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Storage space is probably one of the most significant drawbacks when it comes to riding a motorcycle. Regardless of whether you’re riding across the country or just commuting around town, you probably needed some extra space at least once.
Luckily, there’s a solution. Saddlebags are among the most popular type of luggage to install on your bike. Most people like them because they’re practical, can fit a lot of things and are easy to install.
Stay tuned as we review some of the top motorcycle saddlebags and their pros and cons. Below, you’ll also find our buyer’s guide with information that can help you choose one of these bags.
Our 7 Top Rated Motorcycle Saddlebags
Stansport – Versatile
You should check Stansport if you need luggage that fits a few different motorcycles. This one is made with heavier-duty canvas (cotton duck), with additional vinyl reinforcement. Plus, it’s reinforced at all stress points for some added durability.
It features two pockets that are are quite large with two strapped covers (flap style), that provide plenty of storage space. It’s easy to install with straps and laces so that it’s securely fitted at all times. You can use it on your motorcycle as well as a bicycle, moped, scooter, Vespa, and other similar vehicles.
The bag is suitable for large items and clothes as well as smaller things you want to keep within reach. With its 1,056 cubic-inch capacity, it’s equally suitable for long-distance as well as commuting trips.
Keep in mind that the material isn’t waterproof but water-resistant.
EGO BIKE – Universal
Ego Bike saddlebags measure 16.5×12.5×6.75 inches in total. They’re quite versatile and fit a wide range of motorcycles, but make sure to check if the measurements would fit.
These are hard cases made of new ABS plastic, which should ensure some more durability and resistance in the long run.
It’s important to note that these aren’t pre-drilled for installation. This allows you to decide where you want to drill and mount them, depending on your bike.
However, you should be careful with where you mount them because you’ll maybe have to modify your motorcycle a bit. Some people choose to relocate their turn signals in order to fit these saddlebags.
You can lock the bag doors for some added security as the package includes two keys. This allows you to walk away, leaving the bags and your belongings on the bike. Also, these are completely waterproof because they’re made of hard plastic.
OHMOTOR – Quality Synthetic Leather
If you’re looking for something durable and good-looking, you should check the Ohmotor synthetic leather saddlebags.
These are made from 100% durable synthetic leather for durability and resistance. The material is waterproof as well, so you can use the bags in different weather.
What’s unique about these are their clean lines and sleek design. It gives an elegant look to any motorcycle. Plus, the size and shape are pretty versatile, making it easy to mount the bags onto nearly every bike.
Each bag has a metal frame hard body, which is what gives the leather such high shape-retention. Plus, it adds some more durability and resistance, supporting the leather.
The bags feature quick-release buckles, making it easy to access your belonging at any time. This way, you know that your stuff is safely packed and within reach.
Coleman – Modern Design
These easy-to-use saddlebags are among the most modern choices in today’s market. They fit comfortably over your seat, which is also one of the most secure ways of mounting this type of luggage.
The bags are ideal for both long-distance trips and everyday commuting thanks to their ease of use and practical design. The pair is made of heavy-duty materials, ensuring resistance, durability, and longevity.
Each bag offers plenty of space for your clothes, gear, and other items you want to keep within reach. Also, it features a large zippered pouch and an additional side pocket for smaller items.
Both bags feature shield panels on the sides and bottoms, helping protect the material from heat and other elements. Each luggage measures 15.5x7x9.5 inches in total.
Diamond Plate – Heavy-duty
This is a pair you should definitely consider if you’re into leather and studs. The incredible design stands out and is attractive while also versatile and resistant. Thanks to its durable construction, the luggage is waterproof, tear-resistant, and long-lasting.
These heavy-duty PVS stud saddlebags are easy to put on and remove at any time. The top flap openings are quite convenient and allow immediate access to your stuff. Still, all your items are protected against the rain and other weather elements.
Each bag has buckled straps for some added protection and security. Also, they measure 14½x13½x8 inches in total, providing enough space for your gear and whatever items you want to have at hand.
Another important thing to mention is that these are pretty universal. They’re adjustable and can easily fit any motorcycle.
Nelson-Rigg – Waterproof
Nelson-Rigg is a well-known name in the industry, offering plenty of useful biking gear products. These saddlebags are quality-made, sturdy, and durable enough for everyday use on any motorcycle.
The bags are waterproof and UV-coated for weather-resistance and longevity. All its seams are electronically heat-welded for added durability.
You’ll also receive aircraft-grade aluminum mounting hardware, making it easier to install the bags properly. Each bag mounts via four quick-release cam buckles and double-pull straps.
The main compartment of each luggage measures 15x8x14 inches in total, holding 27.53 liters per side.
Another thing worth noting is the sturdy shape that allows you to pack all kinds of stuff. Each bag has a removable stiffener that helps it hold its shape even when it’s empty.
LEAGUE&CO – Insulated
These are made with ultra-fine leather that’s reinforced and tough, allowing prolonged use and longevity. The material is resistant to wear and tear, and it’s also insulated. It protects your belongings from the rain and sun as well.
Thanks to their insulation, the bags are ideal to use in hot weather. You can install them anywhere on the bike as they’re resistant to heat exhausts as well as water.
The bags measure 10.2×4.5×9.6 inches in total, providing enough space for your everyday necessities. No hardware is required since these mount with liners and ropes.
Keep in mind that they are quite versatile and universal when it comes to fit. However, they’re best used with Harley, Honda, Yamaha, and Suzuki. For this reason, make sure to check if the bags are suitable for your motorcycle.
What to Consider When Buying a Motorbike Saddlebag
One of the first things you should consider is the size that would fit your needs the best. Think about the intended use and what size bag would work the best for your bike and stuff you plan to carry.
If you have a large bike and need a bag to carry on long journeys, you should probably go for one of the bigger models. Smaller saddlebags are meant for short-distance trips and commuting.
Think about what you plan to carry in your saddlebags. A small model will work if you need a bag for your wallet, sunglasses, and other similar items. However, you’d need something bigger if you want to pack your summer jacket and water bottle.
Cost of the Bag: Cheap or Expensive?
Consider your budget before you start searching for a bag just so that you have an idea of what to look for. Luckily, motorcycle saddlebags aren’t that expensive, although that largely depends on the materials and overall built quality.
A larger budget will give you more options to choose from, but you can find a decent saddlebag even if you’re on a lower budget. Consider the level of durability and safety you get for the price.
As you probably noticed, manufacturers use different materials to build motorcycle saddlebags. Some of the best models are made with real or synthetic leather, corduroy, nylon, and other similarly hard-wearing material.
While certain materials maybe match your style more than others, you should still think about a few other things as well. Durability and resistance of the fabric are possibly a bit more important to think about than style.
Think about if the fabric is water-resistant, UV-protective, and tear-resistant. Some materials are water-resistant, while others are completely waterproof, and you should think about this if you plan to carry the bags frequently.
However, keep in mind that some fabrics are more expensive than others as well. Durability and water-resistance of its zippers and buckles also play a significant role.
Most saddlebags come with a few features that enhance usability and versatility. Some have external pockets, while others have mesh pouches. Also, some models have reflective piping, zipper closure, studs, and other such features.
While certain features are quite useful, others might not be as important to you. For this reason, you should think whether or not things like reflective lining are something you need.
Thinking about this in advance helps you know exactly the kind of saddlebags you should look for.
Build quality is among the most critical things to consider when looking for the best motorcycle saddlebag for you. Quality is usually determined by materials used, although a few other things matter just as well.
Reinforced bags are usually more quality-built and resistant than those that don’t have any reinforcements. These can hold shape even when empty and are typically more robust.
Another thing you might want to consider is heat resistance. Most quality-made saddlebags are heat-resistant at the sides or bottom, which provides some protection against the exhaust heat.
Other components of your bag should also be equally as well-made. In other words, make sure that the zippers and buckles are quality and durable so that they don’t break easily. Think about the build quality of its straps, as well.
The overall quality usually has a lot to do with durability and how long the bag will last, resisting normal wear and tear.
All About Saddlebags
What Are They?
A motorbike saddlebag is a type of luggage used to increase the bike’s storage space for several purposes. This type of luggage is quite universal and versatile as it’s made of different materials and comes with a few mounting options.
Modern saddlebags are usually hard cases mounted behind the seat and on both sides of your rear wheel. Still, saddlebags can be made of several different materials such as leather, vinyl, and nylon.
Mounting options can differ depending on the material and shape. Hard cases are typically installed on the carrier that’s mounted on your bike. Soft-material saddlebags are mounted with laces, buckles, and ropes, depending on the particular model.
Also, these come in different styles and shapes.
As we mentioned, some saddlebags are different than others. This allows you to choose between several types according to your needs and preferences.
Each time has its pros and cons, which is why you should consider them all before making your final decision.
Hard saddlebags are also known as hard-cases and are similar to hard suitcases. In most cases, these are made of fiberglass, tough molded plastic, stainless steel, or aluminum. Most of them open from the top, although some are more like suitcases when it comes to access.
To mount a hard saddlebag on your motorbike, you must attach plastic or metal brackets. This shouldn’t be too complicated, depending on your skillset.
One of the reasons most people choose these is because of their security. Almost every quality-made hard saddlebag can be locked with a key (see more motorcycle locks here). This allows you to leave the bags and everything in them on your bike even when you’re not near.
Plus, most hard cases are quite large and can fit plenty of things. This is ideal for long-distance trips and people who often lack storage space on their motorbike. Another great advantage of these bags is that they’re waterproof.
Still, there are a few drawbacks like the price. Most models are relatively expensive, especially those made of more durable materials such as aluminum or stainless steel.
Also, you might struggle to find the right bags to fit your motorcycle. In many cases, you’ll have to modify your motorbike one way or another.
Soft bags are usually made of nylon, polyester, or another similar synthetic material. They come in several sizes and shapes, so it’s relatively easy to find the right model for your bike.
Some models are designed to keep the shape even when they’re empty. These most often have some kind of reinforcement to help maintain the shape.
When it comes to soft saddlebags, one thing you want to keep in mind is the thickness and durability of the material. Some models are waterproof, but in most cases, they’re only water-resistant.
These don’t require any mounting brackets but have dual straps that go over or under your seat. Most models have adjustable Velcro or quick-release buckles that allow you to keep everything in place.
Soft saddlebags are versatile and can fit pretty much any bike. They’re convenient and easy to pack for extended trips or short-distance commuting, depending on the overall size and capacity. Plus, these usually have plenty of side pockets and extra components for some added space.
They’re more affordable than hard cases and are easier to find in several styles and shapes. On top of that, this type of luggage is flexible and can easily fit different shapes and gear. Nearly all fabrics used are quite durable and resistant, as well.
However, there are quite a few setbacks when it comes to soft saddlebags. One of the most critical things to mention is their overall security or lack of it. Pretty much anyone can either access or remove them.
In most cases, they cannot stand being exposed to heat and will melt when in contact with a hot muffler, for example. If this happens, you might end up with a large hole in your bag.
Also, soft bags might damage the paint of your bike because it’s harder to secure them from moving.
If you want the best of both hard and soft bags, you might want to consider getting leather saddlebags. These are quite popular for their sleek looks and durable construction.
These can be made of real and synthetic leather with a combination of a few other materials. Some models require hard mounting brackets while others have a thick yoke between the two bags.
These are easy to find in different shapes and styles, so you probably won’t have any problem finding the right bags for your motorbike. They’re often affordable, although the price generally depends on a few other factors as well.
Another significant advantage is the overall capacity. Leather saddlebags come in many sizes, so you can find some to use for long-distance trips as well as those better-suited for commuting.
Generally speaking, these bags don’t have as many setbacks. They’re stylish and highly versatile, which is why many riders continue to use them.
However, there’s a matter of security that you should consider. Leather saddlebags are relatively easy to cut open or remove from the bike altogether. It’s a similar issue that soft saddlebags have as well, so you probably shouldn’t leave the bags unattended.
Also, we mentioned that these fit most motorcycles, and that’s true. However, most leather saddlebags have a unique design that usually looks best on cruisers and other similar motorcycles. It’s a matter of aesthetics that you may or may not find as vital.
These bags aren’t the best choice if you’re looking for something to use in heavy rain. While leather can stand against rain for some time, most bags won’t keep your stuff protected in extremely wet weather. Also, prolonged exposure to water and humidity might decrease the life of your saddlebag.
Tips on How to Select The Best Option
Make sure that you can easily mount the saddlebags of your choice without modifying your bike as much. Also, it’s important that they don’t come in contact with your wheel, chain, and mufflers.
You should opt for the bags that fit you in terms of capacity as well as the security level they provide. However, remember that the saddlebags should also look good on your motorbike.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are cheap motorcycle saddlebags durable?
In most cases, cheap motorcycle saddlebags aren’t as durable as their more expensive counterparts. However, price shouldn’t be a determining factor when buying motorcycle saddlebags. It’s something you should consider while also keeping in mind other buying factors we mentioned above.
What brand is large enough?
Hard cases are typically the largest types when it comes to size and capacity. However, soft bags can fit just as many things, thanks to their flexibility and versatility.
Nelson-Rigg model we reviewed is one of the largest options in the market that’s also durable and well-made.
Having the right motorcycle saddlebags can make all the difference in how comfortably you travel. Depending on the size you go for, you can have enough space to carry different items you otherwise wouldn’t be able to fit onto your bike.
Hopefully, our buyer’s guide helped you choose among the few top motorcycle saddlebags we reviewed. Keep in mind that this type of luggage is quite versatile and easy to use.
It’s only a matter of finding what suits your needs and preferences the most so that you can make the best of the added storage space.