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Are you packin’?

By “LoDown” Dan Parker

RideTek LidHaulers and LidSaks


LidHauler: $134.95/pair, LidSaks: $44.99/pair

In what some call the “good old days” a weekend trip on your trusty Harley required only that you lash a thin sleeping bag to the sissy bar, shove a toothbrush in your back pocket (or not) and hit the road. At least that’s the way many recall those golden times, viewed through the mist and fog of the intervening years.

The truth is that older bikes always required some roadside first aid. So, even if you didn’t pack a pair of clean skivvies, a tool roll was a must. Oh, and an extra quart of oil (or two) as well. Then there were the duds you peeled off, as the day grew warmer. Those had to go somewhere. If you had saddlebags, pretty soon they were full. Strapping one’s rolled-up jacket to the top of the handlebars was popular.

So packing for a motorcycle trip has always been an issue. The difference today is that riders have lots more options for storing their gear. And that’s a good thing with more of us taking longer trips, such as heading for Sturgis. That starts with bike selection and, for many contemporary Harley-Davidson riders, that means hopping on a member of H-D’s touring family. With hard bags and (depending on the model) a Tour Pak, one can load up with lots more than fresh socks and a toothbrush.

And therein lies the rub. It seems that the more room we have to take things on our bike the more things we take. For the Thunder Press crew, that means personal items but also camera equipment, computers, and other tools of our trade. A 2004 Electra Glide Standard (with optional detachable cut-down Tour Pak) seemed to do the trick. That was until a camcorder and tripod were added to the mix. Suddenly, even more packing room was needed.

Since we were also spiffing up the old Geezer Glide and, yes, heading for Sturgis, RideTek’s LidHaulers and LidSaks seemed a good way to go. Along with some other items we were adding to the bike, we took the RideTek gear to JP at My Evil Twin Choppers in Lodi, California. Watching an expert fit the LidHaulers covers to the hard bags would help us assess the level of difficulty for an at-home install.

Here is what we learned: The LidHaulers covers are designed to fit 1993–2008 stock Harley FLH/FLT fiberglass saddlebags. They only come in black. When installing, be sure to clean the inside of the saddlebag lids. This is where the adhesive-backed hook-and-loop material will go to attach the lid covers. Take your time and measure the hook-and-loop carefully before cutting it in the appropriate lengths. Be patient and stretch the LidHaulers material smoothly over the saddlebag lid (we’ve since seen some do-it-yourself installs that were pretty sloppy).

LidHaulers have two 1″ straps fitted with D-rings (RideTek also makes LidCovers without the straps). When not in use, the straps simply tuck inside the saddlebag with the lid shut. Once on, the lid covers really look nice. The install should take you less than 30 minutes, including admiring your handiwork.

The 9.5″ X 20.5″ LidSaks handle the business or actual storage end of the RidTek setup. Shaped like a small duffel bag, it is made of weather-resistant material. The soft bags have a drawstring closure, cord locks, and a weather flap. They’re ideal for toting soft items like shirts, socks, sweatshirts, and even your leather jacket.

In road testing this setup we learned that the LidSaks stay put better when the securing straps are crisscrossed over the bag. And be sure to double-check them at rest stops to be certain the straps have remained snug. If the LidSaks are used together with a Tour Pak, the amount of material they’ll hold is reduced.

JP at My Evil Twin Choppers offered some good advice. He pointed out that, on the return trip home, one always seems to have more duds than at the start. So, he said, leave home with at least one LidSak empty and you’ll have extra storage room on the way back. It beats the heck out of lashing your jacket to the handlebars.

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