install an aftermarket solo seat pan on an 04+ sportster.
so its time to ditch the big bulky stock seat and there's no simple bolt on option to get a seat pan on your sportster? well maybe there is, but I didn't find one, so this is what I did.
Remove the bolt that holds your gas tank to your frame.
I bought a standard generic seat pan hinge from custom chrome or one of those other suppliers/distributors. Its what my local shop had.
What I did next is take my trusty angle grinder and cut two notches in the thick part of the frame that the tank mount bolt goes through that match the width of the hinge's mounting flange. You can see in the picture the two slits/notches and the seat hinge.
warning, either take your tank completely off for this or just be careful to NOT hit your tank with the grinder. it would be shitty to get your seat mounted, but then be unable to ride due to the gaper in your tank....
Also, I had to shave off some of the material from the frame inbetween the two notches to get the hinge to fit all the way into the notches so that the bolt would go through the tank mounts/frame and hinge itself. You can see this area because it has a bit of rust below:
before actually screwing your seat pan of choice (I went with the West Eagle Slim model) try reassembling your bolt through your tank mount and through the hinge to make sure it actually fits in the slots properly. It may take a bit of wrestling to get it to go through, but it should.
Once you confirmed the fit, remove the hinge, screw it to your seat and reinstall as seen below:
I cut down the spring mount screws a little bit. Basically don't install the springs if you are running rear shocks on your bike. Not that I'm the beacon of what looks good or is cool, it just won't do you any benefit having both your rear shocks and seat springs and it looks dumb. haha.
After cutting them down to get the seat at a good height off my frame, I cut some wood dowels to screw onto the the threads, you could also find some rubber stoppers for this, or just cut the screws off completely and let the seat pan rest on your frame. (before cutting anything, just measure for fitment of the random screws/tabs/mounts that your bike already has and look for any intereference that may occur)
On my bike, the ignition module was under the seat so I just relocated it to be under the battery cover on the left side of the bike, thus letting me get my seat lower onto the frame. I made the mistake of letting the hinge rest on the ignition module and that caused my bike to randomly short out and shut down (on the highway) every time I hit a bump. NOT FUN.
grab a beer and look at the new side profile of your bike with your much cleaner and lower profile seat.