Building a Honda Bagger, Part 1 | DIY Kit

A closer look at Willie & Max’s new touring kit

Last issue, we told you we’d be modifying a stock Honda Stateline with Willie & Max’s Touring Upgrade Kit. The kit comes with a full inner and outer fairing, 9-inch windshield and hard saddlebags, with the option to add a stereo kit. We chose the Stateline because we’re pretty familiar with the VT1300 series, but the kit is also available for the VTX1300, V-Star 950, and Vulcan 900s (with Suzuki C series fitments being released next).

With components being sold as a kit or individually, we decided to rig the bags first. Dowco sent design engineer Ken Stout to walk us through the install, since Stout was the guy who designed the fitments for each application (extra steps were required for the Stateline, so we were happy to have him along).

1 The Stateline was rolled into the spacious of workshop of one Jeff Pahlegyi (Dowco has an engineering partnership with JPD, Pahlegyi's design arm) where tools and components were laid out. It's a simple install, so all that's needed is a 10mm socket, Allen wrenches, electric drill and bits and a hole saw (included instructions specify which you'll need for your application). The bags themselves are of good quality build, with ABS construction and a Class A Automotive Grade gloss black finish that matched the Stateline nicely (they're also available primered and ready to paint). Lids are sealed with gaskets and are lockable, with stainless hinges and lock bezels. With a full 22 liters capacity per bag, they looked spacious, too.

2 The Stateline was prepped by stripping the side covers, seat, and license lights, in that order. The tricky part came nexta pilot hole had to be marked inside the fender with a drill bit placed through the mounting bosses on the fender supports. With the hole thus marked, the tail lights and fender could be pulled, leaving the exposed subframe skeleton.

3 Then it's just a matter of drilling out the marked holes on the removed fender (placed on a shop bench) and replacing everything onto the bike in reverse order. Simple, right?

4 The next step was to install the mounting brackets and spacers into the mounting holes on the fender and through the frame rails, with included bolts. Secure each bolt, and you're good to go (don't forget the Loctite).

5 Now, it was time to drill the back side of each bag (pre-marked) with the appropriate bit, and prep the holes with rubber bushings and top hats.

6 Finally, simply set each bag onto its respective mounting frame, pushing button head screws and washers through the top hats and rubber grommets, and tighten it all down with the Allen and 10mm wrenches (the bottom screw gets a lock nut). Now, step back and admire the job.

All told, mounting the bags didn’t take but a couple of hoursand that’s going really slow, with photos being taken for every step. The bags instantly flesh out the look of the Stateline, and match the overall lines nicely. They appear fully OE, very clean, and not aftermarket at all. And the $1489 price (for the entire kit) is pretty reasonable; so far, we’re impressed. But our next issue will be the moment of truthwhen we’ll install the fairing (with radio kit upgrade), and ride the thing to see how it all works on the road. See you then.

For more info, check out www.willieandmax.com.