"You can’t put a price on luxury" is something you would say after swapping regular hide with exotic leather. Ever since man first created the absolute joy on two wheels that is motorcycles, he has tried to go further up in his quest for the perfect bike addition. That is until exotic leather became more of the norm rather than the exception for motorcycle seats.
If you own a bike, chances are, you’re willing to go the extra mile to give it a certain dramatic and personal flair. Ostrich skin offers elegance unmatched by other skins if for no other reason, its appearance. Currently, it rides high as one of the market's most sought after skins.
Why Ostrich Leather?
Ostrich skin has a few qualities that make it stand out. For a motorcycle seat, you need to focus on the aesthetic, comfort and most importantly, durability.
- Stunning beauty. If you place ostrich leather against other leather, you notice one thing right off the bat: its beauty. The main reason for why ostrich skin ranks so high for artisans is because of its quills. Indeed, one of the most sought after parts of ostrich skin is the full quills (the distinguished bumps in the center of the skin). Full quill coverage guarantees that the ostrich skin not only fetches more money, but it also attracts more eyes.
- Durability. Most ostrich skin comes from the African ostrich. Aptly named, the African ostrich is adapted to surviving in African climate, making its skin an ironical mishmash of both softness and durability. How do these two qualities merge to make ostrich skin an enviable raw material? You might be riding long distances, and the last thing you need is to keep replacing your seat after you pass every city limit. Authentic ostrich skin can withstand weather elements without losing its allure. You get to enjoy riding comfortably without the hassle of ordering new seats.
- Expansive Size. Ostriches are big birds. A full-grown ostrich skin will yield about 16 square feet, a healthy size by any standards. With such a skin to work with, you could cover a large motorcycle seat with just one panel. Although this factor fluctuates depending on production methods, it does not take away from the fact that ostrich skin is a great choice for motorcycle seats.
How do you select the best skin?
- Weight. Depending on your preference, you have two options; standard or garment weight. Standard weight is about 1.0 mm thick while garment weight tops out at 0.8 mm. The standard weight is less expensive and more durable, so we recommend this for motorcyle seats.
- Grade. Ostrich leather grading determines the aesthetic of the final product. It is graded into four categories, characterized by the number of defects it has in a quadrant. Contrary to assumptions, defects in ostrich skin are not that bad. And herein lays the paradox of ostrich leather. Since the aim is to make a seat out of one large panel, you will need the best grade you can afford. Grade I has no defects in any of its four sectors. That is the grade you will need for your bike. Grade II has defects in one-quarter while III and IV have defects on two and three quarters respectively. If you can't afford grade I or II, don’t even sweat it. Just get an experienced upholsterer and he’ll work out the rest.
- Size. Size in this context refers to quill coverage. Some skins have more full quill than others - due to the genetics of the animal. Pick the skin in the color you want that has the most full quill.
Ostrich leather is rather easy to dye as it absorbs dyes relatively well. However, ostrich leather in neutral colors will still work well with most bike exteriors. If you’d like a bit more color or a finer finish, you can get the skin in an array or colors and finishes such as matte and pull up. It is crucial to note, however, that finer finishes will dent your pocket just a tad more.
Check out our other resources for more guides on finding the ideal seat for your bike.