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Piaggio MP3, was 02 GL1800
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I watched all of the videos trying to figure out "what angle should the knife be at when you plunge it down towards the bottom?"

No one mentions that, they just say "get a serrated knife, push it down a bit at a time, until you reach the bottom plate"

Oh yeah? Well, let me tell you something. Change the angle of that knife and you will be an inch or more "in front of" the bottom bracket... that is a lot of foam to try and get those little bolts to go thru and mate up with the threads on the "Inside Bracket" as they call it.

I spent a lot of time studying this situation before I made even one cut in the upholstery. Next time, of course, it will be easy, just like the videos and those who have shown it "forget their first initial questions" and don't tell you.

well, I am going to show you how to do it "The First Time" and relieve you of the doubt of "what if I do it wrong?"

First, the bottom bracket is more or less not critical.... But the instructions don't tell you that, they just say "stick it here". Well, there is a lot of sideways slop possible even if you drill the holes with the correct size bit.

Here is the bottom bracket. The "proper vertical angle" is for the right edge (as viewed here) to be about 1/8 inch from the big plastic molded edge... there are two of those and the bracket fits between them.

Oh, the top of that bottom bracket must be exactly centered "left to right", that is what the marker outlines are for in the picture.















here is where the template which has a sticky back on it, is to be placed. The instructions tell you to measure 2 inches behind the seat.... Well, the point at which those incredibly small and blurry photos show, is useless.... so back to the videos again.... and a few phone calls to those who have done this before.

It turns out, you only need one (1) measurement.... position the template evenly between the two seams in the upholstery. The measurement you need is the exact point to center that template. If you view the seat from above, you will note that there is a center seam in the pillion seat, and a center seam in the rider's seat. duh! just hold up a straight edge and draw a vertical line between the top seam and the bottom seam...


I didn't get the camera lined up as straight as I wanted for this shot.... viewfinders are so flaky...

Notice the two seams I mention are lined up with the Backrest bracket.










The fabric is wrinkled more than I like.... they say it will smooth out later... hope so, but I am not going to fret about it.



Okay, that Knife Angle that I was speaking of. We have the template in place and need to push it down. do we just push it straight down? Or do we lean it forwards, or lean it backwards?

Here is how I figured out what that Knife Angle Has To Be.

Take a view of the top bracket viewed from the side but still in view as you turn the seat over.









now this next shot is a bit tricky... follow along here. The top seam is the top edge of the seat as shown from this angle. The bottom seam is the only seam you can see from this view. We are ignoring the horizontal seam from front to back of the seat.

In your mind's eye, note the point that is midway between the top of the seat and the bottom seam... Halfway between those two points is where the seat bracket has to go down thru and meet the bottom of the seat... That is where the template is already stuck... we can't move it now.








OKAY, LOOK AT THE BOTTOM OF THE ABOVE PICTURE.
Do you see that little bit of White Plastic that is protruding below the seat?
It is the piece of plastic located exactly where the Blue ice chest's side and the White top meet in this photo.

Well, that bit of White Plastic just happens to be lined up exactly where the end of the Knife Blade has to go to meet up with the Bottom Bracket.

All you have to do now, knowing this. Is to hold the seat from the side, as it rests on a table/support... and move that knife handle until it is pointing directly at that piece of White Plastic down at the bottom of the seat.

Duh!!! why didn't someone tell us that in the instructions??

Sure would have been easier for this First Timer to be able to feel comfortable about plunging a BIG long serrated knife into my Brand New OEM seat!!!

The job is done, at least as far as I have shown you. I got too hot, and had to come in the house and cool down.... so, I decided to just write this up while it is still fresh on my mind.... only 5 minutes since I did the job...

Hope this helps someone who is thinking about getting the Utopia Backrest.

BTW, those folks are super nice to deal with. When I opened up my package, the Template got lost. I called them on the phone, and the lady who answered said, "No problem, we will mail you one right out".

Well, "right out" turned into 8 days, but they did send it no charge...
 

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Piaggio MP3, was 02 GL1800
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
You too Sherlock!!!

My daughter is always complaining that I didn't trim them "this week"...

Seems like it is an every week thing...

Luxury is riding a 2 wheel Cadillac in comfort. The backrest made all the difference in the world in my riding posture. I will now be able to do much longer rides w/o getting a sore back.

Took a 20 mile spin pulling the trailer of course. Just about sundown and wanted to see how traffic reacts to my little puppy trailer when all of those BIG lights come ON at the same time :smile2:

I am pleased to say, that the trailer got me more respect than just the bike alone does.

2 different vehicles dropped back off of me by about 200 feet or more when I hit the turn signal for a right turn...

On the 2nd right turn, I have to come down to about 10 mph on a 60 mph highway or I can't make the sharp 90 degree turn. No radius built into that intersection.

This driver fell back away from me, and gave me plenty of room to turn off onto the rural road that leads down towards my place.

The whole big light project on the trailer is a total success.
I am very pleased with how it is definitely helping alert traffic to my intentions.
 

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Nobody You Know
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Good info John. Wish I'd had it when I did my Utopia - mine came out okay, but your instructions would have reduced my "pucker factor" when plunging the knife into the seat! I like my Utopia, but it has a couple of idiosyncrasies in my opinion: (1) That vinyl patch around the stem is pretty useless after a while. You'll probably end up pitching it, as after it's been through a few hot/cold cycles it will eventually work loose. It is just cosmetic anyway, as the slit in the seat won't widen unless you help it, and (2) I bought the removable option, as I don't need the backrest when I have a passenger, but my wife complained about the 'knuckle' (shown in a couple of your photos) being uncomfortable - especially when dismounting. She is height-challenged and has to slide her leg over and off of the seat. John at Utopia was very accommodating and made me a special configuration with the 'knuckle' sunken down into the seat an inch or so.
 

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Good write-up on a mentally hard project.
I don't have a Utopia or 1800, but my Hopnel / Show Chrome backrest mounts to my 1500 the same way.
I must have measured 5-6 times before the knife ever came out.
After I made the initial incision, I poked a thin straight wire down until I knew it was going down the back of the seat plastic and used that as the angle for the knife.

The other thing that I had a major issue with is lining up the bolts at exactly the correct angle so they would go in without possibly cross-threading. That took the majority of the install time.
 

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Piaggio MP3, was 02 GL1800
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
ah guys, ya made me do it, the toe nails are trimmed :rofl:

I did have quite a bit of "trouble" getting the foam out of the way so the bolts would find the "Inside Bar" (their label for it)

I could see the end of the bar as it slid down to the bottom, but when it finally got in the right place, some of the crumbled up foam got into the "other hole"....

I used a drill bit and twisted it "by hand" to suck the foam out of the hole. Took several tries and more foam kept filling in the gap.... but it did clean up to where I felt good about threading into clean metal, and not just some foam.

My first efforts at threading the bolts in met with no metal there... the foam pushed the Inside Bar backwards... so the drill bit was used to clean the holes.

If this thread helps just one person in their first attempt to mount any backrest, it will have been worth it to post the info.
 

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Piaggio MP3, was 02 GL1800
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
>:)>:)>:)>:)>:)>:)>:)


Hey!!! does this count?






















Aw, I just knew you would say no.................. :grin3:












Garsh, now I feel like I've been at the beach, bare feet and all. 0:)
 

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After you cut the hole do you have to put some kind of sealer around the hole before you put the plastic guide piece on?
 

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Piaggio MP3, was 02 GL1800
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
After you cut the hole do you have to put some kind of sealer around the hole before you put the plastic guide piece on?

that "Template" is a piece of plastic that appears to have double sided tape on it.

I have serious doubts that it will be on the bike very long.
It is lifting off the upholstery already in the back edge...
I considered just throw it away, but it is totally invisible when the backrest is up, or laid back in the pillion seat.

so, I just left it...

My friend Charlie, 'flylow" here, says his did the same thing, and it finally went away. His fabric has not shown any signs of ripping out more than the original cut on it...

There are a lot of them sold, and I don't recall any complaints about the hole getting larger.

.
 

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Nobody You Know
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No sealer necessary. I asked the guy at Utopia and he said the slit in the seat wouldn't spread unless you forced it to. He said some may worry about water running down the shaft into the seat foam, but that he's never heard of a problem with that. In my case, I have the removable option and instead of the plastic piece with a hole for the shaft, mine is just a solid patch with velcro to attach it to the receiver part of the shaft when the backrest is not mounted. It was too much trouble and tended to get pulled off when the passenger mounted/dismounted, so I pitched it. I've had no ill effects.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I can't even see the template after the backrest is mounted.
I won't ever have a pillion rider with me..... maybe for a short around the block type ride.

I'm just not going to worry about it, the wrinkles can't be seen either... and I suspect they have smoothed out after today's hot ride in the wind...

burned my legs from engine heat, had to turn the wind wings in to divert the air away from my legs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
Yup, this is my thread, and I unlocked it so anyone can make reply.
For those who have not followed me much, if at all.
I gave this bike to my son, August 2021, as my last ride on it was almost to the death of me.
I had a mini-heatstroke and almost rode it off into a Ravine......

DaveO430 and Chuck helped me get it back to the cabins at the rally in Arkansas,
trailered it home, and then trailered it to Dawsonville, Georgia and handed the title over to PJ, my son

Land vehicle Vehicle Motor vehicle Plant Automotive lighting




Tire Wheel Plant Property Window





the last time I saw that bike, was while following him on my MP3 scooter


Tire Wheel Automotive lighting Vehicle Automotive tire
 
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