1 Our "Bagger" Deluxe ready to head cross-country in comfort and style.
It seems as though every one wants a bagger these days. The popularity of the skyrocketing bagger market has not only benefitted Harley, but the aftermarket accessory companies as well. There are several companies that have jumped into the game producing bolt-on and quick-detach fairings for many non-fairing H-D models. One of the latest of which is Memphis Shades with its Batwing Fairing. Memphis Shades offers its fairings for various FLST Softail models and Road King models through Drag Specialties.
With an inner shell of black textured acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) plastic and an outer shell finished in black lucite, the Batwing fairing is strong enough to handle gusty headwinds and the superior outer finish looks good as is or can be color matched to your bike. To easily mount and dismount the fairing, Memphis Shades offers its No-Tool Trigger-Lock mount kit, which only leaves four hardly noticeable bushings on the bike when the fairing is not attached. Of course the company also offers an assortment of accessories like windscreens, wind deflectors, and storage pouches.
We had access to a '09 Softail Deluxe and wanted to see how well the Batwing fairing mounted up. Then we got to thinking about it and figured since we were going to do a quick detach fairing, we might as well outfit the bike with some quick detach saddlebags and a travel bag as well. This way the bike could go from stripped down street mode to full bagger mode in seconds, and essentially have two bikes with only one payment.
For the saddlebags and travel bag we found that Saddlemen's Drifter Slant Saddlebags and its BR3400 travel bag would provide adequate storage and the design of the bags were a good complement to the classic styling of the Deluxe. Another selling point with the saddlebags and the travel bag is that they both offer various mounting options, which would allow them to be used on other bike models if desired.
2. Here's what we got from Memphis Shades for our Softail: Batwing Fairing $229.95, polished stainless steel windshield trim $49.95, black 5-inch windshield, and black mounting plates and hardware kit $144.95 (hardware kit not shown). As you can see the black factory finish on the fairing is good enough to just drop on a bike.
3. However, we had Martinez Custom Paint and Design color-match the fairing with white gold pearl, pewter pearl panels with dark blue and medium silver pinstripes.
4. Part of the Memphis Shades hardware kit is gray polymer bushings that bolt in place on the sides of the nacelle/lightbar sideplates. There are a total of four bushings, two on each side, with one bolted in at the top and the other at the bottom of the nacelle/lightbar sideplate.
5. The Trigger Lock mounts are a combination of CNC-machined, black E-coated aluminum plates and glass-filled nylon latches. The plates are pre-drilled so they simply fit on the inside of the fairing and bolt in place with the supplied hardware. The mounting holes for the plates are slotted (arrows) to offer some up and down adjustability.
6. The fairing mounts to the frontend with the sideplates slipping into the bushings and the latch assemblies (yellow arrow) locking around the top bushings to secure the fairing. To get a precise fit, these two Allen bolts (red arrow) can be loosened and the angle of the fairing can be adjusted forward or backward. We finished up the fairing by installing the windshield and wind deflectors.
7. Saddlemen offers the Drifter Slant bags in either a quick release throw-over yoke setup or a Custom-Fit setup with a Quick Disconnect mounting kit ($189.95), which is what we ordered. The Slant bags are offered in several sizes from large to extra jumbo. We went with the large bags ($159.95), which measure 15 1/2 inches long, 9 1/2 inches tall, and 5 inches wide. The bags feature 1 1/2-inch chrome buckles and leather straps with lockable, hidden quick-release buckles.
8. To install the bags we removed the first and third bolts from either side of the fender struts and replaced them with the bolts from Saddlemen. Then we installed the support brackets. The brackets have an adjustable joint (arrow) so they can fit various setups.
9. Next, the four docking posts were installed, two on each side. We measured the distance between the two posts and transferred the measurement onto the back of the bags so we could drill four 1-inch holes (two in each bag) to fit the bags onto the docking points.
10 We then slipped the supplied rubber grommets into the holes and installed the bags. The Quick Disconnect kit features Quarter Turn Locking fasteners (QTL) that allow you to easily install and remove the bags. The Slant bags have a rigid backside that helps them keep their shape. Inside is an elastic mesh pocket to help organize your items.
11 The BR3400 ($164.95) travel bag from Saddlemen is a very universal bag that will fit on just about any bike with or without a sissybar. The bag measures 19 inches tall, 14 inches wide, and 12 inches deep and offers 3,400ci of storage capacity.
12 Since this bike didn't have a sissybar installed we used the Saddlemen Versa-Mount under-seat yoke and harness to secure the bag. The Versa-mount installs under the passenger seat and the Velcro yoke allows you to adjust it so the straps hang just over the sides of where the seat would be.
13 Once the seat was re-installed we used the supplied quick disconnect straps to secure the bag to the Versa mount. If your bike has a sissybar the bag has a multi-adjustable sissybar mount system that will mount to a sissybar of just about any dimension.
14 The BR3400 offers long distance comfort with a removable pad that can be Velcroed to the front of the bag as a backrest. When not in use the pad can be stored in a pouch in the back of the bag, which also doubles as sort of an office space to store pens, cell phones, PDAs, etc. Of course you never know what kind of weather you'll run into, so the bag also comes with a rain cover to keep your gear dry.
15 The BR3400 has two main storage areas a main compartment and an upper compartment. The main area has a padded section to store a laptop and the entire area is large enough to store a full-face helmet and then some. It also has a zippered pouch section to keep loose items together.
16 The top compartment offers plenty of room for some pants, t-shirts, and a dopp kit. The sides of the bag have expendable zippered pockets to store smaller items.
17 Once at your destination you can unload your luggage and easily carry it around, as the BR3400 comes with attachable backpack straps and the saddlebags have handles built into them.
18 As mentioned earlier Memphis Shades offers its Batwing Fairing for Road King models as well. We installed a Batwing fairing with a 9-inch gradient translucent windshield on a '06 Road King. Once again we had Martinez Custom Paint and Design color match the fairing.
19 Here's a look at the Memphis Shades tri-pouch ($89.95) we installed on the fairing. You can see how the windshield goes from black at the bottom to translucent at the top for better visibility. Memphis Shades offers windscreens in various translucent color options to better match the color of your bike.
20 So here's how the two bikes looked without the fairings (and the Softail without the bags).
21 Then in literally seconds the Road King looked more like a Street Glide, and the Deluxe took on a completely new look as a Softail bagger. Both owners were very happy with the wind protection provided by the fairings, and the Deluxe owner was impressed with how different he could make his bike look in no time and with little effort.
P.O. Box 5222
Martinez Custom Paint and Design
17801 S. Susana Rd.