Replacing Police "Hockey Puck" Bag Latches (PICS!)

Discussion in 'Police Bikes' started by ocezam, Aug 7, 2011.

  1. ocezam

    ocezam Member

    There is a lot of discussion on this and other web sites about the pros and cons of the police saddlebag latches, affectionately called "Hockey Pucks" for obvious reasons. I’ve certainly had both positive and negative feelings about mine in the approximately four months I’ve owned a retired police bike/Cop Glide. Some people think the pucks are an eyesore. Others think they look fine. Still others don’t care for their appearance but keep them because they display the proud heritage of a select number of motorcycles that have spent some of their life in public service. I can see and understand each of these views.

    Personally I didn’t care for the looks of the pucks, but did like the easy one handed operation. I might have left the pucks on the bike if it weren’t for a persistent problem with them coming open while riding. It’s more than slightly embarrassing when, on my way home from a major motorcycle rally (Red River, New Mexico every Memorial Day) a rider (on a Victory no less!) flags me down on the interstate to tell me my bag is flopping wide open. Luckily I didn’t loose anything, but reaching around to keep tightening the pucks every 50 miles is a drag. Several people both in person, and on the ‘net, have given me advice on how to adjust the pucks so they’d stay closed. I tried these methods at least four different times. The latches got better, but they would still vibrate loose in time.

    I spent a few months scouring the internet for solutions to this problem. There are quite a few different kits out there to replace the pucks. All of them seem to have drawbacks, even the kit that I finally settled on.

    There seem to be three basic types of latches based on how they operate:

    Group 1 the operator pushes a button that then pops up, and then turns the “button”, like the pucks were turned, and the latch is released. These latches have a smooth, flush appearance with the top of the bag.

    Group 2 the operator simply pushes a button and the latch is released. Some of these latches are flush with the bag and some stick up approx. 1/2 inch from the surface of the bag.

    Group 3 only has 1 model that I am aware of. These latches operate by putting a key into them and turning. They are semi-flush with the bag. They only stick up approx. 1/8 inch.

    I like the ones that fit as close to flush to the bag as possible, but didn’t want to have to carry another key. I didn’t really like the ones that sat flush with the bag but popped up after hitting the button because you still needed to turn the button to unlatch the lid. Also all of the ones like this that I could find are made of plastic. There are a lot of posts around the ‘net about these plastic latches breaking. Or bending, and then they come open just like the pucks do. Also a problem with most of these kits is they require you to enlarge the hole in your bag. Enlarging this hole will preclude you from going back to pucks should you decide you want to in the future.

    I kept looking. In the end, I was only able to find two kits whose latches were made entirely of metal.

    One of them had to have a key to operate. I didn’t want to have to have another key on my ring.

    The other was a simple chrome push button. Additionally this latch fit into the stock hole in the saddlebag! This meant I could go back to my Hockey Pucks if i decided to at a later time. The only two drawbacks to this kit were; It doesn’t sit flush with the bag. It sits about 1/2 inch up, not quite as far as the puck did though. And at $79 it was about twice as expensive as most of the other kits. I thought this would be the best solution for me and decided to go with this kit.

    I bought it from Squad Fitters:

    Die-Cast Zinc (Metal) Chrome Push-Button Latch Kit | Squadfitters

    They also sell some nice Harley bar and shield logo bolts to hide the holes in the bags where the rivets were. They want like $25 bucks for these bolts but you can buy them at Zanotti’s for around $17 or check with your local dealer. They are an official Harley Davidson part number 94114-02. These bolts do require you enlarge the holes 1/16” to 1/4” total. The latch kit comes with black plastic plugs to fill the holes but I don’t think they’d look too good and the holes would have to be enlarged to 3/8” to use them! No way was I going to drill my holes that big!!! You could get some allen bolts in stainless steel or chrome at 3/16” or smaller and not drill the holes larger at all. I chose the expensive bar and shield bolts because I thought they looked good and they are flat enough that I will use them to reinstall the Hockey Pucks if I ever decide to do that.

    So follow along while I replace my Pucks...

    Here’s a pic of the Pucks in question:

    First I removed the actual puck the way the Harley shop manual tells you to. Pry up on the plastic puck 'til it comes off. Use some masking tape on the bag to keep from scratching it. Take your time, it will lift off:

    Under the puck is a foam gasket to keep the rain out:

    Use a 3/16” bit to drill out the rivets holding the latches to the bag:

    The latch will drop from the bag:

    Peel the foam gasket from the bag:

    Use some Goo Gone to remove all of the foam’s adhesive. It will look like this:

    After using the “Goo Gone” get some Meguier’s Scratch X 2.0 and Meguier’s Ultimate Polish to remove the scratches that were probably around your Hockey Pucks:

    Here is what you get for $79.95

    Drop them into the hole. Tighten the nut. Bend the stock “catch” inside the bag a little inward toward the latch. Adjust the “catch” upward as far as the stock travel allows. For me that is all I had to do. The latches close perfectly. All that is left is to install the Bar and Shield bolts to fill the empty holes.

    Here are some misc. pics:

    The latches close very securely and seem like they will last a long time. If I don’t update this post in the coming weeks/months it means they are doing well for me.

    Here are a few venders that sell specific latch kits:

    Die-Cast Zinc (Metal) Chrome Push-Button Latch Kit | Squadfitters



    Police Motorcycle Accessories

    There are others. Do some searching before you decide.

    For me the Squad Fitters kit seems to be a good match. The latches close very securely and seem like they will last a long time. If I don’t update this post in the coming weeks/months it means they are doing well for me.

    Ride safe!

    Sorry for the quality of some of the pics. I'm not a photographer.

    MAX size for pictures posted on the forum is 800 X 600. Oversize pictures will be removed. Your pics were 3 times that size.

    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 7, 2011
  2. TripleJ

    TripleJ Senior Member

    Excellent write up with pics and all. Definitely an improvement over the "Hockey Puck" look. Well done :D
  3. glimmerman

    glimmerman Active Member

    i bought these in chrome from a place in PA. southco was the name i think. wasn't too far south of phila. i used harley bar and shield license plate bolts to fill the rivet holes. smooth look, no problems. latches have been in for 4 years and work great. used permatex pipe sealant instead of silicone to seal against water leaks. also acts as a thread locker as well.