My review of the Russell Day Long, Custom Motorcycle Seat for Indian Roadmaster, by Biker Lawyer Norman Gregory Fernandez

Stock seat on 2017 Indian Roadmaster

Stock seat on 2017 Indian Roadmaster at the time of purchase.

My wife and I purchased a new Indian Roadmaster in approximately June 2017. You can see the stock seat on the motorcycle in this picture. (click on any of the pictures to see large size)

We rode for one year on the stock seat with no problems, plus the stock seat which is Indian Tan in color, was custom in of itself, and an integral part of the motorcycle look.

I have owned many motorcycles in the past, and on every one of them I purchased an aftermarket seat. I always chose Mustang for my seats. Mustang is a one size fits all solution as is Corbin, although they do take special requests for custom seats.

On my last motorcycle, which was a 2008 Electronic Glide Ultra Custom, I purchased a premium seat for it from Harley-Davidson, and sold the stock seat. The premium seat was just fine for the years I had the motorcycle.

My wife and I were at the Sturgis motorcycle rally in August 2018, and put over thousand miles on the Indian roadmaster at that time. Let me tell you something, the seat on the Indian Roadmaster became a brick. Whatever support and padding the seat had in it was gone within a year. and It became so bad, that both of our asses were hurting after each ride at Sturgis. It literally became torture to ride on the stock seat for extended periods of time.

Russel Cycle Products

The outside of the Russell Cycle Products factory on the day we rode our motorcycle in.

I undertook looking for a new seat for the Indian Roadmaster.

I initially purchased a Mustang saddle for the Indian Roadmaster off the J P Cycles website, but the seat that I received was a different color brown than the Indian Tan color that is the color scheme on my motorcycle. Why would Mustang make a seat that does not match Indians color scheme? I immediately returned it.

My problem was not only that my tour pack back pad was Indian Tan, plus I have what is called Captain Inch heat shields for my motorcycle which are made out of leather, and they match the Indian Tan. I was not willing to replace all of that just for a new seat that was the wrong color. Plus, Indian Tan was the color I wanted not a dark brown it would take away the whole ambience of the bike.

No other motorcycle that I know of has the Indian Tan color on seats, that is exactly one of the reasons I love the Indian. The look sets it apart.

I talked to Mustang about their off color brown seat and they told me that usually their customers replace their stock black seats and the tour pack pad on the Indian all together to change from black to brown as a customization, and that their color was not intended to replace the Indian Tan color. What is bizarre is that they have Indian Tan for another model Indian, just not the Roadmaster. Anyway…….

Russel Day Long Seat Craftsman

A picture of the craftsman at Russell Cycle Products who made our custom seat at the factory.

They told me they could make a custom seat the same color as the Indian Tan, but they quoted me some exorbitant amount of money to do so. At the time of the writing of this article, which is a year and half later, they may have a matching seat now I’m not sure. Another thing to mention about a custom Mustang is that it was not a custom like the Russell Day Long, see below.

I looked at other options, and at the time there weren’t that many for the Indian. I looked at another manufacturer who sells one size fits all seats, but there were mixed reviews, and to keep my stock heating element that is built into the Indian seat, it would cost me just as much money to have a custom motorcycle seat made.

One thing I forgot to mention is that on the Indian Roadmaster, it does have a heated seat. Therefore, every aftermarket seat for this motorcycle is approximately $1000 plus or minus. They are expensive,unless you choose not to keep the heating. If you are going to pay 35k out the door for a motorcycle, why would you dump a feature like a heated seat?

After hours of research and one failed purchase that I returned, I chose to have a custom motorcycle seat made at Russell Cycle Products. Their seat is called the Russell Day Long.

One thing I should note about Russell Cycle Products, they can custom make a seat for you any way you want it, you can choose the type of covering material, the color, you can have custom stitching and embroidery, the sky and your imagination is the limit.

As for me, I wanted something that matched the stock seat as closely as possible.

What Russell does is they take your stock seat and make a custom seat from it utilizing you and your passenger’s measurements, your weight, and other criteria.

craftsmen inside factory making custom seats

craftsmen inside factory making custom seats

You can either order their seat by mail, and send in pictures of you and your passenger on the motorcycle, with precise measurements along with your old seat for customization, or for lucky people like me who live in the same state, or in other close by states, you can ride in and have a custom seat made.

Hell you can also take a road trip just to get your custom seat made at Russell.

If you want to ride your motorcycle into their factory, you have to make an appointment with them first and pay a small deposit to ensure you will show up. I had to reschedule my appointment one time and they accommodated me.. They contact you to confirm before your appointment.

Because of the special nature of riding your motorcycle into the factory to have a seat made, they say they require an entire day.

I made my appointment which was months in advance. They were busy 🙂 I also conversed with them back and forth via email. They told me that if I wanted the Indian roadmaster with a diamond pattern like the stock seat has, that they would need two days to do the seat. (Turns out it only took one day) I told them no problem, we would take our motorhome from Southern California, put the bike in the trailer, and stay overnight in a local campground. Their factory is near Redding California which is a beautiful area.

View of new Russel Day Long Seat at factory

View of new Russell Day Long Seat at factory without backrest on.

When the time came to go to the factory, we loaded up the motorcycle into our enclosed trailer, jumped in the motorhome and took off the night before. We ended up staying at a great campground just one freeway exit away from Russell’s factory.

We went to Russell’s in approximately December 2018 to get the seat made. I waited one year to write this review.

Russell Motorsports is in Northern California, whereas we live in Southern California. It is much colder in Northern California this time year, matter of fact some of the local mountains there had snow.

Many easterners will probably laugh at this part of the article but for a Southern California boy like me we are not used to snow, it is alien to us. Cold is alien to us 🙂

The morning of our appointment I was feeling a bit under the weather because we drove 12 plus hours in the motorhome, it was cold, and I was not feeling well , nonetheless, my wife and I took the bike out of the trailer and rode it to Russell Cycle Products for our appointment first thing in the morning.

When we got to the factory, everyone there was really cool. They opened a door on the side, and I rode the motorcycle in. They asked my wife and I what we weighed, and asked us to sit on the bike. They took pictures, and measurements. They also asked me to put my feet on the floorboards like I ride, and on the highway bars like I ride, and took measurements and pictures as well. It was a pretty quick process, they know their stuff.

Side view of custom Russel Day Long seat at factory

Side view of custom Russell Day Long seat at factory

They told us the seat would be ready the next day, so we took a Lyft back to the campground. I am an attorney, so I ended up working in the motorhome, my wife worked remotely as well.

The guys at Russell, called me a few hours later and told me the seat pan was ready and asked me to come down to sit on it to see if I wanted to make any adjustments. My wife and I took a Lyft back to the factory from the campground.

When I first sat on the seat, it felt like the padding was pushing up into my nuts and it was very uncomfortable. Good thing they had me come in for a test sit.

The fabricator took the seat pan in the back and shaved the padding in that area. He brought it back and it felt okay.

Frankly, I was feeling under the weather, and I had never done a custom seat like this before. When they ask you to sit on the seat without a cover, with just the padding, it was really hard to tell what it was really going to feel like. Nonetheless, we accepted it, and took a Lyft back to the campground so they could work on the seat.

Surprisingly, the guys at Russell called a few hours later the same day, and told us that the seat was finished. It was supposed to take two days to manufacture, but they had the fabricator, and the gal who did the actual stitching of the motorcycle seat in the factory that day, and they took the time and effort to get the seat done in one day, which my wife and I really it appreciated.

We took a Lyft back to the factory again. (By the way the Lyft driver was an older guy, it was his first day driving for Lyft, and it was kind of funny that he kept on picking us up)

I was excited as we approach the factory to pick up my motorcycle..

View of new Russel Day Long Seat at factory right side

View of new Russell Day Long Seat at factory right side

You will see many pictures of the seat here at the precise moment I picked up the motorcycle. Other pictures were taken a year later.

First off, before I go into the next section of the review, I want to say that I care about looks, and function on a motorcycle. I feel the same way about my cars, that is why I only drive Mercedes-Benz.

There are some guys that care more about function. There are some guys that care more about looks. I have seen guys with literal bricks as seats on motorcycle’s, and they probably cannot ride more than 10 miles without taking a break, but because it looks really good, they keep it on their motorcycle.

The Indian Roadmaster is a $35,000 motorcycle out the door, and I get nothing but rave reviews about it’s looks wherever I go from Harley-Davidson riders and everyone else. Even 2.5 years later everyone gives me a thumbs up when they see the Indian Roadmaster. They love the look.

The stock Indian Roadmaster seat looks like a work of art, but it turned into a brick to ride which is why got the custom seat. Who cares if it looks good if it causes you pain to ride? It does have the Indian logo pressed in to the leather.

View of Russel day long with my stock rider backrest at factory

View of Russell day long with my stock rider backrest at factory

When I first looked at the Russell Daylong seat when I went to pick it up, my very first impression was that it simply did not look as good as the stock Indian Roadmaster seat.

It obviously had a bigger area for my butt, it obviously had more padding, the lower back support was much more substantial, however the thread that they use wasn’t as thick as the Indian thread. This was only a first impression, I since have come to love the appearance.

Secondly, the sides of the seat on the stock Indian Roadmaster actually have a piece of leather that hangs down a bit above the side covers and are attached via side bolts on inside of the side covers if you want to remove the seat. I never really liked the fact that you would have to remove the back screw and side bolts to get the Indian seat off, but hereto for I had never had to take the seat off.

On the Russell Daylong seat, they do away with the side bolts, and the piece of leather that hangs down above the side covers. I am ambivalent to this because now all I need to do is remove the back screw to get the seat off, plus it is easier to get the side covers off, and it is easier to polish the side covers. However, a trade-off is that there is no leather hanging down to cover the top of the side cover. For me it really doesn’t matter. Some people might like the aesthetics of the stock Indian seat better with respect to this regard.

If you take a look at the top picture with the stock seat and the pictures below it of the Russell Day Long, you can see on the side of the seat on the rider part, where the stock seat has the leather that comes down and kind of covers the side panel, whereas the Russell does not.

Now my first impression sitting on the seat was that I had made a big mistake. Rather than sitting in the seat like I did on the stock Indian Roadmaster seat, on the Russell Daylong I felt like I was sitting on top of it.

Further, it raised me up a bit which I did not like, however, it also pushed me back a bit which I liked. I always felt too cramped forward on the stock Indian Roadmaster seat. With the new seat I have more leg room now. (Turns out now that I am used to the seat, I like  that it raised me up a bit as I will discuss below)

Close up of Russel Day Long Motorcycle Seat after break in

Close up of Russell Day Long Motorcycle Seat after break in

The seat felt kind of hard, but it was not uncomfortable. I was thinking to myself, well they just destroyed my stock Indian Roadmaster seat, and now I might have to go get another one 🙁

The way they custom design the Russell Day Long, it also makes it harder for you to take your legs and put them on the side of the motorcycle seat like on normal motorcycle seats.

The reason for this is they make a very big distinct place for your ass which is a bit raised on the sides. You can see by the picture how wide it is where your ass is. You actually have to put your legs forward a bit to get your legs on the ground. It actually makes you feel like a kid at first. If you look at the pictures of the Russell seat you will see the area in the front there you put your legs down. It took me a while to get used to this.

Frankly, at first, I was not too pleased. I felt I had made a big mistake. When I rode the motorcycle back to the campground, my initial ride on the new seat, which was just a few miles away, I was disappointed. Now that I look back at it, it was simply a total change from the stock seat, and I was not used to it.

Turns out it was like walking in a new pair of shoes. They are not comfortable until you break them in and get used to them.

Close up of back of Russell Day Long Saddle

Close up of back of Russell Day Long Saddle

The guys at Russell specifically told me that the seat would not be totally broken in for the first 1000 miles. They told me if after breaking in the seat, I wanted to make adjustments, I could do so free of charge for 18 months.

When we got back to the campground, I kept the motorcycle outside of the trailer, thinking that my wife and I would take a ride. It was actually getting to be dark and very cold. We decided not to stay the second night and to just go home.

I got on the bike again to ride it into the trailer, and I was seriously thinking that maybe this was not the seat for me. We packed up the motorhome and went home that night. For us, it was a long 24 hours of riding in the motorhome.

Later, after a few rides on the new seat, I quickly changed my opinion of the seat. Turns out, the Russell Daylong is a great seat for riding your motorcycle. Not only do I feel no fatigue on this seat, but it is downright pleasurable to take long multi-hundred mile rides a day on my motorcycle in all weather conditions with no problem.

Picture of Russell Day Long Saddle with Russell custom embroidered backrest

Picture of Russell Day Long Saddle with Russell custom embroidered backrest

This seat gives a huge amount of lower back support which makes all the difference in the world when you are riding your motorcycle. Look at the pictures of the new seat on here. I could not imagine riding without the Russel Day Long seat now.

The issue of feet placement when putting your feet on the ground when the motorcycle is stopped, is not a problem now that I am used to it. I would rather have a great seat that is comfortable when riding, then have a trade-off of a seat that is easy to put your legs side to side when stopped but is not that comfortable to ride. You do not put your feet down when you are riding.

We took the bike to Sturgis, 2019, and did a lot of parading (stop and go for extended periods of time) with the new seat, I quickly got used to the new set up of putting my feet on the ground when the bike is stopped. We rode well over thousand miles in the week we were in Sturgis and Yellowstone in August 2019. Plus, we have ridden to many other places since.

Closeup of the custom embroidery gy Russell Motorsports on backrest

Closeup of the custom embroidery gy Russell Motorsports on backrest

On the issue of the seat raising you up a bit, I am 5’11,” and probably around 6’1” with motorcycle boots on.  Prior to getting the Russell Daylong I could easily get both feet on the ground by placing my legs on the side of the seat. The new seat, the way it was designed for my weight (I paid for the heavy weight spring), pushed me up one to two inches.

At first, I did not like not being able to have both legs on the side of the seat, with both feet stretched on the ground like you can do when your bike is real low.

I can still get both feet on the ground, but the seat is higher. I am quite sure Russell can make the seat lower you, keep you the same height, etc., but they used my criteria when I went to the factory.

Now, I like the seat a bit higher because when riding I have more leg room from feet on the floorboard to my body. So, what I give up when stopped which is not much, I now have more comfort when riding with more legroom on the bike.

The seat is broken in now, and I love it. No more wincing in pain at the end of a long day’s ride. I have no fear taking very long rides now.

While at the Sturgis motorcycle Rally 2019, we were at some gas station at a remote stop, and some guy came up to me and asked me what kind of seat I had. I told him it was the Russell Day Long. He told me he thought that’s what it was, and showed me his seat which was from the company that I was looking at prior to choosing  the Russell Daylong.

A view of entire Russell Day Long with Custom Backrest by Russell

A view of entire Russell Day Long with Custom Backrest by Russell

His seat did not have the stock heating because he did not pay for that option, which was available on his seat from that manufacturer, whereas I purchased the custom seat that retained the stock heating. His seat manufacturer (one size fits all design) offered keeping the heating which made it cost as much as the custom Russel Daylong.

Frankly, his seat did not look that good, I think the Russell Daylong looks better. I told him how I felt about my seat which at that point was a 10 out of 10 for rating. Hell we were in Sturgis riding hundreds of miles a day with no pain like the year before.

I should say that prior to leaving Russell Cycle Products for home, I picked out a custom embroidery design for my Rider back rest and left a deposit. It would take a week to do the custom Eagle embroidery, and we were planning on leaving the next day, however, we ended up leaving the same day as stated above.

I ended up shipping my stock rider backrest to them after I got home, they did the embroidery and new cover, and returned it promptly back to me.

Here are a couple pictures of the custom embroidery that they did on my rider back rest.

Back side view of Russell Day Long lighting effects image

Back side view of Russell Day Long lighting effects image

When we got the seat, I ended up purchasing a seat cover from them as well, which we actually needed to use in Sturgis a few times because of the rain.

I have never used a seat cover on a motorcycle seat before, but the guys at Russell told me that any motorcycle seat has threading and stitches that create holes in the covering, and water will leak through the holes into the padding, which ends up destroying the inner padding, and decreasing the longevity of your seat.

I now use the seat cover while washing the motorcycle as well.

So, here is my final review of the Russell Daylong seat for the Indian Roadmaster. I give it a 10 out of 10. It cannot get any better.

Now that I am used to the look of the seat, but more importantly how comfortable it is while doing short and long rides, I could not imagine having to endure the pain of the brick which was the stock seat again.

I must mention my wife and how she likes the seat.  Many guys put their old ladies on a brick pad, hell I have seen guys make their old ladies ride on a friggen fender. If you want to take long rides with your women and hear nothing but bitching all day, then make her ride on the back of a bad seat. It you care about your woman and want her to be happy as well, get her a good seat to sit on.

My wife Little Teri absolutely loves the Russel Day Long saddle. As a back seat rider she says that she has no more fatigue or pain like she had on the stock seat. Further, she likes this seat better than the seat on my old Harley Davidson Electra Glide Ultra Custom. Russel customized the seat for her as well.

It was well worth the money and the trip to get a custom seat made by Russell Cycle Products if you are a motorcycle rider that rides.

If you do short bar hops and that is your thing, you may not need a seat like this. They do not call it a Russell Day Long for nothing.

I highly recommend getting one of the seats for any motorcycle.

My closing thoughts are that the guys and gals at Russell Cycle Products are geniuses when it comes to motorcycle seats. They have been making custom seats for many years and know exactly how to make a custom seat that fits your exact measurements and needs.

I have not been paid by Russell for this review, nor have I received any discounts or accommodations from them. This is just an honest review.

Here is a link to the Russel Cycle Products website: https://day-long.com/ , their phone number is: 800-432-9566

By California Motorcycle Accident Attorney, Norman Gregory Fernandez, Esq., January 2020

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