Getting Comfortable on the Wing
By Dan Duffy (AKA DDKing)

This used to be called..."For Tall Riders." But most of these ideas work for any sized person. You might think of this as an infomercial on Goldwing comfort. Since we are all different, not everyone will appreciate everything and that's ok. Add your own suggestions. These are the things that have made the Wing fun for me and many others. Some ideas came from other riders...some from me...but I'm not telling. :D So, read on;

 

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These are the accessories that have helped me most. I have listed them in what I think is the order of helpfulness:

Aqua-Aire Seat Pad [Also for 1500s and Valks]

Mick-O-Peg Model K/D-HS [K/A-HS for longer inseams; K/L-HS for shorter] giving more of a Harley seating position. [Also for 1500s and Valks and BMWs.]

Diamond Seat [Also for 1500s and Valks]

Reg Wing Wedge Handlebar Risers

Rattlebars Kickshifter and Peg Relocation Kit [also for Valks]

Kuryakyn 4453 Iso-Wing Mini Driver’s Boards

Airhawk Seat Pad [Also for 1500s and Valks]

I am 6’2”, 250 lbs., 32 ½” inseam [crotch to ankle, 34” pants.] It took me over a year and a half to research and come up with a way to be comfortable on the GL 1800. I am finally there. I hope this info can be of help.

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While it is my opinion[especially for taller riders]that an aftermarket seat is the best solution, many are hesitant to spend that much. A good place to start would be the Aqua-Aire seat pad which sells in the $30 to $40 range.

I have been an advocate of the Airhawk Seat Pad for the last two years. It has been an excellent pad though it is $150 plus shipping. Recently, someone on one of the boards mentioned using the Aqua Air Seat Pad and for the price of $30 including shipping, along with a [cheap] carry bag.

I had been playing around with my Diamond Seat [reviewed below] to find the best height and decided to try this out to see what it could do. I wanted a bit more height comfortably. This does the trick and made a great seat just about perfect.

The AA pad offers a combination of water and air support. The pad is larger than the Airhawk and about the same size as the Airvent offering full "big butt" support. So far, so good. But this is where the AA excells. It does not taper in the front so it hangs over the tapered part of the seat, moreso on stock than on my Diamond. This gives the added thigh support that most of us "oldwingers" appreciate and need. This pad is definitely more comfortable for me than the Airhawk, but since I have an Airhawk, I tried it out on top of the AA. Very Good! If you can take the added height and already own an AH, adding the AA underneath might be a good idea. I would choose the AA over the AH if I were to do it all over again. WARNING!!!! YOUR BUTT MY DIFFER. :lol:

Recommendations: If you are not satisfied with your seating position now, this would be a relatively inexpensive way to start. It will raise you up 1/2 inch to 1 1/2 inch depending on how much water and air you add. If you find it does not work as a motorcycle seat you can always use it in the office, around the house or as a stadium pad.]

Here is what one rider emailed me about his that he uses on the stock seat:

"I thought I would never get comfort on this GW....I looked high and low...from airhawk, to gel-pad...I think I have tried them all. I was ready to fork big dollars of a Diamond seat, and then this aqua-aire cushion came along and changed my ride for ever. I now ride for hours on end without any discomfort. Daniel...there is a God after all....LOL."

Note: In the picture below, the pad is placed backwards which is opposite the instructions that come with it. [It works either way, but this was best for me.] This is another rider's bike with the pad on a stock seat. He fills his completely with water for the added height. AA recommends 35% to 45%. I have found that 20% to 25% is less likely to cause leaks.


Link to Aqua-Aire Discussion

AQUA AIRE SEAT PAD LINK

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AIRHAWK SEAT PAD

Before I got the Diamond Seat, I used an Airhawk Seat Pad. It solves a problem that sometimes occurs with the Micks on stock seats. Because they do not offer enough thigh support, I ended up riding a little knock-kneed. Jim Mick told me about a trick using a towel folded and put under the thighs between my legs That would keep them supported and separated and it worked. Then I decided to use my Airhawk Seat Pad BACKWARDS to do a better job. I folded the front “nose” of the pad underneath [or sat on it] and it did the trick. When I got my Diamond Seat, I did not need it any more. But because my legs are kind of skinny, it still helps a tad and I like to use it. Although it looks like it hits the tank, it does not. Another thing to try is blowing the Airhawk up all the way and using it backwards. Really gives extra support to the thighs. A friend with 30" inseams uses his Airhawk backwards on the stock seat and loves it. Some blow it up all the way and continue to let air out little by little during the ride to change pressure points.



AIRHAWK SEAT PAD LINK

 

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HIGHWAY PEGS

 

Think about getting comfortable in a chair. For me, that means the back must lean slightly backwards and the seat must give thigh support. [Diamond backrest solves these problems.] But foot position in relation to the seat is probably the most important. I wanted my feet to go straight down or a little forward allowing my thighs to be level and help support my weight. For this to happen, I needed a peg that would not force my legs up and out. It needed to be below the horizontal bar on the engine guards and still not drag on the curves. The only peg I found was the Mick-O-Peg and it is the key. It allows my feet to rest low but springs up out of the way when I take them off for the curves. I tried higher pegs, but lost thigh support and developed butt burn. The Micks can be used in combo with the Kurys and the Relo Kit as a toe rest or ankle rest and either the ball, arch or heel of my foot can rest on the peg giving a total of five different positions. Best of all, I am not reaching around the fairing. In this picture, I have replaced the peg that came with the MOPs with a Kury Harley shifter peg 8021. [These pics do not show the Kury 4453’s that replaced my driver's pegs.]

Up position


Down position.

Toe rest

Ankle rest

In action [This is model D...I use Model K/D-HS.]

 

In my opinion, Mick O Pegs are the most important accessory I have added.

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I have, since this was first posted, made a change in my Mick O Pegs and an addition to my seating position. I have replaced the Kury 8021s with Kury 4452s that match my driver’s boards. The advantage is that I now can rest my heel and arch of my foot on the board. My sitting position now seems to resemble that of a Harley with floorboards. This has become extremely comfortable. I can ride for hours in this position. The mini wings attached to the Micks have become my driver's boards. I only use the old ones for shifting...I use my right heel for braking.

On my bike



In the first picture you see Model K/D-HS [lower peg] in the up position. [There is a link later regarding the upper peg.] When my foot is on the peg, it is a little lower than the stock pegs and is a comfortable stretch.

To use the heavier Kury pegs you have to have the new heavy duty spring, cap, spacer and bolt that will be available sometime in the summer of 2004. I am using the prototype now and it does the job well. It only works on the K models...K/A-HS [Heavier Spring], K/D-HS or K/L-HS, and can be retrofitted for $80.] It cannot be used for models D or L or E but these can be retrofitted also if you want your feet outside and further forward. I don't know about 1500s or Valks but I imagine that the possibility exists for them as well. The following Kury pegs can be used [as well as 7964 and 7965 or any peg that attaches in like manner.]:

7963 Dually Iso Pegs and 4452 Iso Mini Wings



4446 [not 4445] Switchblade Pegs

You do not need the attachment ends for any of these. Jim Mick will provide what you need. When using the Switchblades, you may have to add a washer between the small bolt and the coupler so the bolts don't bottom out. [NOTE: I have heard from one person that the Swithchblades work fine and one has posted that they do not. I've never tried them, so I cannot say one way or the other.]

It is possible to use both Kurys [on the vertical bar] and Micks on the horizontal. Here is a picture of Olcruiser's set up using Kury 4450s and Micks model D.



And here's Snowman's setup using the Kury ISO Transofrmer board on the vertical bar and the Model D with pegs pointing out on the horizontal bar.

Here is a link to just one board discussion of Mick O Pegs. Ask about them in a post and you'll be bombarded...Mick O Pegs

Because my feet are just about always on my MOPs, radiator heat can be a problem. Baker Leg Wings solve that by taking the heat out just far enough. It operates on the Bernouli principle. It forces the air to move out [instead of straight] or "stretch" which causes a lower pressure between the "stretched" air and the radiator. The hot air from the radiator rushes out to fill in that low pressure area and is "Gone with the Wind."

If you don't believe the scientific explanation...you can always believe the "I tried it and it works!" explanation. :lol:


Link to Wings

 

Link to Mounting Instuctions for Mick O Pegs

MICK O PEGS LINK

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*****NOTE ON PURCHASING ANY TYPE OF PEG*****

The concerns are safety and comfort.

Safety:

Do the mounts scrape? Do the pegs scrape? When leaning into a turn both of these can occur depending on what you get. The Kury 4056 mounts [their most popular peg] lose little clearance when mounted on the horizontal and I think they can be mounted on the vertical. As far as I know, these mounts lose the least amount of clearance, about 1/8 inch or less. I don't know about Rivco. Both Kury and Rivco must be mounted higher than the horizontal bar to avoid scraping in the turns. Mick O Peg mounts lose between 1/4 to one inch depending on which model you get. The pegs are low when using them and spring up when not using them so that they will not scrape.

THIS IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT...NEVER MOUNT A FIXED PEG BELOW THE CRASH BARS. THINK ABOUT WHAT WOULD HAPPEN IF YOU HAD TO MAKE A QUICK EVASIVE MANEUVER AND HAD TO LEAN VERY FAR OVER TO AVOID AN ACCIDENT. THE PEG COULD DIG INTO THE ROAD LIFTING THE FRONT WHEEL UP AND YOU WOULD LOSE ALL CONTROL!!!!!

Comfort:

If you want to go with Kury or Rivco, be sure you want your feet to be up and forward. Make sure this position will not put too much pressure on your butt. I can only have my feet up for a short time before my rear end rebels, so these will not work for me. With Micks, there are several models depending on what you want. I would recommend model K/L if you want your feet just a smidge above driver's peg height; K/D if you want your feet a little lower than driver's peg height; K/A will let you stretch but really reduces clearance in curves, or model E if you don't want to go very far forward but just down some. These are all outside mounted pegs. Visit the site to see the inside mounted pegs. If I could get my feet into the inside mounts, I would use both.

 

Personally, the Micks work great for me. Try to sit on a bike with the brand you think you want to see if it's comfortable...or put some kind of box to support your feet while your bike is on the center stand to see where you think you would like them. Like 'em high...Kury or Rivco or any brand with a fixed mount...low...Micks. Some have even used both Micks and Kurys in order to have a high peg and a low peg. Both can be fit on the lower crash bar or the Kurys mounted on the vertical.

Link to Peg Safety Test

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Seat Modification

Wingsoft is the least expensive way of which I know to modify your stock seat other than doing it yourself. They remove the hard, center piece of foam from the stock seat and replace it with thicker, softer foam. The result is a center section that gives plenty of support and yet allows enough give to relieve the painful pressure that many of us feel on our "hindermost" parts. Plus they can keep the heating elements from the 06 heated seats. Reviews of this seat have been glowing. I have only heard from one person who did not like it.

Wingsoft makes two versions using the same foams: the stock model which only replaces the center piece of foam and the Wingsoft Large which also removes part of the lower back support foam and adds about two inches of length to the seat allowing the rider to sit farther back in the saddle. The foam also raises the rider up almost an inch. This adds much needed room for those who have longer legs.

I puchased the Large modification and had mixed results. Initially, I spent a solid five hours on it riding in the N. GA mountains, stopping only once for fuel. This seat worked almost as well as my Diamond Big Boy [reviewed later.] Riding the twisties, I move around quite a bit in the seat, shifting my weight continuously. When I finally got back home, I felt great. A week later, I went on a two day ride to Florida using interstate and straight backroads. I could not ride more than a hundred miles before it became extemely uncomfortable. I can only guess that this is due to a combination of factors...mostly my weight of 250+ pounds which may be too heavy for the thickness of the foam that far back on the seat. Plus. my lower back does not respond well in any seat, Wing, auto or chair if stuck in one position for too long of time. To be fair, even my Diamond Big Boy only works well for about 200 miles on interstates. I could ride either of these seats all day long in the mountains.

Wingsoft also can modify the passenger seat as well as the passenger backrest, bringing it into more of an upright position which many prefer. The Utopia driver's backrest can also be used. [For the Wingsoft Large, the Utopia's mounting bracker must be straighted. I did so by beating the steel with a small sledge hammer.]

My conclusion is that the Wingsoft stock works well for the rider who does not need more leg room. The weight endowed rider may want to be cautious in making this modification, posting questions to ask what other heavier riders have found. Following is a review of another Wingsoft owner:

"Mine is the smaller version, the only one available at the time I purchased it. I am 6'3" with a 34" inseam and weight in at 290 lbs.

The stock seat, after 200-300 miles inflamed my tailbone to the point where the pain prevented movement of my legs. It was hard to even get on and off the Wing and I knew something had to be done.
My first correction was an Utopia backrest. This was more comfortable but added no extra saddle time in the long run. I added highway pegs, placing them close on the horizontal crash bars and as high and to the rear as they can go. When my feet are on them I can actually lean forward and rest my elbows on my knees to relieve the pressure point (or at least move them around). Neither solution extended my mileage to pain ratio.

Then I heard about the Wingsoft seat. Having previously spent over $800 on a Corbin seat for my Yamaha, with no positive results, I was hesitant to say the least. The two week turn around without my bike didn't sit well either. But after talking to the owner, John, I decided to give it a try. A couple of hundred dollars to be able to actually ride a $20,000 motorcycle seemed like a fairly acceptable bet.

Finally, the seat arrived and I reinstalled it for the test ride. What a disappointment. It was as hard as my original, just fatter so I'd have to get used to a new, higher riding position.
I call Wingsoft and was told I could send it back for a full refund and a correction back to stock for free, but there is a certain break-in period of about 100 miles and would I please give it a chance.

I now have over 8000 miles on the seat and I am absolutely delighted. No pain at all even on a 600 mile day. The seat is so good that I never even think about my tail at all. Between it and the other modifications I made 3 day trips are nothing but fun.

I added a sheep skin cover for better temperature control between my legs and the leather on hot days and do rise up every couple of hours, just for a moment, to let the seat re-fluff itself. The rising makes the seat instantly uncrush (if that's a real word) and refresh to exactly the way it felt when I first got on in the morning.

I recommend the Wingsoft seat without reservation."

Pat Bird
Marina, CA

Wingsoft Link
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AFTERMARKET SEAT

The problems were twofold. The stock seat placed me too far forward with too little back support and peg placement put my feet too far backward. The seat problem was relatively easy to solve. I wanted a seat that was higher, further back and gave thigh support to spread my weight over a larger surface and reduce pressure points. This was accomplished with a Diamond Big Boy. It moved me 1” higher and 2” back. However, my feet still were angled back. [Diamond Seats and Hartco Seats are owned by the same guy who is 6'4" tall and understands what tall riders need.]
I have since adjusted the seat by taking out about 2" of the lower lumbar support area. This moved me back putting more seat under my legs, giving more support there and became much more comfortable. I now have to balance the bike on my toes, but the tradeoff in comfort is worth it. I'm sure that Diamond would be hesitant to build it this way for me because it doesn't fit my measurements, but it is much better.

Diamond Seat. Custom made to your measurements.

 

Here are a couple of pictures of Bill Pearlman's bike with a Diamond Seat. Bill is 6'5" and wears a 38" inseam. He had Diamond do a lot of extra work to get his seat the way he wanted it. You can see how much higher it is and note that he does not use pegs and his feet go straight to the driver's boards. Here is what he says:

"Mike at Diamond has made me 3 other seats but the GL1800 is more challenging comfort-wise than my other bikes have been. It took him 3 tries on this seat but has created a true engineering wonder.
I'm tall and thick-built (6'5" & 270 lbs). He created the most supportive seat I've ever seen.
If you have special needs or even are an "off the rack" size, give him a call: (800)722-9995. They'll build a great seat and back it up.
And, no, I don't get any kick-backs from them. I just really believe in their product and have had very bad experiences with other seat companies."


Last is a picture of Panther's Hartco, sister company of Diamond, with a vinyl covered seat. If you don't like the velour, they can do this for about $75 extra. While this is a Hartco, I would assume they will do the Diamond the same if requested.


Link to Discussion on Diamond Seats

DIAMOND SEATS LINK

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You would think that I would stop sometime and just be happy with what I've got. But that is just not in my nature. I'm always looking and thinking about what might be just a little better. In this case, losing some weight would have been the least expensive thing to do. But, alas, it was not to be.

I have been riding a Diamond Big Boy for about 3 years. When I first started I weighed about 335 lbs. In the next 3 years, I went up to a high of 366 lbs. Needless to say, the seat made for me at one weight did not feel the same as it did at the heavier weight. As the years [and pounds] progressed, I became less enamored with my seat. It wasn't doing the job. I could have sent it back and had it redone, but I always wanted to try the Russell Day Long with its spring suspension system.

Why switch when the Diamond worked so well? It was like this. As the seat became more uncomfortable for me, I ended up trying the Aqua Aire Pad on it. Not only did the Aqua Air Pad put me up 1/2", but it also spread out the weight of my bony butt over a wider area, giving outside support to my thighs as well. The more I thought about it , it became clear that this is what the RDL suspension does and since I wanted my seat higher as well as further back, why not try the Russell? I would have to pay no matter to whom I sent it.

Normally one would send them the stock seat and try to sell the Diamond. In my case, I had changed the appearance of the Diamond, by taking it apart and cutting it up. So instead, I sent the Diamond in. [Besides, my wife told me not to change a thing about her part of the seat.] Hence, I have a "Diamond Day-Long."

I had hoped to retain the shape of the Diamond by adding the RDL suspension to it. However, they were hesitant to do so and I folded. What I ended up with is a better looking seat, which is more comfortable but could be even better [and will be when I send it back to them next winter.] At first, instead of moving it up an inch and back an inch, they left it the same height and moved it forward one inch. So of course, I sent it back and they raised it 1/4" up and took it 3/4" back. They were limited by the Diamond backrest hardware and could not move it back further. I'm glad that they didn't move it up any more than they did. It's just about right. The result is that I now have a seat that is very comfortable [went on a two day, 1600 mile ride with it and if Bill Pearlman hadn't needed to stop early enough to drink some scotch, I could have just kept on going. :wink: ] I much prefer this seat to my Diamond.

The seat is scooped out in the middle and surrounded by the suspension system. Consequently, my weight is spread out far more evenly than it was on the Diamond. It does lack the front thigh support which I do miss, but they can fix that up for me in the winter. I had them make the pilot's lower back support almost vertical rather than the sloping shape that I had with the Diamond. Much better.

Notice in the pictures how the leather is wrinkled. We like that since we figure that leather is supposed to look that way. But if you don't like it, you would need to talk with them to decide what material you wanted. They do leather, vinyl or velour. We chose the half moon pattern and are quite pleased. Note that RDL can also transfer the heating element from the 06 seats. It's not on their site, but I've heard they can do it for about $75.

 



I plan to send it back to them and have them put in their backrest which will allow them to take it back anouther inch or so. Hopefully, they can add some to the front as well. I found them to be easy to deal with, particularly since I understood the difficulty they would have in pleasing a picky person such as myself and in understanding that I wanted something that they had never produced. I think the groundwork is broken and that it my be possible for bigger riders to get something more like a "Big Boy" version of the RDL.

I specifically asked [for Bill Pearlman's benefit] if they could add their suspension system to a Diamond Big Boy, leaving the front of the seat as is plus maybe add some height and backward movement. The answer was yes, but.... They would be concerned with feet reaching the ground and may feel a need to adjust the warranty. I'm guessing that none of them have the long legs that some of us have and so don't completely understand what some of us want.

So, if this sounds good to you as a tall, cramped rider, call them. Be patient as they are breaking new ground and realize it may cost a little bit more. If you send them a Diamond Big Boy and want it moved back, ask them to remove the Diamond backrest hardware and buy their backrest. If you send them a stock seat, send them a picture of Bill's seat and ask them to make that shape. If you want a more vertical lower back support, tell them. I even sent them a template and measurements giving them the exact size I wanted. Work with them and I believe they'll work with you.

Russell Day-Long Link

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Obviously, if the seat moves up and back, it also moves you further away from the handlebars. There are three types of handlebar risers of which I know: MBL, REG [Wing Wedges], and the wedge type. The wedges move you up and back a little and some really like it. I used to use the wedges with the MBL and got them almost as far back as was possible and as high as they could go...the drawback being they also moved the grips closer together and scraped the bottom of the instument panel when locking the wheel. Now I have the REG risers which do bring the bars back and up almost as far and high as is possible without a significant change in the grip angle and no scraping. They have also relieved the pain I used to feel between my shoulders. Here is a comparison:

MBLs
REGs

Raises handlebars .75" from stock.
Raises handlebars 1.4" from stock.

Changes the angle significantly by moving the handlebar span in 2.25". [New model does not change the angle significantly.]
Does not change the angle significantly.

Moves the handlebars back toward the rider 1.5". [1.25" for new model]
Moves the handlebars back toward the rider 1.75".

REG has also made a set of risers that are adjustable, allowing you to choose any position between 1.5" forward to 1.5" back.

You could get the cheap wedges which move the bars up and back just a little. Some like them. For me they were worthless. I prefer the REGs.

Link to REG/MBL Evaluation

REG RISERS LINK

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Another helpful item is the Rattlebars Peg Relo Kit. It moves the stock pegs forward about an inch. It does make a difference, but not enough to go without the Mick O Pegs. The Kickshifter is something I would not be without. It makes the shifting much more smooth and no scratched up boot toes.

They do require you to remove them to check the fluids, but I consider that to be a small tradeoff for the added comfort.

RATTLEBARS LINK

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Here is a shot of me on the bike. I find this position to be extremely comfortable. Notice that my legs are out in front but not up or out. It is very much like the traditional motorcyle seating found on other bikes, allowing me to have the best of both worlds.



And....................... looking down

It may look like these pegs will easily drag in fast curves because they are so low. While that is true, what actually hits first is the heel of your boot. The first time is unnerving but easily gotten used to. You put your foot back on the driver's peg until out of the curve. With my K/D set, I can go 15 to 20 mph over the recommended speed in most curves without dragging. K/L could go faster. The pegs are so comfortable, I will accept that. Because I prefer fast curves and trying to keep up with crotch rockets in the twisties, I use my horizontally moving peg installed high on the vertical bar. If I find any that I can keep up with, it's fun to watch them working so hard while I'm reclining on the Wing. [ Of course, if they're any good, I don't get to watch for long.] You can see a mini post here.

PROTOTYPE HORIZONTAL PEG

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And Last But Not Necessarily Least

You might want to try using a thong style jock strap and LD Comfort Riding Shorts. Both can make a big difference in all day comfort...aren't you glad I didn't include pictures.

I know that some of these ideas may seem unusual, but they have made my ride much more enjoyable. Any suggestions or better ideas welcomed.

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