V65 Magna Saddlebag Supports

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Anyone who has put saddlebags on a V65 Magna know how limited the options are.   The upswept mufflers greatly restrict the size of standard bags.  I wanted bags that were large enough to be useful, but also certainly didn't want them resting on the mufflers.  My solution was to make some custom supports.  This page shows how I did it.

Yeah, I know the bike is dirty.  I ride it, wrench on it, but don't spend any time polishing it. :-)

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The bags I chose are these from Carolina Leather Works.    

They are quite large with a zipper close inner flap.  I ignored the debate as to which is better, real leather or synthetic because I wanted leather.  And equally important, the price was very reasonable.

The key to my approach is that the bags do not hang over the rear under the seat like most bags are designed to do.  Rather my bags are attached to a wood frame that I built for each side.

DSCN0242_tn.JPG (26472 bytes)DSCN0241.JPG (201263 bytes) The wood part of the frame is made from 1/2" outdoor grade plywood.   Two pieces were cut in the basic profile shape of the bags.  After all mounting holes had been drilled through the wood pieces, they were painted with a few coats of flat black to protect them.  For the most part, the wood is not visible once the bags are attached, but clearly needs to be sealed to preserve them.  If you are anal, a few coats of clearcoat might be nice as well.

The support brackets are made out of 1" x 1/8" aluminum stock.  The top bracket is a single piece that bolts to the top shock mount in front and the turn signal in back.  The aluminum stock needs to be bent as illustrated in the figure below to match up with the rear signal stock.  In the front, a couple large flat washers are used to provide the correct spacing.  The top shock bolt had to be replaced with a longer bolt to handle this extra thickness.

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These next two pictures show closeup of this mounting:

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The bottom bracket was more awkward since there isn't a convenient mounting location.  I finally settled on one of the mounting bolts for the rear pegs.   Again I used 1" x 1/8" aluminum stock and folded it over as illustrated below:

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By making the folds on the left side bracket and right side bracket mirror images of each other, the slight offset provides a better matching of the position of the foot peg to the wood.  Once again, a slightly longer bolt was used on the foot peg bracket (one of these days I'll replace it with a socket head bolt).

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The wood pieces were bolted to the brackets using 10x32 bolts.  Use washers on the wood side, lock washers on the bracket side, and I used Loctite throughout.

Initially I had simply attached the bags to the wood at this point.   However, when the bags were fully loaded, they still sagged down onto the mufflers.   I therefore added support shelves to the wood.  For these, I used 1/8" aluminum plates.  The size and positioning was chosen to hide them once the bags were attched.

The bags are attached to the wood using 10x32 bolts.  Washers are used on both the inside of the bags and the other side of the wood.  Lockwashers are then used before the nuts.  I did not use Loctite on this so that I could remove the bags easily.  The bags are not bolted to the aluminum plates, but rather they simply rest on the plates.  The bags are attached exclusively by the four bolts through the wood.

The bags are the typical throw over type and so have the flap that is normally laced together at the top.  The flaps are unlaced, but the flaps were not removed from the bags.  Rather they are simply folded over the wood and top brackets.

I'm happy with the final results.  The bags are large enough to hold a weeks worth of junk (yeah, I pack light) and never touoch the mufflers.  They have been on the bike for about a year now and have never come loose.  They also survived a 3500 mile trip to Minnesota last summer without problems.