Gel Pad Installation
1. Choose your gel.
You will want to install the gel pad in the area of your seat where it will be most effective. It is not necessary to cover the entire surface of your seat. Sit on your seat and try to determine where the pressure points are between you and your seat. (Each hip bone and your tail bone) These are the target areas. Measure the area and choose a gel pad large enough to cover all the target areas.
2. Remove seat cover.
Before you remove your seat cover, you will want to mark your seat and seat pan with alignment marks to aid in the reinstallation of the cover. Use chalk or wax pencil. If you use anything else to make your alignment marks, be careful to use something that can be removed or be sure to only draw marks where you will not be able to see them after the seat is back on your bike.
Seat covers are installed from the factory in a variety of ways. Most commonly they are held in place with staples. Use a staple puller or side cut pliers to remove all staples. Use care as you pry and pull staples. Be careful not to pinch or scar your seat cover during this process.
Some seat covers are held in place by rivets. You will need to drill out each rivet’s center with a drill bit slightly larger than the center hole or dimple in the rivet. (Usually a 1/8 inch bit works great) Use extreme care not to drill all the way through the other side, damaging your seat cover. Also, try not to allow the rivet to spin as you drill. The collar of the rivet could cut into the cover. If this happens, it won’t be the end of the world, but you will need to stretch you cover a little tighter during reinstallation or drill a new rivet hole, so you can use undamaged material to rivet through.
You will find in some seats, after removal of staples or rivets, that glue was also used to attach the seat cover to the top of the foam. The best way to remove a glued cover is to use steam. Direct the steam at the edge of the glued area where the cover and foam meet. As you steam, slowly pull the cover back from the foam as it loosens. Some covers that are glued in place can be removed without steam, by simply peeling them off. Caution: Peel very slowly, making sure not to peel chunks of foam away with the cover. If it will not peel away nicely, you will have to use steam.
Once removed, set the cover in a safe place, so as not to damage it or accidently spray adhesive on it.
3. Mark and remove foam.
Using a magic marker, draw on the foam the edge of the area the gel is to be inserted into. Be sure to include all of your target areas. You will want to leave about one inch or so of the factory foam around the edges. This will enable you to maintain the original shape of your seat. The most effective method of cutting foam is the use of an electric bread knife.
On the outline you have drawn, cut 1 inch deep (or the depth required to fit the gel or the gel and memory foam to be inserted) into the foam. Next, divide this area into strips by cutting front to back, strips approx 1 ½ inches wide and to the required depth. You will need to remove each of the strips maintaining the required depth as you proceed. By removing the foam in strips, you will be able to control you cutting depth easier than if you were to attempt cutting out the entire insertion area in one piece.
NOTE: If you are not using the KP3 memory foam in your installation, only cut 3/8 to ½ inch deep.
4. Smooth surface of foam.
After the strips of foam are removed, smooth the surface inside of the outline to give your gel pad an even surface to be installed on. A sanding disk on a drill or air grinder will be helpful to smooth the foam. Caution: Air grinders can remove foam very quickly. Start with light pressure until you get the feel for it. You are now ready to install the gel pad.
5. Cut gel to size.
Lay your gel pad over the insertion area. Using your marker, trace the outline of the insertion area onto the gel pad, ensuring the entire area will be covered. Trim the gel pad to the needed shape. Set the trimmed gel pad into the foam and inspect the fit. Trim as needed. If you are satisfied with the fit, you are ready to glue in the gel pad.
6. Insert gel pad.
To glue in the gel pad, you will need a can of 3M #77 contact adhesive or an equivalent upholstery style contact adhesive. Follow the directions for your adhesive. Glue the bottom and sides of the gel pad into the insertion area. Press and squish the gel firmly into place. You should be left with approximately ½ inch depth above your gel pad to be filled..
7. Install memory foam.
If you purchased KP3 memory, (highly recommended), it will be installed next. If you are not using the KP3 memory foam in your installation, skip to step 8. Install the KP3 by cutting it to shape and using your adhesive in the same manner as with the gel pad. Glue the KP3 into the seat. Be sure to glue the sides of the KP3 to the sides of the insertion area.
Now you will need to smooth the KP3, so your seat looks more like it’s original shape. You can use the electric bread knife for large corrections or a foam shaver for smaller corrections. You can usually purchase a foam shaver at your local hardware store. We use the Stanley Surform Shaver part # 21-115.
8. Cover with smoothing foam.
Your seat may look pretty smooth at this point, but you will want it to be perfect. Any imperfections may show through your seat cover once it is stretched on. If you are not using KP3 memory foam, the smoothing foam installed at this point will smooth the transitions from gel to foam and also act as a heat barrier. The gel pad can retain heat from the sun. When installing the gel pad you need to put a foam layer between the gel and the seat cover so that your seat does not become too uncomfortably warm to sit on.
Use your contact adhesive again to glue the smoothing foam on. You will be covering the entire seat with the smoothing foam, not just the insertion area. The smoothing foam will help smooth the transition from insertion area to original seat foam. Stretch the smoothing foam when needed to avoid making wrinkles that will show under the seat cover. Trim off the excess smoothing foam that is hanging past the seat pan.
9. Reinstall seat cover.
To reinstall your seat cover, place your seat cover over the seat. If your seat was glued on the top, you will have to re-glue it. Take your time centering and aligning your seat cover. Pull the seat cover over the edges of the seat pan. Staple or rivet the cover back in place. Align your marks as you go. It is easy to attach the front and rear of the seat cover first, then work your way around the sides.
Your seat should now be ready to reinstall on your bike and hit the rode for a nice long ride!