Fat Skeleton's Guide to Cruiser Luggage Part II - Saddlebags
Saddlebags - the name evokes the cool image of the plains drifter cowboy & his faithful horse, with just his bed roll & whatever he could stow in his throw over saddlebags, the open trail in front of him. Day long rides until his resting place under the stars with just an open fire and the howls of coyotes to lull him into a restful sleep
Fast forward some 150 years and now it’s the iconic biker, less the bed roll (unless you’re rocking the Mayans MC look) but still with his throw over bags, the open freeway ahead of him, unknown trails until his Premier Inn destination with the just the promise of a breakfast buffet & a guaranteed good nights sleep policy to lull him off to dreamland.
Seriously though, saddlebags continue to be a custom biker favourite piece of kit, but the first time newbie or returning born again tend to forget the following when shopping for their classic designed luggage.
Throw Over Bags. The most popular, in terms of value for money, but what do we mean by throw over. Back to horses again, only whereas your western hero could throw them over behind his saddle without a care in the world (once secured to said saddle) & head off into the sunset, the modern day cowboy has a little more to think about when attaching to his iron horse.
For a start, not many will actually “throw” them over the rear saddle as most bags come complete with an adjustable yoke which is best fitted in a semi permanent way under the rear pillion seat. All but the cheap n nasty versions that you’ll pick up from market stalls at bike shows (no doubt sold to you by a sales assistant or owner who has never ridden a bike in his life) now come with bags which “zip off” the yoke.
The yoke is attached under the rear seat. This leaves you with a couple of individual bags to cart to your hotel room or tent, you’re no longer living the dream of nonchalantly throwing the bags over a shoulder, stopping by at the saloon for a shot of red eye or whatever.
So, throw overs are the cheap introductory level, but you’re still not out of the woods as you also have take into account the positioning of your:
Whilst it may be OK for a bag to cover your rear shocks, you might not be quite so chuffed when you the the bag off & see just what scuffing damage has occurred whilst you were getting your kicks on the A66. It really is best if the bag does not foul the shock.
Rear indicators are just as pesky, so be prepared to re locate if necessary.
Exhausts. Make sure you attaché the yoke correctly, you’ll be amazed at the stories we could tell you of riders who have come to us at rallies to replace their bags as one side or the other has “slipped” down because of uneven weight packing and have experienced the bottom of the bag catching fire on a hot exhaust & spilling their touring clothing onto the fast lane of the M6.
Pillion pegs, just make sure you’re not going to dislocate your pillions ankle as bags that are not of a “sloping” variety may really be uncomfortable for your rear seat passenger.
Finally, saddlebag supports, a real must to stop any more scuffing of paint work, but also giving you something to attach the bag to so it won’t flap about.
Please note we DO NOT have a specific saddlebag section online.
However, if you email us firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 0115 9635837 along with the year & make of your motorcycle, we'll search our supplier data bases for something suitable.