How to install throw over saddlebags on your motorcycle

This article specifically for Harley Davidson Sportster motorcycles it also applies other motorcycles

We sell a great line of quality bargain priced motorcycle saddlebags in various styles that fit a huge number bikes. About once a day I get an email asking about fitting the bags on a specific bike.

Before we start let’s make sure they will fit:

Let’s assume you are interested in some of my great leather throw-overs that measure: 14″ WIDE X 7″ THICK X 11″ TALL

This means that each bag is 14 inches long (measured horizontally), seven inches thick and 11 inches tall (measured vertically)

First Measure from the top of your pipes or chain (if the chain is unguarded), whichever is higher, to the bottom of your seat. You need 12 inches, if the dimension is any less don’t buy the bags they are too tall. Don’t worry about the shocks. Throw overs go over the shocks.


1. Remove your seat. Most Sportster motorcycle seats are removed by unscrewing the Philips head screw located at the rear of the seat. Slide the seat forward while lifting up slightly to detach the keyhole bracket from the seat post. Then slide the seat to the rear to detach the seat tongue from the rear tank bracket. The process is the same for solo and two-up seats.

2. The yoke is the part of the bags that fits under the seat. Unlace the yoke, position both bags in the location you want them to stay. Overlap one side of the yoke over the other. Using a marker, mark where the yoke lays over any obstructing hardware and the outline of outer edge of the upper yoke where it overlaps the lower wing of the yoke. Note: The saddlebags typically lay over the shocks. Some saddlebags are supplied with an additional yoke extender to be used with extra -wide bikes. This is typically not needed.

3. Lay the bags out flat, place the yoke over a piece of wood, telephone book or something similar. Line the marks up that you made in step 2. The existing holes work for the vast majority of motorcycles.

If the holes don’t line up, use an awl, ice pick or drill and make about six holes through both pieces of the yoke. Use the piece of leather strip to lace them together.

NOTE: On most motorcycles it is not necessary to make new holes. Some combination of the existing holes should fit.

4. Place the saddlebags on your bike. Reinstall the seat. Use the lower tie downs to secure the bottom of the bags.

5. Give your bike a final safety check. Make sure the seat and saddlebags are secure and the bags cannot come in contact with your wheel, spokes, belt or chain.

As always don’t stab, slice, fold, spindle or mutilate yourself while using sharp instruments!