Corbin Smuggler install and first impressions - K-Bikes.com - Excellence in Motion
 
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old May 19th, 2008, 7:07 pm Thread Starter
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Corbin Smuggler install and first impressions

Last Friday I rode down to Hollister to have my Corbin seats built and the smuggler installed. The smuggler on the bike looks pretty much exactly like the one in this thread. Attached is a crappy cellphone shot of the bike in the install bay, I haven't taken any other pictures.

The install process went well, if slowly. I arrived at 8AM, checked in, got a spot in the bay, and retired to the cafe for breakfast and to wait for a fitting. They were busy with other bikes, so I had time to order and finish my breakfast before anything happened with mine.

Around 9:15 they guy came out with the fiberglass and foam parts for my seats, and the smuggler in bubblewrap. They put the needed bar on the bike, mounted the drivers seat and smuggler, and let me sit on it. I noticed some pressure on my butt at the edges of the seat, about where the back pocket of my jeans fit. They put some leather and a pad meant to simulate the heating elements on the seat and I took it for a little spin around the factory.

First thing I noticed was the smuggler pressing against my back during acceleration. No sliding backwards! I really like this. From the pictures I was worried that maybe the seat would be tight, but in reality it fits really well, I can sit up straight and slide forwards or backwards maybe an inch. But when I used to slide back a bit and had to grip with my legs, now the smuggler holds me in place - it's really nice.

The pressure on my legs was still bothering me, so they cut down the foam a bit. They had some other bikes to work on, so I ended up killing time for about 20 minutes. When they got back to me I asked to switch to the passenger's seat for the next test.

With the foam cut down the seat felt a lot better. But I noticed the passengers seat didn't come forward nearly as much as the smuggler, and I was sliding back a bit more. So we left the front seat the same and they built up the front part of the passenger's seat an inch or so to provide more support.

It's really impressive how fast they can modify the foam there at the Corbin install bay. I watched mine and several other seats get fairly extensive customization, being built up or cut down as needed. They've got a big variety of hand and air tools, glues, and foam bits to modify a bunch of seats.

I gave a thumbs up on the reworked passenger seat, picked out the materials -- I chose standard leather for the seat top and asphalt vinyl for the sides -- and the stitching isn't an option with the heat, you get straight lines about an inch apart from front to back. They sent the seats off to be made, and walked me back to the electrics area to explain about the connectors for the heat.

I had been under the impression that they'd just use the same plugs BMW uses for the seat electrics, but that was wrong. Instead, they just use standard crimp-on bullet connectors for the heat. They clipped the leads to the factory connectors and inserted the bullet connectors in between. This works out OK -- if I want to put the factory seats back on I can just plug the old connectors back in, and the Corbin seats plug directly into the bullet connectors. I took a close look at the OEM connectors -- they sure are fancy! I can't blame Corbin for not having them on hand.

(One complaint here, they properly made sure the bullet connectors are alternating, one male and one female on the bike and the opposite on the seat, so you can't hook them up wrong. But I think they connected the male part on the bike to the hot wire -- ground is brown on the BMW wiring right? This means if I ever turn on the passenger's heat switch with the smuggler on, the power could short to the frame. I'll measure it and fix if necessary later -- for now I just plugged the OEM connector back in to the bullet leads so no wires are exposed.)

(OK, another complaint here -- it took a lot longer than I expected to get the seats made and installed. Turns out the wiring guy didn't do anything while the seats were being sewn up, and then was on break when they were done. They weren't ready to go until around 1:15. The K1200S in the pictured next to mine, also there for two seats plus a smuggler, arrived just a bit before me, but he was out of there by 11:00.)

(Well, last complaint, then I had to pay. Just over $1000 for the driver and passenger seats, added on to the $800 for the smuggler that I'd already payed -- ouch.)

About the smuggler trunk: It's a lot roomier than I expected, and this is very nice. When I got home I tossed in my first aid kit, tool bag, pump, patch kit, some rags and window cleaner, my cargo net, and my alarm lock... and there's still a ton of room. I folded up my jacket (Hein Gericke Hi-Dry with foam armor) and shoved it in the trunk on top of that along with my gloves and it all fit. The thing is huge! I love it.

It doesn't look that huge on the bike. It fills the area between the passenger grab bars, such that it's now a little harder to get the bike up onto the center stand because I can't get my hand completely around the handle. And it's long, a bit longer than the stock passenger's seat component. And it's deep, I can't fit anything under it besides the paperwork any more, I used to stuff the cargo net, flashlight, and a couple of other things under the passenger's seat, now these go in the trunk.

Unfortunately, it isn't keyed (or able to be keyed) to match the bike key. They use a smaller key that looks a lot like a cabinet key. The hinge for the lid looks a lot like a cabinet hinge too, probably stock hardware. I put one key on my ring and stuck the other one in with the bike paperwork under the seat -- I figure I can always get the smuggler off with the ignition key if I need to get the backup key, and this way I don't have to worry about hiding it or remembering to lock the glove box.

The plastic of the trunk itself is a little thinner than I expected, it's about like the body panels or the lid to the glove box. It seems sturdy enough though. The painting is excellent, it matches the crystal grey metallic factory paint perfectly.

I haven't taken a super long ride yet, just the 60 miles or so home from the factory and then a quick ride to work this morning. The seat is much harder than the factory seat, but not so hard that it hurts. With the factory seat in the high position I always felt like my sack was being squashed -- not pleasant. In the low position that problem went away, but the seat was a bit low for me. The Corbin seat is somewhere in between the two settings (at least the way mine was made) but no squashed feeling. And again even though the smuggler is right up against my back, it still feels comfortable and I can move around enough to move the pressure points a bit for longer rides.

So overall I'm very happy -- it's more comfortable, the storage is great, and it looks very nice. Much like the GT itself, it's a great setup -- if you can afford it.
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old May 20th, 2008, 6:45 am
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Congrats. I have the Corbin seat and Smuggler also, but I was not as fortunate as you in regards to having the opprtunity to tweak it to my liking.

The Smuggler is very handy, and to this point has eliminated my need for a tank bag so far. I added an ALaskan Sheepskin cover to my Corbin seat to compensate for the hardness. It was a HUGE improvement!
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old May 20th, 2008, 5:08 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eng943
I added an ALaskan Sheepskin cover to my Corbin seat to compensate for the hardness. It was a HUGE improvement!
Hey eng943, Do you have a pic of the Alaska sheepskin on your GT? I don't mind the firmness of the seat but I just ordered one because my Corbin is very slippery when wearing my textile pants.

I plan to use the sheepskin on long trips. However, the measurements of the medium sized skin (recommended for the GT) looks to be a little long for the Corbin (15" nose to back), is that so?

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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old May 20th, 2008, 6:02 pm Thread Starter
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Slippery sheep and 2-up leather

Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeM
I don't mind the firmness of the seat but I just ordered one because my Corbin is very slippery when wearing my textile pants.
FWIW I've been surprised at how grippy the default "Mercedes" leather material on my new seat is. I had a Corbin seat on my last bike which was made in 1998, before they switched to this new leather, and it was definitely slippery.

Might be just that the leather hasn't worn in yet, I sort of expect it to get smoother with wear, but at the moment it's grippier than the vinyl on the stock seat!

I took a short 2-up ride last night with the passenger's seat swapped in. It was a bit tricky to insert, but with persistence I got it in and locked down completely. I expect this will get easier as the leather around the edges compresses. My wife reports that she likes it a lot. She's higher relative to me than she was with the stock seat, so she can see better over my shoulders -- her complaint about not being able to see as well on the GT as she used to be able to on the GPZ is gone. Also with her seat longer, she was able to squish up tighter against my back, which we both liked a lot. She also didn't have any problems sliding around on the new seat.
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old May 23rd, 2008, 4:51 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeM
Hey eng943, Do you have a pic of the Alaska sheepskin on your GT? I don't mind the firmness of the seat but I just ordered one because my Corbin is very slippery when wearing my textile pants.

I plan to use the sheepskin on long trips. However, the measurements of the medium sized skin (recommended for the GT) looks to be a little long for the Corbin (15" nose to back), is that so?
I'll snap a picture for you tomorrow. I did order the medium, and it is a tad long; however, I tucked the extra material between the seat and gas tank. The width however, is perfect. Dollar for dollar, my best mod so far.
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old May 27th, 2008, 3:37 pm Thread Starter
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Cell shot of seat+smuggler

Since I was taking a picture anyway for the sidestand thread, I also took one of the seat and smuggler. It's not great (cellphone camera), but you can see the stitching on the seat at least. You can't see the cool texture of the "asphalt" vinyl sides, but trust me, it's cool.
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