If you ride a motorcycle, there have probably been more times than you care to remember that you’ve wished for a bit of extra cargo space. Whether you need it going crosstown to get to work, or going all the way cross-country to enjoy your holiday, it’s nice to have carrying capacity that exceeds what you can squeeze in your pockets.
Although it’s not hard to envy big touring bikes like Goldwings and Electra Glides for their liberal luggage layouts, the fact remains that most bike riders are typically left scratching their heads when it comes to having any real measure of luggage space.
Fortunately, the aftermarket hasn’t been shy about developing luggage and storage solutions for bikes. Innovatively designed cargo capacity that doesn’t add unwanted weight or bulk to your bike is an asset; and it’s an option that you want to have when you’re ready to hit the highway.
Real Luggage Capacity for Your Bike
Regardless of whether you ride a sportster, a softtail, or a dual sport, it doesn’t take long to realize that durable, waterproof luggage is one of the best investments you can make for your bike. And while you may not need the massive >60 litres of storage space that you’d have with a Goldwing, there’s an impressive selection of high quality motorcycle bags and top boxes available to satisfy just about an cargo requirement you’re likely to have on two wheels.
With a wealth of sizes, materials, and mounting options to choose from, you can feel confident about finding just the right motorcycle luggage system you need, with the added benefit that it won’t take away from your bike’s looks or performance. It makes for the kind capacity that every rider needs for picking up groceries, carrying an extra pair of clothes, or even just a laptop; and it’s the kind of capacity that’s not going to set you back an arm and a leg.
Basic Bike Luggage Styles
You can buy universal, nylon-shelled motorcycle luggage components and systems in a complete range of styles and configurations that include:
· Saddle bags. With combined capacities of up to 50 litres, these paired, side-mounted bags are known as panniers, and are similar to the hardshell cases mounted on the big factory tourers.
· Tail bags. These rigid-formed, roll-type, or throw over styled bags utilize multi-point fitting systems to attach behind the motorcycle’s seat and vary in capacity from 40 – 50 litres.
· Tank bags. Ranging in capacity from a modest 4 litres to a healthy 35 litres, these bags are mounted above the fuel and held in position either by heavy duty magnets or quick release fitting rings that install directly above the fuel cap.
Each of these rugged, lightweight systems is constructed with anti-scratch and anti-slip underside panels to ensure that your bike’s finish isn’t getting punished because of the added capacity. Some tank luggage motorcycle bags even include clear pockets for smartphones and GPS devices, along with electrical outlets for inline power supplied by the bike.
Perfectly Portable Bike Luggage
Modularity and portability are the most important aspects of the design of modern motorcycle bags system though. That’s why most are designed to quickly detach and let you take advantage of a host of built-in features that convert them into backpacks or duffle bags, such as:
· Easy grab handles and heavy duty zippers and fasteners;
· Padded shoulder straps with quick release buckles; and,
· Expandable external pockets and mesh panels for small items.
With this level of portability, you can travel to your destination with a full bag, remove it, and bring it with you wherever you go. It’s convenience and security all in a single solution.
But while convenience and security are the most obvious concerns when you buy motorcycle luggage, the real test of quality is in how well a bag stand up to the elements. The best luggage solutions aren’t going to be phased by a bit of bad weather, and those are the ones that make durability a priority.
Bike Luggage for any Weather
If you’re a seasoned rider, then you already know that when you’re looking at luggage for motorcycles, that you can’t ignore what kind of role the weather can play. From blistering sunshine to sudden rainbursts, Australian weather can change in mere minutes, which means you need luggage that’s ready for anything.
Some key weather resistant qualities you’re going to want to see in your motorcycle luggage are:
· 420D or 500D ripstop nylon, or other waterproof membrane outer fabrics;
· Waterproof and dustproof nylon inner linings;
· Water resistant top and side closures;
· Enhanced UV resistance; and,
· Momentary heat resistant in case of contact with the exhaust.
With hard-wearing characteristics like these, you can be sure that your luggage is up to the task of facing any kind of weather, every time. If you still need peace of mind about your belongings, try using outdoor motorcycle covers too for an added dose of protection.
Top Boxes and Other Bike Luggage
When you need a solution that’s either tougher or lighter than nylon-shelled bags, there are other types of motorcycle luggage for sale too, including:
· Top boxes. These removable, base-plate mounted enclosures are made from high impact plastic and come in key lockable capacities from 24 to 44 litres.
· Tool bags. These compact, fender or handlebar mounted bags are great for everything from carrying mini tools to ensuring you have a few extra exhaust tension springs with you at all times.
· Cargo nets. Bungee corded, and elastic-webbed cargo nets of various sizes with plastic or metal hooks are ideal for quickly and securely fastening lightweight items to any motorcycle or scooter.
While nylon bags and top boxes represent the top choices in today’s mounted solutions, maybe you’re just not comfortable with the idea of mounting luggage to your bike. Assuming, however, that you still need some storage capacity with the same level of protection from the elements, but with the lowest possible profile, then what you need to look into is a backpack.
Backpacks Qualify as Bike Luggage
Backpacks are the ultimate option for riders who want to simplify their cargo carrying to the absolute minimum. These no-aero drag solutions offer a straightforward 20 – 30 litre carrying capacity that doesn’t require you to fasten anything to your bike, and provide all the same weatherproof benefits that mounted luggage systems have, and even including:
· Waterproof nylon, or thick polyester hardshell construction;
· Padded straps and back panels; and,
· Adjustable waist and chest straps.
For the perfect no headache solution that you can simply throw over your shoulder and ride out anytime, backpacks are the motorcycle luggage Australia prefers.
The Final Word
At the end of the day, regardless of the type of bike you ride or the type of riding you do, you’ll always need a way to reliably store a couple of carry along items, a few tools, or even a spare motorcycle helmet just in case. High quality, lightweight bags, top boxes, and backpacks give you the ability to safely and securely carry your gear wherever you go. With adaptable, good looking luggage solutions that are built for any weather, you’ll never have to hit the highway unprepared or empty-handed.