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Harley Davidson Sportster Guide

Harley-Davidson® Sportster Guide

The Harley Davidson Sportster represents the essence of motorcycling in the Harley Davidson lineup. It is the oldest model Harley still in production today and the longest running production motorcycle in the world. The Sportster symbolizes the true versatility in motorcycle design. From cutting up the twisty back roads, to cruising along at highway speeds, the Sportster can do it all. The minimalist, classic design of the Sportster lends itself to a wide variety of customization options, with more and more people looking to bring that versatility to meet their motorcycling needs.

Viking Bags have created an excellent product with our Sportster saddlebag lineup. The Sportster’s clean, discreet lines beg for a bag that compliments the bike’s design. Where other bags look obtrusive and out of place, our Sportster specific bags are designed with the lines of the Sportster in mind. The Sportster is a true rider’s machine and our bags fit the need of most riders. Need a place to stash your jacket when the weather gets better? Is your bike a daily rider? Maybe you need to load it down for an adventure? Viking bags can fit all the storage needs of your Sportster and not look out of place.



Are you a little flashy or do you like a more minimalist look? Do you like buckles on your bags or not? How do you want them to open? Would you like them to go over the exposed shocks or more streamlined to the frame?


Are you a looking for basic storage or do you want to put down some serious miles and tour?


Locking or non-locking. Our locking bags are secure and convenient to open with personal key, a Viking Bags innovation!


Are you looking for a permanently mounted set of bags with a quick release? Maybe you want bags that you can throw over the bike to travel and easily take off once you get back home?


Bags come in a variety of different styles. Most riders will want the bags that will match best with their bike. The majority of our bags come in two styles, plain or studded. If your bike already has studs, you can keep the theme going by adding a pair of Studded Saddlebags. All Viking Bags studs are rust proof, polished, and stainless steel. Non-studded or Plain bags are very clean themselves and can keep the clean look throughout.

Non Buckle
shock cut out


rc duna plain bag vs studded style

Plain VS. Studded

Harley Davidson Sportster bags come in a variety of different styles. Viking bags already have the best fit for your Sportster, now is your chance to pick the bag that best fits your own personal style. The best fitting bags for your bike will be the Sportster model specific bags. We designed these bags for the unique Sportster form while still maintaining generous storage capacity. Our shock cut out option will add a sleek, streamlined look to any Sportster model.

Viking Sportster bags come either Studded or Plain. Studded bags give your bike that classic cruiser look. Our studs won’t rust and will provide a classic look to your Sportster. Do you want a cleaner look? Our plain bags will give you that pure motorcycle feel that fits well on the Sportster models. The chrome buckles on our plain Sportster bags will add a little class to your ride without detracting from the clean look. The Sportster looks great all blacked out and we haven’t forgotten about those of you who like that appearance. Our Warrior and Spear bag lines will give you the needed storage without the need for any buckles or studs. We also offer shock cutout bags for those who like a tight fitting bag.

buckle vs. nobuckle


The Sportster is a no-nonsense, get down and dirty ride. We understand that some of our Sportster owners will want storage without any extra flash. OurWarrior and Spear bags are that perfect marriage of functionality and good looks while keeping that classic Sportster stripped down look. For all the Sporty owners who think a little black is good but all black is perfect, we offer bags that are completely blacked out. We carry two options without any shiny buckles or studs. Our available options do not just stop at the front of the bags, the backsides of our bags give you the options of a plain back or a shock cut out backing.

rc dyna plain back vs shock cutout


Our standard bags for the Sportster are easy on the pocketbook and are traditionally mounted behind the shock and in front of the turn signals. If you decide to go with one of the bigger bag sizes, it might be necessary to relocate your turn signals. The quick disconnect system is a great option for the customer who does not wish to relocate their turn signals since the system extends the bags outside the shock, eliminating the need for the shock cutout bags.
The Shock Cut Out bags are custom cut at the front of the bag to create room for the bag to fit around the shock. This creates a slim, customized look without the big ticket price tag. The Shock Cut Out prices are a little higher than the standard bags, but the difference the specialized fitment of the Shock Cut Out bags will do to clean up the look of your bike is well worth the price difference. You will sacrifice a little storage, however, to get that look. To contend with the smaller volume, we offer several bigger bags for you to choose from. 

Shock Cut Out Bags have a rounded mold on the front corner of the bag that all room for the bag to fit over the shock. You will want the bags to be snug to the bike to give it a very clean and custom look. The prices are a little higher but the look and fit have a very custom style as if the bags were made for the bike. The capacity of the bag will be slightly less than its counterpart due the indent in the bag and it may be a little harder to get certain items in over where the shock is, but we have made up for that with several bigger bags from you to choose from. Browse through our selection.

rc dyna plain back vs shock cutout

Hard VS. Soft

We also offer bags that are completely blacked out without any buckle. Take a look at our Warrior and Spear bags. They are two options for bags that have no shiny buckles or studs.




 Viking Bags are the largest bag manufacturer worldwide. We carry over 200 styles and sizes of saddlebags to best fit your ride, from small to extra-large. We understand that such a wide variety can be puzzling and time consuming, so we have done our best to take any guesswork out of your bag selection process. The filter on the left hand side of our saddlebag page will help you narrow down our vast selection of bags to the bags that would be the best fit for your Sportster.





Anyone who has travelled on their bike understands that security is an essential element. Viking Bags provides that security with our two separate locking options. The first option locks the bags from the top and the other option is a lock under the buckles. A large majority of our bags have a place for a padlock for added security. Our QDS system is one of the best options for keeping your belonging secure because it’s easy to detach the bags and bring them inside your house or wherever you might be staying. However, we also sell non-locking bags whose advantage is in the initial savings to our customer. We do recommend that nothing valuable be left overnight in the non-locking saddlebags.




Now that you have decided which bag will fit your bike better the next step is to choose the right mounting hardware.

There are 3 types of mounting hardware’s available to you and each has its own advantages and disadvantages.

1- Quick Disconnect
2- Hard Mount
3- Throw Over

1. Quick Disconnect system
2. Hard mount kit
3. Throw over kit



rc dyna removed qds brackets


We recommend that our Quick Disconnect System be used with the standard plain bags instead of the Shock Cut Out models. The QDS system moves the bags approximately 2 inches off the side of the rear fender which would remove any need for the Shock Cut Out bag option. The QDS is ideal for the travelling rider who likes the added security of being able to bring the bags in while on the road or at home. What's more, the QDS makes cleaning and maintenance very easy and helps to prevent any unnecessary damage that can be caused during the cleaning / maintenance process. For shorter trips or just blasting around town, the QDS will make leaving those bags securely at home easy and effortless. 

rc dyna hard mount brackets


The Hard Mount Kit is a more long-term mounting option. The provided mounting brackets create a durable support on the back of the bags. This is a more permanent solution to mounting your bags versus our QDS system. This provides and added security feature to your bags while still maintaining a relatively pain free way to remove the bags. The Hard Mount Kit is easily taken off in a few minutes with the removal of two bolts on each side. The Hard Mount Kit is included for free with any Viking bag purchase.

rc dyna throw over brackets


For the more traditionalists out there, we offer Throw Over kit as well. The Throw Over kit is easily mounted under the seat using a yoke to connect each bag to one another. Using hardware which mounts to each fender, each bag gets strapped and fastened into place. The Throw Over option is a more temporary mounting selection than our other mounting options and is best for those who don’t have a need for bags very often or have bikes with special fitment issues. This option is only available on some of the smaller bags we offer, since the larger bags need a more solid mount.








Hopefully you have found this article interesting and helpful. If you are interested in purchasing saddlebags for your Harley-Davidson Sportster, you can select which Sportster you have and browse through our selection on our Harley-Davidson saddlebag page. If you have any questions please contact us following and one of our Motorcycle Luggage Experts will be happy to help you. For further information, Contact Us



A closer look at the various models will entail why you cannot simply get a generic accessory for your bike. If you have the Super Glide, Wide Glide or Street Bob model you will definitely need a turn signal relocation kit while the others may or may not need it. If you opt for a throw over saddle you will need a back seat. For the Dyna you will need to check the fit and space on each side for one will have to clear the exhaust while the other will have provide room to clear the belt guard. If you don’t want to opt for the Quick Disconnect System you will be advised to go for the shock cut out or slanted bags.