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Motorcycling is about riding and it’s tough to get out there and spread your wings if your ass hurts and you can’t take along your necessities. Since 1987, Saddlemen has been researching cures for both of these ailments that often plague riders. Not only is Saddlemen a manufacturer, they are a huge supporter of flat track racing, sponsor of racers, attend rallies, and support motorcycle charity events. In this Saddlemen Luggage buying guide, we will walk you through the various quality luggage options Saddlemen has to offer: cruiser, touring, adventure, and even sport riders.
The Saddlemen luggage line is extensive and encompasses all areas of motorcycle storage from covers for OEM saddlebag, to organizers designed to maximize your available storage space. This vast array of luggage contains the staples such as saddlebags and sissybar bags, as well as seat bags, roll bags, tank bags, hard cases, adventure luggage and more! We will begin with a saddlebag discussion, but feel free to jump down to the section which best applies to your style of riding!
Saddlebags just might be the most common form of motorcycle luggage. Keep in mind that mounting saddlebags usually requires more than just throwing them over your seat or fender.
First, you will need to think about or research the following items:
What size saddlebag will fit on my bike? Measurement is simple. To find out how tall of a saddlebag will fit your bike, measure from about 2” off your pipe up to the top of your fender. To find potential length, measure from just behind your passenger footpeg towards the rear of your bike to the first obstruction. (see image)
1) What size saddlebag will fit on my bike? Measurement is simple. To find out how tall of a saddlebag will fit your bike, measure from about 2” off your pipe up to the top of your fender. To find potential length, measure from just behind your passenger footpeg towards the rear of your bike to the first obstruction. (see image)
2) Do you want the saddlebags to be removable or mounted as a fixed part of your motorcycle? Removable bags can either be throw-overs or bolt-on with quick release mounting hardware. Throw-over bags usually are lighter and more pliable in nature and “hang over the fender and rest on the bracket. Bolt-on bags will have a rigid back allowing them to be bolted directly to the motorcycle or mounting bracket.
3) Saddlebag brackets area a necessity not only for mounting, but also for safety of the rider by keeping the bags away from chains, belts, wheels and fenders. They normally come as chrome wire frame accessories, or black powder coated mounting implements which are removed from the bike when not in use. Both are effective ways to protect your motorcycle from the saddlebag.
4) Leather or Synthetic? Leather typically is more expensive but it holds it shape better and can be treated with shoe polish and leather conditioners. Synthetic bags are less expensive but offer a water resistance not easily obtained with leather.
5) Box, Round or Slant Style Bags? If your bike has external shocks such as the bike in the measurement photo, you will want to go with a slant style bag. If your bike is a softail and has a hidden frame mounted shock, you can use just about any bag that suits your fancy.
When speaking specifically about Saddlemen saddlebags, there are six saddlebag families to choose from which have some similarities (as they are all saddlebags) but offer some unique offerings in each of the lines.
Below you will find a brief breakdown of the offerings in each line:
- Express Series: This line offers saddlebags, sissybar bags, trunk bags as well as tool bags. All parts allow you to have a matched and coordinated look with ultimate function. The saddlebags are available in straight, slant, and teardrop styles with various sizes to fit multiple applications.
- Cruis’n Deluxe: This is a distinctive line which offers not only saddlebags and sissybar bags but also a coordinating 3 pocket windshield bag and saddlebag guard (rear crash bar) bag set. This line is sleek, functional, and all inclusive.
- Highwayman Series: This is a smaller line offering that “traditional style” or old school look with modern features. These saddlebags and tool bags come in a variety of sizes with studded or non-studded options.
- Tattoo Series: Looking for something other than a Plain-Jane bag? The Tattoo series comes with embossed stitching in various colors so your saddlebags can be as expressive as you are! Tattooed saddlebags and tool bags are available in various color combinations.
- Midnight Express Series: This series is great for the biker who likes style and function without all the pizazz. This simply styled line comes with a single strap closure; contrasting edge and body trim and is available in studded or non-studded varieties.
- Rigid Series: Looking for a “leather looking” secure and permanent mount saddlebag? Look no further with the Saddlemen Rigid series of saddlebags. These are make / model specific saddlebags designed with a custom molded HDPE back and frame for maximum durability. They are available with or without LED lights, and studs.
If you need more room than saddlebags alone, or if you dislike saddlebags... but still want ample storage room, Saddlemen has a BR series of bags which can be mounted to either a sissybar or just to a rear pillion seat! That’s right; the bags in the BR series come with a mounting yoke which allows the use of the bag without any other structural support aside from the seat. Watch the Saddlemen Seat Luggage Video here where we show you the mounting of the BR line of bags.
BR bags some in various sizes from small to large and there is even a roll bag available! As a general rule, the BR series of back seat bags come in three styles:
- Standard: Any part number with a BR and numbers following the letters (such as BR1800) is the standard bag. These bags are made with cordura other economical materials.
- EAny BR series bag ending in EX (such as BR1800EX) has the same form and function as the standard bag but is made of a leather looking marine-grade vinyl. This material is stylish while at the same time super durable.
- EXS: Any BR series bag ending in EXS (such as BR1800EXS) has the same form, function, and is made of the same leather looking marine-grade vinyl above but has the addition of studs.
If you are running a sissybar and a rack, you can maximize your storage capacity with any of the Saddlemen Sissybar Bags. Sissybar bags can sit on our backseat and strap to your sissybar. If riding 2-up, and if you have a luggage rack on your sissybar, any of these bags can be turned around and mounted to the bar / rack for a secure storage option.
Fork bags and Tool bags are perfect options for both the minimalist or the rider looking to pack as much stuff as possible! For the minimalist, they offer are a great way to carry tools, sunglasses and other small items. For the tourer looking to take everything possible, they offer “one more place” to stash and store needed items. These bags are available in plain, studded, highwayman, tattoo, and desperado styles to name a few.
Adventure riding has taken the world by storm the last several years. The Saddlemen team members have a heritage in the dirt... so the Adventure market is right up their alley! All of their adventure items are built by riders for riders. In 2012 Saddlemen launched their Adventure Track and Adventure Tour Seat lines which works perfect with the Adventure Pack line of Luggage. This luggage come with quick disconnect locking straps in all of the key locations necessary to secure these packs to your motorcycle. They can be used individually or as a complete coordinating set. Complete with rain covers and expansion zippers, these bags might just be the best adventure luggage introduced to date. Check out the video review of the Pillion Bag, Rear Rack Bag, and Seat / Rack Combo Bag.
Specifically for the Harley rider, Saddleman offers protective covers called chaps for the tops of HD saddlebags and trunks. If you want to step it up a notch and add even more storage to these already spacious compartments you can add the saddlebag chaps with attached storage bag!
If total organization is a pet peeve of yours... Saddlemen could be your motorcycle next best friend! Seriously, your bike has three large spaces that if left to their own devices become quite a mess! Their saddlebag lid organizer and tour pack lid organizer make perfect use of the “dead space” above your saddlebag and trunk contents.
These same types of components are also available for the Honda Goldwing! Wing riders can make great use of the saddlebag organizer, trunk lid organizer, and dash pouch set.
With the tops now in control, what do you do about the mess inside of the saddlebags and tourpak / trunk? Saddelbag liners are the key! There are three pages of saddlebag and trunk liners available for many different motorcycles / saddlebag combinations. Here are some of the top liners in this line-up:
Do you travel with your pet(s)? The Pet Voyager from Saddlemen allows you to safely take your pet with you on the road.
This vented piece of luggage is 16” x 14” x 14” allowing your pet a spacious place to rest while you ride. Check out the Pet Voyager Video which shows off the features and benefits in HD.
On the road is a great place to be! You can make it even better by allowing yourself to take all of the items you “want or need” with you. There are hundreds if not thousands of luggage options and Saddlemen has been a Luggage Leader for over a decade. Look to Saddlemen for your luggage needs which are all available at Cruiser Customizing.
Thanks for reading. Until next time, take care and ride safe!
Kyle & the CC Team