Late last summer I added a leather tour pack to my 2004 Road King Custom. I was getting ready for last years road trip down the Oregon coast (you can read about it in several posts that start here). A great addition for the tour, but it also makes my commute much easier too. Of course it also helps that I like the look of the dressed-out touring bike and the leather tour pack looks great along with my hard leather saddle bags.
I only had one complaint. I don’t know if it’s my Corbin saddle or the mounting brackets that come from Harley-Davidson (it’s likely a combination of the two and doesn’t really matter) but the passenger room was just a wee bit snug. I really needed an extra inch or two to make it perfect, but after visiting the dealer I still came up short. Harley doesn’t offer any kind of extension and couldn’t (or wouldn’t) give me any suggestions as to where I might find a solution. I thought I was going to have to fabricate something myself. I didn’t need too much room and thought I could pull it off.
I think it was on the Biker Law Blog I read about George Anderson’s tour pack relocation bracket, which sounded like just the ticket. He doesn’t have a website, but Norman Fernandez (the blog author) included the contact information so I gave the manufacturer a call. You have to telephone to get the specifics on pricing and delivery (309-236-0952), but you’ll be greeted by a very friendly voice on the other end of the phone. When I described what I wanted to do, he told me that he wasn’t aware of anyone who had ever used his relocation bracket with a leather tour pack, but he thought it would work and would be happy to send me the bracket.
It was just under $200—not cheap, but it is a Harley part, so I wasn’t thinking it would be bargain-basement priced. If it saved me the time and headache of fabricating something myself, I was willing to pay the price. He said he was on the way to the post office and he’d take the bracket along with him and put it in the mail today. Since he doesn’t take credit cards, he told me to just send him a check. When I asked him about sending me the part before my check arrived he said, “You’re going to pay me aren’t you?” I wouldn’t be surprised if I received the part before he received the check. What’s more, although I sent him what he asked me for, he sent me back a $10 check with a note that he felt like I had overpaid. When’s the last time something like that happened to you? So far I was having a wonderful buying experience.
But it gets better.
When I opened up the package it included the part and two sets of fasteners (since this was a new installation, he must have wanted to make sure I had everything I needed). The bracket is a beautiful, black anodized, piece of art. And, I don’t say that lightly. I wish everything on the bike was as well-made as this bracket. He obviously had put some thought into how the bracket needed to attach to the rack on the bike and then the tour pack to the rack. Threaded inserts into perfectly aligned holes allowed me to fasten the bracket to the rack and then fasten the tour pack to the bracket. Harley-Davidson could learn a thing or two about how to make adjustable brackets from Mr. Anderson.
Installation was a snap, it took about 15-20 minutes (only because the included fasteners were just a little too long for my particular tour pack and I needed to find something else in my garage that would work). I was able to add just enough space between my backrest and the tour pack that it’s just about perfect. It’s so rare when quality and customer service are so incredible that your mind is completely blown, but this is one time that I can’t say enough good about the whole experience.
I wish Mr. Anderson had a website to make it easier for more people to find him. What’s more, the quality of the part was so beautiful I wish I had a reason to buy more. I don’t know Mr. Anderson, he’s not paying me to endorse his product, but when something exceeds my expectations this much, I can’t help but say something about it. I hope other aftermarket part manufacturers are paying attention.
It’s nice to know that sometimes things really do turn out better than expected.