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You can have it all

By Terry Roorda

Mustang Wide Tripper for ’97–present H-D Tourer models

Mustang Seats

Seat: $379; Backrest: $200

Let’s call this review a case study, and the subject of our study is Tom, and Tom bought a 2009 Road King to replace the Road Glide he’d sold in a moment of insanity. And Tom loved his new Road King, but the seat height of the bike is about a half inch higher than he’d become accustomed to on his Road Glide, and after spending some time with his new love came to the conclusion that he’d love it even more if he could plant his feet on the ground more securely when parking or pushing back, especially on awkward and uneven pavement angles. He considered slamming the suspension and asked my opinion on the matter.

“You’ll lose cornering clearance,” I opined. “That’s no way to roll. A lower saddle—that’s the ticket.”

Tom saw the wisdom of my words, but balked at the notion of giving up his plump stock seat. “Comfort,” he said. “I must have comfort for the long haul. I insist on pampered glutes.” At this impasse I invoked Seger: “You just can’t have it all,” I said.

But we were mistaken, Bob and me. Enter Mustang’s new Wide Tripper, the latest addition to their Tripper line of saddles, and one designed to bring the sleek good looks of the style to H-D Tourers while preserving ride comfort and improving operator positioning. That’s an attractive combination, for sure, but it’s not the first thing we marveled at when removing the seat from its shipping carton. That would be the quality of the product. The Wide Tripper exudes quality, starting with the full steel pan it’s built on. It’s dramatically sterner stuff than the partial plastic foundation of the stocker. The edges are all finished, with the tough durable matte-black cover material fully tucked in securely around the perimeter—unlike the stock unit’s exposed and stapled fabric ends.

We pulled out the tape measure to do some more comparing of the differences and discovered that the term “Wide” is a relative one. The Wide Tripper is actually narrower than the stock seat by a half inch at the operator pocket, and it narrows down significantly from there to the gas tank console. That’s a major advantage. You don’t miss that half inch of width when seated, and the combination of the seat’s lower profile and skinnier front section provides a much more inseam-friendly leg reach to the ground. That operator pocket is also an inch further forward than the stock pocket, so while the overall length of the seat is also 1.5 inches shorter than stock, the passenger area remains generous. Visually, there’s no comparison. The Wide Tripper is a thing of sleek beauty with a shape and stitchery that complement the Road King’s lines brilliantly.

The optional detachable operator backrest on the Wide Tripper is nicely proportioned and fully adjustable for height, angle and forward positioning, so you can tune it to your comfort preferences. What’s more, it can be folded down (and it stays down rather than springing back like the stock backrest) to facilitate throwing a leg over without whacking a boot or shin. It snaps in and out of its slot effortlessly and folds to a tight package for storage in the saddlebag. When it’s removed, there’s a Velcro-sealed flap to cover the receiver slot in the seat, eliminating that cosmetic glitch.

In exchange for all of those ergonomic and cosmetic advantages, the Wide Tripper asks only one thing: the surrender of your passenger grab strap. It doesn’t go with this setup, unless you like your grab straps floppy and flapping around way above the passenger seat. Removing that strap makes the installation of the Wide Tripper a bit more involved than merely swapping seats, but only a bit. The brackets that secure the strap are held on at the top shock mounts by a 7/16″ nut that also secures the clip for the Dzus fastener of the saddlebag. Removing the saddlebags makes for easy access and removal of the nut and brackets. Reattaching the Dzus clips is a matter of starting the nut back onto the bolt, and then replacing the saddlebags so the clip can be properly aligned before tightening down the nuts with an open-end wrench.

Installing the seat itself is standard stuff. One Phillips screw holds the stock seat in place, and once removed the seat slides back out of the front frame retainer and is replaced with the Wide Tripper. Sort of. The Wide Tripper is a snug fit, which is good, but does take some muscling. It took two of us, actually—one bending the front edge of the seat up at the gas tank while the other gave it a few stiff bumps from behind to push it into place. It is truly one with the machine.

It’s also marvelously comfortable. It has a form-fitting firmness and plants Tom in a riding position he finds optimal. He can also sit with both boots flat on the pavement. Upon trying the thing out for the first time he returned grinning and singing “Happy Boy.” Nuff said.

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