|Saddlemen Bags and Luggage|
|Sissy Bar Bags||Sissy Bar - Seat Bag Combos||Adventure Pack|
|Seat, Tail, Tunnel & Pillion Bags||Rack & Trunk Bags||Bagger Lid Chaps & Bags|
|Tank Bags||Top & Roll Bags||Saddlebag Families|
|Sport Panniers||Hard Case Luggage||Destination Pack|
|Additional Mounts & Accessories|
There is Not a
There is Not a Better Bag
No one wants to wear a sign that says "I am average". So why would anyone ever be caught using motorcycle luggage that implied a similar message?
As motorcyclists we have seen many riders’ compromise style and quality by using out of touch luggage brands that lack the passion to bring to market well thought out products. Additionally, they usually outsource development and manufacturing which can limit control and quality. Often the results are products that are either copied or lack creativity and belong circling the luggage carousel at any airport, not on your motorcycle. Even worse, they can lack the structural integrity to survive the demanding riding conditions failing by design, poor workmanship and the use of substandard materials.
For decades Saddlemen innovations have changed the way motorcycle luggage is welcomed. With game changing designs, practical functionality and features that are unmatched, Saddlemen luggage is the highest quality option at any price.
Each piece of Saddlemen luggage has been professionally designed from the ground up by our unique team of design engineers. The members of the team are the ultimate enthusiasts! They live, breath and feed on our sport and are dedicated to redefine and advance the way riders will transport personal belongings on a bike.
Saddlemen uses only the highest quality leathers, PVC's, plastics, nylons and polyesters. Careful considerations have been taken to maintain the highest in standards of UV resistance, colorfast, cold crack and more commonly ignored by the "bargain bag". Every stitch, rivet and buckle of each bag comes under the scrutiny of our team of our quality inspectors as it skillfully flows through our state of the art manufacturing facilities. With hundreds of thousands of pieces manufactured, Saddlemen is recognized as the definition of luggage quality, function and value.
It is our relentless devotion to the perfect blend of performance, style and craftsmanship that assures your Saddlemen luggage will provide years of satisfaction and service.
How do I start?
Motorcycle Storage Considerations - click to expand
Motorcycle Storage Considerations
There is a serious lack of storage on a motorcycle; with the exception of a limited number of high end touring bikes, they do not come with bags, a trunk or glove compartment. Every motorcyclist needs a place to put stuff and very few bikes are equipped with bags from the dealer. Motorcyclists must look no farther than Saddlemen for the absolute best bags, trunks and saddlebags for their storage needs.
The most popular and familiar method for adding a place for gear on a motorcycle is found in the traditional saddlebag; a direct descendant of the bags developed for horseback travel centuries ago. While saddlebags remain popular and stylish, especially with cruiser bikes, recent developments offer riders many more options for storage as well as substantial saddlebag improvements. Each type of bag has advantages and dis-advantages for a rider’s consideration as they decide which best meets their particular needs.
Motorcycle Bag Types – Options for Storage
Each bag type incorporates features that should be carefully considered as a bike is outfitted for that next ride to the local store or a 50 state tour. Saddlemen offers complete motorcycle luggage solutions; selections of bags and gear that work well together or separately to meet every rider’s needs.
Deciding on the type of luggage to use is heavily influenced by the type of bike used and how the bike the bag is to be installed – on the tank, a rack, on a sissy bar or on the side like traditional saddlebags. The features and styling for cruisers, sport bikes, adventure bikes and scooters are very different.
Each should be considered before a purchase decision is made – which best fits my bike, how is it mounted, what features are important? What else should I consider? Following is a guide that will make the selection of which bag to use much easier.
Saddlemen offers luggage offering a broad range of options and styles to meet every rider’s needs and preferences. First, there are two installation or mounting concepts that should be understood; luggage can be either custom fit for your motorcycle or universal bags can be adapted to fit. A custom fit item is specifically designed for the exact measurements of your vehicle. No alterations are required. A universal fit bag or pouch is designed to be installed on most bikes, but will require adjustment or modifications to fit your motorcycle exactly. Universal bags tend to be lower cost, widely available and offer a broader range of styling and feature options, but may take increased installation effort. Specific fit bags tend to be more expensive and have less availability of styles and features but fit exactly.
Motorcycle Bag Types - click to expand
Motorcycle saddlebags were initially designed for horses and although they continue to mounted in pairs on the sides of the motorcycle behind the rider, they have they have come a long way from those original designs. Saddlebags are popular choices for all types and styles of motorcycles because of their convenient location and low mounting height that concentrates weight low for best handling. Saddlebag variety is nearly endless; bags multiple sizes, shapes, styles, features, mounting options, price range and materials are available. The main disadvantage of many saddlebags is that they require specialized mounting to keep the bags from interfering with the wheels during operation.
Sissy Bar Bags
Sissy bar bags mount high on the rear of the motorcycle and require a sissy bar, commonly found on many HD and cruiser bikes, for secure attachment. Sissy bar bags are popular because they are easy to mount (if bike has a sissy bar), have a large storage capacity and are relatively inexpensive. Sissy bar bags are mainly limited to cruiser and HD bikes and raise the center of gravity considerably when heavier loads are carried.
Sport bike and adventure riders often utilize tank bags and they are actually a great alternative to saddlebags. They usually are attached to the tank by magnets or web straps and are easily removed if the rider plans on being away from the bike; most tank bags have handles to make them easy to carry. The top of bike placement and multiple pockets typical of most designs make tank bags very convenient. Tank bags typically have less storage capacity than other bags, but many are expandable and have side pockets for extra storage. Many tank bags use a magnetic mounting system in combination with a strap that ties of to the steering head of the bike. Plastic tank bikes require a strap system, be sure to check your bike before buying. Magnetic attachment makes it easy to remove the tank bag off and carry with you.
Audio / Map Pouches
Audio and map pouches are small, lower cost, easily attached, special purpose versions of larger tank bags. Limited to use for carrying maps under a clear cover, housing audio devices for easy rider interface or carrying small necessary items like sunglasses, keys, door openers and money within easy reach, these limited use pouches are very convenient storage devices. They are often used for day trips or in conjunction with larger bags that do the heavy carrying.
Seat bags are relatively new arrivals to the scene and come in a variety of sizes and styles appropriate for use on almost any motorcycle from cruiser to sport bike to dirt bike and everything in between. These bags are relatively easy to attach and remove for easy use away from the bike. They do not require a sissy bar or rack for mounting and can there can be used on almost any bike without modification. Their main disadvantage is that they are mounted on the pillion portion of the seat where a passenger would normally reside. Some seat bags are specially designed to provide the rider with back support, although they will never replace a friendly companion.
The Destination Pack™ is the perfect portable pouch for a jacket, helmet or gloves at the end of a ride or a stop along the way. Unlike large saddlebags or trunks that must be empty in order to have space for bulky riding gear, the Destination Pack™ simply opens up when needed and quickly folds away into a stylish carry bag when not in use. Saddlemen’s unique Steel Cage™ design provides a high level of protection against theft.
Trunk and Rack bags
Trunk and rack bags mount atop a rack affixed to the rear of a motorcycle or on the top of a hard trunk often found on larger touring bikes. Generally round or rectangular in shape and made of leather or leather like material of fabric, these bags usually provide substantial carrying capacity and mount and dismount easily. Located behind the rider and passenger, these are ideal candidates for additional storage on any bike equipped with a rack.
Handlebar bags were originally popularized by the image of a restless traveler with his sleeping bag mounted to the handlebars. The iconic Bronson of a half century ago carried all of his gear in a round bag strapped to the handle bars. Although this look popularized motorcycling, these bags have fallen into relative disuse because of extra weight on the front wheel and difficulties with attachment. But nothing beats the old time cruiser look of bar mounted bags.
Versatile tool rolls mount almost anywhere on a HD or cruiser styled bike. Typically constructed of leather or leather grained synthetics and generally round in shape, these bags can be used alone or on bikes equipped with other bags. Aptly named, these small pouches can also carry many of the smaller necessities where quick access is desired. Tool rolls come in a variety of styles and trim and are often used as a styling touch.
The versatile round bags fit and look great almost anywhere on a motorcycle; rack, seat, sissy bar, handlebars or on top of another bag. They are basically large sized versions of conventional tool bags and are a lower featured alternative to more expensive bags. Roll bags are relatively inexpensive and provide convenient storage unless the need for larger capacities or styling dictates a different bag. Most roll bags come with versatile strap systems that facilitate multiple mounting options. These bags are very compatible with cruiser and HD bikes and are available in leather or leather grained synthetics or fabric construction.
Saddlemen’s fender bag mounts on the rear fender behind a solo seat. The stealth pillion pad styling looks great on custom bikes where luggage would look out of place. These bags carry a surprising amount of gear and mount with suction cups so that straps and other mounting don’t detract visually.
Bikes equipped with windshields provide an ideal mounting point for easy access storage of smaller items – keys, garage door openers, toll change, small cameras, etc. One to three pocket designs attach to the mounting fasteners securing the windshield to the fairing body. These bags are inexpensive, handy and are a great complement to other bags that may be installed.
Saddlebag top storage bags
No matter how much storage hard sided saddlebags offer, more capacity is always welcome, especially when it does double duty protecting paint from scratches and damage from boots and the elements. Top storage bags are inexpensive and provide an easy to reach spot on top of your Harley’s factory saddlebags for those items that you and your passenger need while heading down the road as well as ideal overflow capacity for unplanned but necessary purchases made while traveling.
Crash Bar Bags
These specialized bags fit the crash bars of HD touring bikes and provide convenient and easy access for smaller items.
Helmet Storage Case
Helmets need protection too; whether on the back of a bike or on the shelf at home, expensive paint jobs and fine finishes can be easily chipped or scratched when not in use. Saddlemen’s helmet case protects most street helmets without visors.
Some bikes come from the factory with saddlebags or trunks installed, but most are just a large cavity with little or no internal division to help organize, separate or store smaller items. Saddlemen offers functional organizers that install in the factory luggage that will help keep everything in place and maximize storage space while traveling down the road.
Factory saddlebags bags and trunks are great, but when you need to carry packed gear into a hotel room or camp, a removable bag is needed. Saddlemen bag liners make on the road travel much easier and even let you pack your trunk by filling the liners in the privacy and convenience of your home or room.
Aluminum Panniers and Top Cases
Adventure bikes take a beating and specialized aluminum bags made for these on/offroad are rugged and up to the task. Repeated bashes and crashes are easily rebuffed by the tough, durable aluminum panniers and top cases from Saddlemen. Aluminum construction maintains bag shape and the timeless style is unmistakable.
How to Select the Correct Saddlebags for Your Bike - click to expand
How to Select the Correct
Saddlebags for Your Bike
How to Select the Correct Saddlebags for Your Bike
Most motorcycles don’t consider the reality that riders and their passengers need “space” to carry “stuff.” Cars have trunks and back seats; motorcycles barely have room, usually under the seat, for only the owner’s manual and maybe an insurance card. Usually aftermarket saddlebags are the best choice for adding carrying capacity to a motorcycle.
Saddlemen offers a broad range of options to choose from to meet every rider’s needs and preferences. Each option should be considered before a purchase decision is made – what size will fit my bike, how do I mount them, what features are important? What else should I consider? Following is a guide that will make the selection of the perfect set of saddlebags much easier.
Style – saddlebags come in many different styles and shapes. This is a choice that the bike owner must make himself, although some styles affect how the bags can function and how easy they are to use.
Many different trim options, or design themes can be selected. Bags often are supplied with or without straps. Straps are very secure and look very traditional, but they must be opened and closed each time the bag is used and the fewer the straps, the quicker this is accomplished. Bags without straps are usually sleeker and more contemporary in style and are certainly easier to open and close. Straps require buckles and several styles can be selected. Roller buckles reduce the wear on straps and are the easiest to use. Metal buckles look perfect on most cruiser style bikes, but easy to use plastic side release buckles are gaining in popularity, especially on more performance oriented machines. Today many metal buckles, such as those from Saddlemen, have quick release plastic buckles hidden under the straps.
Bags are often offered with studs or rivets for decoration. The size and color of these can vary and generally their choice has no influence on function or ease of use. However, one should consider that studs should be selected to match other bike components. Small dull rivets on saddlebags will not look good when placed next to bright ½ inch chrome plated studs found as original or optional equipment on some bikes. Lastly, if studs or conchos are selected, they should be made of a rust resistant base metal such as brass or pewter, such as provided by Saddlemen, the prevent corrosion or rusting.
Lastly, several different shapes are offered; generally either slant, straight or round sided. Today, the most popular seems to be the slant sided bag that closely matches the angle of shock or rear frame structure. Straight-sided bags follow the tradition of the old Pony Express styling made popular by generations of horsemen. Rounded bags have a more motorcycle specific heritage derived from popular brands of the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s. Each profile works well, but the slant sided bags are often easier to fit and mount on many of the motorcycles popular today.
Mounting Options – all saddlebags require some form of mounting, usually requiring guards, or saddlebag supports, that keep the saddlebags away from the moving parts of the rear wheel brakes, drive train and any other moving parts. In addition many motorcycles require saddlebag supports to hold the saddlebags off the shock absorber. Two alternatives are to purchase short bags that fit behind the shock or saddlebags with a cut out or clearance built in for the shocks. Some saddlebag supports also have a quick release system built in, or is available to be used with the support. Choose a saddlebag support that will fit your motorcycle and has the features that you desire.
Saddlebags are commonly mounted in three different ways and each method requires a different type of bag. Because each mounting method changes the bag design, the mounting method must be decided before the bags are purchased. The three methods are universal, custom fit and specific fit.
Universal mount or Pony Express style bags are often the first choice because they typically are lower cost, the easiest to install, are not permanently mounted to the bike and are available in a wide variety of styling variations. Custom fit installation requires bags with a rigid back which are hard mounted to fender struts or an aftermarket mounting system, such as Saddlemen's universal brackets or other saddlebag supports. Specific fit bags are designed exactly for a particular motorcycle, resulting in the optimum size and most secure installation but generally highest cost. The difference between specific fit bags and universal bags designed for custom fit can be quite small, but are differentiated in that specific fit designs are supplied complete with all components required for installation, ready to bolt on directly. The custom fit option requires the installer to purchase the installation kit and bags separately and requires some engineering and fabrication by the installer. Custom fit bags are available in a wide variety of styles, sizes and aftermarket quick detach options.
Universal bags are usually supplied with a yoke, or thick strap, connecting both bags. This facilitates a “throw over” mounting style with the weight of the bags suspended from the yoke resting upon the seat or fender of the motorcycle. The length of the yoke can usually be adjusted to allow the bags to hang properly on each side of the bike.
Care must be taken to prevent the bags from contacting any moving parts and to prevent the bags from shifting position during operation. While specific fit bags are designed to prevent this type of contact, universal throw over and custom fit bags require special consideration during installation. Most universal saddlebags require “U” shaped brackets formed from heavy wire or tubing to keep the bags from hitting the wheel, suspension or drive train components. The bags are usually tied, bolted or strapped to the brackets, which is not permanent but which makes quick removal difficult. These brackets typically must be purchased separately and are made to fit specific motorcycle models.
Saddlemen supports are engineered to work with their bags, but are also very effective with competitors’ saddlebags. These brackets are universal to facilitate difficult installations and are available in both permanent or quick disconnect versions. Saddlemen is one of the few companies that offers both brackets and compatible saddlebags.
Several manufacturers offer quick detach mounting kits that provide both secure mounting and easy on and off bag mobility. These kits are more complex than simple “U” brackets and sometimes offer the disadvantages of higher cost, more difficult installation and a greater weight. These kits do not require saddlebags with yokes, which are generally removed if supplied. Several companies, including Saddlemen, offer universal style saddlebags designed with quick disconnect installation in mind. These bags are supplied without yokes and with special reinforced backs. Saddlemen produces one of the lowest cost, lightest weight, easiest to use and install quick disconnect systems for universal saddlebags.
Size – selecting an appropriately sized set of bags is usually only a consideration with universal bags because the specific fit models are already engineered to fit correctly. Universal saddlebags come in many different sizes and selection will be dependent upon three considerations. First, the bags must fit on the bike where space is often constrained by hot pipes, turn signals, a passenger’s legs or protruding shock absorbers. Second, the bags should look good; small bags on a big bike or large bags on a small bike may look out of place. Third, the bags must be large enough to hold the items to be carried. Let’s look at each consideration.
First, the height, front to rear length and width available to mount a bag must be determined. The overall height of the saddlebag is generally limited by the exhaust system. A two-inch clearance from the bottom of the bag to the top of the exhaust pipe surface is required. Please note, loading a soft saddlebag with heavy objects can cause the bottom of the bag to deflect, decreasing the clearance of the bag to the exhaust pipe. The top of the bag is generally placed at the top of the rear fender or bottom of the passenger seat. Therefore, the maximum height of a saddlebag is the dimension from the top of the rear fender / bottom of the passenger seat to a height two inches above the exhaust system.
Taller bags can be fitted with lower exhaust systems and aftermarket pipes are often installed for this purpose. Saddlebags can also be custom fit higher on a motorcycle with the top of the bag above the fender, but care must be taken not to interfere with the passenger's legs. Higher installation is not easily accomplished with the yoke system supplied with most universal saddlebags but can be accomplished with a custom fit approach. Once the maximum height of the bag is determined, compare it to the dimensions provided on the attached chart.
The front to rear length is measured from the back of the passenger’s leg or shock absorber to the turn signal lights; this is the longest saddlebag that will fit. If the bike is equipped with shock absorbers, the saddlebags must be mounted outward or behind the shocks for clearance. Slant or angled saddlebags that can be fitted behind the shocks provide additional clearance. Saddlemen also offers larger bags with cutouts made to fit over the shock absorbers. Turn signal relocation kits are also available from Saddlemen and others; relocating the signals to the license plate bracket or further back on the fender strut will provide extra space to install larger saddlebags. However, relocating turn signals is a chore, and selecting bags that fit in front of the signals is often the best and certainly the easiest choice.
Once the height, length and width of the bag have been determined, compare the measurements to the dimensions supplied by the manufacturer. Please see the chart supplied by Saddlemen for a visual description of the key measurements and for sizes of their popular saddlebag offerings.
Second, pick a bag size that looks good on the bike.
Third, most saddlebags have weight limits that range from 5 to 15 pounds, limits that are easy to exceed if bags are not thoughtfully packed. Rain gear, a folded jacket taken off as the day warms, changes of underwear and toiletries or perhaps lunch, beverages or picnic meals comprise the majority of riders’ needs. Do not plan on packing too much! Pick bags that fit and look best on the bike and adjust what you pack to the space available.
Price – saddlebags are available in a wide range of prices depending upon quality, size, features and where they are purchased. It is beyond the scope of this discussion to consider all of the possibilities except to point out general guidelines. Universal bags, both throw over and custom fit usually are the lowest cost, ranging from approximately $75 for small bags with basic features to about $250 for large bags with top end features.
Although some custom fit bags can be bolted directly to the fender strut without the need for supports, the cost of the brackets required for most installations must also be added to the overall cost. These brackets range from about $50 to $90. Quick disconnect hardware to make the bags removable ranges from about $100 to $200 additional. Lastly, turn signal relocation kits that might be needed can cost from about $20 for a simple license plate bracket system (and included with some Saddlemen support brackets) to $60 for fender strut extensions.
The cost of saddlebags must consider more than the bags themselves, the cost of mounting hardware must also be considered.
Specific fit bags, which also include the mounting system, range from about $350 to $500. Custom bags with special features made by the original motorcycle manufacturers can run to $750 or more!
Features – in addition to the attributes described above – style, size, mounting – there are many other features to consider when purchasing saddlebags:
Materials – leather is considered the most traditional and highest quality construction material, but it carries the highest cost, requires the most care when exposed to the elements and can be the least durable. Leather quality varies widely and while low cost imported leather may look good, it often will not stand up to motorcycle use like the higher priced leathers offered through recognized brand name companies. Man made materials such as vinyl and polyurethane, often referred to as synthetic or man made leather, has become increasingly the choice of motorcyclists because of superior durability, lower cost and easy care. Today, it is almost impossible to tell the difference between a good synthetic or quality leather bag without taking the bag apart or looking at the price tag.
Security – increasingly bags are made with locking features that prevent casual theft. Of course, while any soft-sided bag can be opened or removed with a knife, locks that prevent the bag from being opened or removed from the bike add a level of protection that should be considered. Note, many quick detach systems such as external zippers or twist locks make bag removal easy and inviting. Many designs now hide the quick disconnect mechanism under a locked flap or otherwise make the system lockable. Note some straps are now backed by lockable side release buckles, but unless the outside buckle is either fixed or lockable, the benefit of the hidden locking buckle is negated.
Weatherproofing and protection against the elements –different lids styles offer varying protection to bag contents. Flap style lids should have as a minimum an inner flap to seal off the top of the bags to prevent water and dirt from entering as 65 mph wind tries to drive road grime and water into each bag. Box style lids seal much better while removable inner bags provide ultimate protection.
Ease of use – multiple straps look great on some bikes but in reality add to the chore of opening bags. Fewer straps and buckles are easier to use and quarter turn twist locks or hook and loop closures are the easiest to use. Lids that clear the seat or are flexible are easier to open than more rigid designs.
or Specific Fit
Universal, Custom or Specific Fit
There are three installation or mounting concepts that should be understood. Bags are commonly mounted in three different ways; they are universal, custom fit and specific fit. Each mounting method changes the bag design so the mounting method should be decided before the bags are purchased.
Universal mount bags are often the first choice because they typically are lower cost, the easiest to install, are not permanently mounted to the bike and are available in a wide variety of styling variations. A Universal fit bag or pouch is designed to be installed on most bikes, but will require adjustment or modifications to fit your motorcycle exactly.
Custom fit bags are often universal bags modified with custom user engineered or aftermarket mounting systems designed to make bags fit a particular application. Saddlebags are often custom fit to a motorcycle using aftermarket U shaped supports and quick detach systems.
Universal and Custom fit bags are available in a wide variety of styles, sizes and often quick detach options are available.
Specific fit bags are designed exactly for the exact measurements of a particular motorcycle resulting in the optimum size and most secure installation but tend to be more expensive and have less availability of styles and features. The difference between specific fit and custom fit bags can be quite small, but are differentiated in that specific fit designs are supplied complete with all components required for installation, ready to bolt on directly. The custom fit option requires the installer to purchase the installation kit and bags separately and requires some engineering and fabrication by the installer.
Selecting an appropriately sized set of bags is usually only a consideration with universal bags because the specific fit models are already engineered to fit exactly. Universal bags come in many different sizes and selection will be dependent upon four considerations. Please note that saddlebags are unique because their installation is dependent upon many considerations - hot pipes, turn signals, a passenger’s legs or protruding shock absorbers among others, they are discussed in a separate section. First, the bags must fit on the bike where space is often constrained by passengers or other installed accessories. Second, the bags should look good; small bags on a big bike or large bags on a small bike may look out of place. Third, the bags must be large enough to hold the items to be carried. Fourth, the bags should not overload the vehicle or accessory where the bag is mounted and the combined weight should not affect handling. Let’s look at each consideration.
The height, front to rear length and width available to mount a bag must be determined. Most bags are presented with dimensions that are used to determine capacity (make sure everything you need to bring can be carried) and to determine if there is room on the bike to mount the bag. Take a measuring tape to the bike and lay out the dimensions to confirm the bag will fit where it is intended. Look at pictures to be sure that side pouches or mounting nuances don’t appear to interfere with bag placement.
Second, always remember to pick a bag size that looks good on the bike. Smaller always looks good, so most choices will not go wrong if a smaller bag is selected. Smaller also tends to comply with weight limits. However, larger bags carry the gear that is needed. Remember that multiple bags can do the same job, often more effectively, than a single large bag or set of saddlebags. Spreading the weight over the bike, or keeping valuables where they can be easily removed when you leave the bike, can make more sense than a larger single bag.
Third, carefully decide the items needed when travelling. Like most packing efforts, there is a tendency to bring more with you than is actually needed. Plan the items needed and decide where they will be stored Multiple pockets make finding items easier, especially small items like cameras, wallets or keys that you may need to find quickly. Once the necessary items are decided, buy the bag or combination of bags that will meet the other constraints while taking everything with you.
Fourth, most bags have weight limits that range from 5 to 25 pounds, limits that are easy to exceed if bags are not thoughtfully packed. Rain gear, a folded jacket taken off as the day warms, changes of underwear and toiletries or perhaps lunch, beverages or picnic meals comprise the majority of riders’ needs for the larger bags. Do not plan on packing too much! Pick bags that fit and look best on the bike and adjust what you pack to the space available. Bags must not exceed the carrying capacity of the loaded motorcycle or the rack, sissy bar or other accessory upon which the bag is mounted. Heavy loads, especially when mounted high on a bike, can affect handling and tire load safety.
Style and Construction Options - click to expand
Style and Construction Options
Bags come in many different styles, materials and shapes. This is a choice that the bike owner must make himself, although some styles affect how the bags can function and how easy they are to use.
Many different trim options, or design themes can be selected. Common options include:
- Closure method; how a bag opens or closes is a choice of both function and styling. Some will prefer the simple look of hidden hook and loop while others prefer the traditional look of bright plated metal buckles and straps
- Straps - bags often are supplied with or without closure straps. Straps are very secure and look very traditional, but they must be opened and closed each time the bag is used and the fewer the straps, the quicker this is accomplished.
- Hook and Loop or Velcro – hook and loop closure is functionally quick and easy, but the sleek, clean appearance is the main reason for this option.
- Snaps – snaps are unobtrusive but can be difficult to operate on a soft bag
- Quarter Turn fasteners – minimalistic appearance but secure because of positive mechanical closure and lockable
- Metal buckles – classic traditional styling, buckles are often incorporated with straps. The use of roller buckles can reduce the wear on straps and are easier to use than non-roller styles. Metal buckles look perfect on most cruiser and HD bikes. Today many metal buckles, such as those from Saddlemen, have quick release plastic buckles hidden under the straps.
- Side release buckles – easy to use and secure, side release buckles are often hidden under flap or straps. Their minimalistic design makes them unobtrusive and they are often used where they can be seen and easily accessed. Saddlemen versions are lockable.
- Material – the type of traditional construction materials associated with bag styling is often dictated by tradition; cruisers with leather, sport bikes with fabric and adventure tourers with aluminum, for example. Each of these materials gives vastly different style and these materials are crossing over between bike types. No longer is fabric the exclusive domain of sport bikes, for example, and leather or leather grained synthetics can be found on stylish sport bikes.
- Leather - considered the most traditional and highest quality construction material, it carries the highest cost, requires the most care when exposed to the elements and can be the least durable. Leather quality varies widely and while low cost imported leather may look good, it often will not stand up to motorcycle use like the higher priced leathers offered through recognized companies like Saddlemen.
- Synthetic leather grained vinyl or PVC - man-made materials such as vinyl and polyurethane have become increasingly the choice of motorcyclists because of superior durability, lower cost and easy care. Today, it is almost impossible to tell the difference between a good synthetic or quality leather bag without taking the bag apart or looking at the price tag.
- Fabric – Saddlemen offers a high quality and exclusive Saddle Tuff™ polyester construction that is sun, weather and water resistant. Saddle Tuff™ looks great, is durable and easy to clean and maintain.
- Trim - bags are often offered with color accents, studs or rivets for decoration. The size and color of these can vary and generally their choice has no influence on function or ease of use.
- Studs - studs should be selected to match other bike components. All Saddlemen studs are bright plated ½ inch that look good when placed next to studs found as original or optional equipment on many factory equipped bikes.
- Rivets – smaller rivets look good on many bikes where the more bold look of studs is not desired.
- Conchos – pulled from the saddles of the old west, conchos offer a distinct style that often complements studs, straps and other intricate design themes. Conchos are most often found on HD or cruiser bikes.
- Color accents – a splash of color on a bag can make a huge statement and bring focus to an otherwise simple bag. There are several ways to add color, including flame stitching, piping (also known as welting) and replaceable inserts that fit into body panels.
- Plain – many bags look best when left simple and un-adorned with add-on trim. The simple look of body panels without color or studs can often be preferable to more highly decorated bags.
If studs or conchos are selected, they should be made of a rust resistant base metal such as brass or pewter, such as provided by Saddlemen, to prevent corrosion or rusting.
- Shape - different shapes are offered for nearly every bag type, For example, saddlebags are offered in slant, teardrop or with straight or round sides. However, shape is often influenced by function; saddlebag shape is often dictated by shock absorber use or placement and tank bags are influenced by the shape of the tank. Be sure to look at all of the many shapes available for any bag type under consideration. There is usually a shape available that matches your bike and personal preferences.
Security - click to expand
Storage is an important consideration for a motorcyclist, and in the process of selecting the right size, price, construction or mounting method, security can be easily overlooked. But security is critical because all of your “stuff” is put into the bags where a potential thief will know where to look first. Most motorcycle luggage concentrates everything into a relatively small, easy to carry bag, almost exactly the opposite of safe planning.
Security can be addressed several ways with bags, but the first thing to remember is that almost all motorcycle bags are exposed, unlike with an auto, so the first line of defense is to take really valuable things with you. That means easily detached bags that you remove and take with you or carry into your home or room. Saddlemen offers many detachable bags, from saddlebags, to tank bags, to seat bags and beyond.
The second thing to remember is that any security really only keeps the honest guy honest or makes the thief go to the next easier target. Most OEM factory hard saddlebags and trunks can be defeated in a manner of seconds with only a sharp blow with a hand or a quick twist with a screwdriver; soft bags are at least as secure if they are firmly attached to the bike and are locked to prevent immediate access. Most Saddlemen bags have lockable metal buckles, quarter turn twist locks or side release buckles and are supplied with keys and locks where appropriate, check individual specifications for confirmation of applicable models.
A recent innovation created by Saddlemen is the Destination Pack™ which is lined with a cut resistant stainless steel wire mesh cage interwoven between two soft, scratch free bags. The interwoven steel cage and bags provide weather and theft resistant storage for gear while on the road. The Destination Pack™ is the perfect portable trunk for a jacket, helmet or gloves at the end of a ride or a stop along the way. Unlike large saddlebags or trunks that must be empty in order to have space for bulky riding gear, the Destination Pack™ with Steel Cage™ protection simply opens up when needed and quickly folds away when not in use. A supplied wire cable and lock not only positively prevent the bag from being opened or moved, they also double as an effective deterrent against bike theft.
Saddlemen has always been a leader in lockable bags, but the best security is obvious locks, secure installation to bike, park in visible areas and take critical items with you by selecting removable detachable luggage and taking the smaller, expensive items like wallets with you.
How do I obtain warranty for my Saddlemen product?
Saddlemen warrants that its Luggage products are free of defects in material and workmanship for a period of one year. We feel however if the product should not have fail in any length of time we would like to hear from you. There are times at the discretion of the Saddlemen Customer Service Department that we will extend this policy. If you experience problems with your Saddlemen products, please contact us directly. Certain provisions apply and these are specified in our warranty policy.
Saddlemen prefers to handle all warranty claims directly with you, the end user.
Please DO NOT return any product until you have contacted us at (310) 638-1222 and received an RGA number authorizing return. Our Warranty Representative will explain our warranty and return procedures, and answer any questions.
Products that are found to have defects in material or workmanship and that comply with the provisions of the warranty policy will be repaired or replaced at Saddlemen’s discretion.
Saddlemen does not offer refunds for products bought through our dealers. Saddlemen does not cover the cost of returning products for warranty, nor will call tags be issued. Products repaired or replaced under warranty will be returned surface freight prepaid by Saddlemen.