The year was 1968 when Mike Corbin first began building motorcycle seats in his own garage. His company was initially established in Gardner, Massachusetts. By 1979, he moved his company to Castroville, California and eventually relocated to build the offices and manufacturing plant which is now located in Hollister. Within 30 years, the company he founded had attracted more than 90% of the market for motorcycle accessories. Those motorcycle seats he built are also called saddles by those who ride them. The company also holds a patent for the saddles which includes integrated molding technologies. By 1998, Corbin-Pacific had employed 154 associates and had established an annual revenue of more than $15 million. Today, the hand-crafted motorcycle saddles have been joined by saddlebags, fairings, body components, and motorcycle accessories.
1. Corbin offers ride-in service in historic Hollister.
If you ride-in to their California factory, you can request a made-to-order saddle and it will be made while you wait. The town of Hollister is historic for motorbike culture and located in Central California. The company’s ride-in service is available around the year. Corbin also has an East Coast Showroom located on Ormond Beach, Florida. It’s open seven days a week and it’s become a popular place to stop during Biketoberfest and Bike Week.
2. You can eat breakfast and lunch at Corbin’s Wizard’s Café.
It’s an in-house diner with lots of 50’s panache and it’s open from Tuesday through Saturday right at Corbin’s West Coast location in Hollister. It’s open from 8:30 A.M. to 2:30 P.M. Each day the menu offers specials and it’s possible to carry out as well as dine in. The café can accommodate groups of up to 40 and there is comfortable seating at tables, booth and bar. The café is close to the ride-in area and this allows clients to relax and enjoy classic diner foods while keeping track of work on their bikes. Plenty of times group rides start at the café. A favorite route is to take Highway 25 south to Pinnacles National Monument.
3. The Hollister Princess Team is comprised of female service representatives at the Hollister factory.
They wear adorable Corbin blue, scoop neck shirts as uniforms and beautiful welcoming smiles. They are referred to as “the folks” who will be talking with customers when they call the factory. They are an integral part of the more than 100 American Craftspeople who work at Corbin’s 82,000 square foot facility. The company is proud to be able to say that every bit of Corbin’s products are built there and built by hand in The Workshop of Wizards.
4. The Hollister Independence Rally celebrated Corbin’s 50th Anniversary on Independence Day Weekend from July 4-7, 2018.
It was truly a landmark event for the company, which opened for special gift-giving on Friday and Saturday of the event. The Hollister Independence Rally traditionally takes place that weekend, but this year, the Corbin company opened its company grounds to host the annual Ride-in Bike Show. The IMBBA was present for judging at its sanctioned event. The top six bikes won a Hollister Johnny award. The Shanks presented live music on Saturday. Vendors set up around the Corbin facility and the company was open for factory tours, sales and installations.
5. Corbin makes saddles for top motorcycle manufacturers as optional private label components.
6. The Fire and Ice Saddle debuted in 2017. It’s the first motorcycle seat which can heat and cool.
Corbin began to manufacture seats which would heat as early as the 1990s, but this new seat is the first capable of both cooling and heating. The new seat relies on the Peltier Effect to achieve its cooling and heating. A simple explanation of how this works is that when a current of electricity traverses a junction point between two materials, heat is either absorbed or emitted. The Fire and Ice Saddle retailed for about $900 when it was introduced.
7. Mike Corbin is fascinated with electric cars and plans to revive the three-seat Sparrow.
He has a model of the electric Corbin Sparrow in his office. He’s hoping that the car will improve the commute for those who leave the region daily. The Sparrow is just 10 feet long and 5 feet wide. It’s a third the size of a typical car and weighs in at a third of a regular car’s weight. Due to its small size, three Sparrows can park in the same single parking space usually reserved for a typical sedan. The Sparrow will be sold directly from Corbin’s Hollister factory and dealership. They’ll be sold for about $36.000.
8. Corbin Saddles have 1481 unique part numbers… and counting.
What makes the company unique is its practice of designing seats engineered right on the motorcycle. They don’t use a stock basepan. The design team has specific design criteria to ensure that all bikes and seat models provide the best ergonomic support for their riders. What this entails is considering all the factors that go into a good ride:
- Determining the optimal rider placement on the bike
- Considering ground reach
- Measuring bar reach
- Discovering peg distance
- Looking at bike balance and center of gravity
- Spotting existing chassis and hardware issues
- Considering the saddle features and the general feel (called “the sweet spot”)
Once all these factors are combined, Corbin designs the ultimate seating platform with the most possible width to look good with the bike and flow with its lines. Ultimately, Corbin saddles are designed to support body weight from the sides to provide better weight distribution.
9. The “Biker for Life” Raffle Quilt was raffled for charity at Corbin’s 50th Anniversary Celebration.
The Pinnacle Quilters 2018 hand-made quilt was designed with a motorcycle in the center, surrounded by a frame of quilt blocks in reds, whites, blues, and browns. The Pinnacle Quilters of San Benito County is a federal tax-exempt, 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization dedicated to the art of quilting. The guild serves the community through charitable activities involving quilting. Each year, the organization participates in the annual “Biker Faire” at Corbin Motors in Hollister. There is a quilt created each year and raffled to raise money for charity. This year’s quilt raffle proceeds went to support the Chamberlain’s Children Center in Hollister, CA. Mike Corbin’s wife, Bev, serves as the community liaison between Corbin Motors and The Pinnacle Quilters. Both are members of the guild and generously donate their time and resources to support the guild’s charitable efforts.
10. Two Wheel Thunder TV showed how a Corbin Seat is made from start to finish.
The process is highly organized. It can start with making an appointment. When the owner arrives, a Corbin seat is placed on the bike for an owner test ride on a prototype model. The owner then tells the technician what changes he or she might like to make. Multiple test rides can occur to see how to make the seat the most comfortable and to remove problem areas. Once the fitting process is complete, the seat is individualized and personalized for each customer. The materials used are hand-assembled and made to order for each rider. The company isn’t done until the customer has exactly what works. Riders have the option to ride it for 10 to 15 thousand miles to be certain the seat is exactly the way it should be. Some owners have brought in up to 15 bikes to have Corbin customized seats made for them.
Written by Judy Greenless
Read more posts by Judy Greenless