5 Easy Steps to Installing Hard Saddlebags on a Softail Motorcycle

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How To Install Hard Saddlebags On A Softail

If you’re looking to install hard saddlebags on a softailtake your Softail motorcycle to the next level with a set of stylish and functional hard saddlebags, read on! This article will provide you with five easy steps to get you on the road with your new set of two-wheel luggage. Whether you’re a seasoned rider or a beginner, these simple instructions will help you install your hard saddlebags with confidence. So, let’s get started!

Overview of Saddlebags on Harley-Davidson Softail

Harley-Davidson Softail motorcycles have long been a staple in the iconic brand’s lineup since it was introduced in 1984. These bikes are known for their classic styling, impressive power, comfortable ride, and more. The Softail is a type of Harley-Davidson motorcycle that comes with a rear suspension system designed for resembling the look of a hardtail motorcycle while also providing a comfortable ride.

The Softail’s rear suspension is hidden under the frame, giving the motorcycle a clean, classic look. Softail bikes come in a wide variety of models, including the Softail Standard, Fat Boy, Heritage Classic, and more.

One of the hallmarks of the Harley-Davidson Softail is its V-twin engine, which offers plenty of power and torque. The Softail’s engine is available in a wide range of displacements, from 107 cubic inches to 114 cubic inches, and delivers a lot of low-end power for smooth acceleration. Aside from their powerful engines, Softail bikes are also known for their comfortable ride. The Softail’s rear suspension system, which uses coil-over shock absorbers, offers a smooth ride even on rough roads.

Softail’s front suspension is designed for comfort, with large forks that help in absorbing bumps in the road. The Softail’s classic styling is another major positive for bikers. These bikes feature a low-slung frame, wide handlebars, and a variety of chrome accents that feature a timeless look. Many Softail motorcycles also feature classic touches like retro-style headlights, leather seats, and whitewall tires.

One of the most popular accessories for Softail motorcycles is saddlebags, which add both style and functionality to these iconic bikes. Saddlebags provide additional storage space for bikers. Saddlebags are generally mounted on either side of the rear fender and come in a wide variety of sizes and styles. Saddlebags can be used for carrying a wide variety of items, from spare clothing and rain gear to tools and snacks. Some bikers also use saddlebags as an alternative to a backpack or other type of luggage.

There are two main types of saddlebags – hard saddlebags and soft saddlebags. Hard saddlebags are made up of a hard, durable material like metal or fiberglass. This type of saddlebag offers more protection for your belongings, and it is more secure than soft saddlebags. Soft saddlebags are made using a software material such as leather or nylon. They are more flexible and capable of holding more items than hard saddlebags, but they offer less protection.

Mounting saddlebags on your Harley-Davidson Softail can be carried out in several ways. The most common method is to use brackets that attach to the bike’s fender struts. These brackets are designed to hold the saddlebags securely in place and prevent them from rubbing against the tire or other parts of the bike. Some of them also come with their own mounting brackets, whereas others will require you to purchase them separately.

Proper maintenance of your saddlebags will be important to keep them in good condition to make sure they last a long time. If you have hard saddlebags, you will have to clean them regularly with soap and water and wax them to protect the finish. Soft saddlebags can be easily cleaned using a damp cloth and mild detergent. It is important that you avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaners, as they may damage the material.

Benefits of installing hard saddlebags on a Harley-Davidson Softail

Harley-Davidson Softail motorcycles are popular as they come with exciting features like a classic style, modern performance, and more. Another benefit is that you can add accessories to your Softail and further enhance its performance. One of the most popular accessories for Softail motorcycles is saddlebags, which offer additional storage space for bikers. While there are different types of saddlebags available, hard saddlebags are a popular choice among bikers. Here are some of the benefits of installing hard saddlebags on a Harley-Davidson Softail.

#1. Durability

Hard saddlebags are made using hard plastic or metal, which makes them more durable compared to soft saddlebags. They can withstand harsh weather conditions, road debris, and even accidents. This essentially means they are less likely to break or get damaged, which can save you a significant sum eventually.

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#2. Security

Hard saddlebags are more secure than soft saddlebags. They come with a locking mechanism, which can help prevent theft and keep your belongings safe. This is especially important if you intend to leave your Softail unattended for extended periods.

#3. Capacity

Hard saddlebags come with a larger capacity than soft saddlebags, which means that you’re able to carry more items with you on your rides. This is especially useful if you are planning a long-distance trip and have to carry spare clothing, food, or other essentials.

#4. Protection

Hard saddlebags offer better protection for your belongings compared to soft saddlebags. They are more resistant to water and dust, which means that your items will stay dry and clean even in harsh weather conditions. They also offer better protection from impact and other types of damage.

#5. Style

Hard saddlebags also add a touch of style to your Harley-Davidson Softail. They come in a wide variety of colors and finishes, which means that you can choose a style that matches your motorcycle’s overall aesthetic. They can also enhance the classic look of your Harley-Davidson Softail, giving it a more vintage feel.

How To Install Hard Saddlebags On A Softail Motorcycle Is Standing Front Of The Hall

Tools and materials for installing saddlebags on a Harley-Davidson Softail

Adding saddlebags to your Harley-Davidson Softail can greatly enhance its functionality and style, allowing you to easily carry more items and customize the look of your bike. However, installing saddlebags will require you to gather specific tools and materials. It is important to make sure that you have everything that you need before you start the installation.

Here are the tools and materials that you’ll need for installing hard saddlebags on a Softail –

  • Screwdriver set – You will need to get a set of screwdrivers for removing and installing the screws that hold the saddlebag brackets in place
  • Socket wrench set – A socket wrench set is important for removing and tightening bolts and nuts
  • Allen wrench set – Some saddlebag brackets will require Allen wrenches, so it’ll be important to have a set of these on hand
  • Torque wrench – A torque wrench will be necessary for tightening the bolts and nuts to the manufacturer’s recommended torque specifications
  • Drill and drill bits – If your Softail doesn’t have pre-drilled holes for saddlebag brackets, you will need to drill holes in the fender by using a drill and drill bits
  • Saddlebag brackets – You’ll need saddlebag brackets specifically designed for your Softail model, so make sure that you choose brackets made from high-quality materials and capable of withstanding the weight of the saddlebags
  • Bolts, nuts, and washers – You will require bolts, nuts, and washers for securing the saddlebag brackets to your Softail
  • Mounting hardware – Some saddlebag brackets come with mounting hardware whereas others need you to purchase it separately, so mounting hardware will be required for securing the saddlebags to the brackets
  • Gasket or sealant – For preventing water and dust from entering the saddlebags, you will have to use a gasket or sealant as it’ll create a watertight seal between the saddlebags and the brackets
  • Saddlebags – Lastly, you will need saddlebags designed to fit the brackets and the style of your bike, so ensure that you choose saddlebags made using durable materials and are large enough to carry your belongings

Prepare your Harley-Davidson Softail for installing saddlebags

Adding saddlebags to your Harley-Davidson Softail can be a great way of increasing your bike’s storage capacity and enhancing the style of your motorcycle. However, before you start the installation process, it will be important to prepare your Softail to make sure that the saddlebags are installed safely and securely. Here is how to thoroughly prepare for your Softail before installing hard saddlebags – 

#1. Choose the ideal saddlebags

Before you start the process of installing saddlebags on your Harley-Davidson Softail, it’ll be important to choose the right saddlebags for your bike. Saddlebags come in a variety of sizes, styles, and materials, and it’ll be important that you choose a set that is specifically designed for your Softail. This will ensure a proper fit and minimize any potential installation issues. There are a variety of saddlebags available, including hard and soft saddlebags, so you should make sure that you choose the style that best fits your riding needs and aesthetic preferences.

You should remember that hard saddlebags are the more durable and secure option, and they’re made using hard plastic or metal. Further, they can also be locked for additional security. Soft saddlebags are made using durable fabric or leather, and they’re often less expensive compared to hard saddlebags. However, soft saddlebags might not offer as much protection for their contents as hard saddlebags.

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Further, you should also make sure that you choose saddlebags that are made using high-quality materials and are large enough to carry your belongings.

#2. Determine the placement of the saddlebags

Once you have chosen the right saddlebags, you will have to determine the placement of the saddlebags on your Softail. This will typically depend on the type of saddlebag brackets you have and the style of your Softail. Some Softail models come with pre-drilled holes for saddlebag brackets, whereas others might require you to drill holes in the fender.

#3. Remove any obstructions

Before you can install the saddlebag brackets, you might have to remove any obstructions that are in the way. This might include the taillight, license plate, or turn signals. Make sure that you follow the manufacturer’s instructions and use the right tools for removing these parts.

How to install hard saddlebags on a Softail

Installing saddlebags on your Harley-Davidson Softail is a great way of increasing your storage capacity and enhancing the style of your Harley. However, properly installing saddlebags requires attention to detail and following the manufacturer’s instructions carefully. If you know the appropriate steps to installing hard saddlebags and you have the appropriate tools, you can carry it out within minutes. Here are 5 easy steps that’ll tell you how to install hard saddlebags on a Softail –

#1. Remove the rear fender bolts

The first step would be to remove the rear fender bolts from your Harley-Davidson Softail. These bolts secure the rear fender to your motorcycle, and you’ll need to remove them to install the saddlebag brackets. Make use of the right tools for removing the bolts and storing them in a safe place where they won’t get lost.

#2. Installing the brackets

Once you have removed the rear fender bolts, you will be in a position to install the saddlebag brackets. You should make sure that you choose brackets that are specifically designed for your Harley-Davidson Softail model and follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully. This might require you to drill holes in your fender or use pre-existing holes on your Softail. Use the right tools and hardware to secure the brackets in place, making sure that they are aligned properly and tightened to the recommended torque specifications.

#3. Attaching the saddlebags

Once the brackets have been securely installed, you will be able to attach the saddlebags to the brackets. This might require additional mounting hardware or gaskets for creating a watertight seal between the saddlebags and brackets. You should make sure that you follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully and use the right tools and materials for the job. It will be important that you make sure that the saddlebags are aligned properly and level before you tighten any mounting hardware.

#4. Secure the saddlebags

After the saddlebags have been attached to the saddlebag brackets, it will be important that you secure them to your Harley-Davidson Softail to prevent any movement or instability while riding. Most saddlebags come with straps or locks for securing them to your Softail, and it is important that you use them properly. Make sure that you adjust the straps or locks such that the saddlebags are secure and not overly tightened, as this could cause damage to the saddlebags or Softail.

#5. Testing the saddlebags

Once the saddlebags are installed and secured, it’ll be important to test them to ensure that they are functioning properly and securely attached to your Softail. Take your bike for a short ride and check the saddlebags for any signs of instability or movement. Make sure that you check the mounting hardware and straps or locks to ensure that they are still secured in place. If everything looks good, you’ll be ready to hit the road with your new saddlebags.

Troubleshooting common issues with saddlebags on a Softail

Saddlebags are a wonderful addition to your Harley-Davidson Softail as it provides increased storage and enhance the style of your bike. However, like any other accessory on a Harley, even saddlebags can encounter issues during installation or use. Here are some of the common issues with saddlebags on a Softail and how to troubleshoot them – 

How To Install Hard Saddlebags On A Softail - Man Working On A Harley Davidson
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#1. Saddlebags are too tight

One of the common issues that Harley riders may encounter with saddlebags is that they are too tight, which can make it difficult to open or close the saddlebags. If this occurs, you should check to see if the mounting hardware or straps are too tight. Loosen the mounting hardware or adjust the straps as needed to allow the saddlebags to move more freely. If the saddlebags are still too tight, you might have to adjust the saddlebag brackets or consider using different mounting hardware.

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#2. Saddlebags are not secured

Another issue that bikers might encounter is that their saddlebags aren’t properly secured to the Softail. This can lead to instability or movement while riding. If this occurs, you should first check to ensure that the mounting hardware or straps are tightened and adjusted properly. If the saddlebags aren’t secure, you might have to adjust the saddlebag brackets or consider using different mounting hardware. Moreover, it is important that you make sure that the weight distribution inside the saddlebags is even, as this could affect stability.

#3. Saddlebags are not even

Another common issue that bikers might encounter is that the saddlebags aren’t even, either in relation to each other or in relation to their Softail. This can either be an appearance issue or it could also affect stability while riding. If this occurs, first check to make sure that the mounting hardware or straps are properly adjusted and tightened. If the saddlebags are still not even, you may need to adjust the saddlebag brackets or consider using different mounting hardware. Additionally, it’s important to make sure that the weight distribution inside the saddlebags is even, as this can affect evenness.

#4. Missing parts in saddlebags

Riders might also encounter missing parts in their hard saddlebags, such as gaskets or mounting hardware. If that happens, you should first check the saddlebag packaging and see if the parts are included. If they aren’t, you should contact the manufacturer or the retailer where you purchased the saddlebags from to obtain the missing parts. It is important that you don’t attempt to use alternative hardware or parts, as this could compromise the stability and security of the saddlebags.

#5. Saddlebag rubbing on the tire

If you notice that your saddlebag is rubbing on the tire, it could end up damaging the tire and the saddlebag. You need to check the mounting hardware or straps to make sure that they are properly aligned and tightened. If the saddlebag is still rubbing on the tire, you should adjust the saddlebag brackets or consider using different mounting hardware. Moreover, you should ensure that the weight distribution inside the saddlebag is even. Uneven weight could cause the saddlebag to tilt and rub on the tire.

#6. Saddlebag zippers jammed

In case the zippers on the saddlebags are jammed or stuck, it could become difficult to access the contents inside the saddlebag. The first step to resolving this issue would be to try to pull the zipper gently back and forth to loosen it. If the zipper is still stuck, you should try to apply a small amount of lubricant to the zipper. If the issue persists, you should consider replacing the zipper or contacting the manufacturer for assistance.

FAQs

What are hard saddlebags, and why should I install them on my Softail?

Hard saddlebags are a type of storage container that are mounted to a motorcycle’s frame. They provide a secure and convenient way to store items while riding. Installing hard saddlebags on a Softail can give your bike a more classic look, and provide extra storage space for items you may need while riding.

What are the steps for installing hard saddlebags on a Softail?

Installing hard saddlebags on a Softail typically involves removing the existing seat, bolting the saddlebags to the frame, and reattaching the seat. You may also need to install additional hardware, such as mounting brackets or turn signals, depending on the type of saddlebags you are using. It is important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for safety and to ensure a proper fit.

What tools and materials will I need to install hard saddlebags on a Softail?

The tools and materials you will have to install hard saddlebags on a Softail will vary depending on the type of saddlebags you are using. Generally, you will need a socket set, screwdriver set, drill, drill bits, and mounting hardware. You may also have to purchase additional

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