Ducati GT 1000 Saddlebags
by Rick K. for webBikeWorld.com
Summary: Tight tolerances
make this job more difficult than it should be.
The bags can interfere with the frame and the saddle.
And watch out for soft aluminum threads, which strip all
I bought the GT1000 back in August of 2006, ordering a set of Ducati
saddlebags and windscreen on delivery day.
But I've had so much fun riding the bike I just didn't want to take the time out
to install the bags. But here we are, almost 10 months later -- time to
do the deed.
The dealer offered a discount on any accessories ordered within 30 days of
taking delivery of the bike, so I ended up paying $643.17 for the bags,
which is a lot of dosh, but less than the list price. Which is...I
can't remember? If any readers know the list price of the Ducati "Side
Panniers", please let me know at the email address below.
I dusted off the installation instructions and read through them a couple of
times. The job seemed pretty straightforward so I gave it a shot.
As it turned out -- and I'm getting ahead of myself here -- I had to install
them twice because I realized after everything went together that the bags
and the mounts were rubbing against the frame and the seat. I was
afraid this would eventually cause problems, so off it all came to try
But alas! The second time around proved much harder than the first.
The problem, in my opinion, is that Ducati has manufactured the mounts with
tolerances that are way too tight for the bike. If the exhaust mounts
and under-seat bolts are at the outer range of their tolerances, the bag
racks may have a very, very tight fit.
I ended up removing both exhaust hangers in addition to the rear footpegs to get everything lined up
so the racks would fit properly, and that's where I got into trouble.
I wanted to add a couple of washers here and there to add some space between
the bike and the bag racks so they wouldn't rub on each other, but this made
the fit even tighter.
The bottom line is that I struggled with this installation for a total of
about 4 hours over two days -- far too long for something that should be so
simple. I'm not sure if other GT1000 saddlebag owners experienced the
same problems? I can say that I did talk to one other GT1000 owner who
said his racks were also a very tight fit and he struggled to get everything
lined up correctly, so I can only assume this is a common problem.
Ducati did use slots instead of holes in a couple of places on the racks, as
can be seen in the photo below, but there still wasn't enough play to get
everything lined up smoothly and easily on my GT1000. Also, the racks could have
easily been designed to provide more space between the mounts
and the bike itself, so I think Ducati should have spent more time on this
or perhaps not have assigned the project to a junior engineer.
I eventually got everything sorted out -- not the way I preferred, but the
bags work nonetheless and I must say they're pretty handy and they nicely
fill out that big open space between the GT's tire and fender.
The Ducati instructions ( here are the
Installation Instructions in .pdf format) are a good guide, at least to a certain point.
So I'm not really adding any new intelligence to the process; just
illustrating some of the points and issues that affected this particular
installation. Let's take a look:
Nearly 10 months after I took delivery
of the bike and the bags,
I opened the box and laid everything out on
the floor for this photo. Two bags;
two side racks or mounts; a center support
(seen between the two side racks) and a bag
o' bolts. Looks easy, right?
As an aside, I lost the
instructions somewhere along the line, but
the dealer printed out a new set from a
CD-ROM that he had and faxed them over.
Nice guys at Battley!
Here's the hardware supplied by Ducati (minus one washer
not shown). The bolts and spacers
to the lower right are the original Ducati
bolts that fit underneath the rear fender
Two of the hex head cap
screws are used to bolt the center support
under the rear fender and the other two are
used to attach the side racks to the center
support. As shown below, the upper
shock bolts and the passenger footpeg bolts
are used to secure the racks to the frame of
Ducati does not provide longer bolts or
additional washers to offset the racks from
the side of the bike, which, as you'll see,
is necessary to prevent interference.
Here's a look up into the underside of
the rear fender. The blue arrow
indicates the original fender bolts and
spacers. These bolts must be removed
and the center bag support bar is bolted in
place using the new, longer bolts and longer
spacers provided by Ducati.
you can see in the next photo, I couldn't
get the longer spacers to fit correctly;
they are not machined to fit the slots in
the center support bar nor do they fit into
the plastic bosses, seen in the photos above
and below where the bolts fit into the
Here's what happened when I tried to use
the new spacers (shown here with the
original screws and washers); they don't
fit in the fender or the slot on the
This looks better -- the original bolts
and spacers fit correctly. Notice the
electrical tape I added at either side at
the bends in the center support bar.
This was to protect the fender during
assembly. But as it turns out, the bar
nearly rubs at that point anyway; Ducati
should have added more bend in the support
bar for clearance.
The red arrow indicates the original
equipment hex head cap screw that holds the
rear footpeg. This bolt must be
removed to hold the lower part of the side
Here's one of the problems; you can see
that the lower part of the saddlebag bracket,
indicated by the red arrow, touches the
exhaust hanger after it has been assembled
using the Ducati instructions.
afraid that this would rub off the paint and
cause rust, so I decided to add a washer
between the rack and the footpeg to add some
space, as shown in the photo below. By
the way, the lower part of the rack will
only fit on the inside of the exhaust hanger
as shown and this placement is consistent
with the mounting instructions provided by
Here's what the lower part of the rack
looks like with the washer installed.
The washer offsets the rack enough to
prevent the rack and the exhaust hanger from
To get the hanger to fit, I had
to remove the exhaust pipe from the bracket
on either side (two hex bolts hold it on;
it's very easy to remove). This freed
up the exhaust hanger to give me more play.
But I couldn't get the footpeg bolt to
thread correctly when I put it back into the
Since the frame is made from aluminum,
it's easy to strip the threads. I
ended up having to run a thread chaser
through from the inside to clean things up.
The threads were not cut all the way through
the footpeg holder at the factory, which is
The upper part of the saddlebag racks
attach underneath the top shock bolt, which
must be removed. I had the bike on the
Pit Bull rear stand, which puts some
pressure on the top of the shock, making it
difficult to remove the bolt. I ended
up using a screwdriver to push down on the
top of the shock to relieve some of the
This isn't really the best
solution, as the pressure from the
screwdriver scores the top of the shock
body, which is made from aluminum. Be
careful also not to scratch the black paint
on the shock bracket.
Here's a close-up of the shock mount
after the bolt has been removed. You
can see how the bolt hole in the shock is
out of alignment with the frame mount.
This is the distance that the shock must be
pushed to remove the bolt.
Note also the anti-seize compound, which
helps prevent the bolt from galling the
aluminum shock body.
Other than general guidance, the
instructions weren't much help; I ended up
loosely assembling both sides and finally
got everything lined up enough to fit.
Here's how it looks after the racks are
The bags also rub on the seat. I
tried adding a thick washer under the shock
bolt, but it wasn't enough to offset the
bags from the seat. I'm afraid that
the rather sharp edge on the seam of the
bags will eventually wear against the seat
Do other GT1000 owners have this problem?
A view from the top showing the bag
rubbing against the seat.
Here's a look at a saddlebag latch.
The lower section fits over the lower bar of
the side rack and the upper section fits on
the upper bar. The upper latch clicks
into place and the webbed strap is looped
over the back of the rack just in case the
latch lets go, although if the bag flies off
the bike, the strap won't do much...
The leather strap covers a chrome clasp.
Ducati provides two keys. The bags can
be locked closed but not locked to the
racks, which is curious.
I had some
pre-cut 3M reflective tape left over from a
ROOF helmet and decided to add a piece to
the back of each bag. The bags could
probably be customized with stickers, paint
or whatever, if desired.
The bags have a decent capacity but
Ducati recommends a
maximum load of 3kg.
Here's how the installed
saddlebags look from the rear.
The bags hide the big gap between the
top of the rear tire
and the bottom of the
If you have comments, further information, tips or guidance on
this project, please send it to me at
Note: Comments posted below in the order they
were received, from most recent to oldest.
From "M.S.": "I have a new
two-tone Ducati GT1000 SportClassic. Due to my
recent travel schedule I've put few miles on it, but I
do have several comments about three factory
The OEM saddlebags look great on the bike, but their
forward position makes it impossible for a passenger's
feet to safely reach (and stay on) the passenger foot
pegs. If you're only going to ride one-up (w/o a
passenger) this isn't a factor. But if you want to
ride double this is a serious consideration. My
advice is to "try before you buy" -- I ended up
returning my bags to my dealer.
The large OEM tank bag (a full tank cover with tank
bag on top, a la Bagster) fits the tank well, but two
sets of the tie-down straps (the two pair to the rear of
the tank, not counting the most rear-ward set) are too
short to reach around the frame and secure in their
intended connector. The other tie-down straps are
fine as to length -- you'd think that they'd have
figured out how long to make these buckle/strap
combinations by now! I'm going to buy some matching
black (nylon?) strap material and have a local
shoe-repair guy replace my too-short straps.
Finally, I think the guy who drilled the mounting
holes in the OEM chrome rear luggage rack never got
introduced to the guy who drilled the mounting holes in
the rear subframe of the bike. The holes (sort of)
match, but you need to take it easy when mounting the
rack. I had to buy longer bolts, and carefully
tighten them in sequence -- these bolts support the rear
fender/taillight assembly, up through the rear luggage
rack, and into the rear subframe. You have to
support the rear fender/taillight assembly -- you really
need three or four hands for this job. Once
attached, though, the rear rack and OEM Ducati bag make
up a beautiful and practical accessory.
All in all, though, the GT1000 is one of the most
beautiful bikes I've ever seen -- especially in the
two-tone (black and cream) livery. I love to ride
it, and in fact I'm going to do so right now! (It's 7:00
a.m. here in Kansas City, USA on a summer Saturday
morning -- can you blame me?)"
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