Installed Sport Bags on the V-Rod

Since the price of a new set of Harley sport bags is on the high side, I have been looking for a used set.  On “, I came across an ad for a used set for sale by “Curley” in Austin, TX.  We exchanged some private messages, arrived at a price and soon they were in my garage.  I spent a morning cleaning them in my deep sink in the garage and set them out to dry while I began the installation.

Right away, I could see that the instructions I had downloaded did not apply to my model year of bike.  Since I have a Mustang seat, I only had to remove the pillion rather than the entire seat.  Additional items to be removed were the luggage rack and the turn signal module.  In the attached photos, you will see a blue round thing attached to the turn signal module.  This is my modulator for the brake lights.

Once all these items were removed, I could remove the outer fender.  At this point, I could see a couple nuts holding the inner fender on but they did not line up with the holes for the bracket.  There was another hole near the front of the fenter that was threaded.  When I placed the side bracket over this hole, it also lined up with the rear most nut.  However, I could see that this was not going to work.

I sent some photos to Curley and he and I communicated via e-mails.  Eventually, we talked by telephone.  Since the instructions were incorrect, we both decided we need to find the correct ones.  Curley spent a good part of the day looking for them and eventually came up with the correct ones.  Not only were they correct, there we a high quality PDF file.  I printed them on photo copy paper to make the photos even clearer.  After thanking him for finding them, I proceeded with the installation.  The next item removed was the turn signals and license plate holder.  This exposed the rear mounting place.  After securing the bracket to this mount, I could see that I was missing a part.  The kit calls for a part that mounts on the back side of the shock absorber and then angles down to the front mount of the side bracket.

I sent an e-mail to Curley explaining the problem and, again, we were soon on the phone.  As I supected, Curley had not installed the bags originally and did not know that this part was a piece of the kit.  To further complicate things, Curley is having his bike converted to a three wheeler and it is 180 miles from his house.  He called the conversion guy, but no luck there.

After removing the shock bolt, I discovered that there is a threaded insert that the shock screws into.  With the shock bolt in place, I could see that about half of the threads were still available.   This is where the part from the kit is bolted on.  I removed this insert to see what I had to work with.

Now it was time to sift through my junk steel.  I found a piece of 1/4″ bar stock that looked promising.  After eyeballing everything, I decided I could make the piece.  I cut it to a length slightly longer than what I needed and drilled a hole in one end so I could mount the insert to the piece.  I then stuck the insert back into the hole and placed the piece at an angle so it would line up with the front mounting hole on the bracket.  It needed to be bent outward.  I scribed an angled line on the steel where it came down from the inner fender.  After placing it in the vise with the scribe mark lined up, my small sledge hammer soon had it bent.  After a few trial and error fittings, I had it meeting the bracket.  After marking and  drilling another hole, I bolted it on and then made another scribe on the piece along the front part of the bracket.  Once I had cut that piece off, I had my bracket.  Next up was to repeat this procedure on the other side.

By now it was late in the day.  My neighor has a painting area for small parts complete with exhaust fans in his upstairs workshop.  I called him and we made arrangements to meet the next morning.  During the night, it came to me that I should weld the insert to my newly made piece which would eliminate a bolt head being exposed in the wheelwell area.  I approached my neighbor with this thought and soon we had everything welded up.  I cleaned everything up with his bead blaster and then painted them.

Later in the day, I retrieved the newly painted parts and proceeded to put everything together.  It all went together as it should.  You can see the finished result in the photos.

While not having the part was an inconvenience, fabricating  is part of hot rodding and, in general, working on vehicles.  There is always a great sense of satisfaction when a plan comes together.  Many thanks to to my neighbor and to Curley for being very helpful.  Now all I need is some good weather so I can ride!!!




    • Thanks. On the right side of the blog you will see a place where you can sign up to follow the blog. Once you sign up, you will receive a notice with every new post.
      Hopefully, we can meet sometime. We were in Austin the summer before last to visit but I don’t have any plans on being there this year.

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