The most traditional and widely used form of motorcycle luggage are saddle bags – so common, in fact, that many motorcycles offer them as OEM equipment, and some motorcycle styles are even referred to as “baggers” because of the unique look that integrated saddle bags create. There is a reason they are so popular on motorcycles – they have large carrying capacity, but they carry it down low to avoid upsetting the bike’s center of gravity, and are generally out of the way of both rider and passenger.
Saddle bags are generally broken down into two “families,” named for their type of construction: soft bags, which have a semi-rigid construction and are made of leather, textile, synthetic leather, or a mix of those flexible materials, or hard bags, which are made of molded plastic, fiberglass, or aluminum, and sometimes even can be color-matched to your bike.
If you are not looking for a serious luggage solution for every day use or long-distance touring, and just want something to expand your carrying capacity for the occasional out-of-town trip or shopping run, you could consider a set of “throw-over” saddle bags. These kinds of bags are usually a great value, and install easily, with a cross-strap that goes right under the seat pan or even right over the top of the seat, and four-point attachment straps to keep them secure. Because these bags are not model specific, they will need some adjusting when you get them, especially with respect to clearance between the bottom of the bags and your exhaust (most bags come with heat-resistant material on the bottom and insides, but you still should keep at least two inches between your bags and your pipes – not just when empty, but also when loaded down.)
Soft bags come with a wide array of different constructions and features, so it will be helpful to get an idea of the features you are looking for based on your needs before looking. Right off the bat, if you ride a cruiser, you will probably lean more toward leather or synthetic leather bags, while other motorcycle styles, especially any kind of dual sport or adventure bike, will typically use hardier synthetic materials.
One thing to keep in mind with soft bags is that they generally are not waterproof, so make sure you use waterproof inner liners, storm covers, or both when out on the road. Use the extra cargo space your bags give you and keep rain covers for both your bags and for yourself – getting caught out in the rain and getting soaked is bad enough, but getting all your belongings soaked too will really ruin your day! Click Here…