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Best Motorcycle Saddlebags from Harley-Davidson & Saddlebag FAQs

February 14, 2024 Comments Comment

When it comes to storage, motorcycles might not get the respect they deserve. Sure, motorcycles may not come with the storage capacity of a pickup, but that doesn’t mean riders don’t have motorcycle luggage options available to support their next epic adventure.

Riders in the know have long turned to a staple of storage—the motorcycle saddlebag—to carry more than enough to hit the open road, crisscrossing the map in style and convenience. Whether you’re looking to upgrade your daily commute or have your sights set on the road trip of a lifetime, this guide to motorcycle saddlebags can help you find the luggage that suits your needs and fits everything you need.

The Best Saddlebags from Harley-Davidson

Choosing the right saddlebag is not just about functionality; it's about integrating the bag seamlessly with your motorcycle's design. Harley-Davidson has styles to complement your custom ride, from adventure-ready aluminum side bags to timeless leather options featuring the unmistakable Bar & Shield logo. No matter how you ride—or what you choose to bring with you while you do—you’ll find a saddlebag option that perfectly matches your style.

Motorcycle Saddlebags FAQs

What Are Saddlebags on a Motorcycle?

Saddlebags, as the name suggests, are storage bags that are typically mounted on both sides of a motorcycle's rear seat, or saddle. Evolving from bags draped over horses' backs, motorcycle saddlebags have over the years become an integral accessory for riders worldwide.

What are the Benefits Offered by Saddlebags

Saddlebags are a perennial  favorite, providing numerous practical advantages to many motorcyclists. From helping to ensure the protection of your belongings to enhancing your bike's look, here's a closer look at why saddlebags are a must-have accessory for many riders:

  • Convenience: With saddlebags, you no longer have to deal with a backpack that can become a burden on long journeys. Saddlebags can expand your storage capacity and allow you to travel hands-free and bag-free, enhancing your comfort throughout the ride, whether you’re trekking across the country or just heading to the grocery store. Many of H-D's saddlebags are detachable, allowing for easy removal when needed.
  • Protection: Designed to be securely attached to your motorcycle, saddlebags help to minimize the risk of your belongings getting dislodged or lost during your journey. Similarly, the materials and design of many saddlebags offer resistance against harsh weather elements. Whether you’re riding through driving rain or on a dusty trail, the best motorcycle saddlebags can help keep your belongings protected.
  • Aesthetic Appeal: Apart from their practicality, saddlebags can elevate your motorcycle's look. Choose from sleek modern options, or pair smooth leather with the sheen of a chrome saddlebag guard. As we’ll see below, there are saddlebags to suit a wide range of styles as well as storage needs..

What are the Types of Saddlebags?

As with any accessory that’s a long-established favorite, the selection of available saddlebags has grown over the years to include a variety of options. From their humble horseback beginnings, saddlebags have evolved significantly, giving riders their choice of materials, mounting style, and overall style. Here's a breakdown of the common types and what they offer.

  • Hard saddlebags encompass rigid luggage made from materials like fiberglass, aluminum, or molded plastics. Rigid saddlebags or side bags are typically mounted to the bike using brackets and hardware, offering riders an especially secure option for stowing their stuff during extended rides.
  • Soft saddlebags include a range of options, from lightweight canvas saddlebags to those made from synthetic materials. The latter type, made from durable nylon, polyester, or similar materials, are typically designed to offer lightweight, weather-resistant luggage that, despite its “soft” name, is able to maintain its shape. Some soft saddlebags, such as the Harley-Davidson® Adventure Soft Saddlebags, are designed to be supported with a durable mounting system. Others may fasten to the bike with straps or utilize a specially designed quick-release system.
  • Leather saddlebags are the go-to choice for riders after a classic look. Among leather saddlebag options, riders can find both hardshell and softer designs to suit their needs. Harley-Davidson’s collection of leather side bags offers styles and special touches designed to perfectly complement custom rides and favorite models, alongside convenient features like easy-locking lids and inconspicuous docking systems.

Do Saddlebags Affect Bike Performance?

It's a common concern that adding saddlebags might influence a motorcycle's performance. To avoid this, it's essential to pack your bags evenly and avoid overloading to maintain stability.

Still, while adding weight can indeed impact maneuverability and fuel efficiency, the design and placement of saddlebags on modern motorcycles, especially those by Harley-Davidson, can help ensure minimal effect on the bike's balance and performance. However, it's essential to pack your bags evenly and avoid overloading to maintain stability. Harley-Davidson designs and rigorously tests its saddlebags to ensure a factory-quality fit, durability and reliability.

If you're looking to elevate your riding experience, explore our full range of motorcycle saddlebag options. Better yet, visit your local Harley-Davidson® dealer to see them in person, get expert advice, and find exactly what your next ride needs. Your journey deserves the best, and with Harley-Davidson® bikes and accessories, that's precisely what you get. 

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