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ST1300 Saddlebag Keys

(Supplementals: Fairing Pocket and Givi Trunk)

How-To Instructions

I decided to make some saddlebag keys after seeing them on Mark Lawrence's website. I didn't find a tutorial and even though it isn't the toughest thing in the world I did spend some time trying to get the things I needed. I liked the ones where you could put a pointer knob on the key because it has a very clean look after you're finished and it also tells you if the lock is open or closed all the way unlike using a plain black cap. You can find references as to where to get the knobs and the key blanks further down on this page. It also covers other details that I wasn't able to find anywhere else.

This isn't the most difficult thing in the world but it does take some skill with a rotary tool. I tried to find a way to do this without a rotary tool and maybe you could heat up the key and melt it into the knob but that sounds dangerous and I would end up with a tattoo of my key on my hand so since I already had a dremel tool handy I went that route. So I'm sorry but if you want to do this you'll have to pick up a variable speed rotary tool, preferably one that also has the flexible extension shaft on it. This will make it a lot easier for the fine work. You may have to pick up a few different bits too but those are easy to get at most hardware stores and I spent my money finding the right ones so you wouldn't have to spend money on ones that you don't need. The ones I decided to use are listed below. They are Dremel bits but you can find similar bits by other manufacturers. I describe the ones I chose and included the part numbers if you want to compare some other bits against the ones I used. There links for each that describe the bit in great detail on Dremel's site.

If you would rather have a cleaner solution, although you still may have to grind or cut your keys, you can try some Key Caps from the Wunderlich catalog. Although they come with BMW logos on them they will probably work after modifying your key for it. They can be seen on Page 4 of the PDF linked as "Accessories for all models (34 pgs, 4.4 MB)". You may have to contact BMW of Santa Cruz to order them. The price is about $23/each. This solution, minus the tools, is about $8 per key not including the tools. If you have to buy the rotary tool, flex shaft, and the bits you're looking at about $100 but you always spend more on tools than the job you're working on anyway.

So if you're ready to get started we can go through the parts and tools list to see if you have everything you need to get started. There isn't much needed but you will need the dreaded and deadly rotary tool.

Cost:  ~$8 / key

Difficulty:  7 (requires some skill with a rotary tool)

Parts List:


The first thing here is that you can find the knobs for this project at any decent hardware store that carries the Hillman Fastener series or the Serv-a-lite Fastener series. Each one carries the same knob made by the same manufacturer. The only difference between the two was the price. The knob is made by Daka-Ware out of Chicago so it doesn't matter which one you find except for the price. The Hillman one was a little cheaper and doing a Google search on Daka-Ware Knob will show some places selling them for about the same price. The cheapest I found was 45 cents each but it was easier to just run to the store.

Knob Information:

  • Daka-Ware Knob MFG#: 8-301, carried commonly by hardware stores from the following two companies
  • Hillman Fasteners: 55247-E
    (Drawer 55247, Pointer Knob), $2.40
  • Servalite Fasteners: AK-1500
    (Drawer AK-6-36, Appliance Knobs), $3.10
  • 1 1/8" Diameter
  • 1/4" Shaft Hole
  • 8-32 Set Screw

The keys are fairly easy to get if you have the right information. Again Hillman carries the key blank you need but ilco supplies the blanks for Hillman right now. If you can get it at a hardware store I would do that because the locksmith will charge you double. The key is actually used by some Honda automobiles I guess but it also works for your bike.

Key Blank Information:

  • Ignition/Bags, Hillman (ILCO) Info: X265 HD109 (HD109 is what they will probably look it up by)
  • Honda Top Box, Hillman (ILCO) Info: X132 (X132 is a Volkswagon Key)

Getting it Done:

After ruining three knobs I finally got the hang of how to do this so maybe this will save you some time and money. The first thing is that these knobs are not indestructable. Do not press them down on a hard surface when trying to insert the key or they will crack. Second, do not force the set screw in when you are trying to get it to fit in after inserting the key. The set screw doesn't need to grab onto the key it just needs to press up against it. Using any kind of force will cause the top of the knob to crack. This is how I lost 2 of the 3 I ruined. The other was ruined by pressing down to hard with dremel bit #113 and drilling a hole through the knob. Oops.

Here's a quick run down of the steps to do this. I'll go into detail on some parts that are helpful but this is pretty much the processed I used after the first three unsuccessful attempts:

Step By Step:

  • Measure the depth of the knob hole:
    [small]  [large]
  • Add the depth to the key starting at the first cut on the key
    [small]  [large]
  • Mark where to cut and notch the key:
    [small]  [large]
  • Cut out the notch for the set screw first using the cut-off wheel:
    [small]  [large]
  • Cut the key to length using the cut-off wheel:
    [small]  [large]
  • Square off the end of the key using the cut-off wheel:
    [small]  [large]
  • Remove the set screw from the knob:
    [small]  [large]
  • Use the cut-off wheel to mark a straight notch in the knob across the hole:
    [small]  [large]
  • Start the top of each side of the key slots using bit #193:
    [small]  [large]
  • Continue to dremel the key slots fully until the key will just start to fit:
    [small]  [large]
  • When the slots are completed square them off some with bit #113:
    [small]  [large]
  • Continue using bit #113 until the key slides into the knob and the notch lines up with the set screw hole:
    [small]  [large]
  • Put the set screw in and make sure it goes in easily until it sets the key:
    [small]  [large]
  • Back out the screw and remove the key, then add JB Kwik Weld the hole:
    [small]  [large]
  • Insert the key, put in the set screw carefully, and touch up the JB Kwik Weld:
    [small]  [large]
  • Repeat as necessary

Here's the Breakdown

To get started you need to figure out where to cut the key and where to notch the key to allow the set screw to be used with the key. The locks are slightly raised in the middle which allows the knob to meet flush against the bottom of the knob so this means we can put the key in the lock and mark the key. You'll notice that the spot at which the first notch starts on the key is where it meets the top of the lock, shown here.

In order to get the right length you'll also need to measure the depth of the hole in the knob. Forget the tape measure. I used a toothpick and marked it at the top of the hole. Now we add this distance to the length of the key starting at the point where the key meets the lock to get the spot to cut it. Lay the toothpick on the key, match up the mark on the toothpick with the mark where the key came out of the lock, and then mark the spot for the cut.

Next would be to mark the spot on the key that must be notched in order to accomodate the set screw. You really can't do this until you have the key inserted into the knob but you can mark a toothpick inserted into the knob to get the center point of where it needs to be cut. Once you have the center marked on the key just use the width of the set screw to mark out the spot that needs to be removed. You want the notch to be at least as wide as the set screw. You can make it a little wider to make sure it doesn't bind when you screw it in. The set screw is just to prevent the key from coming out. It doesn't have to provide any stability so having the notch a little wider won't hurt. Once you have it notched you can use it as a template to make the remaining keys but you'll want to wait until you're able to insert it into the knob later and check the size and position.

Now put the key in a vise and use the rotary tool with a cut-off disc to notch the key, cut the key off, and square off the end of the key so it sits flush on the bottom of the hole when you put it in the knob. Put the knob in a clamp, I use the quick clamps with rubber feet so it doesn't damage the knob. Note there is a notch on the back on the knob that lines up with the pointer on the top of the knob. You can use this as a reference to line up the slot you'll need to cut. The key slot is parallel to the pointer on the knob. By doing this the knob will point to the correct lock and unlock indicators on the saddlebags.

You can now use the cut-off wheel to mark the slots that need to be cut on either side of the hole in the knob. This is a good way to get a straight line across the hole to give a reference for the spots that need to be cut later to create the key slot. Make sure to get it straight and lined up with the reference notch. Next you'll want to know how wide to cut the slots on each side of the hole. There is a small circle around the outside of the center hole on the knob. That is just about the right width and makes a good reference for how far to cut into the knob.

This is a very tedious process of removing some material and then testing. You don't want to remove too much or too little. Do not try and force the key into the knob or you will crack the knob and have to start over. Use bit #193 because it onlys cuts side to side which makes it difficult to accidentally drill through the bottom of the hole when making the slot. The bit's diameter is very close to the thickness of the key which makes ideal for the initial cutting. Start by removing enough material on either side of the hole to just get the top of the key to sit in the slot. This means you have the width right and can now work down into the knob. Using the #193 bit remove more material stopping occasionally to remove the dust build up so you can see what you're doing. You should eventually work the slots to the bottom of the hole so that the bottom of the slots are flush with the bottom of the hole. Do not force the bit when it's at the bottom of the hole or you'll drill through the knob. There's only about 1/16" of thickness at the bottom of the hole before you go through the top of the knob.

Now that you have the majority of the slot cut you can use bit #113 to finish up the slots. Bit #113 is narrower and will allow you to square off the corners of the slots a little more. Now the key should start to slide down into the slot. Remove some material, check the key, and then repeat this until you're able to insert the key so it sits flush with the bottom of the hole and hopefully the set screw notch lines up with the set screw hole. By far this is the hardest part of the project so take your time. You may have to adjust the width of the set screw notch you cut earlier at this time. Make sure you adjust the other keys also if you used your first key as a template.

If everything lines up it wouldn't hurt to check it in your lock now. Make sure that the base of the knob is flush against the lock. Here's an attempt I made that is off. If it doesn't sit flush just shorten the key a little by grinding on it with the cut-off wheel on the end that you cut earlier. You want to make sure that the key is sitting flush in the bottom of the hole before you start cutting anymore of the key off so double check it before you cut anymore off. When you've got the length right and the key is flush in the bottom of the knob with the notch for the set screw lined up it should look like this. It should also be flush against the lock like this.

At this point you take out the key, leave the set screw in but backed out some, and mix up some J-B Kwik Weld. Use equal amounts from each tube and mix it together good. Then dump the Kwik Weld into the hole and fill it at least halfway. Then insert the key, screw in the set screw, and fill in with more Kwik Weld until the hole is filled. At this point set the key aside but leave it pointing up until the Kwik Weld firms up which only takes about 10 or 15 minutes. The Kwik Weld will be enough to hold the set screw in place. Do not use Lock-Tite on plastic ever. It makes the plastic brittle and it will eventually crack.

Once it drys you can test it out. Your knob pointer should line up with the lock dot and the unlock mark on your saddlebags if everything went according to plan.

It took me about an hour and 3 knobs to get this right but the last 2 went together in less than 30 minutes. I don't have much patience which is partly why I broke 2 of the knobs. The other broke because I didn't realize how easy it was to crack the knob when screwing in the set screw. I hope this tutorial helped. If you have any questions, comments, or other details to add please let me know.

Fairing Pocket Key (Supplemental)

You can make a key for the fairing pocket just as easy but measure the length of key that is needed for it. It is a bit shorter than the saddlebag keys. Other than that it is the same method as the saddlebag keys. To get the right length you can look at the picture included here. Basically the spot at which the key actually starts getting cut should match up with the top of the hole in the knob. The thing I did was dremel out the knob first and then cut the key a little long to be sure I didn't cut it too short. Then slide the key into the knob and put it in the lock to check the length. I did this until I got it just right and then I cut the notch out for the set screw. Once I got that right I put in the J-B Weld and let it set.

Givi E52 Trunk Key (Supplemental)

I decided to make a knob key for my Givi trunk but it couldn't use the same knob as the others without it sticking out pretty far from the trunk. The trunk is angled at the point where the lock is located so it's hard to get a flush fit and even the solution I came up with isn't perfect but it's close enough and in the end I think it suits me need. The first challenge was actually getting the Givi key blanks.

I searched quite a bit for an identical key but could not find one. It's funny that the ILCO X132 key for the Hondaline trunk it actually identical to the key for the Givi except that the angle cut is opposite of what Givi uses. What a pain. So a locksmith got me the contact information for a Givi distributor in the US who sold me the blanks for $5.00/each. You basically get the blanks and the red grips for them but they come unattached. So you can get them cut and then put them in the grips or in this case leave them out so you can attach a knob to them.

Givi Key Information:

  • Givi USA, Inc. 1-877-679-4484
  • 9309 Forsyth Park Drive
  • Charlotte, NC 28273
  • E52 Blank: Z661G (E52 locks vary, so call first)
  • Cost: $5.00/each
Knob Information:
  • Servalite Drawer KSCR-Y
  • Round Thumbscrew Knobs for Cap Head Screws
  • Red: KSCR-YM
  • Black: KSCR-YF
  • Cost: ~$1 each

I searched for a knob that would work and I ended up with one carried by Servalite. Hillman might carry it too but I wasn't able to find it at two different hardware stores. The knob I found it plastic and makes it harder to dremel than the Dakaware knob for the saddle bags. You just have to be careful when you're cutting it or you will go through the knob. I bought a red and black knob, but the red one didn't make it so I ended up with just the black one for now. These knobs are made to press onto allen head bolts so you'll have to cut a slot through that part. That way you have something to hold the key upright when you put in the J-B Weld.

The picture here shows the length to cut the key to. I cut it a little long and then tested until I got the length just right. In the end the cut was right about at the first notch where the blank attached into the regular grip. After you get it cut you can fill the hole with J-B Weld and put the key blank into the slot that was cut. Once it hardens you're ready to go. I'm not sure I would advise riding with it in the slot but I'll try it when the snow melts and let you know the results.