Adding Saddlebags

Adding Saddlebags

Posted by Team Motorcycle on Jun 26th 2016

Riding a motorcycle without any bags is nice, but it's usually a pipe dream. We humans tend to take stuff with us, all the time. Imagine living in an area where you can suddenly receive a lot of rain. So you need to take your rain gear with you. Going to the shop to buy some milk and bread? You'll need to carry that with you. And how about that lock? Oh, and before I forget, how about some proper tools to make some roadside repairs?

So riding without proper storage is a nice idea, but not very practical. So we end up putting bags on our precious bikes. They can be topcases (or any of several other luggage systems – click here to find out what kinds there are), but often just for the visual pleasure of having saddlebags on our bikes. Saddlebags look cool, and why not? They have been adorning horses for centuries, and our iron steeds will still look cool.  

Here are some pointers for when installing saddlebags. But before we begin, let me direct you to your motorcycle's owner manual. Since often bikes have restrictions in weight carried, or accessories placed. Better safe than sorry.

Picking The Right Height

Saddlebags come in many different sizes and materials..

Measure the maximum height your bike can take as saddlebag. Measure starting at the top of the mudguard (or the bottom of your pillion seat) to an inch or three about the exhaust (remember that exhausts get very hot, and you don't want to see your newly purchased saddlebag go up in flames).


Now you need to find the length of the saddlebag. Start measuring from the taillights and/or indicators; the best is from the indicator. Measure all the way to where you back is once seated on your saddle. You do not want to have a saddlebag that extends past your back, since your legs will get bruised from hitting the saddlebags, which will be very uncomfortable during longer rides.

If you check our saddlebag section on our site, you will see saddlebags listed per motorcycle manufacturer. This will make your choice easier.

Some motorcycles have an exhaust that will be in the way. Usually it's on one side, but fear not. There are bags that can handle a high exhaust. They will have an indentation that will take care of the exhaust. However, you will forfeit some storage space (the same applies to some suspension, read this below).

Adjusting The Bike For Saddlebags

Not all motorcycles are alike, and sometimes if parts of the bike hinder your dream saddlebags, you'll need to make some modifications.

Most common are your indicator lights. They are often too much in the way for that saddlebag you've been lusting after. So if everything is right except the indicators on your bike that is hindering … you will need to move the lights; not a biggie, but it does take some doing.

Here is a video from Easy Brackets showing you how to do this:


This allows you to buy that wonderful saddlebag with minor modifications to your motorcycle.

If your suspension is in the way, then you can be out of luck unless you find a bag that has been made specifically for your manufacturer’s model. There are many bags that fit specific models, so make sure you buy the right one. If you have any question, just email us.

If not, you will probably end up buy a smaller saddlebag, or another type of storage.

Thrown-On Saddlebags

Thrown-on bags are great, since you can take them with you when you arrive at your destination. It's easy and convenient, but placing some brackets on your bike to hold the saddlebags in place is a good, if not great idea. The last thing you want is for the saddlebags to go flying while you are cruising on the motorway.

Here is a video that shows you how to install these easy brackets:

Fixed Saddlebags

For peace of mind, you can fix your saddlebags to your motorcycle. The advantage is that they will not come off easily, but the disadvantage is that they stay on your bike. Which means that when you are travelling and you’ve got your underwear, shirts and toiletries bag, you’ll need to haul it in a plastic bag or so. This is a good reason, if you chose the fixed option, to make sure your saddlebags comes with removable inner bags, or liners.

So whatever your motorcycle brand or model, we’ve got your covered.