One of the most useful upgrades anyone ever chooses for a motorcycle is the addition of saddle bags. They turn a fun, recreational two-wheel machine into the most fun grocery-getter on two wheels. There are several different kinds of saddle bags, and it’s not as difficult as most people think to install either one.
1. Remove your seat. Some kinds of bikes don’t require this step, but most do. This step will usually involve the use of Allen wrenches. Your owner’s manual should have instructions specific to your bike.
2. Take a look at your saddle bags and the top side of the rear fender, and determine where the best place to install them will be. A great majority of aftermarket bags are of the ‘throw-over’ type, so look for a place where the bags won’t get in the way of the rear turn signals or touch the exhaust pipe.
3. Adjust the connecting straps of the bags so that the bags sit just farther apart than your fender is wide. If you set them too wide, they will hang down too far, but too narrow and the bags won’t hang all the way flat.
4. Hang the bags across the rear fender and secure them to a hard part, like the frame rail. Don’t worry if there is no way to secure them, this step is simply for security — most bags simply have leather laces that tie the bags down so they don’t flap.
5. Reinstall the seat(s), taking care not to damage your seat pan, which will now be sitting on top of the connection straps. This seat-over-straps setup will keep the bags firmly held down so they don’t fall off.