A Guide To Carrying Stuff On Your Motorcycle
You. Your motorcycle. The open road.
It’s all you’ll ever need, right?
Well, clean underwear for tomorrow might be nice. And a few
shirts, and a toothbrush, and maybe a camera. Plus a cellphone, a book to read
and a sweater to wear to dinner.
You know, come to think of it, another pair of pants and some
shoes to replace your motorcycle boots would come in handy. So would a
rainsuit, just in case.
Pretty soon, it starts to add up.
The fact is, whether you’re headed out on a two-week
trip or just picking up a box of cereal and a loaf of bread after work, there
are times when you really need to carry stuff on your bike. And it’s
instantly obvious when you look at most motorcycles that they weren’t
designed to haul large quantities of anything.
Fortunately, you aren’t the first person to discover this.
Lots of riders have faced the dilemma of getting something from here to there
over the past century or so. And they’ve come up with plenty of innovative
ideas—some of which are likely to be right for your bike.
In the column to the right, you’ll find a rundown of the major
categories of motorcycle luggage, from cramming stuff in your jacket to
high-end hard saddlebags, and everything in between. We list the pros and cons
of each, give you tips on what to look for when buying and show you examples
of some of the more interesting products in each category.
Sometimes you’re not riding coast-to-coast. Sometimes, you’re just
headed to the office, or out on a day-trip. All you really need at times like those is a way to carry some files and
computer disks, or a rainsuit and some water and snacks for a midday
If you’re traveling alone, one of the most logical places to carry
clothing or gear is on the passenger seat. And a number of companies
offer rear-seat haulers that make the process convenient.
Tankbags are religion. Those who’ve been converted will tell you they do
everything from making sure you don’t get lost to curing baldness.
When most people think of adding luggage to a motorcycle, they think of soft
saddlebags. These versatile carriers have been around since before Pony
Express riders were hauling mail in the Old West.
Own a cruiser? Want to turn it into a touring bike? Then you probably
already know about one type of all-in-one luggage known as back-rest
Hard bags provide a lot of protection that soft bags can't. They're a great choice but pricier than soft bags.
None of the above is quite good enough for you? There’s still one more
choice—let the motorcycle manufacturer incorporate carrying capacity
into your bike.