Have Bags, Will Travel.

Posted: July 14, 2011 in Accessories, Maintenance

Part of Phee’s transformation includes a luggage makeover.  Although in the past I have always been against dressing the bike for long distance travel, I recognize that things change.  It is necessary to have ample luggage space if serious about taking long distance motorcycle trips.  Usually I am not too worried about aesthetics, but when it comes to Phee, looks are, well, not everything, but they’re a lot.

In mid-June I ordered the matching OEM hard bags, mounting brackets, guards, and duffel inserts. I placed my order through accessories4bikes and by doing so I was able to save more than $500 by not going through my local dealer (these savings were calculated after I paid for shipping). Within 24 hours accessories4bikes emailed me to let me know the mouting brackets were on back order through Yamaha until August 5th… of course, this was unacceptable as it was the first part necessary to installation.  There was no use having the other pieces without the brackets. Of course, I also wasn’t about to pass up the savings. I canceled the mounting bracket order and quickly started calling bike shops nationwide until I found one that had the part in stock. A few credit card numbers and two days later the mounting brackets were sitting in my kitchen.

The only downfall to ordering online rather than through the local store is time.  If ordered locally I would have had the bags in 4 days time – 1 day to place the order and three to ship from Yamaha to the dealer.  My total wait time online was about 10 business days, as the parts were ordered, shipped to the web site, and then shipped my way.

The middle of June was extremely wet here in the Northeast. When everything arrived I could do nothing but stare at the boxes in my living room.  I was anxious to get them installed, but I was also trying to stay dry.  So they sat… and sat… and sat… and about 4 days later there was finally a break in the weather.

(Yes, my buddy Gus Man is as sad as I am about the rain)

The installation proved to be a rather smooth process, and I learned a few things about my bike during that time as well.  First, the previous owner had installed the passenger floorboards on the bike backwards.  Because of this, the floorboard on the pipe side would leave a mark on the top of my pipes.  A positive side note of the luggage installation is the fixing of the floorboard. Of course, after careful examination of the right passenger floorboard, I learned it had a fairly severe stress crack. The board broke completely with a little additional pressure.  I am very grateful this pressure was applied with my hands in a driveway rather than a passengers foot on the highway.  The pics below show the broken board.

The removal of the floor boards is the first step in the luggage installation process, as the mounting bracket shares a bolt hole with the floorboard. I left the right floorboard off the bike for the remainder of the install, which made sense considering it was broken anyway. In addition to sharing a hole with the floorboards, the mounting bracket also used the sissybar/side rail bolt holes as seen in the picture below.  Also visible in that picture are the luggage guards and the left passenger floorboard – after it had been placed in the proper position.  The only draw back I see to the floorboards in their proper position is that they cover the Yamaha logo on either side of the bike (but I’m over it already!)

(mounting brackets, guards, floor board left side)

(mounting bracket, guards right side – no floorboard)

After all the hardware was installed, the luggage needed to be mounted.  It was very easy to do, however extreme caution had to be taken as to not damage the bag – if feasible, I recommend using two people to mount the luggage, one to hold and one to attach them… they are too expensive to risk careless damage.

Rather than wait and order my floorboards online, I wanted (foolishly) chose to pay full price at the local dealer.  Unfortunately one board was fine but I still needed to buy them in pairs.  All of my old mounting hardware was still in good shape and I was able to reuse it. With new boards in hand it took no more than 45 seconds to snap each into place and complete the job. I had a smile on my face when I finished, but the smile had little to do with the extra $150 I had to shell out to fix the boards, and it had everything to do with the rain being gone and the sun finally shining.

Ride hard, ride safe, and enjoy every mile.

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