How to make motorcycle hard saddlebags

how to make motorcycle hard saddlebags
This image shows it attached to the siderail of my bike, so I could see how much clearance I had between the bag and the exhaust. Don't forget to fiberglass your two lid pieces.

They're a one size fits most concept, keeping in mind your Vivid Black Finish No Need to paint. No adjustments need ,Easy to install back on original position No install instructions. Injection-molded ABS saddlebags provide superior strength and rigidity.

How to Make Motorcyle saddle bags by Dan

These pieces come NOT painted. A pair Black heavy duty metal brackets With mounting hardware. These Harley Davidson saddlebags are off a Road King.

In good condition with the usual wear, scuffs and some stitching coming apart on the lower side of left bag.

Please refer to the photos above Thousand Oaks, CA Genuine Yamaha Sidebag Guards. A stylish way to protect your saddlebags if your bike is dropped. Polished and chrome-plated for style and function. I used toolboxes just to hold everything in place while the glue dried. The newspaper is there to keep any glue drops that run from sticking my project to the shop floor.

how to make motorcycle hard saddlebags

You only need to do a couple of ribs along the bottom at this point - you're just trying to connect the two sides. Give your bag more structure by gluing in more ribs. You'll also need to think about the shape of the opening of your saddlebag when the lid is raised. To help keep rain out, I planned to build a little raised lip around my opening under the lid.

The square section of ribs glued in at the top are the beginning framework of that. This is where things start to get exciting, as your bags begin to look like saddlebags. I glued individual pieces of balsa to the frame and ribs. I used balsa to keep it as light as possible, while providing some structure for my fiberglass to stick to.

how to make motorcycle hard saddlebags

Can you tell that I had observed a friend applying fiberglass to a cedar strip canoe he was building? These pictures also show that I added some ribs to my lid template pieces, and used saddlebag blocks to give the tops of my lid a rounded curve. Balsa bends easily, so you can use it to give your bags compound curves. I used plywood for the bottom of the bag, as that can just be flat and I wanted it to be strong. I wanted the outside of my bags to have a more rounded motorcycle, so How used the balsa to give them a compound curve. The side of the bag lying on the floor will be the flat side that attaches to the bike.

This is probably a good time to remind you that if you do a compound curve on the outside instead of slab sides, you need to make a right and a left bag, not two identical rights or two identical lefts. Slab-sided bags can be identical, but curved-sided bags need to be mirror images. Here I have the two lids in my workshop. I cut a hard piece of fiberglass cloth big enough to do each lid, then applied a layer of resin according to the product instructions.

I left a bit of extra material which I later cut off.

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You'll need to cut some interesting shapes from your fiberglass cloth. I tried to cut pieces as large as I could, for strength, with little tabs and such for overlaps.

You'll also need to figure out ways to stand your project up to apply the resin without accidentally gluing it to your shop floor or your support. You want layers of cloth. Try to get them as smooth as possible - that will save you some time sanding later on.

how to make motorcycle hard saddlebags

Don't forget to fiberglass your two lid pieces. Here I have everything glassed and the lids are just sitting on top of the cases.

how to make motorcycle hard saddlebags

Be careful to keep your pieces separated as you work - you don't want to accidentally glass your lid to the bottom and have them stuck together. A note about hardware.

They're stainless steel, to stay shiny after years of use. Also, the latches can be locked.

Build Your Own Motorcycle Hard Bags

I bought one of those trailer hitch pin locks to be able to lock up my stuff. To help keep rain out, I added a raised lip to the edge of my case opening. You'll want to fiberglass the insides of your cases and lids, too. Well, it probably isn't totally necessary, but I did mine that way to make them as strong and weatherproof as possible.

To prep for painting, I used auto body putty to smooth things out.

how to make motorcycle hard saddlebags

Apply a layer as thin as you can, sand smooth, repeat. To attach the bags to the bike, I needed to make brackets.

Hard Saddlebags

I used angle iron from the hardware store. I welded pieces together to get the dimension I needed, but you could probably bolt pieces together as well. The piece of cedar here is just to ensure I would have space between my exhaust and the bottom of the bag.

Let the body filler dry, then sand some more. Go to the spot putty when you're down to the tiny flaws. When you think you're done sanding, it's time to prime.


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