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October 14, 2020

OVERVIEW OF THE SADDLEBACK SYSTEM.

We designed the Saddleback system for our soft, or semi-soft saddlebags, with cafe racer, classic and vintage motorcycles in mind.

This system is autonomous, which means that the bags are self-sufficient, they don't rely on a separate support that you need to have on your bike at all times.
However, it doesn't mean that you won't need extra frames, such as spacer brackets, or luggage holders on your bike. Depending on your bike, such frames might be necessary to avoid obvious problems, such as your saddlebags touching your rear wheel or leaning on your exhaust pipe.

If you lucky though, you might be able to order your set of saddlebags, and install them right away.

How does it work.

We provide a saddle belt with each saddlebag. So when you order two saddlebags, you have two saddle belts to connect your bags together (see demonstration below)
If you order one saddlebag only, and know you will only ever have one, feel free to use your saddle belt for another purpose. If you're a bit handy, you could turn it into a nice leather strop for example.

Large soft saddlebags.

Once you have connected your two saddlebags together, it's easier to balance them on your motorcycle. To fully anchor your saddlebags to your machine, you have to use one of two available options.
You can either use cable-ties or tie knots onto your bike's frame using loops that you'll find on each corner of the saddlebags. Or you can use the integrated harness that you can loop around a tube of your frame.
See the videos below for a demonstration.

Will it work on my motorcycle ?

So the idea is pretty straight-forward:
Connect the bags together with the provided saddle belts, throw them on your seat (or below it) like you would with saddlebags on a horse, then anchor the bags to your bike with the harness or simple nylon cords.

However you need to check 3 things to make sure it's a go ahead without any further addition to the bike:

+ You need to locate a suitable spot on your bike's frame to loop around the harness. Since you can also tie some knots with nylon cords (provided) or use zip ties, this one should be really easy to figure out.

+ You need to make sure that your saddlebags cannot touch the rear wheel.
This depends on your motorcycle. Is there anything to support the saddlebags, that will prevent them from moving toward the wheel?

+ Finally, make sure the saddlebags aren't too close to the exhaust pipes.
These can get real hot and could damage the contents of your saddlebags, if not the saddlebags themselves.
Again, this depends entirely on your motorcycle and the design of your pipes.

In some cases, the installation works well without adding anything to the motorcycle. In others, it is necessary to have saddlebag holders / spacers so you can tick all the safety boxes.
Here is another post about whether you need luggage rails or not.

In essence, the question is not "is the saddlebag compatible with my motorcycle?", but rather "is my motorcycle suitable for saddlebags?"

Last observation, whatever supports your saddlebags, check that it is not abrasive. Once you're on the road, the vibrations and friction could damage the back of your bags if the frame they're anchored onto isn't smooth.
Simply check your saddlebags' backside during and after your trips. Our materials are strong enough to cope with a non optimal surface and hopefully, you will see if there's a problem before it gets too bad.

ANCHORING A PAIR OF SADDLEBAGS UNDER THE SEAT.

The following video demonstrate how to attach the saddlebags together and anchor them under your seat. Here it's done on a Triumph Bonneville, but of course, the same can be done with many motorcycles.

Note that in the above video, the saddlebags are two different models, and that's perfectly alright as long as they are both fitted with the Saddleback system. One is a Mini Patriot, and the other is the Racer.

Below, some customers who use that exact same method. The saddlebags are anchored to the motorcycle with the saddle belts tucked under the seat. The saddlebags are black Mini Patriots.

Soft saddlebags on vintage BMWR100.

Best saddlebags for cafe racer.

Waxed canvas saddlebag for cafe racer.

retro saddlebags for cafe racer.

INSTALLING A PAIR OF SADDLEBAGS AND A DUFFLE BAG. 

In the following video, you will see how to install a set of saddlebags with the belts left on top of the seat, and how you can then attach a duffle bag to your saddlebags. This is done on a Royal Enfield this time.

Below, a few photos of motorcycles rigged with the same method as demonstrated during the video.

Saddlebags mounted on a scrambler Benelli.

Soft saddlebags on Royal Enfield Classic 500.

Soft saddlebags for vintage BMW R75.

Note that the examples above show motorcycles that work well with saddlebags without any extra luggage holders. The saddlebags are against the suspensions, and the frame prevents them from nearing the rear wheel. 
In all instances, there's also a healthy distance from the exhaust pipes.

So checkout your own motorcycle, set yourself some safety standards and don't hesitate to add simple spacer rails or any type of luggage brackets.
The Saddleback system can adapt to a variety of frames.


LOXX: AN ALTERNATIVE SYSTEM TO MOUNT YOUR SADDLEBAGS.

We have another system that you can consider to mount a pair of saddlebags onto your cafe racer, classic or vintage bike. The LOXX system.
To see it in action, check out this blog post, and scroll towards the end to see how the installation works.

Saddlebags on Scrambler Brixton.

On the plus sides, this is a quick-release system, so it's even faster to take your bag off the bike. It's also easier to lock the saddlebag to your machine using a padlock.

But you need to consider that it's not as autonomous as the Saddleback system. Meaning, you need to install a separate support that needs to stay on the motorcycle. And the positioning is not as flexible. With the Loxx system, in general, the saddlebags will hang from right below the seat. If you have upswept sporty types of exhausts, chances are your saddlebags will be too close to them.

Between the Saddleback, and the LOXX system, you should find a great solution to mount your saddlebags to your motorcycle.
Hopefully you know what to look for to make an informed decision now.