There are varying opinions about the use of saddlebag lid covers. Those against them argue they take away from the beautiful paint on the lid of the saddlebag. They also argue the lid covers take something away from the streamlined clean look of the saddlebags. Whatever your opinion, there are good reasons for using them as well.
Reasons To Install Saddlebag Lid Covers
I have found as age begins to catch up that my level of flexibility is somewhat diminished. I'm not as fit as in years past and I am finding it increasingly difficult to swing my leg over the bike to get on. Already I have found a couple of times where my boot has hit the top of the saddlebag lid and left a small scuff. Fortunately, it wasn't bad enough to damage the paint and was easily removed. The lid covers will protect those lids now from damage to the paint.
I recently went on a 3K mile road trip. The tail luggage I chose hung slightly over the saddlebag lid. When I open the lid it would rub slightly against the tail luggage. Using the Saddlemen Saddlebag Lid Covers protected the paint from scuffing while opening the lid with the tail luggage on.
Installing The Saddlemen Saddlebag Lid Covers
Installation takes a bit of work. Removing the saddlebag lid is the easy part. Getting the lid cover on takes some effort. It requires a lot of pulling and stretching to get it over the lid. You also need to take care not to strip out the bolts when reinstalling them. After they are installed it can be helpful to use a blow dryer over the material to help remove creases that have formed from being packaged. They won't come out completely but I found over time the crease marks that remained worked themselves out naturally. Having a helper to hold the saddlebag lid while removing and installing will make the job go a lot easier.
The instructions say to apply a clear liner or deep wax on the top of the saddlebag lid before installation. This is to prevent scratching. I thought the reason for installing them was to prevent scratching. I deep waxed the lids prior to installation as instructed. Only time will tell if I remove them whether scratches are formed on the lid.
I like the look of the covers and the protection they can give. When I was in Prescott, AZ a hail storm blew in and pelted my bike pretty hard as I stood on the porch of my historic hotel room and watched. I saw the hail bouncing off the saddlebag lid causing no damage to the paint. The lid cover protected it perfectly.
Maybe it's just me but it seems that the covers actually enhanced the color of the paint on the motorcycle. By breaking up the enormous amount of red it emphasized the red on the saddlebags. I also like how the bottom part of the leather from the lid covers blends into the bottom of the leather of the seat. It makes a nice visual line across the bike when seeing it from the side. I also like how it adds a bit of nostalgia from the denim and leather days by adding just a touch more leather to the bike.