I live in the Kansas City area and found a place that sells leather scrap and dyed and finished hides.

I figured it would be easier to get a dye or paint to match the gray, so I bought a piece to match the underside tan.

Handlebar Fringe

The hide above was suede on both sides.

The light side matched the back of the Millennium fringe almost exactly.  In order to get a good match, I took my seat in and spent an hour finding the right piece.  The hide only cost me $22.00.


Frankly I am not sure how mixing the dye and paint will hold up, but we will see!  i also finished it with some acrylic paint finisher that is supposed to keep it from flaking or whatever.  I am not worried as the piece I used it on was rough-out or suede on both sides so it should soak in fine and last.   (update - This lasted great with no fading or flaking.)

I used gray leather dye with a little light gray acrylic paint mixed together.  I spend some $$ on trying different shades of gray paint before I settled on this combo.  

I decided to do fringe on the levers.  I measured the length and width of the levers and marked my leather.  I decided on 20" fringe.  Kinda long but I figured I could cut it if I wanted it shorter.

 

 I used a cheap set of fringe I had previously bought to get the hole layout. Notice I had dyed them gray in some of my first attempts!

In order to cut the fringe into somewhat even and "professional" looking strips, I clamped the whole piece on some scrap granite I had.  This allowed me to get really clean cuts.  I then punched the holes for the lacing.

I cut a strip of the leather for the lace and put the finished fringe set on the levers.  

I thought they looked a little "plain" so I cut another strip and used the reverse side to wind in a criss-cross pattern in order to jazz it up a little.

Motorcycle Leatherwork

Windshield Bag Garage Opener

Then I drilled a hole in the side of the bag slightly smaller that the diameter of a short bolt. I screwed in the bolt to the hole so it stuck into the side of the bag.

I made sure the bolt stuck into the bag far enough that when I pushed it it would activate the garage door opener, but it would not touch it unless pushed.

I drilled a couple of holes all the way through the bag and put in a couple of bolts.  I could then slide the opener in with the button facing the outside. I was lucky that the opener fit well into this bag.  I did have to sand the bottom corners so it fit in all the way.

Stick in the opener and now I just push the bolt head to open the door!  Whew...That was SO much easier than all that hard work before!

I did a mod on the handlebar bag some of you may be interested in.  I used to carry my garage door opener in it.  Then, because I am lazy as hell, I thought, "What a pain to have to stop the bike, open my bag, get out the opener and open the door!

 WAAAH...so hard...
 
SO...here is the mod.
 

Leather Bag Upgrades

I had a couple of bags from my old XJ1100 that were in good shape.  I decided to try to get them to match by adding some gray to the otherwise 'plain old black' bags.  I also decided to try to personalize them to my NDN.  

 

Here is the process and the results.

I began with a handlebar bag I had.  I painted the leather braid punched a couple of holes in the front.

I found some Indian vest buttons from the Gilroy era and decided to use them to decorate both my windshield and tool bags to match them up with each other and the bike.

I used a bent long pin through the button hole and then the holes in the leather.

On the back I twisted the pin around a piece of leather, clipped it and the leather and then glued a piece of leather over it to make it smooth.

I attached horsehair tassels courtesy of my horse, Domingo.    And Voila!

On my front tool bag I did the same basic technique and added a large Indian Head Concho in the middle.

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