Motorcycle accessories are expensive. In a twist of irony, most motorcyclists I know are very thrifty. Purchases are often poured over for weeks and we expect perfection at Wal-Mart prices. The adage of “get what you pay for” holds true most of the time, but sometimes it gets flipped. The ease of moving goods and currency through the global economy has opened up opportunities for entrepreneurs, factories, and bargain seeking customizers.
I’ve been looking for custom saddles for my Triumph Bonneville T100 for some time. In fact, I found a pretty decent used Corbin Gunfighter and Lady saddle on eBay. It was comfortable but looked like a giant loaf of bread. I needed something more streamlined to show the lines of the bike but also something that can work for riding two up. I also wanted the option of a seat that is not just the typical black, but a chocolatey brown. That’s when I realized that aftermarket seats are not only limited in design and style but way too expensive.
I did what any one of us would do. I turned to the forums. I found a bunch of other guys in my same boat on TriumphRat looking for custom saddles. One site, Texavina, was mentioned. At first glance, the shop seems to be based out of Texas, which I later found out was not entirely accurate. The shop is operated by Tex; a really nice guy out of Vietnam.
Texavina makes saddles for many makes and models, but specializes in cafe racers and vintage import bikes. They claim that they can make any design as requested. The selection of seats for my motorcycle was great. There are many different styles, colors, and stitching. Any design can be modified. All I had to do was contact Tex.
I selected a seat and ordered it as it came. The price was great! Just $185 for the seat and $69 for shipping. It took about three weeks for the seat to arrive, but I was notified every step of the way via email. Tex even gave me his personal cell number to contact him if I had any questions or concerns.
Upon delivery of my new saddle I couldn’t help but notice the packaging. This seat came from across the world so it was essential that the package needed to be sturdy. It was! A solid layer of foam protected the bubble-wrapped saddle from the dangers of its transoceanic voyage. After I got the seat out of the package I was very impressed. The build quality is great for the amount I paid for it. Stitching is top-notch, the metal seat pan is solid, and the vinyl seems to be good quality. Tex included a matching grab strap as well.
When I began the installation I noticed the hooks were bolted on backwards. This was an easy fix but it was a little annoying to have to do that. It was just a matter of unbolting and switching the hooks. No biggie. The seat installs quickly and feels fairly solid on the bike. I do think the firmness will take a few rides to get used to. It’s significantly firmer than the stock ironing board and my old Corbin. It’s the same length as the stock saddle but it feels about an inch less wide and around an inch lower. This makes backing up much easier for me as I am a short guy.
All in all, I think this was a good purchase and I recommend Texavina to anyone looking for a cheaper alternative to the big-named custom saddle companies. It looks great and follows the lines of the bike very nicely.