How to Add Saddle Bags to a Yamaha Virago

Updated March 23, 2017

Even cruiser motorcycles like the Yamaha Virago benefit from having saddlebags attached to them. The rider has space to carry coats and rain gear, along with several other necessary items, when planning a motorcycle outing. This installation is for soft side bags. Manufactures make hard side bags for the Yamaha Virago, but they are quite costly. These soft sides serve the same purpose and look quite good on this sleek little cruiser.

Install saddlebag brackets, if your motorcycle is not already equipped with them. Many people use saddlebags with out the brackets, but they are advisable to have, as these brackets keep the saddlebags from accidentally rubbing the rear wheel, and from flying up. The bracket bolts to the top of the shock on the Virago and under the rear fender well.

Measure the distance from the bottom of the seat to the top of the exhaust pipe. This will help determine the size of bag your motorcycle needs, or can handle. After market exhaust pipes will make a difference in how much clearance you have. The bag should not rest on the pipes. Many motorcycle dealerships will allow you to take the bags outside to your motorcycle to check the fit before you purchase them. This is a good idea, for fit as well as personal taste.

Installing the bags only takes a few minutes. Remove the side cover panels on the Virago. They just pop off. Now remove the seat bolts and take off the seat to expose the back fender.

Clean the exposed rear fender before you put on the bags. These bags come in two sections and are laced together in the centre. Adjust the bags to the length they need to be, making sure there is plenty of clearance above the exhaust pipe. You also need to make sure that the bags aren't pulled up to tight to allow the seat to clear them.

Slip a couple of wire ties through the lacing holes and secure it to the motorcycle frame as an added security to keep the bags from slipping. The bags should have came with anti-sail straps. Fasten these to the bottom of the saddlebag brackets, if your bike has them. The saddlebags have loops, or fasteners on the bottom of them, to attach the straps to. These straps keep the bags secured to the side of the motorcycle.

Replace the seat and the side covers and you're ready to go!


Saddlebag inserts are available for most bags. These inserts will help protect your gear if you're caught in the rain!

Things You'll Need

  • Saddlebags
  • Support brackets
  • Proper size wrenches to remove seat
Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

Donna Thacker has been a writer/photographer for over 15 years. She held the position of associate editor/writer/photographer at Biker Ally Magazine. She currently is a photojournalist for The Biking Life, and has been featured on the front page of The Greenville Advocate, The Hillsboro Journal and The Sorento News. Thacker also designed and published several booklets of historical interest for local organizations.