When it comes to leather motorcycle saddlebags, the quality will vary according to the product and manufacturer. In general, leather saddlebags are grouped into one of three classifications: chrome, split and vegetable. Each type must be maintained in a different way. With proper care, these saddlebags will remain durable and attractive. There are four steps to follow in order to properly maintain your saddlebags. Before you start maintaining your saddlebags, make sure your work space is well ventilated due to the chemical solutions you will be using. This means cleaning them either outdoors or in an open garage.
Step One: Cleaning
Only buy quality cleaning solutions that will not fade the color of your leather saddlebags. Solutions that are too strong tend to wear out the color faster and weaken the thread used to stitch the leather. If you need to dilute your cleaning products, add a little bit of water. Before cleaning the entire saddlebag, test an area on the bag’s back. Any cloth can be used to clean your saddlebags as long as the cloth is clean.
Step Two: Conditioning
The second part to proper leather saddlebag care is conditioning the leather. Although conditioning does not have to be completed on a regular basis, it should be done every so often in order to keep the leather in excellent shape. To begin conditioning the saddlebags, you will need to use an oil lubricant. All that you must do is apply one, light coat of oil to the saddlebag’s surface. Remember, leather is made from animal skin so it does need moisturizer in order last a long time and look good throughout its lifespan.
Step Three: Polishing
Polishing is the third step of leather motorcycle saddlebag care. In order to give your saddlebags an extra shine that will make them stand out, polishing is a must-do step. There are several kinds of polishes available on the market but be sure the one you buy will not clog the leather’s pores, which will cause the material to dry.
Step Four: Protection
The final step of saddlebag maintenance involves adding a layer of protection in the form of a moisture barrier. By applying this barrier, you will prevent leather damage that is caused by rain, snow and moisture. An added benefit of the protection step is that the leather saddlebags will appear clean for a longer period of time. All riders know that rain and mud are the two destroyers of leather saddlebags so if you plan to ride in adverse conditions, consider putting rain covers on your saddlebags. This will further your saddlebags’ lifespan.