Monday, November 17, 2014

DIY Saddle Bag

On my bike, I had mounted a leather toolbag to one side for me to keep my rain pants and rain shoes in there. However, I have been feeling that there isn’t enough space for me to keep anything else.

Checking the market, saddle bags are ugly and swing arm bags are now the in thing. I'm not into “the in thing”, but I needed a bag. So, when one cant buy, one makes…

The prices for swingarm bags and such are quite steep nowadays. So I took my time and went shopping.

I found a leather messenger bag for 60 bucks, and bought some metal plates from a hardware shop. The metal plates I bought were generally used for rack mounts and stuff. You can even buy these cheaper than what I got mine for in Daiso (the 5 dollar shop). But I spent another 20 bucks on the metal pieces.

The design is rather simple, you mount the saddle bag bracket on the floater (aka fender bars, bend an L shape (or buy a ready made L shape bar) to hold on to the bottom of the bag. Then, at the bottom, you want a bar to link the 2 L shapes together. This acts as a brace to make sure the bottom of the bag doesn’t sag when you put stuff in.

Here are the full steps on how I made it.

What you need:
1.       A leather messenger bag
2.       2x L shaped steel bars (with holes preferably)
3.       2x straight steel bars (with holes preferably)
4.       2x bolts and nuts (optional if you are not welding)
5.       1x drill and a matching bit
6.       Grinder
7.       Knife or scissors

Step 1:
1.       Measure the highest point of where you are going to bolt the bag to the floater
2.       Measure the width of the bottom base of the bag.
3.       Measure the distance between the 2 screws holding the fender up on the floater

Step 2:
Purchasing the steel bars
1.       When buying the L shaped bars, ensure that the bottom part of the L shape is AT LEAST 50% the length of the width of the bottom base of the bag.
2.       Buy 2 similar pieces of straight bars that are LONGER than the measurement between the 2 screws holding the fender.

Step 3:
Drill out the holes:
1.       Most likely the holes on the bar may not fit the size of the bolt holding the fender. Drill them out to fit the bolts.
2.       If you are not welding, then make sure the holes and the bolts you bought for the bottom base fits.

Step 4:
Connect everything
1.       Bolt on the L shaped bars on to the floater
2.       Bolt on the bottom base bar to the L shaped bar and mark where you need to cut off.
3.       If you are going to weld, mark where you need to weld to make a butt joint

Step 5:
Cut everything
1.       Cut the parts you have marked for cutting with your grinder

Step 5.1:
If you are going to weld, weld on the steel bars.

Step 6:
1.       Using a rattle can, make sure you apply thin layers each time and wait for 10 minutes for the paint to dry and apply a thin layer again. do this at least 10 times and your paint wont peel off
Step 7:
Cut the holes
1.       Preferably with an extra set of hands, mark where you would like to cut to holes in your bag for mounting.
2.       Do not cut a hole that is too big or too small.
3.       Test with one of the fender bolts.

Step 8:
1.       Take the remaining straight bar and make sure the holes align with the fender bolts and are the same size.
2.       This straight bar goes inside the bag sandwiching the bag between it and the L bars on the outside.

Step 9:
Tighten everything
1.       Make sure all the bolts are tightened up on the floater
2.       If you did not weld, then ensure the bolt holding the base is facing down as you do not want to damage the bag when it sits on it.

Step 10:
Do it again
1.       Once you are done tightening everything, go for a 10 minute or more ride
2.       When you come back, tighten everything again.
3.       Check it again one more time 3 days after.

I also bought a type of mounting board to make an inner subframe for the bag as it sagged quite abit from being soft leather.


Please treat your leather with water resistance sprays or mink oil to ensure your leather doesn’t rot.

L Bars

Straight Bars

Making The Bolts Fit


After Paint And Sandwich (the bag not the food)

Sag Before

No Sag After

Sag Before

No Sag After

Difficulty Level: 3/10

By Vy

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