Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Puttin’ On The Bags

Just as I had been promised by the fellow who took my order from US Saddlebag, my bags arrived right on time. They were in a huge box sitting on my front porch when I got home from work.

I opened the box and was amazed at how large the bags really are. These were the standard size bags. I was glad I hadn’t gone for it and ordered the “large capacity” bags. The ones I have were advertised as able to hold a 12-pack of cans, on each side! What more could you ask?

I had my dinner and then decided I would go out in the garage and see about installing the bolt-on frames on my Vulcan. I knew it wouldn’t take too long. The next day was going to be nice so I had planned to ride to work. The saddlebags would sure come in handy for carrying my lunch and small e-bay packages to mail on my way as I passed by the local Post Office.

The frames only required removing 2 bolts from each side of the rear fender. I don’t have tools for the bike all organized in a kit yet. So I had to find the right size Allen wrench to fit. They were pretty tight but I finally got them loosened.

I undid one bolt at a time and then installed the spacers along with the new long bolt and the frame. The new bolts required a different size Allen wrench so I had to scrounge a while to find that one. Those 2 sizes were the only ones required for installation.

The second frame went on just as easily. Once everything was tightened it was time to hang each bag on its frame and attach from inside the bag with turn-key fasteners. It really required a lot of force the first time to engage the shaft until it would turn and lock in place. It fits over a rubber grommet so it was a tight fit at first. There are 2 on each bag. In between these is an actual lock with a key that attaches the bag and locks it so it can’t be removed. The key stays with you.

There is a hanging zippered organizer just inside the bag which keeps the locking mechanism out of sight and is a nice place to keep small items, pockets for extra glasses, camera, etc. I love this feature.

Then a Velcro strip goes along the top edge which keeps it pretty water tight and seals it shut. Next the whole bag zips closed with 2 zippers. The outer flap comes over all of this and has 2 quick release fasteners underneath the buckles. I love the heavy leather which encases the whole bag. The inside is a solid, hard plastic which seems pretty resistant to heat.

The bags fit firmly on the frames so there is no vibration or rattling at all. They are very solid, well attached, and have plenty of room for a quick overnight trip. Overall I absolutely LOVE the bags. They look a little wider from the rear than I had wanted, but I have no complaints.

I used them all last weekend every where I went, and they were awesome. I plan to get a couple of small luggage locks to attach to the inside zippers if I leave anything of value in the bags. I haven’t been able to fit my small helmet inside the bags, which would have been great. I highly recommend the US Saddlebag for a quality and sharp looking product. They’ve thought of everything.


"Joker" said...

Yep, they look awesome. They really are some of the nicest looking leather bags I've seen, and they look factory-made for your ride. I bet they'd look good on a FLSTN.

Be sure to do another post on how waterproof they really are the first time you get caught in a downpour!

Dean "D-Day" said...

They look pretty good Bec. Sounds like they were a lot easier to install than the ones on my Harley. I had to remove a handful of bolts, move the rear turn signals, etc...
I was glad that I bought them though. I got really tired of bungy cording stuff to the back seat.

iburyem said...

Very nice, becky. They look great!

That Other Guy said...

Very nice. And kudos to you for installing them yourself. I know it was easy, but you'd be surprised how many people are afraid to pick up a a tool and would rather pay the stealer to do it for them. Good on ya!

FLHX_Dave said...

Sweet bags! When I had the VTX these are the bags I wanted to put on it. I looked for months at saddlebags, reading reviews, driving bike shop owners crazy. I decided on the same bags. They look awesome and are pretty much weatherproof. Square bags just don't look nice on a sexy bike like yours. I think you made a very wise choice...not that my opinion means anything. :)

Rick said...

Nice! I like they way they look on your bike.

Ronman said...

Very sweet bags pretty miss Becky. How cool is it that you put em on yourself? Great post as always. I still think you are secretly planning a trip back to Tennessee and just aren't telling any of us yet.


Camron said...

HEy! Good job on the install & good choice on the bags. I went through pretty much the same process installing my Hardbags on Kate, but I had to relocate the turn signals, as well.
Glad to see you're happy with them. I know I don't see how I ever made it without mine. It seems everywhere I go I have to take SOMETHING that wouldn't fit anywhere else.
Hope you have a great holiday weekend!

Demonio Pellegrino said...

Very nice indeed. The only problem - as you suggest in the end - is that you can't leave any valuable object in them, or else they can steal it from you.

cool blog, by the way.

Jovita said...

Becky they look great, good choice. Install looked pretty easy... compared to my installation of my bags.

Becky said...

Joker: Thanks. I think they look perfect. And they do make them to fit your FLSTN which would look 'rad'. My guess is that they will be very waterproof, have to wait and see.

Dean d-day: These were very easy. The brackets are made custom for each bike, so the bag fit is universal. I am not disappointed.

Iburyem: Thanks.

That other guy: I usually attempt those things I can't really mess up. Basic bolt ons are pretty easy.

flhx_dave: I'm happy to hear we both have good taste in bags. It's good to know they are really waterproof (did you hear that Joker?)Thanks for your opinion!

Rick: Thanks for that.

Ronman: You just keep on thinking that....I'll be pulling into your town any day now. (seriously, I'd like to meet you someday)

Camron: I'm already loading them up with essentials. My whole Washington Gazetter map book fits very nicely, so I can find all the back roads.

Demonio pellegrino: I got some new luggage locks, so can protect anything of value that I keep in the bags. Thanks for the comment.


bikerted said...

I would still be tempted to place any clothing inside plastic bags until you are certain that the bags don't leak Beccy. There would be nothing worse than getting to a destination to find you have nothing to change into. They do look cool I have to say!

Becky said...

Bikerted: I was thinking about plastic bags. Its easier to remove everything at once if its in a sack. Thanks for the tip.


B.B. said...

Hi Becky. I found your blog through Dave. Just wanted to say hi, I enjoy your blog. The bags look perfect on your bike, and I love your new helmet!

Becky said...

b.b: I checked out your blog also, and found you are really crazy like me! Thanks for the compliments and come by again.