2012 Harley-Davidson FLD Switchback | Doin' Time

Staffers' Rides

Photography by Joe Neric, Marc Cook

Wrist: Joe Neric

MSRP (2012): $17,579

Miles: 14,590

MPG: 36

Mods: Replacement saddlebag

“Looks like you’re missing a saddlebag,” says editor Cook, pointing to the vacant spot on the Switchback’s rear. Son of a bitch! At first I thought, “Who would steal one saddlebag? That’s dumb.” But as I mentally recapped the morning, I realized: I’m the dumb one. I forgot to lock the saddlebag in place before I left for work. More on that in a bit.

Readers are going to have a field day with this. They’re already commenting on my misuse of the luggage because I accidentally dropped one of the bags, and then bumped into my truck a week later. Reader H. Scott Nemzer wrote, “Joe treats his loaned Switchback like a stolen rental. I can’t wait for the next installment: How I ruined two tires by not checking my air pressure. Bravo, Mr. Neric!” That’s not true, Nemzer. In fact, it was my weekly check of the tire pressure that prompted me losing the saddlebag.

The easiest way to check the tire pressure on the ‘ole Switchback is to remove the right saddlebag to gain access to the valve stem. Yes, you can get to it with the saddlebag on, but it’s easier this way and, besides, isn’t this why H-D gave the bag a quick-release latch? This by no means is an excuse for forgetting to lock the bag in place. But what can I say, mistakes happen. Except, apparently, to Mr. Nemzer.

I’ve ordered a new saddlebag from Harley, and talk about a collection of embarrassing emails. Cook reassured me: “If you’re the first person to lose a saddlebag, I’ll buy you a beer.” A beer, maybe, but he probably won’t offer to buy a new bag, since it costs $975.00 from your local H-D dealer. Incentive enough to double-check the latch.

I don’t know if you remember, but a while back I complained about the capacity of the Switchback’s saddlebags, or lack thereof. It turns out not having saddlebags at all really makes living with a motorcycle more difficult. I used those bags for everything. I didn’t realize how useful they were, small as they may be. Lugging groceries in a backpack is doable, but stuffing the hard luggage makes life so much more convenient. Just don’t pack them with a twelver on ice and go to a friends house. Judging from the readers who wrote in, Harley guys never drink beer.

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