Since acquiring the vintage Honda saddlebags a few months ago, I’ve been wanting to get them cleaned and treated. Several people suggested that I take them to a tack shop, but my work schedule has effectively prevented that. Doing some on-line research, I learned that what I needed to do was to lightly clean the dust and dirt off with a slightly damp cloth, then treat the leather with saddle soap.
I didn’t know any saddle soap connoisseurs, so I did more research on-line, and quickly learned that discussing saddle soap brands among the horse folk is akin to the religious wars that motorcyclists have regarding brands of motor oil. I did notice a favorite among the brands discussed, a product called Leather New, so I placed an order with Amazon.com.
This morning, armed with my Leather New saddle soap, I rubbed and polished my dry saddlebags per the instructions. I’m pleased with the results. The bags have retained the patina of age, but have a shinier, ‘warmer’ color. The leather has a softer feel, and should repel moisture better. The bags should look nice on the ’65 Honda when it’s put back together.