Small And Mighty

By Sharon Naylor

April 22, 2016 4 min read

A crisp breeze, the open road, the purr of your engine -- when preparing for a motorcycle getaway, there are a lot of fun things to think about. One of the harder aspects to think about is where you will be putting everything for your trip. Del Vidaurri, president and CEO of NYC Motorcycle Tours, says, "I've done tours to Louisiana, and people on the tour definitely want to bring a lot of their belongings." To allow for added storage space on the motorcycle, hard luggage sections and added storage gear are sensible solutions.

"Touring cruisers don't always have luggage," says Vidaurri. "For certain bikes, you'll find luggage options made for that model through the company, but many people find that there are few universal options that work with all bikes. I searched and found a company that makes universal luggage for all bikes and found that a company called Mutazu offers a wide selection of universal luggage for bikes."

While spacious and efficient luggage is the goal, Vidaurri says that there's also an aesthetic element. "You want your bike to look like a big cruiser, and luggage cases will make a narrow bike appear larger."

Here are some additional storage options for motorcycles that may allow you to go on more extensive motorcycle getaways:

--Saddlebags. These storage bags hang on either side of the motorcycle via straps and are made of soft leather or polyester. Some manufacturers customize saddlebags for bike brands and types, fitting them with a bracket to suit the bike. Some are made with protective covers to protect them from the elements, and if you find a saddlebag that doesn't have a cover of its own, you can purchase one. Saddlebags are affordable and provide an impressive amount of storage space within.

--Panniers. These storage cases are often made of hard materials such as metal and aluminum, and they also hang on either side of a motorcycle, often around the back wheel. In some models, panniers can be positioned higher, providing a backrest for a rider. They may be permanently installed or removable.

--Handlebar bags. Handlebar bags are often fitted between the motorcycle handlebars, as they are much smaller than saddlebags and panniers, and they may also be attached elsewhere on the bike, such as strapped onto the side of the bike or fitted on the back of the bike. They are usually made of nylon, opening with a zipper for easy access.

--Tank bags. Also a smaller storage case for a motorcycle, a tank bag fits on the front tank of the motorcycle, optimizing storage use of that space, used to carry small items like wallets and snacks.

Vidaurri says, "You'll find so many variations of storage cases and bags that don't normally fit on a specific band of motorcycle." This makes customizing your bike's storage capacity less of a challenge, not limiting you to the sometimes pricey storage cases available from your particular bike's manufacturer.

Just be sure to familiarize yourself with the installation guidelines via the owners manual, so that you're not stuck at the time of departure without the necessary brackets and straps. Additional equipment may need to be special-ordered. So take out your bike and fit all of your storage cases and bags well before your trip to be sure that your departure time stays on target and that you're able to securely attach all of your removable bags for your riding safety, as well as the safekeeping of your belongings.

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