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My new Russell Daylong Saddle arrived today! (Long)

About two years ago, I developed a very painful case of
degenerative joint disease (aka: osteoarthritis) in my
lower back.  I believe this was a result of an injury
that took place more than four years earlier. One of the
manifestations of this affliction is a joint weakness in
the vertebral column that makes it almost impossible to
sit for long periods with my back unsupported. Prior to
the onset of the condition, I was quite comfortable
riding my RT with its' BMW Comfort Seat, but once my back
acted up I was in agony after even . For a while, I
actually thought I would have to give up riding, but
during a pain-free moment, a pristine '98 R1200C came
into my life, and opened my eyes. The BMW Cruiser has a
dual purpose rider's backrest that folds down to serve as
an occasional passenger seat. I soon began to realize
that I was actually more comfortable on the Cruiser with
the backrest in place, than I was on my RT!

My search for the perfect seat, or rather, the most
perfect backrest had begun. I called every major after
market seat maker to inquire about their backrest
options. Besides Corbin and Russell, I found no one
offering anything worthwhile in a backrest. If anyone
wants details, contact me off line. The bad news is these
seats are very expensive! The Corbin was right around
$800, and the Russell ~$1000. Several of my riding
buddies have Corbin seats, and have almost nothing but
good things to say about the products and the customer
service. A few others, including my own F650, have
Russell seats, and have nothing but praise for them
(except for delivery). Corbin is the largest after market
seat maker by a large margin. I suppose it is for that
reason that we see plenty of them, and will even see used
seats for sale occasionally. I lucked into one of these
for about half the price of new, and it included the
rider's backrest!

To make a long story short, the Corbin seat is VERY GOOD,
but the backrest is GREAT. I rode this seat for ~1 year
and was 90% happy. I could finally ride 500-600 mile days
again without discomfort! .....BUT, I could ride 850 mile
days on my Russell equipped F650 with a comparable lack
of discomfort! I decided there was still room for
improvement on my RT, so I bit the $$$ bullet and decided
to try the Russell seat with rider backrest on my

My new Russell Daylong Saddle arrived today. It fit the
RT perfectly, of course, since it uses OEM BMW seat pans.
This is absolutely the most comfortable seat made for
motorcycles, and must be experienced to be appreciated,
but since nearly everyone already knows Russell makes the
best after market MC seats, my real reason for making
this report is their backrest.

I can't remember ever seeing a Russell R11xxRT seat
equipped with one of their backrests, so I was in some
unfamiliar territory making the purchase decisions. I
think it is odd that Russell doesn't show a photo of the
driver's backrest anywhere on their website (at least I
couldn't find it), especially now that I see an accessory
worth bragging about. I'm glad to say the Russell
backrest is as well engineered as the seat. The backrest
pad is supported by a two piece L-shaped metal brace. The
foot of the "L" is inserted into a slot in the forward
facing surface of the passenger seat. A longer portion of
the metal support is hinged near the bend in  the "L"
allowing the backrest to be laid down on the driver's
seat; the hinge facilitates passenger mounting and
dismounting. The height of the backrest pad is adjusted
by moving the pad mount on the robust vertical metal
track; when the desired position is found, simply snug a
black knob locking it in position. I really like their
rake or angle adjuster: A moveable wedge rests between
the two parts of the track. That wedge spreads the flat
tracks further apart or bring them closer together. As
the wedge is lowered, the two metal components are spread
apart, forcing the backrest to tilt forward. As soon as
the rider finds a comfortable backrest angle, a second
knob is tightened locking it in place. It takes much
longer to describe this than to adjust it.

The acid test for the backrest begins after I settle into
the seat. I leaned back as hard as I wanted, but it
didn't move. The backrest is rock solid like Corbin's and
like the Cruiser's. That is just what my lower back
arthritis needs. If a backrest support is flimsy, it is
plain useless. I am very pleased with both Corbin's and
Russell's backrests. They both provide very good lower
back support, but Russell edges Corbin out for first
place because of their easier adjustments.  As we look
forward to an end to Winter and the start of the 2004
riding season (I know, I know. Winter hasn't even begun
yet.), I will get out for some long rides and further
report on the Russell seat with backrest, but I am 100%
confident that this is the best RT seat a lotta money can

'99 R1100RT '98 R1200C