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DIY: Super Cheap Soft Saddlebag Support


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I didn't want to shell out $100 - 300 for a soft saddlebag rack, since I bought ADV-style dry saddlebags, so I decided to make one as cheap and quick as possible. I also wanted something that wouldn't interfere with either the stock fender or any eliminator I get in the future. This mimics the OEM ($180!!!) stay brackets without removing the passenger footpegs, and with much more stability (maybe).
Honestly, I probably spent more time just picking out the hardware than actually fabricating and assembling. Here's the end product:
And here's what you'll need to make it:
[ol type=decimal][*](1x) 1" x 36" x 1/8" galvanized steel bar (~$5)[*](4x) M8 x 40mm socket-cap screws (~$3)[*]Mounting nuts (at least 6 matching hex nuts, 8 if you wanna be fancy)[*]Assorted metal and nylon/rubber washers and spacers (I'll explain more later)[*]Blue thread locker[*]Calipers or measuring tape (ideally beg/borrow/steal calipers)[*]Snacks (I recommend applesauce)[/ol]
Step 1
Remove one of your pillion footpeg stay brackets. Leave the footpeg attached. Put the bolts somewhere smart, like back on the footpeg bracket with nuts to hold them on.
Step 2
Run to the hardware store with the stay bracket and find some bolts, nuts, washers, and spacers that will mount nicely as shown (excuse the crappy photos):
Step 3
Mounts the bolts to the stay bracket so that they feel secure, with enough nylon/rubber washers that they won't vibrate like crazy (hopefully). Measure their spacing with the calipers, and then mark off where you're going to drill holes for these bolts in both ends of the steel bar.
Step 4
Drill the marked holes in the bar out to 3/8" (punch where you wanna drill, then drill pilot holes first!). This hole size is a bit bigger than the M8 bolts, to make it easier to mount and adjust how you like it.
Next, mark the bar where you will bend it. I bent it 12" from either end, and then 2" from those bends. The footpeg stay brackets are about 15" apart on the bike, so that's what you're going for - other than that, the shape is up to you. Here's a rough sketch. When I actually bent the bar, it felt sturdy enough that I didn't include the extra support that's in the drawing.
... and the final product:
Take your time making the bends. Try to make each bend only once, so that the metal doesn't weaken.
As shown the bends near the ends of the bar are actually too sharp. I had to reduce the angle for it to mount to the bike well.
Step 5
Put it on the bike! Put everything on, then take it off and reassemble with thread locker.
Mount your soft bags and check how they fit. Try them empty first, then fill them up and test. Check to make sure the saddlebag support rack is not bending or sagging, especially asymmetrically.
Step 6
With the bags off, test ride at low speed and listen for rattles/shaking/danger.
Step 6
Ride into the sunset, saddlebags blazin'~

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