so, today my new backrest arrived. here-in lies the initial review and installation of the backrest. i almost forgot to continue taking pictures once i started the installation...lol. i apologise for the blurriness of some of the shots. my little digital camera's auto focus is a little willy-nilly.
first off, Cruiser Backrest did a great job of shipping it to me. the box took a beating, but everything was wrapped really well and there was no damage to the actual contents. i expected it to be in worse shape for the distance it travelled (Miami to New Brunswick, Canada).
once unpacked, this is what you have:
upper left, backrest with pad. upper right, brackets sealed in plastic on cardboard. the bolts and nuts needed are sealed in there as well. bottom, the luggage rack. nothing was damaged due to the fact that it was all wrapped in foam and sealed in plastic.
the backrest itself is quite soft and has a really neat feature. the bottom of the pad has three snaps that give access to the interior padding. this would make it really easy to replace it if needed. also, the padding is wrapped in plastic which protects it from the elements.
this leads me to my first irk with this backrest. i'm afraid that those snaps will slowly rust to pieces or rust shut. i live in the maritimes and we get plenty of fog and rain. as a matter of fact, it's raining and foggy right now. my bike is a 2006 and it already has some small rust spots on it. we'll see how long these snaps last.
these are the only tools you will need:
we have one ratchet with a socket adaptor, a 100mm thumb wrench, an 8mm socket and a 12mm socket. that's it, that's all you need...well, aside from your hands and knees. ;)
ok, here is the part where i forgot to take pictures.
guess i was just too excited...lol. i'll just do the explanation here. i had to remove the two rear bolts that hold the chrome brace to the fender. be careful when doing this as there are little washers mounted with these bolts. i'm guessing that they are used to protect the chrome underneath. with that done i mounted the brackets with the longer bolts that came with the kit. first i put the bolt through the bracket, then put the original washer on the bolt. after that, i just used the 12mm socket to tighten them up. here i come across another irk. this one is more aimed at Honda. i'm not keen on mounting the brackets to the outside of the original chrome on the bike. at some point i may turn this bike into a one man cruiser and i won't be happy if the chrome is scratched or marred. that's why i put the washers where i said. hopefully they will protect the chrome...fingers crossed.
i assembled everything piece by piece on the bike. you could just have easily put it all together first and then mounted it. i did it piece by piece because the fully assembled backrest is a rather snug fit and i didn't want to risk scratching the original chrome on the bike, or anything else for that matter.
ok, with the brackets on we now have a choice. they pack two sets of bolts for attaching the backrest and luggage rack. if you only want the backrest, just use the short bolts. if you want the backrest and the luggage rack, use the longer ones.
here is the point where some people would rather assemble it before putting it on the bike. i had to balance the luggage rack on my knees while i straddled the rear fender. then i had to slip the backrest on and put a long bolt in either side. it was a bit of a balancing act, but i like causing myself trouble like that...lol. the backrest held itself in place pretty easy due to the fact that it is a really tight fit.
here i am putting one of the small nuts on one of the longmounting bolts. as you can see, there isn't a lot of room to play around. you are very close to the fender here and once you get the thumb wrench in, you have no room for slip ups. i've already got on chip on my fender (no idea how) and i wasn't in the mood for another. as you can see, the backrest goes on the inside of the brackets and the luggage rack goes on the outside.
once you have snugged the nuts and bolts by hand, pop out the ratchet, the 8mm socket and the thumb wrench. use the thumb wrench to hold the nut and ratchet those nuts snug.
be very careful when tightening them up. these bolts are quite small and i'm sure that it wouldn't take much to twist the head right off or strip them. once they are nice and tight (careful with that thumb wrench next to the paint!) you can see how well all three pieces flow together.
a little addition here that i wouldn't have thought of normally. i grabbed the top of the backrest and jiggled it to see if anything would move. lo and behold, the pad actually moved. it either worked loose from shipping or it was sent this way. regardless, there are too small bolts that you can snug up right on the back, just use the 8mm socket.
i did a final once over and made sure the rest of the bolts were nice and secure and wiped off the myriad of finger prints. after that, it was gear up time. i hit the road with my ratchet in my pocket. i stopped every now and then to make sure everything stayed tight, which it did.
i was actually wondering if this would look ugly on the bike or take away from it's looks. but now that i look at the pictures, i like it. the luggage rack is solid (rated for 2.7 kg or 6 lbs), the back pad is comfortable (yes i sat up there to test it :)) and over all it's a nice match to the Sabre.
install: easy (with minor acrobatics)
longevity: in testing