Review by Jess Giese
[This Leatherlyke Saddlebags Review was originally published in the April 2010 issue of American Rider magazine]
LeatherLyke Saddlebags are ABS plastic products that mimic the look and feel of real leather. A laminate of two types of ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene), the inner layer is a structural ABS and the outer layer is a trademarked leather-textured ABS laminate. The two parts are combined using a process called co-extrusion.
In addition to saddlebags, the LeatherLyke line of motorcycle luggage includes a variety of trunks that they call Cruiser Cases. All products are available in two different styles. One style is the Traditional, which has studs and conchos, and the other is the Contemporary style, which is a plainer, smooth design.
For our test we chose the Cruiser saddlebags to mount on a 1992 Harley-Davidson FXR. The installation went very well, and the instructions were quite clear. As our test bike was actually a former Police Special, mostly akin to an FXR, a slight adaptation had to be made. This involved drilling one extra hole in each bag. Even so, it was an easy fix and the installation looks clean. The hardest part was changing the turn-signal location from the stock position to a location on the tail light, but the kit came with everything needed and turned out fine. The angle brackets provided for this relocation could be a bit nicer; a little chrome here would dress things up a bit. The instructions state that the turn-signal wires must be extended, and wiring is provided, but as it turned out our wires were long enough without modification.
We’ve road tested the bags around town and on the freeway with no problems. Two clips on the inside of each bag make them simple to mount and remove. The quality is good, the lock is very secure and a closed-cell neoprene foam-lined interior provides cushioning for the contents. Both bags are equipped with a helmet clip so you can lock your helmet. Interestingly, the instructions include a reference to using the bags as an ice chest for drinks, a great idea. They say that the bags can be drained afterwards and excess water blotted up, leaving the lids open for the interiors to air dry. The foam liners, being closed cell, do not retain water.
As far as being like actual leather, you’ll find the ABS a tad harder than leather, but the grain is pretty convincing and the product mimics a leather bag with a rigid liner. This is particularly true from a distance. I had seen these bags on other bikes before we received our test set, and I was surprised that they were as hard as they are; they just don’t look that rigid. They are definitely an improvement over the leather bags that they replace on this bike. The only thing that could be better is the depth of the bag; it would be nice if they were bigger. LeatherLyke does make a larger bag called the Cross Country but not for our model.
Can they be repaired? I love them but can not afford a new pr. They are cracked from an accident.. KLD
Yes, They can be repaired! I had BMW tempered plastic hard bags thea had a crcak and I purchased a two part epoxy (hardner and epoxy) called JB Weld. I applied masking tape to the outside of the crack so that epoxy would not go throu to the outer side of the bag. Then I applied the mixed epoxy to the crack on the inside of hte bag. apply a good amount even an inch or two aroung the crack. Then I cut a piece of fiberglass mesh that I purchased from home depot. The mesh is used by dry wallers to tape sheet rock joints. IT comes in a roll and is sticky on one side. I cut a piec of the fiberglass mesh and while the expoxy is still wet I applied the meshc righ to the epoxy and pressed it in so that the epoxy went through the mesh and the mesh became part of hte repair patch. Allow to dry over-night and thenext day take off the masking tape on the outside of the bag. ITs a good repair patch. I rode with patched bags for years and they still remained water proof.
the bags broke both my rear shocks and i have never put more than 10 pounds in them. A hard plastic “knob” rest on the shock and it caused it to crack. The bag itself has a large crack and is ready to fall of.
I’m looking for mounting brackets for my leatherlyke saddlebags and was wondering if anyone has a set or knows where I can get a set.
how do you get in touch with LeatherLyke
I HAVE A 750VT AERO WITH YOUR BAGS, I AM HAVING A HARD TIME FINDING A PASS BACKREST TO MATCH THE MOUNTING HOLES, DO YOU KNOW OF BRAND OF BACKREST THAT MATCH?