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Old 3rd February 2015, 20:31   #1
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Default DIY: Using a Saddlebag with pillion on the Ninja 300

Related Thread: Saddlebag Review Thread (The Saddle & Tail Bag Review Thread)

Problem at hand: To find a saddle bag solution for Ninja 300 such that a pillion can ride on top of it.

The Ninja 300 is a potent machine, and makes an excellent sports tourer. But an inherent quality of tourers, to be able to carry luggage easily, is lacking on this motorcycle. Solo tourers can tie their bags on top of pillion seat, or go for seat bags. But being a couple tourer, I had to have a solution to take sufficient luggage for two people on the bike.

A tank bag is an obvious choice. But for two persons for a long tour, this is not enough. This makes saddle bags a must.

The problem with Ninja 300 is, the space between the pillion footpegs and the wide eared rear indicators is not much. Hence we cannot use a big bag because it strikes the indicators, or fouls with the footpegs.



Also, having burnt a few saddle bags because of them touching the hot silencer, the other problem was to make sure the bags don't touch the silencer. At standing position, the bags stay nice and firm, but at speed, they sag and thus touch the silencer.

I conceptualized a separator that would 'push' the bags apart, which would make sure that the indicators are not pressed by the bags, and they don't sag to touch the silencer.

After a 3000km tour with this setup, I am happy to report that I found a very efficient solution. I am sure this method can be used on other motorcycles as well, with little imagination.

The cost is very minor. You will require two long 6mm machine threaded nuts (NOT the local hardware store nuts), one iron bar with two ears with holes, to go in the those holes, and - here is an unexpected element - the white plastic door stopper that we use in bathroom doors so that they don't bang on the tiles.

Required tools:

Allen keys (provided in the tool kit of Ninja)
Longer 6mm nut with exact thread as the stock one (explained in steps)
Two plastic door stoppers
Access to a welder/fabricator

Process:

Remove the rear seat and the tool kit. You will see two bolts under the seat.

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Image from net

Sit on your knees and peek under the skirt of the bike. You will see two nuts where these two bolts lock into. You want longer bolts that will protrude much outside, unlike the stock which finish off close to the nuts.

Remove those two bolts using Allen keys given in the toolkit. Don't worry, the seat won't fall off.

Now take this bolt and buy a longer version of the same. Make sure you buy the new bolt with exactly the same threads. Buy 2 bolts and 4 nuts, or twice of that for insurance. A locally manufactured nut-bolt set available for 5rs will not work, as it will not screw into the place.

Simple way is to take the bolt, find a longer nut-bolt set such that the new nut will fit the stock bolt.

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The left two bolts are stock, from top and from side. The right bolt is the new one that I used. Fit the new longer bolts in the place, you are now ready to fit the spacer.

Constructing the spacer:

First measure how long do you need the rod to be. In the end, the product will look as below:

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The final product should be just a little wider than the indicators. You can measure the distance between rear indicators in inches, add an inch and subtract the length of two plastic door stoppers to arrive at the width of rod required.

Once you give this size to your welder, he will cut a MS pipe of 1" or lesser thickness, weld nuts to the two sides so that the two door stoppers can be screwed in.

Sorry for this dirty photo, but this is how the bar looks from below. You need to weld the 'ears' to the bar so that it doesn't touch the plastic rear fender.

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It does not touch the bike anywhere. Don't worry about getting any rust or anything from that. The bar's only point of contact is the nuts.

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Does it work? Extremely well. In my 3000kms ride, the pillion was never restricted in her movement because of the bags, and the bag never touched the silencer at any speed. The door stoppers are smooth at the outside, so the bag was not even scratched.

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The rear indicators may look at odd angles, but they are rubber mounted and hence can take a little bending - though very rare with this spacer.

This looks cool even without the luggage on. If you get this painted or powder coated (which I plan to) it will look even better. It is very easily removable and poses no possible damage to the bike.

Total Cost:

Less than Rs.200

Additionally, I found an efficient way of putting the saddle bags on the bike. Observe the above photo again. There are two straps for the Viaterra Rapide bags. (I tested few other bags as well, but this is the only bag that I found useful with pillion. Rest were too big that they didn't allow pillion to put her feet on the pegs.) You need to put the rear strap UNDER the pillion seat, then the front strap will come automatically at the space between rider and pillion. The bags hardly move at all, and you don't need to play with the straps to tie it down.

This way, you can have a happy pillion, a nice set of luggage with very fast dismount possible, and a safe journey at good speed.

Last edited by noopster : 4th February 2015 at 16:15. Reason: Link to saddlebag review thread :)
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Old 4th February 2015, 04:43   #2
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Default re: DIY: Using a Saddlebag with pillion on the Ninja 300

Quote:
Originally Posted by ani_meher View Post
Problem at hand: To find a saddle bag solution for Ninja 300 such that a pillion can ride on top of it.
Hey Ani_meher really awesome way man. Loved it. Very useful for guys who own a N300 and tour on it frequently
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Old 4th February 2015, 16:17   #3
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Default Re: DIY: Using a Saddlebag with pillion on the Ninja 300

This is an absolutely ingenious solution. I actually had the same problem with my Cramster saddle bags on my Thunderbird. I used it for months and never faced any issue. Later on, I switched from my stock seats to increase the ride height and improve padding.

As a result, the bag kept sagging inward and I never quite realized it. On a trip from Mumbai-Goa, one corner of the bag kept scraping against the spokes and was chopped up pretty bad. I only realized this after stopping over for some chai (To think, I almost kept my laptop in there) Fortunately nothing got stuck or else I'd be worm chow.

Thanks for the share! I'm going to try and fabricate something similar on my bike. If I do it right, I think I can use something similar instead of the side-guards (They're flimsy anyway).
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Old 4th February 2015, 16:24   #4
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Default Re: DIY: Using a Saddlebag with pillion on the Ninja 300

Hi ani_meher, Loved the DIY. I think you should spray paint / powder coat the metal bar for aesthetics.
Edit : OK I missed the part that you are planning to get it painted / Powder coated
regards adrian

Last edited by adrian : 4th February 2015 at 16:42.
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Old 10th February 2015, 03:10   #5
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Default Re: DIY: Using a Saddlebag with pillion on the Ninja 300

You have saved a lot of bags my friend! Kudos to your efforts. 3 saddle bags were ruined during my Leh trip cause of the bags rubbing against the tyres. We Should have though about this earlier.
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Old 10th February 2015, 10:47   #6
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Default Re: DIY: Using a Saddlebag with pillion on the Ninja 300

Great DIY. Would appreciate a picture taken from the side with a pillion so we can see the clearance from pillion's feet and from the indicators.
Also doesn't the door stoppers (though blunt) poke into the saddle bags? A flat plate or a circular/ triangular support to keep the bags in place would distribute the pressure more evenly.
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Old 10th February 2015, 11:42   #7
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Default Re: DIY: Using a Saddlebag with pillion on the Ninja 300

This is a repost of my photo posted in saddlebags thread. You can see that the pillion sits very comfortably, even when we had kept sandals/water bottles in the saddle bags.



The door stoppers do poke into the saddle bags, but since they are very rounded and the bags are full, the round imprint that they left on the saddle bags is easily gone in a few days of rest after returning from the tour.

We could put some plate in the bags, but that might increase weight in the bags, and we never felt the need for it. Also, I had to make sure the support doesn't get tangled in clothing when we were not using the saddle bags. Since the door stoppers are smooth, there is no chance of any entangling of trouser/dupatta/salwar etc. But if we put some plate or any 2d object on the separator, there is a chance of entanglement of clothes.

Good to hear that people are finding this idea useful. This was one of the Eureka moment for me, when I finally stumbled on this solution after working on many other drawings of such support. The easiest answer is the hardest to find!
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Old 10th February 2015, 14:32   #8
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Default Re: DIY: Using a Saddlebag with pillion on the Ninja 300

Quote:
Originally Posted by ani_meher View Post
Problem at hand: To find a saddle bag solution for Ninja 300 such that a pillion can ride on top of it...
Excellent Idea ani_meher. I had a tough time mounting these Viaterra bags and eventually had to use bungee cords to wrap each bag around to make it compact and avoid it from touching the exhaust.

I'll give this a try

Here is a couple of pics enroute to Goa.

DIY: Using a Saddlebag with pillion on the Ninja 300-img_20150122_124104.jpg

DIY: Using a Saddlebag with pillion on the Ninja 300-img_20150122_135548.jpg
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