So I've had my 08 650 for about two months now and I realized I needed a backrest. I'm 6'4" and removed the buttrest to gain more legroom, which is what I had to do on my Honda Reflex. On my Reflex I had purchased a bracket that converted the buttrest into a backrest and I was generally pleased with it so I wanted the same comfort on the Burgman.
I had just decided on a Jac Vinson backrest and was going to order one this week. But then I read the threads about using an Isuzu Rodeo headrest as a backrest, so I figured I'd give it a shot and save some big $$. I picked up a pair of headrest for $15 from a local junkyard and got to work. I bought a pair of headrests just in case I made any mistakes, which was a great idea as it turned out.
Get a filthy Isuzu Rodeo headrest from a junkyard. Mine were from a 1998 Rodeo.
You'll need to find a way to bend the headrest bars. Using your hands is not an option. I do have a workbench vise, but it's really only for holding things in place or for light bending. The vice would rip out of my MDF benchtop if I exerted all the leverage needed to bend these bars. I have 4x4s framed with rebar driven through them around my shed to keep the gravel in the shed area. So I just drilled two holes a little larger than the diameter of the headrest bars into on of the 4x4s. This method also had the benefit of bending both bars at once and at the same exact angle.
Insert the headrest down to the desired depth into the newly drilled holes. Stay about at least a 1/2" below the 2nd notch that is in one of the bars (circled in red). If you bend at, or too close to, this notch then the steel will rip. It still seemed very strong, but since the bar strength was compromised I just used my extra headrest instead. I made sure to stay 1/2" below the notch and it was fine.
Now push, and push hard to get those bars bent. I finished bending the bars in the push up position using all my weight and leverage to complete the bend.
Clean the junkyard filth off the headrest! Dawn and a sponge in the kitchen sink worked fine.
Get two lengths of 1/2 copper pipe. I'll update this post with the exact lengths. But I just fully inserted the pipe into the buttrest holes and marked where I needed to cut with a sharpie. Look under the seat to make sure the pipe is going all the way to the back.
I guess I forgot to take a pic showing only the copper pipe in the buttrest holes. But this pic shows the copper pipe sections already inserted into the buttrest holes. The backrest has now been insert into the copper pipe. The fit should be fairly snug. Note: after painting the headrest I will wrap the headrest posts with electrical tape so make the fit a little more snug and have more grip. I'll then drill a small hole into the tubing where I can insert a bolt or screw to tighten against each post as well.
Begin painting the headrest. Skip this step if you were lucky enough to find a Rodeo with a black interior. I used a spray paint for exterior plastics and I'll see how it holds up.
I'm currently waiting for the 2nd coat of paint to dry and should be completed with the painting by tomorrow evening. I'll cover the exposed ends of copper pipe and headrest bars with black plastic wire loom I have. I'll get the rest of the pics up as I complete those steps. I'll also take a pic of the buttrest adjustment area with the copper pipes too.
I did go for a few mile ride prior to painting so I could make any adjustments. Wow! I didn't lose any legroom at all and I now had excellent lower lumbar support for long rides.