer loved his new seat. The next time I was asked to reshape the seat and install a gel pad. And thatís the story of how I got started in the motorcycle seat business.

Personally I never liked the gel pad inserts. I could feel the difference between the stock foam and the gel pad. In addition to the glue line, the combination of the foams created a hard line in the seat. As I'm sure you can imagine, that made riding long distances painful. I had heard about memory foam, but itís not designed to support 200 pound rider sitting on a 100 square inch seat. So I continued my search for the materials to make the perfect long distance seat. Finally I stumbled upon a company that made memory foam in many different densities. At last, I had what I needed to make my seats. First, I installed it in a Road Glide seat. That seat was much better, but there was still a hard line from the combination of the glue and the differing foam densities. Back to the drawing board I went. Next I decided to take the top 1" off of the stock foam and then laminate the memory foam in to replace the 1" of foam that had been removed. Then I put the cover back on and went on a test ride. Wow, I finally had a great seat. There was no hip pain and I was able to ride long distances without any other pain.

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I now remove the top 1-1.5" of stock foam and then laminate the memory foam over the entire top of the seat except the front 3-4Ē. This takes the seat back to the original dimensions. After the final shaping and sanding to blend the stock and memory foam together we can reinstall the original stock cover or make a brand new, all leather cover looks like stock or has any type of design you want. During this process we can also make adjustments to your seat to better fit your individual body type. See our Reupholstery Service page for our different options.

I won the mileage award from Crow River Harley Davidson in 2008 with 26,840 miles in 6 months. I touched every state west of the Mississippi River in a 6 month period. In 12 days I rode 7,962 miles four 1,000+ days.


I have been a professional upholsterer for 30 years. In the years from 1999 to 2008 I have owned 5 bikes and put a total of 161,339 miles on them.

1999 Road Glide ridden for 5 years 86,240 miles.

2003 Road Glide ridden for 5 months 5,429 miles

2006 Road Glide ridden for 1 year 26,470 miles

2008 Road Glide ridden for 14 months 29,740 miles

In other words I love to ride long distances, I love to see what is on the other side of the nearest hill, and I live for 1000 mile days. Thatís how and why I know what makes a good seat. That experience is what allows me to build you a great seat.