Motorcycle Luggage – Travel Bags and Tail Bags Selection Guide

When you’re out for a short trip or a longer journey, it just sometimes makes sense to take a lot more items with you on your bike. There are multiple travel bags that are specifically designed for different motorcycles that will fit your needs. 

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There are lots of options to decide from, depending on the type of bag you require or the capacity required. Additionally, you need to consider the method of securing the bag to the bike.

There are many necessary things to be considered to know when it comes to motorcycle travel bags. For example, saddlebags are usually placed on each side of the motorcycle on the rear. 

If you have tank bags, they must be secured to the tank of your bike. Top cases, on the other hand, usually sit on the rear rack. These are the main areas to place your luggage on the bike, and bag manufacturers create designs based on these locations.

Motorcycle bags can be soft shell or hard shell, waterproof, lockable, permanently mounted, or removable. Do remember that the type of motorcycle luggage should depend on the type of bike you ride, where you plan to ride, or whether you leave or take your bag when leaving the motorcycle. Just because an item of luggage fits one motorbike, it does not mean it will fit yours.

In this article, you will learn which travel bags will suit you and your motorcycling needs.

How to Carry Luggage on a Motorbike?

There are a lot of ways you can carry your luggage on a motorbike. Your selection of method may depend on the types of luggage you have or on the distance you are covering. Additionally, the volume of luggage you intend to take will have a big say in the matter. 

The golden rule is to pack as light as you can and leave the kitchen sink at home. If you think you might need a specific item, think again until you are sure that you are definitely going to need it. It will help you get a better mileage per gallon on the road trip.

When it comes to putting your luggage on a bike, the best option is to have a saddlebag. There are various options and sizes available, ranging from 20 to 50 liters. Saddlebags are also the quickest to put on a bike. You just need to tie a few flaps, flick a few click locks, and you are ready to go. Saddlebags not only keep your center of gravity low, but it allows you to accommodate a pillion rider at the same time.

What’s the Best Way to Carry a Laptop on a Motorbike?

It’s easy to carry a laptop computer on your motorbike and keep it safe from the bumps and vibrations of the road. Just follow the following steps:

  • Make sure that the laptop is switched off completely so that the hard drive is not spinning during the trip.
  • Use a lightweight padded laptop sleeve as a first layer of protection from the bumps and vibrations of the road. The best laptop sleeve would be the lightest and softest you can find.
  • If you have a small backpack, you may slide the laptop inside the sleeve. This is not necessary, but it may help to boost the padding around the item.
  • Place the laptop charger, cables, and accessories inside a separate pocket inside your backpack. 
  • Slide the entire backpack inside a large, waterproof bike pannier. Remember that this particular bicycle bag needs to be waterproof in case you encounter rain during your trip. 
  • Secure the pannier to the rear rack and make sure it won’t shake off once you hit the road. You may also consider carrying the pannier on the right-hand side of the bike, as this is the side where the chain and derailleurs are located. 
  • Once everything is secured and ready, be mindful of cracks, potholes, and bumps on the road. Have a safe, steady journey.

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What Are the Types of Motorcycle Bags?

Motorcycle luggage bags are needed when enjoying a motorcycle trip. There are tons of options, and your choice will come down to what is best for you on your bike. 

Here are the different types of motorcycle bags:

  • Saddlebags – Saddlebags usually hang over the rear seat or the luggage rack of a motorcycle. They come in pairs and sit on either side of the rear wheel. Saddlebags are usually soft-shell or semi-rigid bags. However, saddlebags of the hard-shell variety are also available. Saddlebags are very easy to use. Sometimes, it’s as simple as slinging them over your motorcycle and tying a few straps.
  • Side cases – Side cases sit on either side of the rear wheel. Because of their hard shell, they are normally bolted on rather than slung over the top. This will require a mounting bracket, which is sometimes included in the purchasing price. They are waterproof, durable, and provide crash protection for your items.
  • Sissy Bar Bags and Tail Bags – These types sit upright and behind the rider. They are usually soft-shell or semi-rigid bags. Sissy bar bags strap onto the sissy bar. They can be placed in front of the sissy bar or behind it. Tail bags are exactly the same, except they aren’t required to be used with a sissy bar. They can be strapped to other access points.
  • Top Cases – Top cases are the hard-shell version of tail bags. Top cases require a mounting bracket attached to the rear of your motorcycle. 
  • Tank bags – Tank bags are attached to your motorcycle’s gas tank. If your bike has a uniform metal tank, magnetic flaps can make installation a breeze. Otherwise, strap systems are used to secure the piece of luggage. They are easy to take on and off since the magnetic flaps simply stick on.
  • Handlebar Bags and Fork Bags – These are small, tubular pieces of luggage. They are mounted at the center of the handlebars or on the bike’s fork front.
  • Fender bags – Fender bags are small and lightweight. They are common with most dual-sport and off-road motorcycles. 

What Are the Things Bikers Carry for Long Rides?

Bikers usually carry a lot of items they don’t need during long rides to make sure they are ready whenever they need something. 

Here are the items you need to consider carrying:

  • Tools and spares – Make sure to bring at least two Tyre levers, spare inner tubes, patches, pump, multitool, chain ‘quick link,’ and cable ties.
  • Food and drink – Always bring one large (750ml) water bottle that will be enough and is refillable. Take some energy snacks in case you need it.
  • Miscellaneous – Bring sunscreen, your mobile phone, a Bluetooth communication system, and navigation aid.

How to Build a Motorcycle Luggage Rack?

To build your own motorcycle luggage rack, you will need to take note of a few things to make sure it will be great and easy to use. 

Here are items you will need:

  • Round tubing is stronger than a square for the same weight.
  • Welds are always better than bolts.
  • You can use flat bars for the frame, but not for the frame-to-bike attachments.
  • Pinching round tubing flat is fine.
  • Attach the luggage to 3 points per side minimum.
  • Consider adding a “crossbar” between them at the back.

How to Secure Your Motorcycle as Luggage for Transport?

As a bike owner, it is a must to know how to tie down your motorcycle. Incorrect tying might result in your bike falling out of the trailer while you’re transporting it. To avoid this, you should have the right gear and use it properly to secure the luggage into the motorcycle. 

Tying depends on the actual bike you have, but you should always use the frame as an attachment point. Most street motorcycles use two ties in the front and two on either side. If you’re not confident with that, you can use four in the front and two in the back for additional security.

How to Install a Motorcycle Luggage Rack?

The best way to carry items safely when using your motorcycle is to install a motorcycle luggage rack. This luggage rack will increase the overall functionality of your motorcycle. The rack will offer you the capability to carry saddlebags or other types to secure all your belongings nicely. To install a luggage rack, you need to do the following:

  • Engage the motorcycle stand and wipe the seat with a soft cloth to remove dust and dirt prior to installation.
  • Some motorcycles benefit most from the installation of a luggage rack by removing the seat. 
  • Velcro strips are usually part of the package and come in different sizes depending on the make and model. You simply need to thread the Velcro strips through the luggage rack. 
  • Next, slide the luggage rack onto the back of the seat and check the fitting is correct. Secure the luggage rack by adjusting the Velcro strips under the seat. Do not overtighten or pull excessively on the strips. 
  • Put the seat back and use a screwdriver or socket wrench. Close and secure the seat. 
  • Move the luggage rack and check for unnecessary movement. Adjust the Velcro strip when necessary.

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Why Is Motorcycle Luggage So Expensive?

Motorcycle luggage is expensive because it is normally made of high-quality materials that can withstand heat and cold and are waterproof. They are also made to protect your items to make sure they don’t break off easily when you crash.

Is Soft Motorcycle Luggage Better Than Hard Luggage?

Both soft luggage and hard luggage have their own use and are best for different situations. There is no ‘right answer’ whether hard luggage or soft luggage is better. Hard luggage forms are good for some things; soft luggage items are good for others. 

For extended week trips mostly on dirt, soft luggage is the obvious choice. For work travel or regular inner-city riding, hard luggage might be better. To sum it up, many riders use hard luggage in the city and prefer to use soft luggage on dirty roads.

How to Use Motorcycle Luggage?

To use an item of motorcycle luggage, you need to know your options so you can decide which one will suit your needs. You need to determine first what you will most likely bring and for what purpose. Then, you need to know the size and scope of the bags and luggage you use on your rides.

What Is the Best Motorcycle Luggage for Adventures?

Soft motorcycle luggage bags are usually best to use during adventure trips. Soft luggage items weigh less and are more compact than hard luggage. Ultimately, they can contribute to the safety of your ride by offering some protection. 

Are Tank Bags Useful on Long Rides?

Yes, they are. There are many reasons to get a motorcycle tank bag. A good tank bag can keep the important items you will most likely use within reach for easy access. These bags are very useful for storing personal items as well as accessories you might need on longer road trips.

You will need to consider the useful features of the tank bag you will purchase for your motorcycle. Some tank bags come with rain covers, expansion zippers, carry handles, cable ports for your power cords and headsets, or pockets with different sizes to keep your items organized. 

Some tank bags have removable pockets for items that grab and go. One of the best and most useful features tank bags could have is a map pocket. It keeps road maps within your reach if ever you need to check directions on a long road trip. There are also some intricate tank bags that can be converted into fanny packs or have removable exterior pockets.

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Motorcycle Luggage Article Conclusion

As you will have discovered there is a wide variety of motorcycle luggage types you can utilize for your journeys. Make sure you select the correct types though when buying for your motorbike. You need to make sure the type you are buying fits your bike correctly.

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