V-Twin
I guess we all knew that Indian Chief DarkHorse and Indian Chief Classic came with vinyl seats but it appears (I'm no expert here), the rest of the Indian Motorcycle models are all using 'manufactured leather' despite the Specification on Indian website stating that they are 'Genuine Leather'.

indian-chief-classic-vinyl.jpg 

indian-chief-vintage-bonded-leather.jpg 


According to the Consumer Affairs website, Bonded Leather is defined as:

"sometimes called "reconstituted" leather or just plain "vinyl" -- is not the whole skin of an animal, but left-over pieces of hide blended together to form a seamless piece of leather material.

Genuine leather is made from entire pieces of animal hide and costs much more than items made with the bonded material. It's hard to tell the difference between the two, as once an item is made with bonded leather the appearance and smell are nearly identical."


So, what makes me think that Indian leathers are 'bonded Leather', instead of 'Genuine Leather'?

The following photograph is a saddle from RoadMaster (the top of the range Indian) also advertised to be using 'Genuine Leather'.  If there are any experts on leather amongst us, please let us know if this is 'Genuine Leather'?
  
roadmaster-leather-2.jpg      

The rate of deterioration varies from owner to owner but some have reported their saddles 'peeling' within 2 or 3 months of ownership, and some lasting 1 year +, depending on use.

Oddly, some people reported going with black leather, because they didn't want issues with tan leather like the fading 2014 leather issues.  Irony!   [nono]
Melbourne, Victoria
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Robbo
I am happy with the vinyl seat on my Darkhorse but then I knew and expected it to be vinyl from the outset.It is easy care and so far add I can tell the vinyl the have used is wood quality.
2017 Dark Horse  - Stage 2, Rush Pipes

Location - Perth, Western Australia
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V-Twin
Robbo wrote:
vinyl the have used is wood quality.

I'll assume you said, 'good' quality rather then 'wood'... expecting vinyl and getting vinyl probably be more appetising then expecting leather and getting vinyl. I am waiting to see if someone with more knowledge of leather can chip in and confirm if genuine leather can peel like the photos OR only bonded leather does that.
Melbourne, Victoria
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Robbo
Yep good indeed is what I meant stupid auto-correct.
2017 Dark Horse  - Stage 2, Rush Pipes

Location - Perth, Western Australia
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Robbo
I have chased up with some people who are more knowledgeable on leather than me and can offer the following. Genuine leather will not peel or split, but that does not necessarily mean the seat in the picture is not leather.

Only full or top grain leather has a texture as it includes the 'outside' surface. Leather is often split so that the under side leather does not have a texture, the texture can be stamped in or a texture layer added to give it the natural leather look. A coating could also be applied for protection or for colouring.  In colouring leather there a range of techniques including leather that is struck through where the whole thickness is dyed through (I think this is done during the tanning process but I am not positive on this. Leather can be surface died or a colour layer added.

The way to tell would be if the material underneath is leather which would mean the outer surface is artifical. To me it looks that way as I don't think bonded leather is made as thin as the surface that is peeling in the picture. I am no expert but passing on what I have foundone.
2017 Dark Horse  - Stage 2, Rush Pipes

Location - Perth, Western Australia
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V-Twin
That's a great info Robbo.  Thank you!  

Your additional info made me want to look behind the leather and its cross section.  Well... it is easy to do on Vintage as there are flaps on the sides with tassels.

indian-motorcycle-leather.jpg 


One thing is for sure, it does not sound like 'Full grain' leather but it does not look like bonded rubbish either.  Some definitions below.

---------

Full grain: The full hide of the animal has been used with minimal interference. It's the most durable kind of leather but also the rarest and usually the most expensive.

Top grain: Top grain leather is the uppermost layer of the animal hide which has been buffed and polished.

Split: Split leather is taken from the bottom of the hide; it's fairly fragile but it is the cheapest type of leather available.

Bonded Leather: Bonded leather is made from a mish mash of plastics and bits of leather glued together.

Source: Choice.com.au

----------

Seeing as the back of the leather does appear to be one piece on my bike (does not appear manufactured), it appears our leather saddles are either 'Top Grain' (best case scenario) or 'Split' (worst case scenario).  I am glad it is not bonded leather.  That would be cost cutting gone too far.


Melbourne, Victoria
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faceonahead
Youre assuming the tassle and flap is one piece and not stitched or glued in out of eye sight where it jobs in with main seat
2018 Dark horse Chieftain, stage 3 cams and 116BB KIT and a stack of minor mostly cosmetic mods
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Cochise
My Triumph Storm has a leather seat but it is not as comfortable as my vinyl seat on my Dark Horse
With clothes on as we ride our bikes it would be hard to tell the difference
With good maintenance of the vinyl seat it will look and last the life of th bike...☺

2016 Dark Horse 

Stage 2 cams

Stage 1 Air Cleaner

Stage 1 Exhaust

Aeromach Floorboard Lowering Kit

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V-Twin
faceonahead wrote:
Youre assuming the tassle and flap is one piece and not stitched or glued in out of eye sight where it jobs in with main seat


True...  I have a mate who is a saddle maker (for horses, not bikes), I'll ask him what he can make out of my bike when I see him next.
Melbourne, Victoria
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V-Twin
Cochise wrote:
With clothes on as we ride our bikes it would be hard to tell the difference...


Are you volunteering to ride the bike naked to to determine the 'difference'?  [thumb]

...shall we schedule a date for a warmer month?  [biggrin]
Melbourne, Victoria
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V-Twin
Reports are coming in from people who have seen 2017 leather saddles and we have been told 'they appear different to 2015/16 leather.' We will remain optimistic that Indian leather is once again top grain (real) leather like 2014 leather without the fading issue.
Melbourne, Victoria
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sinbad
The so called leather on my saddlebags is like a scaly type of feel ,yes i have pumped loads of saddle grease into them hoping to revive the bags with no luck ,i have tried shade sun but no good. i will now have to go to an upholsterer to replace them .i think Polaris should recall all the false leather and replace it  .
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Kappy
The guy that did my leather mods assures the leather on my 2017 road master and all the indians he's worked is genuine leather.

He believes its buffalo and is what is called corrected grain leather, which means they use leather that may have flaws and they treat  it to correct the grain and at the same time its treated to make it water resistant. Pour water on it and it beads, the leather he used to customise is full grain leather and if not treated with ie,Dubbin, Neatsfoot oil, water will damage it. 

But it can still called real leather, and it's definitely not reconstituted leather, he showed me the difference.

Types of Leather
  • Full Grain or Top Grain Leather – ( ” the best ” ) ...
  • Corrected or Embossed Grain – ( ” 2nd best ” , full grain) ... This is what Indian Use
  • Split Suede – ( “functional and inexpensive leather hides” ) ...
  • Nubuck Sueded Grain – ( “look but don't touch – very sensitive leather”) ...
  • Reconstituted, Bonded or Fibre Leather – ( “Recycled, particle board” )
all the leather accessories I have purchased from the Indian Dealer leather e.g Tassels etc are all corrected full grain leather.

I know owners of 2018 Indians and it's still leather.

Believe It or not if you will, but I know what I have is the real deal.

When you buy shoes that are labeled genuine leather thats reconstituted leather.
My 2C
Kappy

Growing Older is inevitable, Growing up is Optional.

BK AUS 1 68223
IMRG AU 101125

Current ride/s
2017 Indian Roadmaster-Willow Green/Ivory--Wild Willow
2000 ST1100 - AnaSTasia
Past rides irrelevant.
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Baross
Slightly off topic - just had the seat on my 2016 RM replaced under warranty at the 16,000 km service. The leather was ok but the lateral seam at the rear of the riders section was coming apart. The replacement item has a different texture so I assume it's more recently made. Otherwise all good. A big thank you to Indian Sydney and the manufacturer for a hassle free warranty claim. I'm impressed.
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