The follwing article details the steps I took to install a set of CCS “The King” Saddlebags 20″x13.5″x7″ on my 2004 Honda VTX 1800N.
My particular application is a bit unique in that before I began the install of the saddlebags and supports, I had to relocate some bullet turn signals that were fastened to the rear fender strut through the middle mounting hole. While the relocation is outside of the scope of this project, I will say that It proved to be an obstacle in completing this project, over doubling the amount of work involved. You can see where the lights were mounted in the picture below.
The saddlebags come complete from ccs saddlebags with the included EasyBrackets which, in my case, were the VTX-R2 models for 1800N’s without a backrest according to the CCS website. Both the bags and EasyBrackets camed packaged in very sturdy boxes and arrived in under a week with no shipping damage.
The bags were wrapped in a large plastic bag and bubblewrap to protect them during shipping.
Next I installed the rear-most fender bolt and stud, or at least I tried to. The stud and bolt that was included was at least twice the length that it should have been for this application. I had to cut the stud down to the right length in order for the flange on it to line up with the flange on the previously installed stud. This took a significant amount of cutting, grinding, and filing to get the alignment perfect. There is NO room for error on the alignment or the brackets that mount to the saddlebags will not fit on the studs. Once the studs were the right length, the bolts were way too long. Another trip to Ace solved that with some 8mmx1.25x50mm cap head bolts. Installed studs are pictured below.
The hardest part was really getting the studs and bolts down to the right length. It took many fittings through trial and error to get them just right. I’m not sure why they didn’t fit out of the box. I bought the VTX used, and many pieces are custom, but as far as I know my fender strut is a stock 1800N item and the kit that was supplied is designated for the N. That being said, if you have some basic metalworking tools and access to stainless hardware, this was not a technically difficult modification to make.
Once the studs were installed on both sides of the bike, the bag mounting brackets are placed on the studs and the bags are held up to the brackets and marked for reference. I struggled with how far back to mount them so I really took my time here since you only have 1 shot at drilling the holes in your saddlebag.
The EasyBrackets are mounted to the saddlebags with included allen-head bolts. The instructions call for the bolts arranged so that the allen head is on the outside of the bag and the lock-nut is on the inside. I found this problematic. Sharp threaded bolt ends and squared off corners on the nuts could scratch up the contents of the saddlebags so I reversed the mounting of the bolts so that the allen-heads were on the inside of the bags. The bottom two bolts mount this way very easily, but the top two are difficult because the nuts need to be inserted into the box-channel at the top of the EasyBracket through the holes where the brackets mount to the studs on the bike. There is sufficient room for the nut to fit, but it is very difficult to position the nuts onto the ends of the bolts, and hold them securely for tightening since the hole is too small to get a socket wrench in. It is even more difficult on the side with the lock, since the locking mechanism gives even less room for the wrench and fingers I ended up enlisting the help of my 6 yr old son to position the nuts with his small fingers, then used an open end wrench, held 90 degrees to the normal way you would position a wrench on a nut to hold it during tightening.
Once one bag was mounted successfully, I took measurements off of the bag and transfered them to the bag on the other side to ensure symmetry. The other way to do this would be to make a paper template of the back of the bag, place it over the 1st side, and punch holes in the paper where the bolt holes are, then flip the paper over and transfer it to the 2nd bag. The results were as I expected them to be. I think they look pretty good.