Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Tippin' the Saddle

I've mentioned before that I wasn't entirely satisfied with the stock saddle angle on the nifty leather Vespa GTV250ie seat. I felt that the front of the saddle didn't give enough support while braking; my weight would naturally shift forward and I tended to slide off the front of the seat unless I braced my feet against the leg shield. I decided that something had to be done. Here's a shot of the stock angle. Notice the nose is slightly lower than the tail and that the hinge under the nose cannot be seen.

In these two photos, you can see the four silver bolts that hold the saddle to it's plastic frame-plate. In the second shot, the lower right bolt has already been removed. These bolts require a 4mm Allen wrench (hex key). Once the bolts are removed, the saddle and it's rear chrome-plastic supports can easily be lifted off. Keep in mind that the rear bolts should be reinstalled without spacers or modification, unless you also want to raise the rear of the saddle. This might be the case, if you've got longer legs, but wasn't what I was personally after.

I decided that it would be a simple matter to install a pair of spacers under the nose of the saddle along with the necessary longer bolts. Here's a photo of the original bolts (the short one to the far right) along with 50mm and 40mm length potential replacements. Specifically, these are all 6mm in diameter with 1mm thread pitch, by the way. I wasn't sure which would give me a comfortable angle, and not wanting to return to the hardware store, I bought both sizes; you can never have too many bolts in the spair-parts stock, ya' know. As it turns out, the 40mm worked best; the spacers needed to support the 50mm bolts raised the nose of the saddle too much. I'll go into some details on that a bit later.

Here's a photo of the 1/2" outside diameter x 3/4" long nylon spacers (those of you with good eyes will notice that there's actually one 1/2" spacer and one 1/4" spacer together) and three 3/4" washers I used. The lowest washer lies next to the head of the bolt, just as on the original setup. The other two washers sandwich the spacers and sit between the saddle itself and the plastic frame/pet-carrier lid. The re-installation of the saddle with the longer bolts and spacers required one more hand than God gave me; I enlisted the help of my oldest boy to hold the saddle frame steady while I positioned all the loose pieces.

Once the bolts were tightened and the frame/carrier lid closed, the saddle now has a definitely higher nose. Notice how the front hinge is easily seen under the bottom of the saddle now. At first, I installed the 50mm bolts and appropriate 1" of spacers. That turned out to be a bit much. Yes, the front of the saddle was raised nicely, but so was the middle portion, where my thighs sit. I found it uncomfortable--the constant pressure on my thighs, that is. I felt like I was sitting on a bench with my butt hanging slightly off the back. Not pleasant.

A week went by and I grew sure that I needed less tilt. I again had the boy hold the saddle frame while I removed 1/4" of spacer and slid in the 40mm bolts. The resulting tilt was ever-so-slightly less, but seems to make all the difference.

After riding this setup for six weeks now, I can report it's a vast improvement over both the stock angle as well as my first attempt with it's too-high angle. I no longer slide forward on the saddle, nor is the pressure on my thighs uncomfortable.

The GTV saddle's angle has now reached a happy equilibrium.


vespajitsu said...

I just saw a portofino green GTV today. I love it!! I love the saddle brown seat, but like you I can't stand sitting in the seat. If I can sell Michelle's LX and sell a piece of property I have on the markdet. I will buy that scoot.
Your seat looks great....good job.
BTW, could you go to my blog and vote for your favorite photos...thanks.

Eurastus said...


Visited and voted. Thanks for the reminder; I've been meanin' to do just that, but just kept puttin' it off...to ride, of course.

Steve Williams said...

When I first got my GTS I felt as if I was sliding forward but became used to the feel when I realized wasn't actually moving. It was the angle.

I've practiced a lot of panic stops and have yet to come off the seat!

Those leather seat though are even more slippery and I bet you actually do more on them. Great job adjusting the angle. It pays to have been a wrench for part of your life!

Steve Williams
Scooter in the Sticks

Anonymous said...

Can you describe the spacer thickness, width, material for a set up with the 40mm screw? Looks like a very nice solution. Nice work

Eurastus said...

The spacers I used were left over from another project. They are made of a hard plastic, perhaps Teflon. I believe the small one is 1 cm in height and the longer 2 cm for a total of 3 cm.

I suspect anything with a hole in the middle that can support the weight would work just fine.

Unknown said...

I've recently purchased the GTV in Portifino Green and love it although I have been unhappy with it's seat as well (the only dent in my decision to get it over the GTS) I've read this post maybe 6 times and just recently noticed you're from Utah Valley and that the fields and upper east roads are the same ones I enjoy scootering across every day! I actually think I've seen you...(creepy) I've only seen one other GTV and it was the grey one so... Anyways, I hope to see you around!

John H - GTV 250 said...


Great post, did the mod as shown, seat position is as good as it can be with the split seat. I am still looking for a used GTS seat so I can slide back a bit.

No problem locating the parts at the hardware store, they had a drawer of spacers, I ended up with two 3/8' thick nylon spacers with 1/4" ID and 3/4" OD with the washer at each end of the stack.

One additional tip to the process, since I didn't have a helper I used a few drops of super glue to assemble the stack of spacers and washers, it worked perfectly.

Eurastus said...

I'm glad folks are finding this post still useful...three years after it was written!

I'm still enjoying my GTV, every time I ride it.

Anonymous said...

added the spacers over the weekend. no problem finding the parts at the hardware store. makes a huge difference! still finding this post useful... 5 years after it was written. ;) thanks!

Eurastus said...

I'm glad this modification is still working for folks out there. Five years after the fact, indeed! Who would have thought?

Anonymous said...

Also did the mod on the GTV seat for use on a GTS 250. Much improved using the M6 50 mm bolt and spacers. Want to try yet the 60 mm length to achieve perfection. I also put spacers on the rear pillion bolts to tilt it as to get some back support but not enough to irritate.

Unknown said...

I just redid the mod using M6 60 mm bolts. Now it is perfect. Now the tail of the seat is flatter and does not push on the edge of my buttocks. My legs also feel slightly farther from the knee pads.
Now thinking of a Saddlemen gel insert to just put into the top layer.

Peter Sanderson said...

I used a stack of washers because I could not find the nylon spacers. I taped the sides and it made it very easy to re-assemble.

Have a look at my blog, I posted Pictures.

Unknown said...

Thanks so much for this tip. I've only just recently re-joined the Vespa owner's club with a 2011 GTV 300ie, and I had to admit that the seat tilt was not super comfortable. Using your instructions, I did the nylon spacers for a 3/4" adjustment, and it feels great! I know it's been years since you posted it, but thanks for keeping this article online. It's still useful, and it really improved my ride comfort.

I found it was MUCH easier to do this tweak if you unbolt the entire front seat first, and then thread the front seat bolts in place first. At least, with only me, it was easier that way. I tried to put the washer/spacer combo in place with the rear bolts in place, but there just wasn't enough room for my ham hands to maneuver in there. If I removed the whole seat, I could easily thread the front bolts first, without having to find some way to keep the spacers/washers in place while I threaded the bolts in. Someone suggesting using small o-rings to hold it in place, but just unbolting the whole front seat first worked for me. Just a tip for any future mechanics who work alone, and want to try this tweak.


Joe G. - Bishop, California

Unknown said...

Thanks for your post! Here it is 10 years from the original post and it is still helping Vespa GTV owners out there. I too found the saddle seat forward leaning and very uncomfortable on my newly acquired used 2009 250ie GTV with 780 miles on it! After installing the 1" nylon spacers with the longer M6, 50mm bolts (easily found both at our local Home Depot) and its a world of difference. I also took the seat completely off the scooter and installed the spacers in 15 minutes by myself. I was ready to buy an aftermarket seat for the bike before this fix - that's how disappointed I was about the uncomfortable ride!! Now, I'm good to go riding!

Eurastus said...

Wow!! Ten years worth of raised saddles and we're still going strong!