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A Brother's Decade-Long Seat Search

From Los Angeles to Vegas and Back

By Gearhead with photos by Wrench

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Story line started about ten years ago, during the bare bobber era. I was looking for a seat to go with an old school flat-tracker look. I had a pair of Flanders flat tracker bars, but it did not look right with the King/Queen seat. Remember, choppers were dead, done, caput.

I was looking around for that solo look, so when the wife didn't want to ride with me, I had a solo way to go.

The real story was inspired by Bandit who listened carefully to my tale and wanted me to share it. He liked my abstract story about what I went through to get this job done. We all face stuff like this, when we have a dream and go after it. It can be a dream about our next build or as small as a single seat project.

Meanwhile back at my solo seat effort. I kept searching around for a solo seat. I didn't care for those Bates solos because they just weren't wide enough for my taste and my skinny butt. I wandered into a couple of shops and hit a couple of swap meets and didn’t find what I was looking for.

After a year of searching, I walked into Ed Walkers shop one day and there on a shelf was exactly what I was looking for. This was about seven years ago. This puppy was hanging on his pegboard wall waiting for a new rider to come along.

I think I gave him 25 dollars for it. It had the old patina, on leather, for that old bike look. It was a worn, rugged, traditional, old black leather saddle for an old iron horse, perfect. I could slip it on and slip it off without a single bolt. Simple installation is what I wanted. It did leave me open for easy theft if I wasn't careful.

I was a happy rider, installed it and used it for years adding to the wear and tear. Then I hand stitched another top cover on it about five years ago. I rode it several years like that and it was still good, until it just finally wore out.

Janet, my wife and I went water skiing with some friends in Gilroy, CA. Don and Char had some really sharp, white tuck-and-roll upholstery in their Glastron ski boat. I asked the question, where did you guys have this done? They said they know a guy in Las Vegas. He did it.

The wife’s girlfriend picked up my solo one day, when she was in Los Angeles visiting and off to Gilroy she went, to pick up the leather for my seat project. She gathered some heavy duty hide and hauled ass to Vegas, where she had some business.

When you own a business, you have that luxury. The seat was delivered immediately to Don, the upholsterer, but the minute his industrial machine started to sew the heavy leather together, the needle head broke. He spent 200 dollars to repair the machine, and then announced he would not touch my seat again. Thus, my seat sat in Vegas for a year or two. I had to figure out how to make a trip to Vegas without being out of a whole lotta money.

Eureka!!!! I came up with a solution and got paid for my time. It also was offered a free flight. Plus, room and board were free, and I could see the McGregor fight (what little of it, anyway). The plan was to go to Las Vegas on a Carpenter's Union dime, because of access to their training facility. I was golden. Hell, I would be able to add an extra piece of luggage coming home.

I got picked up for dinner on the last night at the training facility and went over to Don and Char's place. Don boxed the seat and pieces, and I jammed back to the training facility. The next blistering hot Vegas morning I blasted back to the airport and flew home.

At home, I did my homework to find a reasonable upholstery shop. This seems to be a dying profession. The ones that do it want an arm-and-a-leg, because they are the only ones in town. I talked to a couple of friends, another shop or two and put in a couple of calls, but only received a couple of call back.

Ultimately, I went with Five-Star windows& upholstery. Their prices were reasonable with a highly professional team. Alice runs the place and Caesar handles the upholstery. It’s a functioning art, and they stitched it in exactly the way I wanted and at a reasonable price of 260 dollars.

So, there it is, the wind-up and the pitch. The Gypsy Belle has always taken on a life of her own. Some call Harleys just a piece of machinery. That’s never the case. God has always given us good wind and fair weather, so give me that horizon and heave ho.


Five Star Upholstery & Auto Glass
14315 S. Normandie Ave.
Gardena, CA 90247

Or there are always the leaders in the seat industry:



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