Do you often travel on your motorcycle and the biggest struggle you usually face on your ride is having not enough storage capacity? Then you will have to buy some additional luggage such as a saddlebag.
Yes, a specialized motorcycle backpack can serve you well in most situations and it can be enough for a short ride. However, going on a long, multi-day trip requires some additional storage space.
There are a few options you can use to store your items on a motorcycle. You can mount a tank bag and a tail bag, but these are both small-capacity types of motorcycle luggage. They are good for tool kits and small gadgets, but not that great for storing food and clothing.
Another option is to wear a high-capacity backpack. The biggest motorcycle backpacks can have a capacity of up to 40 liters, but they are way too heavy and not very comfortable to wear. Therefore, it is recommended to use some type of motorcycle saddlebags.
In this article I am going to review the Top 6 Best Motorcycle Saddlebags the money can buy. Additionally, I will also discuss all the different types of motorcycle saddlebags and talk about the main reasons why these bags can be a very good investment for you, especially if you own a larger touring bike such as a Harley-Davidson.
Read Also: Top 10 Best Motorcycle Backpacks of 2023
List of the Top 6 Motorcycle Saddlebags
Best Motorcycle Saddlebags Reviews
Choosing the right motorcycle saddlebags can be very tricky. You need to be sure they will actually fit your machine and not be too loose. Otherwise, it can be dangerous to ride with such saddlebags, as they can touch the ground or even get stuck in your chain and wheel. Thankfully, there are many different types of saddlebags available on the market, and if you are not 100% sure about the fitment, you can always buy the universal ones. So, let’s not waste any more time and take a good look at some of the most popular and highest-rated saddlebags for motorcycle riding.
Nelson Rigg RG-020 Dual Sport Saddlebags Review
There is no better option for dual sport bikes or smaller motorcycles in general than the Nelson-Rigg RG-020. These lightweight and compact motorcycle saddlebags will be ideal for you if you prefer to go on shorter trips, but would like to be able to carry some necessary stuff with you. Nelson-Rigg is a well known name in the motorcycle gear industry and they make some of the best motorcycle covers, backpacks and luggage. Their products offer good value for money and they usually receive positive customer feedback. The Nelson-Rigg RG-020 are no exception, as these are the brand’s highest-rated saddlebags on Amazon.
Size & Storage Capacity
The bags are expandable and their capacity is 12 liters each or 15 liters each when expanded. Their dimensions are 14. 5″L x 9″W x 6″D and 14. 5″L x 9″W x 8″D when expanded. Thanks to their small form-factor and high adjustability, they are perfect for all types of dual-sport bikes, dirt bikes or smaller adventure bikes, including enduro and supermoto.
Materials & Build Quality
The Nelson-Rigg RG-020 motorcycle saddlebags are made from a high-quality UV-treated and water-resistant ballistic nylon, which makes them extremely lightweight yet durable at the same time. They are equipped with reverse coil zippers designed to keep out dust and dirt when riding in off-road conditions. Thanks to the large rubber zip pullers, you will be able to open them even with your gloves on. There is a reflective piping around the edges for improved nighttime visibility.
Mounting & Adjustability
As I mentioned earlier, the Nelson-Rigg RG-020 motorcycle saddlebags are fully adjustable. Not only will they work with almost any type of motorcycle, but thanks to their heavy-duty straps, they offer an extremely secure fit. On top of that, they also come with an anti-scratch protective panel to prevent scratching the paint and plastics. The saddlebags can be easily mounted to your seat and attached to the frame of your motorcycle using self-fastening straps and quick-release buckles.
Nelson-Rigg RG-020 Saddlebags
️Pros: Lightweight & Compact, Ballistic Nylon Construction, Heavy-Duty Straps, Fully Adjustable, Expandable, Universal Fit
Cons: Small Capacity
Givi EA100B Easy-T Motorcycle Saddlebags Review
Givi products never disappoint. Whether you need a good motorcycle backpack, or you are in search of high-quality saddlebags, you just can’t go wrong with this Italian brand. And, the most popular motorcycle luggage series from Givi is called the Easy-T. It features multiple different bags and backpacks that offer very good value for money and are suitable for both urban riding and adventure-touring.
Size & Storage Capacity
The Givi EA100B Easy-T are 40-liter expandable motorcycle saddlebags that you can use on a street bike or sport-touring bike. The bags are ideal for long-distance rides where you need a high-capacity storage for your belongings. The dimensions of the Givi EA100B are 20.8″L x 7″W x 12.5″H and 20.8″L x 11″W x 12.5″H when expanded. This is more than enough for multi-day touring trips and if you ever run out of space, you can simply expand the bags by up to 25%.
Materials & Build Quality
The saddlebags are available in black color and they come with reflective accents for improved safety. They are constructed from a heavy duty Polyester 600D and coated with Lycra. These materials ensure extreme durability, weather resistance and aerodynamic stability. The bags are not fully waterproof, but you can use the included rain cover that will make them 100% waterproof. The Givi EA100B Easy-T saddlebags are equipped with a removable shoulder belt that you can attach to the bags and wear them off the bike.
Mounting & Adjustability
Installation is simple. All you have to do is to put the straps around your seat and adjust the Velcro. Keep in mind that the Givi EA100B Easy-T saddlebags are designed to be mounted to a motorcycle rack/frames, which you will have to buy separately and will cost you an additional $100.
Givi EA100B Easy-T Saddlebags
️Pros: Large Capacity, Expandable, Extremely Durable, Removable Shoulder Belt, Rain Cover Included
Cons: Frames not Included
Types of Motorcycle Saddlebags
You can choose from multiple different types of motorcycle saddlebags. Some of them are better for street bikes and sport bikes, while others are designed for a dirt bike or adventure bike. Mounting process may also differ, but most of the bags utilize Velcro panels and tie-down straps for their installation. This simple yet effective mechanism provides high adjustability and very good fit. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular types of motorcycle saddlebags and discuss their pros and cons.
Leather Motorcycle Saddlebags
Some of the most stylish motorcycle saddlebags are made from leather. Not only is this material durable and weather resistant, but it also has some natural breathing properties. This means that any moisture built up in your clothing will slowly evaporate and there will be no smell coming out of it. Leather motorcycle saddlebags are great for any type of motorcycle, but they look best on cruisers, scooters and large touring bikes. Usually, these bags are on the pricier side, but they will last for a very long time.
Hard Motorcycle Saddlebags
If you own a Harley-Davidson, you are probably looking for some kind of hard-shell saddlebags that will fit your particular model of motorcycle. When we talk about hard motorcycle saddlebags, they don’t have universal fit for all types of bikes. There are so many of them that you will have to do your own research about the compatibility. Hard-shell motorcycle saddlebags have their pros and cons. Their build quality is superior compared to other types of saddlebags. However, these bags are extremely heavy and they offer no adjustability.
Soft/Canvas Motorcycle Saddlebags
Soft motorcycle saddlebags are usually made from canvas or some kind of synthetic leather. They are suitable for all categories of motorcycles and you will be able to adjust them to your liking. Buying a soft/canvas motorcycle saddlebags can save you a lot of money, as they are usually much cheaper than leather and hard motorcycle saddlebags. Unfortunately, these bags are not waterproof and their durability is not that great.
Waterproof Motorcycle Saddlebags
Speaking of waterproofing, there is a type of saddlebags that you can use in rain. Waterproof motorcycle saddlebags are great for all climates and weather conditions, as they offer resistance against water and other elements. These saddlebags are made from materials such as Nylon, Polyester or Gore-Tex. They either come with some degree of water-resistance, or they are fully waterproof. Additionally, you can also buy some saddlebags that are not waterproof, but they come with an included rain cover.
Universal Motorcycle Saddlebags
Universal motorcycle saddlebags are a type of bags that you can mount to any motorcycle seat you can imagine. Most of the saddlebags on this list offer universal fit, but some of them are specifically designed for one or more categories of motorcycles. Although, they are not limited to a particular motorcycle model, in some cases you will still have to buy an additional rack or frames if you don’t have one. These usually cost around $100, but they can be used with many different universal saddlebags.
Reasons to Buy Motorcycle Saddlebags
Without a doubt, having some motorcycle luggage can be beneficial, and sometimes even mandatory. Whether it is a saddlebag, tail bag or tank bag, if you often go for very long rides, you will simply have to buy some of them. If I think of the importance of various pieces of motorcycle riding gear and accessories, I would give saddlebags a medium priority. You can still ride your bike without one, but having it will surely make your life much easier. Now, I will talk about some of the most obvious benefits of having motorcycle saddlebags and tell you why it is a good idea to invest your hard-earned money into them.
More Storage Space
The most obvious benefit of using motorcycle saddlebags is their additional storage capacity. If you only use your motorcycle jacket pockets and also wear a backpack, the storage capacity you have available is only around 20-30 liters. However, if you install a saddlebag system to your motorcycle, you can increase this capacity by up to 100 liters! This will give you near endless possibilities on what you can carry on your bike. You will be able to pack various items such as a motorcycle cover, sleeping bag, some food, or even a small beer keg. On top of that, some of the saddlebags can be used as a shoulder bag, which can be super-handy.
Motorcycle saddlebags can be either tied down to the frame of your motorcycle, or you can mount them on a rack. This means they are difficult to remove, and therefore hard to steal. Additionally, you can use a lock to prevent zipper from opening and secure them against thieves. If you often make short breaks during a ride, you can put your helmet and gloves into the saddlebags and don’t worry about them being stolen easily. Apart from keeping your stuff secured and hidden from the eyes of thieves, these bags can also improve riding safety. They will act as a bumper on the sides of your bike and protect it against impacts and scratches.
Optional Speaker Facility
This one isn’t that obvious. Not that many of us require a speaker system on their bike. However, there are some motorcyclists that prefer riding with motorcycle speakers instead of wearing a Bluetooth headset in their helmet. If you are one of them, then installing these speakers into the saddlebags is a possibility. Alternatively, you can also buy a motorcycle saddlebag system that have some speakers already installed in them. So, if you would like to listen to your music collection during a ride, motorcycle saddlebags with speakers will be a good option for you.
How to Install Motorcycle Saddlebags
Installing saddlebags to a motorcycle is not that hard. It will only take you a couple of minutes, if you know what you’re doing. Check out this short Youtube video made by McGowRides to see a guide on how to install motorcycle saddlebags (Cortech Super 2.0).
Step by Step Guide
- Adjust the Velcro straps to the width of your motorcycle seat.
- Attach the anchor points to the frame of your motorcycle.
- Loop the tie-down straps through the anchor points and tighten them up.
- Adjust the straps as needed and make sure the fit is snug.
- Load up the saddlebags and enjoy your trip!
Riding without motorcycle saddlebags is not a big deal, as there are some other storage options. However, if you want to be able to pack a lot of things on a road trip, then having one of these bags is a must. Some motorcycles are suited better for installing saddlebags than others, but most of the bags I have reviewed offer a universal fit. So, no matter what type of bike do you have, there should be something for everyone. In my opinion, all of these saddlebags offer a great value for money and they will certainly be a good investment for you in the long run.