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windsorguyone

Triumph 3HW Saddle Material...

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Hi All,

 

Does anyone know what the material for the saddle was on the '44 Triumph 3HWs?  The one I have now looks like a cheap vinyl (pic attached)... but I have to believe it would have been made of leather back then.

 

Any thoughts?

 

Ian

 

 

IMG_4987.jpg

IMG_4986.jpg

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Hi Ian, I think all ww2 bikes seat material was a form of plastic called rexine, leather was in short supply in the war. Some bikes that were sent to hotter climates had canvas instead, you can imagine what hot plastic was like......

steve

 

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As far as I'm aware, the black sprung saddles on British motorcycles which first appeared during the late 1920s were never leather-covered, unlike the brown leather pan saddles fitted to many true vintage motorcycles.

They were covered with a leathercloth, in most cases the 'Rexine' which Steve refers to. This was a linseed-based covering over a canvas backing. It was relatively 'hard' to the touch. Not soft and 'warm' like modern vinyls. Unfortunately, ICI appear to have stopped producing the upholstery grades during the 1960s, although specialist bookbinders have access to some very thin examples.

The non-availability of 'Rexine' is one of the greatest barriers to authenticity in the restoration of a 'post-vintage' motorcycle. New Old Stock WD covers (from the 1950s) do appear from time to time but they're not common and any original saddles are likely to be worn and fragile.

There are some harder grades of vinyl as used by car upholsterers with a more correct look than the mass-produced covers. Additionally, I've never seen an original example with that 90° corner to the back edge - although common on replicas, they always look wrong.

I don't believe that there has ever been documented evidence of the supply of canvas seat covers for motorcycles. The general view is that they were fitted as gunner's seats in some self-propelled guns.

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I agree the modern vinyl seats ruin the look of any ww2 bike, but they do turn up pretty regularly on places like epay, sometimes at ridiculous prices, but I have recently found a couple for my wm20 and it looks so much better even if it quite worn. Be careful tho because there seems to be a lot of slight variations in the size

steve

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I'm with you on that, Steve - but I'm quite glad that most people seem happy with vinyl - the same goes for cloth-covered control cables  :-)

Most of the recent NOS that I've seen seem to have been made by Brookes. They lack a rear stitched panel that was a feature of Terry and Lycett covers - but no-ones ever noticed on my 16H .

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A chance conversation at a car boot sale, I had a sprung seat in my hand he told me it may have been a Lino type material?

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Indeed, 'Linoleum' was linseed oil based (those of us old enough to remember making lino-cut prints at school will recall the smell !) - 'Rexine' must have had something similar - a canvas backing instead of jute and a component to keep it flexible (although eighty years seems to be pushing it)

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