There’s no better time to get out and ride than during the summer; the sunshine, blue skies and dry roads are inviting to any motorcycle or...
Motorcycle Luggage Systems
Some riders are free spirits. They slip a credit card into their leathers and head off around the world. But for the rest of us, things must be carried, and they won’t all fit in our pockets. So let’s look at some of the motorcycle luggage solutions out there.
If you’re on a scooter, or a motorbike designed for touring, you may have built-in luggage space. Scooters tend to have plenty of room under the seat, good for a college bag or handbag, a bit of shopping - and for your helmet when you get there. Larger motorcycles are more likely to have panniers – lockable compartments on each side of the back wheel, behind the seat. Most motorbikes also have a little space under the seat, enough for a small toolkit or some waterproofs.
Even if your motorcycle has no rigid or “hard” luggage as standard, you can generally add something. Both scooters and motorbikes can take a top box, which attaches behind the seat and opens like a suitcase. The largest ones take two full-face helmets or enough spare clothes for a week away.
You can also attach panniers to a motorcycle, rugged metal ones if you’re off around the world, or sleek polycarbonate ones to match the bike. Most of this luggage will lock shut and lock to the motorcycle.
You may need to add a rack which the hard luggage fits onto, so if you’re getting kit that’s not made by the bike manufacturer, check that the rack will fit your bike.
Another option is soft luggage that attaches to the motorcycle. Of course, leather or textile bags are not as weatherproof as hard luggage, and rather easier to steal if you leave them unattended, but they are a cheaper option and very durable. Many come with a waterproof cover for better weather protection.
Panniers that attach under the seat and hang on both sides are a roomy option, but take care that they’re not hanging close to the exhaust pipe or the chain if you have one. You don’t want to start your weekend away with your toothbrush melted or chewed into oily shreds.
For smaller loads on a motorbike, consider a tailpack – simply a bag that attaches to the pillion seat – or a tank bag. Tank bags fit onto the petrol tank in front of you, and can be handy for touring as most have a clear map pocket on top. Usually they have magnets to hold them firm on the tank, so make sure before you buy one that you have a steel petrol tank. If not, you can also get tank covers with clips that hold the bag in place.