Soft, leather saddlebags serve their purpose, but a set of hard saddlebags have the edge for multiple reasons: cargo capacity is larger, latches are lockable, and they look much better than a set of soft bags. A friend of HOT BIKE, Mat Virgil, has a ’00 Softail Standard that was in dire need of a hard saddlebag conversion.
Mat found some hard bags and bag lids at the swap meet a while back, but he needed a way to mount them. He called up Sumax Cycle Products in Oriskany, New York, because the company offers Saddlebag Brackets ($319) for Softail models—brackets for multiple Harley models are also available (pricing varies). Sumax’s Saddlebag Brackets will fit ’93-later Harley hard bags and soft bags and are made from stainless steel and powdercoated black. The brackets mount to the fender struts and behind the passenger footpeg for stability. Sumax also offers multiple styles of hard saddlebags for those looking to go the bagger route without buying a new Touring model.
Mat was faced with another issue: his Softail had a Bobtail rear fender that didn’t look right when he held the hard bags next to it. Since Sumax also offers multiple composite fiberglass fenders, Mat ordered up the Loboy Fender ($219). The fiberglass fenders fit ’96-11 Softail models (with the exception of 200mm rear tire Softails) and are lightweight but very strong and have been structurally tested to handle up to 28,000 psi of pressure, which claims to be stronger than steel fenders. Another good thing is that the fenders don’t come pre-drilled so they can be positioned accordingly based on customers’ needs. Sumax also offers universal-fit fenders so there is something for everyone looking to transform their bike.
With all the parts in hand, Mat was ready to mock-up the new fender, saddlebag brackets, and saddlebags to his Softail. Once everything is mocked-up, he’ll send the fender and saddlebags off for paint and have one kickass Softail bagger when all is said and done. HB
Sumax Cycle Products**
(800) 654-5546 | sumax.com