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Do Corbin seats EVER get comfortable?


betoney
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I bought a Corbin seat for my VFR and they informed me that it might take 1,500-2,000 miles to "break-in".  I bought it in June and have about 3,000 miles on it now (I share saddle time with my FJ) and not only is it not at all comfortable but it is actually painful after about an hour, it is ridiculously hard (firm), similar to sitting on wooden bleachers forcing me to stand about every 20 minutes while riding. 

To anyone who uses a Corbin seat, do they EVER get comfortable? or do I write it off as a lesson learned and get a custom seat built?  I have used custom or pre-built aftermarket seats on different bikes before, never tried a Corbin though.  I have never experienced a foam this dense and unforgiving before.

***2015 Candy Red FJ-09***

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Hey Brian - I’ve had Corbin seats on a couple of bikes over the years (FJ1100 & VTR1000 SuperHawk), and found them to be quite comfortable.   The one on the FJ came with the bike, so it already had a bunch of miles of use before I got it, and I can’t speak to break in miles.   I remember the VTR seat being firm, but not ever what I would consider hard or uncomfortable…  to me, it felt the same on day one as day 365.  

Those were both 20+ years ago, so I have no idea if it’s even relevant information to compare to the new Corbin saddles.   They still seem to have a good reputation, so I’m surprised to hear your experience so far… 

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2 minutes ago, texscottyd said:

Hey Brian - I’ve had Corbin seats on a couple of bikes over the years (FJ1100 & VTR1000 SuperHawk), and found them to be quite comfortable.   The one on the FJ came with the bike, so it already had a bunch of miles of use before I got it, and I can’t speak to break in miles.   I remember the VTR seat being firm, but not ever what I would consider hard or uncomfortable…  to me, it felt the same on day one as day 365.  

Those were both 20+ years ago, so I have no idea if it’s even relevant information to compare to the new Corbin saddles.   They still seem to have a good reputation, so I’m surprised to hear your experience so far… 

Thanks for the reply Scott.  As a comparison, several years ago I had a custom built seat made for my FJ and left on a 4,000 mile road trip to Utah and Colorado 2 days later.  In the last month I have gone on 2 over-night trips riding 450 miles each day on one and 500 miles each day on the other, both of them only stopping twice on combined, fuel, snack, bathroom breaks, the FJ is truly "all-day" comfortable. 

As I mentioned, with the Corbin seat on the VFR after an hour I am squirming and needing to stand. I rode to Astoria, Oregon for lunch yesterday (less than 300 miles round trip) and was seriously uncomfortable and felt like I was bruised after the ride, the seat truly feels as firm as sitting on wood.

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***2015 Candy Red FJ-09***

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Is it worth following up with the Manufacturer?

This, from their FAQ page: -

Yes, however the Corbin saddle is designed to work perfect for about 90% of the riding population. If there is any doubt, you can provide your height, weight and inseam to your sales representative and they will provide that information to the people making your saddle. We strongly suggest that before any modifications are made, that you try riding our standard shape seat, that way, if modifications need to be made, we will have a point of reference. If you have to send a saddle back to us for modification, we will change the shape of your seat to your specification at no charge as long as we can put the same cover back onto the seat. If the changes are such that the cover cannot be reused, then we would have to charge for a new cover at cost.

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@dazzler24 - I appreciate the response.  The shape and contours of the seat are fine, the issue is their proprietary foam, its 2x the density of most oem foam and feels like a bag of cement mix. 

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***2015 Candy Red FJ-09***

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6 minutes ago, betoney said:

@dazzler24 - I appreciate the response.  The shape and contours of the seat are fine, the issue is their proprietary foam, its 2x the density of most oem foam and feels like a bag of cement mix. 

OK.  I did wonder if they had different foams and was the reason I went to their site in the first place to look but as you say it's the one type and it either works or, disappointingly in your case, not.

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I had 2 different seat on my FJ-09's that were really plush and extra comfy. Stock seat limit was 30 minutes at the time. I would call Corbin.

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I have had 2 corbins on 2 different bikes, yes they are quite firm but do eventually break in. They are very much like a horse saddle, I used conditioner regularly on mine "horse saddle conditioner". :)

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13 hours ago, betoney said:

I bought a Corbin seat for my VFR and they informed me that it might take 1,500-2,000 miles to "break-in".  I bought it in June and have about 3,000 miles on it now (I share saddle time with my FJ) and not only is it not at all comfortable but it is actually painful after about an hour, it is ridiculously hard (firm), similar to sitting on wooden bleachers forcing me to stand about every 20 minutes while riding. 

To anyone who uses a Corbin seat, do they EVER get comfortable? or do I write it off as a lesson learned and get a custom seat built?  I have used custom or pre-built aftermarket seats on different bikes before, never tried a Corbin though.  I have never experienced a foam this dense and unforgiving before.

I’m one of those people who have tried Corbin and never found them comfortable either. They are always (usually, I’ll get into that shortly) hard as a rock and weirdly flat and bucket like. I like Sargent, Bagster and most OEM comfort seats over Corbin. 
 

Here’s my however: I was desperate for a new seat for my Triumph Sprint GT and Corbin was one of the few made still. Ordered one, and again it was hard, but my disappointment in it was the passenger seat was smaller, shorter and extremely hard for my picky passenger. I took advantage of their return it for 2 free adjustments and had them install their softer foam on it and it’s completely transformed the rider area. Why they made the passenger seat smaller, I have no idea, but the rider area is great. I tried to send it back a second time to redo the passenger area and they effectively told me to screw off or pay them $400 for the mod I need. I still have the seat and use it if I’m riding solo  

So even though they’ll tell you to stick with the standard foam, I’d send it back and get the softer put on. Big difference!!!
 

 

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I've had 3 Corbins, on a 1998 Suzuki TL1000S, a 2009 Harley XR1200 and now on my 19 900GT. Corbin's whole design philosophy is built around firm support with weight distributed over a large area to decrease or eliminate pressure points. This is more successful with some bikes than others, owing to limitations in size/shape they can make the saddle on a given mount.  My TL seat was a huge improvement compared to the stock afterthought (designed much more to allow you to move around and hang off than for comfort), but still no long distance airbed.  The XR seat, likewise, was a huge improvement compared to the horrific stocker, but still not great. The two-up version, similar to what you get for our bikes, was supposed to be better.  On the 900GT, I find the improvement in weight distribution to be huge. The stock seat was better than the other two bikes I mentioned, but I have found the improvement even greater than on those bikes.  Having said that, it is VERY firm, and on a trip I took this summer with 5 x 6 hour+ days in the saddle, I would be squirming, standing, and shifting around after about 90-120 minutes. A short break would completely reset the clock, and riding on twistier roads with a more forward leaning posture and a bit more sliding around seemed to prevent onset of monkey butt significantly.  By the end of that trip, the seat had definitely broken in a lot more, and seemed much more molded to my butt. My final day was exactly the same as my first day of the trip, but in reverse; 6 hours of 4 lane straight highway. Much less discomfort the second time around, although it is hard to know how much my butt had toughened up in the meantime!  I will confess to some jealousy of guys on big baggers with yard-wide sheepskin covered sofas to sit on, but accept that seats like that are simply not possible on a bike with a shred of sporting character.

I've never ridden a VFR, so I don't know how the stock seat works, or what limitations aftermarket seat designers might have to work with. If you are finding the Corbin extremely uncomfortable, it could be a mismatch between the basic saddle shape and that of your ass, preventing proper weight distribution. If that is the case, the addition of a layer of lower density foam might help a lot. Sounds like a call to Corbin is in order. Good luck!

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I’ve had Corbin on several bikes dating from 1992, starting with my 92 Concours.  I have mostly loved each saddle, deciding long ago that “firm” is way better than “soft.”

I got one for my Tracer. Compared to the stock Tracer saddle, the Corbin is MUCH better in every possible way except perhaps positioning. Corbins always seem to move the rider back and down just enough to matter. My Tracer Corbin required a Heli adapter. The adapter made the situation “near perfect” for me.  I prefer a bias towards a front-lean. I hate vertical upright position that lays weight upon my 73 y/o overgrown prostate. To say nothing about the disappearance of the fine butt I once had, that now is just a boney hot spot 

My best position on any bike is the one that allows me to find a dozen or more different sub-positions.  Must be able to scoot about on the saddle. That requires a broad, well contoured and extremely firm saddle covered in leather.  Leather is the ideal material because of its friction chacteristics, and because it feels so fine on what is left of the butt.

In the long run, saddles are like shoes. Each rider needs something that accommodates his particular butt-back-arm situation. Since we come in such wide varieties of shape size weight health age etc, it is real impossible to make one that works for all.

 

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On 10/1/2022 at 6:18 PM, betoney said:

... it is actually painful after about an hour, it is ridiculously hard (firm), similar to sitting on wooden bleachers forcing me to stand about every 20 minutes while riding. 

... I have never experienced a foam this dense and unforgiving before.

Don't expect the foam to break in, or change much. I have a 12 year old Corbin on one of my bikes and the foam is dense, nothing soft about it. I did a 4 hour ride recently to rent an MT-07 for a week to see if I want to buy one (riders share).

The MT-07 stock seat was MUCH SOFTER than the corbin, but flat as a board and the "sit bones" felt like they bottomed out within an hour, and were so sore after the 4 hour ride through twisties back home that my bones felt bruised.

Having the stock MT-07 for a week was a bummer because long rides were so uncomfortable. I did ride out to Big Sur, and some other long rides - hating the seat.

When I got on my old bike, the Corbin was like invisible. No attention on the seat at all. The reason is because my weight is distributed across an area larger than my "sit bones" that eventually bottom out through soft foam over a bad shape.

What I am learning on this thread is to specify softer foam for my next corbin, with their "famous" shape, which for me would be best of both worlds. I am skinny and do not have much natural padding.

https://www.corbin.com/general/box6.shtml

 

Corbin Shape Firm.jpg

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1980 Yamaha 850 Triple (sold). Too many bikes to list, FJ-09 is next on my list
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On 10/1/2022 at 6:18 PM, betoney said:

I bought a Corbin seat for my VFR and they informed me that it might take 1,500-2,000 miles to "break-in". 

Just saw that on their web site - so maybe it will soften up some. I would suggest the "re-do" top layer foam because it is within that new purchase window of time. It isn't going to change a lot, but apparently some.

https://www.corbin.com/general/box7.shtml

Corbin Shape Firm break in.jpg

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1980 Yamaha 850 Triple (sold). Too many bikes to list, FJ-09 is next on my list
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  • 3 weeks later...

I tried a Corbin saddle back in the 90's on my FJ1200. I gave it two years, two uncomfortable years, and it never quite broke in the way it does for most people. I don't recall miles, but it was way over 2k, so there was plenty of saddle time. It just simply didn't mold to my backside the way it was intended to. For me, Seth Laam's saddles do the trick, right balance of rigid/give, with great weight distribution. I've only done ride ins for custom work, so I don't know how his shipped saddles are, tho. But I can  vouch for him carving a saddle perfectly so if he gets a chance to personally manhandle your bum. 

IMG_20180920_133958623_HDR.jpg

Edited by maximo
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’70 Yamaha 125 Enduro; ’75 Honda CB360T; ’81 Yamaha XS650SH; ’82 Honda GL650 Silver Wing Interstate; ’82 Suzuki GS650L; ’87 Yamaha Virago 535; ’87 Yamaha FJ1200; ’96 Honda ST1100; ’99 Yamaha V-Star Classic; ’00 Suzuki SV650; ’07 BMW K1200GT; ’12 Suzuki DR200; ’15 Yamaha FJ-09.  Bold = current

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12 minutes ago, maximo said:

I tried a Corbin saddle back in the 90's on my FJ1200. I gave it two years, two uncomfortable years, and it never quite broke in the way it does for most people. I don't recall miles, but it was way over 2k, so there was plenty of saddle time. It just simply didn't mold to my backside the way it was intended to. For me, Seth Laam's saddles do the trick, right balance of rigid/give, with great weight distribution. I've only done ride ins for custom work, so I don't know how his shipped saddles are, tho. But I can  vouch for him carving a saddle perfectly so if he gets a chance to personally manhandle your bum. 

 

I have since put another 1300 miles on the seat, I took a quick 3-day ride to California  (CA3, CA36, 101 and CA199😎👍) and the seat still feels firm as a board, I ended up needing to use a seat pad to finish the ride.

I emailed Corbin's customer support about shipping it back and getting different foam and they never responded to me.  Since I have a custom seat builder in-state, about 2 hours away, I'll probably use him again.  He is more expensive than a generic Corbin but the results are worth it, the seat on my FJ is wonderful.  For me, a custom tailored seat has the same value as custom suspension for enjoying the bike long term.

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***2015 Candy Red FJ-09***

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