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How to Restore Leather Motorcycle Saddlebags


No matter what type of riding you do, if you have leather saddlebags on your bike, they are going to take a beating. The bags are meant to hold up well under all kinds of conditions, and the leather is built to last, but there will come a time where your bags looked cracked, dirty and worn. Even just taking your bike on a daily ride to work and back exposes the bags to road elements, dirt, and debris and the constant beating of the sun will start to fade and crack the leather. Since you invested quite a bit in your bags, it is important that you know how to return to them their natural look if you can. There are some simple steps you can follow to see how to restore your leather motorcycle saddlebags so they can look their best again.

Getting Started

Getting started with the restoration is pretty easy for you. Simply remove the bags from your motorcycle and take all your belongings out of the bags, so they are empty. Using a clean, soft cloth that is lightly dampened, wipe the bag down so that you can remove and loose dirt or debris from the bag. You want to make sure you wipe down the bag completely, getting around any fittings or fixtures of the bags that can hide the dirt in your leather bags. Once you have done this step, you are ready to start the leather cleaning and restoration.

Using a Leather Cleaner

The best way for you to restore your bags is to use a quality leather cleaner on your bag. You can purchase cleaners at many stores and sites online that will be perfect for your use. Put some of the leather cleaner on a clean, damp rag and begin to rub the cleaner into the leather of your saddlebag. Clean the bag section by section, so you are sure to cover all the areas of the bag. Let the cleaner sit on the bag for several minutes (or follow the instructions as given on the bottle of cleaner). You can then take another clean, damp cloth and wipe down the bag to remove any residue of the cleaner that is still visible. After cleaning, you can then spray a leather conditioner on your bag, again section by section, drying off as you go along. The conditioner will add the needed moisture to the leather that helps keep the leather supple and soft and looking its best.

Keeping it Clean

Once you have restored your leather motorcycle saddlebags, you should take regular steps to keep them looking their best. You can wipe down the bags regularly with a dry, clean cloth to help brush away dirt and debris and to help keep any dirt from settling into the leather. You also may want to consider covering your bike when you store your bike to help keep debris off the bags. Following these simple steps can bring new life to your saddlebags and have them looking fantastic for many years.