2012 Harley-Davidson FLD Switchback | Doin' Time

Photography by Joe Neric

Wrist: Joe Neric
MSRP (2012): $17,579
Miles: 8514
MPG: 38
Mods: Saddlebag liners

Taking the Switchback on a weekend trip is still the plan, but before I take it out on the road I needed to get to know the bike. I’ve come to learn from my previous long-term tests that each motorcycle has its own quirks, and I wanted to identify what adjustments, if any, were needed before I’m on the road and away from home.

For example, the saddlebag capacity is ridiculous. As in ridiculously small. The problem isn’t the length or depth of the stock saddlebags, it’s—get ready for it—the girth. Or, rather, lack thereof. I spent an hour one night trying to find a backpack or messenger bag that would fit inside the saddlebags. I even tried separating my gear—the usual business stuff plus workout clothes—into two bags and I still couldn’t get it all to fit. Trying differently shaped bags didn’t work, either. I thought about just throwing my items loose in the saddlebags, but my mild O.C.D. won’t allow that.

I finally broke down and ordered bag liners (www.harley-davidson.com; $49.95), which made life a little easier. I was able to transfer heavy items, such as my tire plug kit and some tools that I was lugging around in a backpack, into the inner pockets of the liner, which is more comfortable and convenient. This is a nice feature, especially if you’re slightly obsessive like me.

I’m actually a little surprised some of Harley’s optional saddlebags for the Dyna line don’t fit the Switchback. Considering everything else in the 880-page (not a typo) 2013 H-D Parts and Accessories catalog, I expected to see a larger, color-matched set just for the Switchback. I understand Harley’s desire to maintain the bike’s slimmer proportions, but let’s be honest, slim isn’t really its thing and I’d love some more capacity.

What’s next for the Switchback? Getting the bike set up for touring. Los Olivos, here we come!

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