Installing a set of saddlebags to your motorcycle is a great way to upgrade your bike with storage space to carry items you wish to take with you on your journey or purchase while out riding. Once installed on your bike, you'll probably find yourself using your new saddlebags and your motorcycle more often as it adds convenience for longer rides, grocery runs and everyday shopping.
With all the different styles and sizes available, sometimes its a bit tricky finding saddlebags that will fit correctly on your motorcycle. You will want to take some measurements before you make your purchase to see which size of bags will be able to fit correctly on your motorcycle.
You want to find a set of saddlebags that allow for at least 2" inches of space between the bottom of the bags and your exhaust pipe. Use the dimensions specified in the listing for the saddlebags and compare them to the space on your motorcycle where the saddlebags are to be installed.
Take a horizontal measurement (Measurement 1 in the image above) from the rear turnsignals to directly below where the rider's lower back aligns on the seat or shock. This measurement is the length of the saddlebags that will fit correctly on your motorcycle. You will want to make sure that the length of the top of the saddlebags you choose is shorter than Measurement 1.
Next measurement you will want to take (Measurement 2 in the image above) is the vertical distance between 2-3 inches below the top of your fender to about 1-2 inches from the top of your exhaust pipe. This measurement will be the height of the saddlebags that will fit on your motorcycle. Make sure the height of the saddlebags you choose is shorter than Measurement 2.
You ultimately want to allow at least 2 inches or more between the bottom of the saddlebag and the exhaust pipes. Remember, when you're on the motorcycle, the bike will be lowered a bit due to the weight of your body so take that into account. In addition, bags that are loaded with items may also sag a bit, so be sure to allow for this as well.
Last thing you want to do is to have bags that are too close to your exhaust pipes as any heat damage to your bags will not be covered by any saddlebag warranty.
All throw-over saddlebags available at SaddleBagDepot.com (and most others on the market) have an adjustable laced yoke (center portion of the bags that hold them together) that can be expanded or narrowed to allow for adjustments to the height of the bags as they sit on the fender. In addition, there will be straps or laces that can be mounted to secure mounting points on the motorcycle to keep them from moving and flopping around at speed.
Most often than not, its probably a good idea to get saddlebag brackets for your throwovers to keep the bags from flopping around, scratching paint, interfering with the rear wheel, etc. All universal style throw-over style bags can be mounted to saddlebag brackets such as Easy Brackets by simply removing the saddlebag yoke. Mounting your saddlebags to saddlebag mounting brackets will keep your bags securely mounted to your motorcycle and allow for quick removal for when you want to take the saddlebags and their contents off the bike.
Easy Brackets also allow you to keep your motorcycle's slick look when you take them off, leaving no ugly hardware behind when removed. Using saddlebag brackets can also let you precisely mount the saddlebags in their ideal riding position.
Another quick trick to see how your future bags will fit on your motorcycle is to take the listed measurements for the bag (length and height) and make a cardboard cutout of the size, then take the cutout and see how it would fit on your motorcycle.
Mounting new saddlebags to your motorcycle can be an easy procedure, however, getting the correct size bags for your bike is the most vital part.