Studding Your OEM Seat Covers

Add some personality to that boring but comfortable seat!

If your butt likes your seat, but your seat hurts your eyes, consider adding some character to its skin with some easy do-it-yourself studs and conchos. A few dollars and a few basic tools, a little time and some courage is all it takes .


Rubber Mallet
Scrap Piece of Wood
Common Thimble
Protractor (Optional) or Small Ruler
Studding Tool (Optional for Leather)
Small Flat screwdriver
Electric Stapler with 1/4" Staples
Masking Tape (not shown)
Needle Nose Pliers
Ice Pick (not shown)
Sharpie Magic Marker

The Studding Tool is only required if you are studding leather. This tool is designed to pierce preset holes in leather to match the tabs on the studs. Available from J&P Cycles for less than $20.00. Order part no. 16-0966

Chromed 1/2" Spots are also available from J&P Cycles for approx $2.00 per pack of ten. Item no. 29-098 It takes about 75 spots to do a typical LC 1500 front and rear seat combo.

My favorite concho is the Ace Leather Company 1.5" concho with included escutcheon and tassel. You can buy these through J&P (Item # 110909 $5.99 ea.), however, I ordered some once from J&P and they substituted a cheap stamped tin version, which I sent back. Make sure they are sending you the ACE brand. The Ace conchos are thick, heavy cast metal, and not flimsy stamped sheet metal. They are an antique silver finish, and are not as shiny as the chrome plated stamped ones, but I think that adds a lot of character to them. They come with black tassels. The ones you see on my bike have been retied with a set of Iron Braid teal tassels sistered with the Ace black.

A protractor is helpful for accurate spacing of the studs, but a small ruler can also be used fairly well.


1.) With the seat on or off the bike, make a chalk line of the stud design that you want to create, and starting at the forward ends of both sides, mark the location of each stud with a cross mark. Work your way to the back from both sides. Common stud spacing is 1.25" inches center to center. When the two stud lines meet at the back of the seat, you may have to slightly alter the last two or three marks to even the spacing up. Mark and "x" at any point where you will want to add a concho.

2.) Step back and stare at it for a while and see if you like the design. If not, wash it off and start over. If so, let's go to work!

3.) If you are adding conchos, take an ice pick and pierce the cover at the concho "x" while the cover is still on the seat. Now take a sharp magic marker ("Sharpie") and push hard into the ice pick hole. This is to mark the foam for later.

4.) Carefully inspect the underside of your seat to locate any pre-existing marks or notches which will be helpful in re-installing the cover. On the LC, the OEM cover has four small notches at the edge which are used to center the cover on the seat. Also make notes as to any unusual folds or overlaps in the material.

5.) Use masking tape on the plastic base to locate the point at which the notch rests on the base. Placing the tape against the edge of the cover will also show you how much to stretch the seat cover upon re-installation.

6.) Carefully pry out the old staples with a small bladed screwdriver, or staple puller. Locate the icepick/marker mark in the foam as you remove the cover, and draw a circle around it with the marker so you won't lose it after the cover is off.

7.) With the cover off. Simply lay it over a scrap piece of wood, place a stud centered over the first cross mark, press slightly against the wood and slide the stud and cover to the side just enough to "scratch" holes in the cover with the stud tabs.

8.) Lift the cover off the wood and push the stud fully into the material, then use the thimble to fold the tabs in toward the center of the stud. Now use the edge of the thimble to press into the center of the back of the stud. This will push the tabs deep into the hollow of the stud.

9.) Proceed to the next stud until you've finished the whole line.


The traditional method of attaching conchos to leather is to tie a bleedknot in the leather tassel after threading it through two slots in the concho, leather escutcheon, and base material. Many conchos today come pre-tied and are installed by either a plastic zip tie or adhesive to the base material.

Here's a quick, easy and secure way to attach any pre-tied concho to your seat:

If your concho came with a leather escutcheon, you can use it as a backing plate behind the seat cover. If not, cut a small disc of leather from an old belt, with a small hole in it's center. Spread open a 1" or 1.25" zinc plated cotter pin and push it over the cross bar in the center of the concho (from the front), then squeeze it back together and push it through the seat cover at the "x" mark, and place the leather escutcheon over it, sandwiching the cover between the leather and concho. Now with a pair of needle nose pliers, you can bend the cotter pin legs out tightly against the leather escutcheon. Slightly curl the ends of the cotter pin so that they press into the leather and don't snag on the foam later.

Before you replace the seat cover over the seat, you will need to trim out a depression in the foam to allow for the size and thickness of the concho escutcheon, so it will lay smooth along the seat and not be bumped outward. This can be done with a single edge razor or exacto knife.


Re-Stapling the cover on is a two person job, but is very simple to do.

Have an assistant hold the seat at the proper angle for a straight down stapling shot, and hold the cover in place on the seat base. Then with the electric stapler in position to fire, place your free hand on the head of the stapler and press down hard! Then pull the trigger. If the angle is straight in and the pressure is firm, the staple will drive right in. If not, it will collapse. Pull it out and try again.

Staple the four basic pre-marked alignment points first, then continue around the perimeter of the base.


Click the photo for full screen full bike detail
I also added studs and conchos to the leather travel bag on the rear rack, using the stud tool.

Mocc's Place