We had a customer who told us that his right motorcycle saddlebag got burned by the pipes. He wanted to know if this was the result of the poor quality of the saddlebag or something else. I decided to investigate the problem and here’s what I found.
What Happens When a Motorcycle Saddlebag Touches The Pipes
“The rubber air mattress inside dropped firebombs down the road till someone pulled me over…side panel and seat still show the scars of my ride to hell. Good thing the people stopped and had a fire extinguisher,” wrote a biker in an online forum.
Another biker said that, after a long ride, his saddlebags (Wolfman Summit) proved durable and withstood the heat from the pipes but the contents of his bags melted!
What Can You Do
The best way to prevent this is to purchase a bag that fits your motorcycle (see below Finding Saddlebags That Fit Your Motorcycle). But say you already installed saddlebags and one of them is too close to the pipes. I found several solutions to this problem.
- Attach a piece of Teflon, aluminum, or other similar metal to the back of the bag where the bag touches the pipes.The piece of metal will serve as a heat shield.
- Consider rearranging or relocating items on your motorcycle to make more space for the saddlebag.
- Try lowering your mufflers and pipes to increase the space between them and the saddlebag.
Finding Saddlebags That Fit Your Motorcycle
Before you start looking for new saddlebags, you should measure your motorcycle. Measure the space between your motorcycle seat base and the beginning of the pipes or mufflers. This space will help you determine the maximum height of your saddlebags. Take into account that your new saddlebags must be placed at least 2-4 inches away from the pipes.
Consider getting heat-resistant saddlebags. These saddlebags come with heat-resistant panels. But again, be careful—heat protection may be enough to protect your bags from the heat but not enough to protect the contents.
You should also consider saddlebags with different shapes. Slanted saddlebags, for example, will fit better on a motorcycle with exposed rear shocks if they contour the angle of the shocks.
And lastly, if you have a saddlebag that is too close to the heat, check it frequently especially when you are on longer trips.