50 Caliber Saddlebags

A brief lesson in building saddlebags from Army ammo boxes.

1) Buy Ammo boxes. Go to any military surplus store, they're around $6 to $10 apiece

2) Drill holes for mounting brackets, turn signals, turn signal wires. Drill the upper bracket holes, then fit the box to the bike. Then you'll be able to see where to drill the holes for the lower brackets.

3) Paint.

4) Mount.

These boxes are pretty tough, made of steel and have a nice, heavy rubber gasket in the lid that makes for a nice, tight seal. You can see a handle dangling down from the back of the box in some of the photos. That's for holding the box while opening it. I've added a strip of reflective tape to mine to increase visibility and maintain the black & white color scheme of the bike.

Photos follow

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Side View


50 Caliber Saddlebags

3/4 Rear View


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Rear View


50 Caliber Saddlebags

Mounting View


50 Caliber Saddlebags

Hardware Used.

The rubber strips were cut from an inner tube, and go between the pipe straps and the rack.

The box was drilled with 2 lower mounting holes, after a test ride with only the top part mounted, I think one lower bracket would be sufficient.

The holes in the pipe strap had to be drilled out to accomodate the bolts. If you do end up have to drill out the strap holes, hold the strap with pliers, and as closely to the drill bit as reasonable. Otherwise the bit will grab the strap, causing it to spin and your hand to get well sliced.


50 Caliber Saddlebags

Forgot to mention -

Cut the handle off of the boxes before painting, but loop the loops the handle is attached to. These give you two more anchoring points for bungee cords.

By installing two of these saddlebags, you also increased the useful width of your rear rack by 10-11 inches.

Re: 50 Caliber Saddlebags

very crafty there Ro

i was gonna do this to a project until i got the itch to do the old-time ped, so most of my other projects went to the wayside, and parts got sold, etc, etc.

i'm converting a pair of old oil lamps to electric, so that's a bunch of fun.

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Do you mean the old coach lantern type that were used on early cars?

It brings to mind the car in Escape From New York ... the Cadilac with exterior chandeliers. Though that's several eras and a sea of questionable taste removed from coach lights.

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Nice work!

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Thang yuh, thang yuh vurry much

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good job! I like it.

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yuppers carriage style lights, got them through egay for 30 bux, de-rusted them and found barely visible ford symbols on them, went "ooohhh, nifty!" then immediately re-painted them semi-gloss black, i plan on copper leafing the top dome and the lens ring, but they are already functional! i took apart a pair of leftover chrysler pacifica plastic forglight housings and modded them to fit inside the lamps the wires come out where the wick adjuster was. i'll post pics when i'm not feeling so lazy.

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A brass plating might look good (if it sticks to whatever metal they're made of) and would be pretty durable too.

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That is sweet!

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Vimy Ridgeway /

Nice, real nice. Just wonder if you'd give us an update later as to how effective the pipe strap is holding the box to the body. My experience with pipe straps have been temporary. My first thought is that weight and general wear and tear will cause it to bend and tear at the hole mount unless there is a supporting mount at the bottom, but I could be wrong and would be interested to hear about how much weight you carried in it and how it held up.

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nice job, but wouldn't 2 boxes look better with turning signals?

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It held alright for a few days until I had time to plug the unneeded mounting holes and add a new one in the correct position, and then strap the bottom of the box to the rack. The only real problem I had with only mounting it at the top was that it would swing and slap the rack on ocasion, otherwise it seemed to be holding up ok. The holes in the strap had to be drilled, and since I didn't have the correct bit they had to be diagonally reamed to be made big enough. They ended up being a tight enough fit so thatthe bolts had to be screwed through them. Between that and the large flat washers I'm guessing that there won't be enough flex in it for the straps to get damaged.

The heaviest load I've had in it so far was either 2 large cans of engine cleaner, a can of chain lube, a bottle of Slime (tm), an an 8 pack of Pop Tarts. There was no problem with the weight.

It's on 3 straps now, everything is nice and tight, and I just picked up so of that shelf liner that looks somewhat like Chex cereal. Things do tend to make a bit of noice rattling around in a steel box...

The second box is drying right now and will probably go on tomorrow.

The only additional bit of work after that will be lengthening the turn signal wires so they can be routed against the inside wall of the box rather than hanging loose.

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The second box is on, so here it is in stereo -

Photo 1


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Photo 2


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Photo 3

The only problem so far has been the paint coming off around the latch, but that's to be expected.


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Congratulations. Your moped is now officially wider that a Smart car. Looks cool though. boxy = good.

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