I took the ole gal out for about a 30 mile loop through some two lane curvy countryside on a beautiful, georgous day. Was doing a final check on my XM radio setup and softside saddle bag hookups. I have made numerous trips previously although less than 15 miles with no problem.
The ride was peaceful and very enjoyable, traffic very light and I was pretty much all to myself through the 2 lane stuff. Got to the last leg which was superslab for the last 7 miles. Doing 76 or so indicated at about 4500 rpm's. After about 3 miles at this speed a small car pulled up beside me and hung just back far enough that I couldn't see the occupants. We were on a 6 lane area at this time. 3 lanes each way. They then surged ahead slightly and then dropped back again. It was getting on my nerves. What they were in fact doing was trying to determine if my engine was blown or I was on fire. Yep. On fire. They flagged me over and I was able to read the passengers lips as he shouted..."you are on fire!!!" Talk about pucker factor. I knew he was dead serious although I didn't believe it till I was almost stopped and the smoke boiled past me. The exhaust side was in full flames by the time I jumped off. I burned my fingers getting the saddlebag loose. Luckily it was carrying just a few hand rags from working on the bike and a large soft drink from Burger King that I used to put out most of the fire. The bike got some very slight smoke damage that will easily be repaired.
I am very fortunate that those guys came along when they did. I owe them a nice steak dinner. Ever watch the show East Coast Choppers where the family builds custom bikes for the rich and famous? Well this guy was a dead ringer for the dad... handlebar mustache and all. Maybe it was him who knows?
All I know is I was very glad to get home and clean the mess up and still be in one piece.
I discovered what started the fire by the way. I put an additional spacer on the exhaust shield at the rear of the muffler just to give alittle more space between the bag and the pipe. I thought it was fire proof. Not. I have used these bags in the past with no problem on the highway so I'm sure that was the problem. Oh well. No saddlebags no more. :roll: