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Motorcycle Luggage & Bags

Whether you’re headed around the block or around the country, there are times you need more than the stuff in your pockets and the clothes on your back. Making the most of the limited real estate on a motorcycle is the name of the game, and choosing the right motorcycle luggage is the key.

As you begin your search for the best motorcycle luggage for your needs, you have two general options: you can either strap the luggage to your bike, or you can wear it on your body as you ride. First, take stock of specifically what you think you'll most often need to carry. Then, use the bike finder to figure out what luggage solutions are available for your specific motorcycle. Really not sure where to begin? Check out the following motorcycle luggage buying guidelines to get a good feel for what options might be right for you.

Luggage for You

Backpacks: The simplest storage solution is still in many ways the best. For a lot of solo riders and commuters, motorcycle backpacks are the most practical, cost effective way to carry your personal effects from A to B. With nothing to mount to your bike and nothing to remove upon arrival, the backpack is arguably the easiest way to carry cargo on a motorcycle. If you’ve ever ridden with a typical school bag, however, or even tried to put one on while wearing a leather jacket, you know it can be a pain in the back -- quite literally.

Messenger Bags: When you ride to the office, transitioning quickly from riding mode to work mode is crucial. A motorcycle messenger bag gives you riding ergonomics and a professional look that can take you seamlessly into any 21st century office. With personal computers being the most prevalent tool of the trade these days for anyone working in an office environment, motorcycle messenger bags pay heed to laptop storage as a primary design concern. Some manufacturers even integrate roll top dry bag designs into their messenger style bags to offer 100 percent reliable dust-proof and waterproof laptop storage. If you need to balance riding performance on the bike with professional aesthetics once you put the kickstand down, a motorcycle messenger bag is your best bet.

Waist Packs / Leg Bags: If you need to keep your wallet, phone and ID card close at hand, you want a small pack that won’t get in your way. Waist packs and leg bags are comfortable, accessible solutions for carrying the essentials you need frequently. Modern motorcycle waist packs are a far cry from the “fanny packs” that may come to mind when you think waist pack -- you know, the ones you’ve seen adorning the hips of Disneyland tourists in the nineties. Motorcycle waist packs a whole different animal. Especially popular in the European market, hip bags (or “bum bags” as they call them across the pond), present a highly functional luggage solution for smaller payloads. With some of the more rugged dual sport options approaching 10 liters in capacity (designed to hold a bunch of trailside tools and then some) it quickly becomes apparent how effective it can be to carry weight at the belt line, directly at your center of gravity. Leg bags work in much the same way.

Gear Bags: Imagine showing up at the track and realizing you only brought one of your boots! Reliably hauling all your gear is made immeasurably easier by a solid gear bag. Keep everything together in an easy-to-move package and know where it all is. There are some duffel-style gear bags out there for the He-Man, but most large gear bags are equipped with nice quality bearings and large rollerblade style wheels so you can save your strength for the track.

Luggage for Your Ride

Luggage Racks: While universal fit luggage works very well, it’s hard to beat a luggage system designed for your motorcycle. Finding out what luggage racks are made to fit your bike is the best place to start when choosing luggage. Using RevZilla’s bike finder and search filtering, it is easy to zero-in on what products are designed as “exact-fit” parts for your motorcycle. This will give you a good idea what is out there that you can bolt right up to your make, model and new rack.

Tank Bags: Tank bags are ideal for easy accessibility and integration with maps or devices. Even if you don’t have a metal tank for a magnetic tank bag, there is bound to be a strap style or quick release tank bag that will work well with your motorcycle. Tank bags are a great solution for the technophile -- if you have a GPS, smartphone, or tablet you want to integrate with your motorcycle navigation setup, there are tank bags that place them front and center. Riders on motorcycles that have a tall seat height will also find tank bags much more friendly than tail bags, which can sometimes make throwing a leg over awkward.

Tail Bags: Tail bags are perfect if you’re the type of rider who feels constrained by a backpack or tank bag all up in your business. They work especially well on sportbike pillions where an aggressive riding position doesn’t allow much space for a tank bag. Tail bags range in application from sleek cowl or pillion-mounted sportbike day bags to rack-mounted ADV bags, as well as slim cruiser-style sissy bar bags or even pillion seat of a Goldwing or Harley bike in place of a passenger.

Soft Saddlebags: Saddlebags predate motorcycles themselves. Traditional leather or vinyl saddlebags give a timeless look to any modern classic, but there are also sleek, contemporary soft and semi-soft saddlebags available for modern bikes. From the wild west cowboys to the iron horses of today, saddlebags are the most iconic piece of luggage money can buy. Although leather is still available, most modern saddlebags, like seats, are now made of a marine grade vinyl or other synthetic for years of durability in the sun and rain.

Hard Cases: Hard luggage, in the form of shell top boxes and side panniers, offer the the ultimate in convenience and capacity. Whether your bike lends itself to a Tour-Pak style trunk and hard bags or ADV aluminum top box and side cases, hard luggage is the top of the heap. Made of plastic, fiberglass or aluminum, hard luggage has been the most luxurious appointment a long-distance motorcycle could wish for since early post war BMWs, Harley-Davidsons, and Moto-Guzzis ruled the road. After all, long haul bikes look their best when “fully-dressed” for the occasion.

Dry Bags: If you want to be ready for whatever manner of mayhem the adventure may throw at you, you’re going to need waterproof luggage. Soft dry bags are the most effective, utilitarian solution to keep wet weather out of your business. With reliable roll top closures and durable, flexible taped or welded seam construction, dry bags are the creme de la creme of soft luggage solutions.

Luggage Accessories

Cargo Nets / Straps: Are you prepared for unexpected cargo? If you head out bundled up in the morning only to peel off layers as the day warms up, or go out for a ride and come across that sweet deal you can’t pass up, you need to have a way to get your stuff home. Elastic bungee nets and adjustable cam lock luggage straps are compact enough to keep in a jacket pocket, fork bag, or even OEM underseat storage area / tool kit compartment. Easily secure all varieties of miscellaneous cargo from a spare passenger helmet (you never know where you might meet that special someone) to a six pack of that new craft beer you just found. Straps, bungees and nets are versatile enough to attach to your seat, other luggage, passenger grab rails, a sissy bar or luggage rack.

Organizers / Liners: So you’ve got some sweet aftermarket panniers or OEM hard saddlebags and trunk -- now what do you do with all the crap you threw in there when you get to the camp-site or hotel? Remain calm and proceed to saddlebag liner and organizer serenity. Having a set of full size soft luggage liners with convenient carrying straps and handles inside the hard shell of your luggage gives you the protection of hard luggage and the convenience of throw over saddlebags. You can pull out all the contents conveniently in one shot and easily carry them inside your destination, without having to worry about security of items left behind. Saddlebag and Tour Pak liners are available for most common OEM hard saddlebags and rear trunks, as well as aftermarket panniers and top cases. You can also outfit your hard luggage with copious handy organizer pouches or cargo nets to divide up the main compartment or make use of the dead space on the underside of the lid to stash smaller items out of the way.
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