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Enduro saddlebags for BMW motorcycles

by Duane Ausherman

This is a collection of photos and information from BMW riders and collectors.  I include photos of similar perspective in case one shows some aspect that another does not.  Please feel free to add information and photos.  Scans of original mounting instructions would be great.

Many /2 owners loved the cosmetic design of the Enduro bags.  Since they had emblems attached, many thought that they were made by BMW, not so, but by a company in New England, USA.  The design was unique in that the bags were mounted against the fender and the result was a narrower profile for the same luggage space.  All other brands wasted a lot of space between the bag and fender.  I always felt that this space could be a factor in adding to any tendency to wobble.  The Earles fork models were not especially prone to wobble. 

One defect was that the bag lids were only attached by a very small ball chain.  Somehow the lid would come loose while riding and the chains easily snapped.  Selling spare lids was a good business.  I think I remember that later on Enduro went to a small wire rope for attachment and that worked out better. 

The shape shown here wasn't originally made for the /2.  It was more slender and less of a bulge.  The /5 design was fatter and wider.

The original Enduro mounting instructions suggested cutting off most of the lever arm for adjusting the ride on the shock.  Enduro provided a 4" long tube to use as an extension on the shortened lever.  One had to dismount the bag to get access, but they dismounted quite easily.  I hated doing that and instead, just took the shocks apart and rotated the lever 180 degrees to operate on the inside.  They were hard to reach, but one could leave everything stock.  The PO of this set of bags decided to cut a hole in them to allow the lever to rotate.  The current owner repaired the hole, as shown in the photo. 

The mounting system had a clamp that went around the muffler.  Water would collect under the clamp and rust out the muffler at that point.  These bags are again being manufactured by Luxor Marine


Make your own mounts.

Steve Sawtelle made his own mounts and wrote it up on his website.  Go to http://mysite.verizon.net/swsawtelle/beemer.html to read about it.

Lid chain and hasp information

Thanks Gary Jebsen

This shows the original chain that attached the lid to the bag.  It was famous for breaking and the lid would be lost.

This is the first chain that commonly broke and allowed the bag lid to get lost on the road.

Thanks John Sudlow

Chains and hasps for the Enduro bag lids.  This is the good chain.

This chain is made up of flat pieces and is quite strong.  This chain replaced the (above) typical light pull chain made with those round little balls.  The hasp was famous for vibrating loose and the lid would fly off, break the chain and be lost.  I sold lots of the bag lids.  The little pieces next to the hasps are the catches mounted on the lids.


For those with more interest in the Enduro teardrop bags

    They were produced in Connecticut by Stanley Newman, with the aid of his wife.  Stanley's vocation and area of expertise was as a plant manager.  The bags were a sideline and labor of love.  When he retired, production ceased:  He had no son to pass the business on to, and at the time no one was interested in buying the company.   

    The bags were made by placing sheets of plastic over heavy aluminum dies, heating them, and then applying a vacuum.   The original model was designated the AA.  Later the model BB was introduced, which was a wider version of the original, designed to not increase the width of the bike, while being able to accommodate a helmet.  Or at least helmets of the era.  I use both models but my full face helmet won't fit in either size bag.  Without placing the two different bags side by side, you might be hard pressed to tell the difference, but it becomes immediately evident if you try to interchange the lids.  For a time both models were available simultaneously, with a choice of black, snow white, and dover white, but the AA's were eventually phased out.

   The weak link [ha ha] was the bead chain attaching the bag and lid together. With the chain being the same as the one on that porcelain light fixture in your cellar and those lids making a dandy sail, one usually learned the hard way.  

   A letter from enduro dated July 1978, tells that a set of BB bags were $167.75, lids were available separately for $24.10, plus postage. For perspective, in my area in 1978, a showroom /2 could be had for $1200 - $1500.

    When the BMW /5 appeared, Stanley designed bags for it that mimicked the shape of that early /5  gas tank.  They would carry full helmets.  Except for using dies being made of aluminum shot lined fiberglass, the bags were produced the same way.  He also produced models to fit BSA, Moto Guzzi, and Triumph.  Enduro bags were sold primarily in the USA, but they had clientele worldwide.  And never advertised!

Hi George, I got them and can easily read them too. Thanks so much for this info. Am I correct in understanding that Enduro made basically three bags? The AA, BB and the /5 type?

Hi Duane- I would answer that question by saying he made those three types of bags for the BMW's. I answer like that because he also made bags for Triumph and Guzzi, but do not know if those were the same bags adapted for those bikes or whether they were separate designs: I've never seen any but the BMW bags. He retired and stopped production after the /5 model.

Regarding the Enduro bags, I have a set under my desk right here beside me that I never remounted to my R50/US after I bought it used in 1978.  The surfaces of my bags are absolutely glass smooth, not the pebble finish indicated in the pictures.  Each of the lids are attached by a flat "folded link" chain rather than a bead-type bathroom fixture chain or cable.  All other features appear to be identical to your photos including the latches, mounting hardware, running lights and badges.

John Sudlow


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This page was last edited: 12/04/2006 - copyright Duane Ausherman
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