mrfreeze54 and Karl.
Here is my setup, finally. I know the bags are a little worn now... had them for a year, and they did save my girlfriend from falling off the bike after nailing a pothole near San Antonio last year. Total cost about $230. They come off pretty easily, but I never take em off... too convenient.
I ordered by V-Rod with the leather saddlebags installed. I like the looks and the storage, and they're soft.
Then I purchased the American Custom Paint molded fiberglass paint set from DH. The rear fender is wider and sculpted, which is really nice. Except the soft leather saddlebags had to spaced out about an inch each to miss the fender. I could see the spacers and it looked really bad being spaced away from the rear tail-lights.
I changed bags to the hard saddlebags. They fit with the ACP rear fender and rear tail lights better. They are spaced with a wider gap between the fender and the saddlebag, which loses storage space but allows for a wider fender. But the hard bags hold a lot less. The soft leather bags give with the shape and hold more stuff even though they don't look like it.
The soft leather saddlebag holds my fully-lined really heavy leather jacket, rolled up, with room on the top of the leather jacket for a hat, and the little side pockets hold glasses, camera, cigars, gloves, etc. which are easy to get to.
The frame work is the same for both bags and the install isn't difficult.
I have the soft leather saddlebags for sale with all the brackets and instruction sheet if you want to buy them. I have no use for them and they're looking for a home (and I need the money to help pay for the hard bags I had to buy). $520 (including shipping to U.S. address) if you want them ($800 H-D list price). Just don't get them if you're going to get the trick rear fender by American Custom Paint.
Ken, I did get the program... I guess you saw the other post... thanks again.
Ed, They are Saddleman bags... Drifter slant large I think. Will get part #s for you all. The buckles can be locked with little padlocks, and the straps are leather so you can shove quite a bit in there. I had a set with the velcro closure... couldnt lock em, couldnt over pack em, and the buckles on these look good with the bike IMO. I love the look of the HD soft bags, but for 1/4 the price...
In Austin last year we were able to lock 2 half helmets in there. My side is usually full of emergency stuff... allen wrenches, tire guage, rain gear, extra gloves, face covers, disc locks, bungi cords.... the SO's side is for her emergency gear... purse, makeup... you know, essentials.
I have the molded leather HD bags. I really like them. Keeps a place for the rain gear and other things. They only take about 15 minutes to remove from the bike if you want them off.
I did have a problem with the initial install where the shock mount bolt has to come out to install the saddlebag bracket mount. I took it to the dealer and had them do that for me (for $10). Overall easy install...