With the BMW out of service awaiting delivery of a headlight to replace the shattered original and the final paint and finishing touches on the new right side luggage case lid, I’ve continued to ride our 2011 Harley-Davidson Dyna Wide Glide as my daily commuter.
It’s proven to be a nice change and works pretty well, but this weekend while washing off four days of rain-related road grime I noticed that a spring-clip lock ring on the rear axle had been knocked about 1/2 way out of the seat channel. That seemed rather odd given where it’s located and how stiff the spring is. Nothing really jumped out at me as to what could have caused it so I simply re-seated the clip and assumed it was a fluke.
I rode the Dyna to work this past Monday morning per normal and also — as has become my habit — paid a visit to the parking lot for some fresh air at lunch time. While looking at my bike — it’s a guy thing — I had an ‘aha moment’ when I noticed the Leatherworks saddle bags had sagged a bit over time such that the lower inside leading edge of the left rear saddlebag was sitting where it would come in contact with the top of the rear axle on just about any moderate to hard bump in the road.
The photo at right shows the left bag as it sits when empty and with gravity pulling the bottom down and in towards the bike. Putting my rain gear in the left saddlebag exacerbated the sagging condition by a factor of 2x. The same condition exists on the right side, but it’s not as much of an issue as the axle bolt head doesn’t protrude as far as the nut on the left side.
While riding home I thought about how the bags were mounted to the quick-release hardware and wondered if an extra support bracket extending down to the lower front edge of the saddle bag from the mounting plates might not solve my problem without too much fuss or expense. Once at home I pulled the bags off, looked at the hardware and concluded that my approach should work. With that, I was off to Home Depot to get a 2″ wide x 1/8″ thick x 36″ long piece of aluminum flat bar along with some nylock nuts and bolts.
I opted to use an inner and outer support bracket to beef-up the flat bar to 1/4″ thickness at the bottom of the bag where the support was needed. After doing an initial installation and drilling the mounting holes I removed the brackets and coated the lower-half of each bracket with some Plasti-Kote. The hope is it will keep the metal flat bar ends from causing any excess wear & tear to the outside and inside surfaces of the leather bag.
Once the Plasti-Kote was dry the new brackets were bolted up through the quick release system’s mounting brackets and back-side of the saddle bags which made for a pretty-stout installation.
The bolt heads received a second coating of the Plasti-Kote spray just for good measure. As for how it all worked-out, pretty good. Both bags are now hanging perpendicular to the bike instead of sagging-in at the bottom. As for clearing the left axle-end’s lock ring, there’s now plenty of room. Definitely a possible solution for anyone who discovers this type of problem with the Leatherworks bags and quick-released hardware kit.