Iron & Air DR350 Custom Saddlebag
words by Mike Linquist / photos by Jenny Linquist
Our product development process typically takes a few months, so when Greg from Iron & Air asked us to make a one-off bag for a bike they were building my first question was "when do you need it"? The bike was going to be in The One Show which wasn't for another 6 months. So, like any bike builder out there we blew 90% of the schedule imagining a kick ass finished product followed by a hectic 10% frantically trying to bring those dreams to life.
Greg showed us his plan for the bike build—a Suzuki DR with the clean lines of a vintage Japanese street bike and the capability of a modern dual sport. The tank was going to be a bright blue with a retro stripe design that reminded me of the vintage Suzuki TC trail bikes. Greg had also designed a simple rack that the bag could slip onto.
We wanted the bag to look like it belonged with the bike. The tank design stood out as a feature we wanted to echo, and Greg suggested we use an off-black canvas and brown leather. We decided to set the bag apart from our other goods by using a full compliment of copper plated hardware instead of our typical antique brass. After selecting the leather we ordered two hides—one for the bag and a second for the seat which Larson Upholstery was working on.
Making the first bag of any design can be a frustrating experience. There's always something you need to change, and at least one assembly step that doesn't go well. With that in mind we knew we wanted to make a few prototypes to flush out as many issues as we could. When we finally began assembling the final product everything was working out near perfect until the very last steps. At around 11pm we joined all the panels together and then turned the finished bag out. Unfortunately I had lined things up backwards and the fuel bottle pocket was on the wrong side! Our materials are unforgiving and we had to make an entirely new bag.
The second attempt turned out beautifully. We made some accessories with the extra leather and copper hardware and then shipped it all off to New Hampshire so the Iron & Air team could get it on the bike and ready for The One Show.