This post won’t really pertain to the typical street bike repairs I report on, but hey – this is my site, I’ll write about my bikes regardless of convention! Dirtbagz are a saddlebag luggage system built for off-road bikes. They consist of two brackets designed to mount onto the side of the bike which are then used to secure the bags. Like this:
I used to have a set of the Dirtbagz racks on put on my previous XR600R, a 1996 model. I used the racks, but modified an existing set of bags to fit them. The install went seamlessly and was done in about 15 minutes.
However, this latest set of racks turned out to be quick tricky to install. The right side rack wouldn’t fit around my aftermarket White Bros exhaust. The exhaust was too high up and slightly too far out for the bracket to light up with the frame mount:
It should be noted that this was not the fault of the manufacturer. Had my bike had the stock exhaust I’m confident this bracket would have fit fine. But then, to my surprise, I found that the left bracket didn’t line up either! This one however WAS due to the manufacturer. When the top mount was attached the bottom mount wasn’t even close to lining up where it was supposed to.
The rack was about one inch too long. Since my access to tools at the moment was pretty limited there was only one solution – a torch!
A simple bend in the rack made it fit beautifully!
Now, the other side was much more difficult and is NOT pretty! I first shimmed the exhaust out and down a little bit to make as much room as I could. Then I used the resources on hand; the LA sidewalk, the torch, and a big brick I found on the side of the road.
This isn’t my finest work, and some may call it a hack (which I would agree with) – but it worked. It is a bit mangled, the tube is a bit crimped, the powdercoat is obviously ruined, and I had to use a very long bolt to torque it down into place.
So, the bags are on and I can now head out on my bike. When I’m in Mexico this time around I’ll stop at a welder and have them hack up the right rack and made a custom piece that fits as it should. The right bag sits uneven due to the rack being bent out so far, but for now I’m satisfied.
One more thing I should note, and I remember this from the install on my previous bike as well. The couple bolts that come with the Dirtbagz setup aren’t even usable. The bolts are too short. When you put them through the rack and the frame it doesn’t even come out the other side.
I also much prefer a hardened grade 8 bolt to the low grade ones they included, as well as something with more surface area on the face, and one that isn’t threaded all the way to the head. This picture shows their bolt on the bottom, and what SHOULD be included on top.
At least their on! Now I’m off to Mexico!
— edit —
I should say, despite the difficulty I had mounting this set, I do still like the Dirtbagz product and would recommend them to others.