How to install throw over saddlebags

Written by jeffrey caldwell
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How to install throw over saddlebags
Cruiser Type Bags Mounted on a Honda (All Photos By Jeffrey L. Caldwell)

Motorcycles invite us to enjoy the freedom of the open road like no other vehicle can, but they don't provide much room for storage. Many touring bikes come equipped with hard plastic or fibreglass saddlebags, which can be a cumbersome eyesore if you mostly take short rides around town. Throw over saddlebags are designed to be taken on and off a motorcycle quickly and easily, and can be the answer for carrying small amounts of cargo around town.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Saddlebags
  • Nylon retaining straps

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  1. 1

    Set the saddlebags in position over the passenger seat on the motorcycle

    How to install throw over saddlebags
    Center Strap in Position Over the Passenger Seat
  2. 2

    Adjust the width of the centre strap or straps. The bags should sit below or just above the top of the passenger seat, but the bottom of the bags should not come in contact with the exhaust pipes. The saddlebags will come with an adjustment to change the length of the strap running between the bags. Sport bike bags will have nylon pull straps that can simply be pulled to be shortened. Cruiser type bags will usually have a series of holes punched into the leather or imitation leather centre straps. Overlap the two straps at the desired length and reinstall the laces

  3. 3

    Connect the saddle bags to the support frames using nylon straps. If your motorcycle or saddlebags did not come with support frames, you might wish to purchase a set from a motorcycle accessory supplier. The bags should be secured at the front and rear to prevent the bags from sliding forward or backward, and at the bottom of each bag to prevent the bags from shifting left to right.

    How to install throw over saddlebags
    Saddlebags Attached to Support Frames With Nylon Straps
  4. 4

    Check that the saddlebags do not come in contact with the exhaust pipes or any moving parts on the rear suspension.

  5. 5

    Secure any excess length in the retaining straps. When you are riding the straps will have a tendency to flutter in the wind, which could be a distraction.

Tips and warnings

  • New saddlebags tend to stretch as they break in, especially the centre strap between the two bags. It is important to check the bags often when they are new to make sure they do not come in contact with the exhaust pipes.
  • Adding extra weight to the motorcycle can affect how the vehicle handles. Practice manoeuvring the fully loaded bike in a car park or some other place free of traffic before you take it out on the road.

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