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Corbin Dished Dual Sport Seat for the Kawasaki KLR650 & 650 Tengai

Reviewed by Terry Briggs, "Gunny", KLRWorld.com Forums Global Moderator

October 26, 2007

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Introduction

Today I'll be reviewing the Corbin Dished Dual Sport Seat for the KLR650 / 650 Tengai provided by Greg Hurley and Micheal Alva of Corbin Saddles.

Corbin's website information on the Dished Dual Sport Seat for the KLR650 is located HERE.

The online price direct from Corbin is $ $349 (as of 10-26-07)

The KLR 650 is a great bike, a real do anything machine. A problem some riders have is the overall height of the bike. It's very tall, which makes some riders uncomfortable in that they can't reach the pavement very well. Go off road and the problem is compounded by uneven terrain.

Several years ago Corbin came out with the Dished Saddle to address this issue for the shorter riders. The Dished Saddle lowered the effective seat height by about 1.5 inches. Now that may not seem like a whole lot, but that 1.5 inches can mean the difference between standing there comfortably and dropping the bike. Combined with suspension lowering links, it can really drop the seat height quite a lot for the shorter KLR650 riders.


Packaging

The Corbin Dished saddle arrived as expected, well packaged and secure.

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Here is the internal shipping foam that protects the saddle during it's journey to a new owner.

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Removing the foam and I found it nicely wrapped in a plastic bag, complete with a caution label about handling the seat.

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Inspection & Comparisons

 

After removing the seat from the bag I immediately noticed the new seat cover material. The "Grabber Vinyl" is very grippy and soft. The workmanship is first rate on all points.

Unwrapped, I sat the seat down on the bench to look at the basepan and construction details.

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You can clearly see that Corbin didn't scrimp on anchoring the cover to the seat pan's composite basepan. Note the leather area at the top of the saddle and the rubber frame bumpers. The leather area helps protect the fuel tank's finish while the bumpers reduce transmitted frame virbation as well by seperating the basepan from direct contact with the frame.

Comparisons

Comparing the Corbin Dished against the stock seat and you clearly see the differences in material and workmanship. The dished area is most noticeable in this view. This is also the time you really see the big difference in seat design - notice how much wider the seat is when compared to the stock seat.

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Here is a comparison shot from the front. You can see that the Corbin Dished saddle is slightly taller in the front.

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Having an older Corbin dished seat I compared the two.


A big difference is the cover material. The new dished Saddle is covered in the Grabber Vinyl , while my older Dished Saddle is covered in smooth leather. 

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The leather does have it’s good points. While riding in Moab in June of this year, the smooth texture allowed me to move with ease to accommodate different terrain. But I felt it lacking out on the open road where I did tended to slide out of my comfortable position while riding hours on end. This new material will prevent that. Off road I don’t anticipate any issues with the Grabber vinyl because I spend most my time riding off road in the standing position. In all conditions, the Grabber Vinyl cover will keep you in position on the saddle.

Installation

Mounting the seat is very straight forward.

Remove your side covers and your old seat. Install the Corbin by sliding the tongue under both tank mount cross bars and move any hoses or wires that may get pinched, if you don't get it under both it will be evident as the front of the Corbin seat will stick up away from the tank about a half inch. 

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The two main things I like about the Corbin Dished seats are that they lower the effective height of the KLR by about an inch to an inch and a half, and the narrowness of the seat up by the tank, which allows the shorter rider a bit more comfort and reach the ground easier.

The stock seat as measured from the ground is just about 36 inches-

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Sitting on the stock seat you can see that I am reaching for the ground with my heels well clear-

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The Corbin Dished saddle as measured from the ground is just about 34 3/8 inches, or approximately 1 1/2 inches shorter-

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Sitting on the Corbin Dished seat, you can see that my leg reach has increased and my feet are almost flat in the grass-

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The overall comfort of the Corbin dished is very good, as I've put several 900-mile days on the one I currently have.

They do tend to need a break in period of about a thousand miles, mostly I suspect to get the seat to form to your backside. One of the other things I noticed about the new Corbin Dished is that it is a little softer than previous models. I compared this directly to my 20,000 mile Corbin Dished that I've ridden for a couple of years. The new one seems plusher, yet it's still very firm when compared to the stock seat, or other seats similar to it.
 
This firmness is what makes a Corbin a Corbin, which for the long haul makes for very good long distance comfort. I spoke with Corbin and they explained the difference was in the seat cover material, which lets the padding actually do a better job. My opinion is the Grabber Vinyl cover will be more durable in the long run than the leather cover.
 
The Grabber cover is far better than the leather, as it won't stain or soak up water and dry rot. The ability to maintain that comfortable spot is now possible.

Now you're asking yourself, "Is the Corbin dished seat worth the bucks?" "Wouldn't lowering links be cheaper and have the same result?"
 
In a word, yes and no.
 
The stock seat has virtually no support, so for the short trip it's ok, but after a few hours, the foam collapses so much it creates a sore spot. The lowering links will get your feet down there, but they do create a problem that on a progressive link suspension. When you lower the suspension, you are taking leverage away and you end up making a softly sprung bike even softer. This lends to bottoming the suspension more frequently as well as putting a lot more stress on the shock overall. You will probably set the shock preload on the high end of the scale for most everyday riding. Now load the bike for a trip and you just ran out of adjustment.
 
I found this out from first hand experience, of course results vary but the general feeling is that the lowering links just make the suspension too soft. Now if you don't ride off road at all and only ride a dirt road occasionally, you may be fine as long as you're not riding two up,  riding aggressively off road, or loading a lot of gear onto the bike.
 
Riding Impressions

My impressions of the new seat are as I expected. After several long slab rides it was far superior to my old Dished Saddle with the leather cover. I maintained position so much better that I only shifted in the seat to get closer or further from the bars to relax my shoulders. I wasn't fighting to stay in one place. Riding in town was much the same really with the added benefit of not sliding forward when I had to spike the brakes from an inattentive soccer mom in a minivan. Off road posed no problems with shifting weight for turns or steep uphills. As I spend most my time off road standing, I did notice though that the grabber cover allowed me to get a better grip with my knees when going over ankle deep gravel at speed. This makes it easier to maintain that low and back position over the seat so it should be just as much of a help in soft sand.

Conclusions

In my opinion the Corbin Dished seat  is well made and worth every penny.

I've put about 1000 miles of mixed slab and trails riding on the Corbin Dished with the Grabber vinyl cover. On the slab the new Grabber vinyl allows you to maintain that comfortable position without sliding out or forward under braking. On the trail you have plenty of room to move around while still maintaining a good seating position on the less bumpy sections when not standing, due to the new Grabber vinyl cover. The quality and attention to detail is first rate.   You can feel confident that after a long day of riding, you will still feel great compared to the stock seat.

The saddle does all it says it will and then some. Don't lower your KLR, get a Corbin !

The long-range solution is here and it's called the Corbin Dished Saddle!

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I give it a strong 10 !

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The Corbin Dished Saddle  and many other upgrades are being discussed right now at the KLRWorld.com Forums. Join up to post your questions and share your experiences with the communty.