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Old 04-07-2010, 12:43 PM   #11
pushrod
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One of the big design issues you need to watch for is that the lid/top/flap covers the leading edge of the bag, instead of just laying over the 'front' like a satchel.

If you don't have a lip on the leading edge, rain/water/yuck can be blown into the bag.
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Old 04-07-2010, 03:05 PM   #12
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You can pack quite a bit in a decent sized expandable tank bag, that's all I ever used on my Suzuki Bandit...
Never went tourning on the Bandit then, eh? At least, not a week-long tour.
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Old 04-07-2010, 08:03 PM   #13
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The more I look, the more I'm torn...

The $150 bags at the dealer were specifically for the Boulevard (I think they were Suzuki) but if I remember right they were throw over bags. I'll be heading to the dealer tomorrow with my insurance info so they can tag and title my motorcycle anyway so I'll take a look again. However, all Suzuki bags seem to require Suzuki bag supports so that is another $100 and that would make them relatively expensive.

Going with the cheap bags is, well, cheap. I can get cheap off brand supports (since they are throw-over bags I could get away without supports, so cheaper supports should work fine). If I don't like them, I'm not out too much money. But then, I am spending what for me is a lot of money on this bike, I want it to look good and a couple hundred bucks may be worthwhile.

The more I look the more I'm thinking cheaper hard mount bags may be the way to go. Not higher end $500-1000 bags like I'll do when I'm convinced I'm less likely to drop it. But I have especially noticed the Willie and Max bags. Their hard mount bags include the mounting kit in the price. That puts the cheaper ones at about $250-300. Meanwhile, from the photos they look pretty decent, and they seem to get good reviews. The worry is that is a lot of money if I did drop the bike and ruin the bags, and a lot of people seem to think most beginners will drop their bike at some point while learning. On the other hand, if I didn't drop it (or if I did but didn't mess up the bags), they may be durable enough and look good enough that I may not need to replace them quite so soon.

In the meantime, I'm not sure if I'm going to try to push myself to decide before I get the bike. I can drive around without bags for a while. I'm thinking I may get a cheap $20 canvas messenger bag for now for carrying papers and my lunch to work. How well would a messenger bag work on a motorcycle? It seems like it might work OK, and it would carry what I want to carry quite easily.
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Old 04-07-2010, 10:03 PM   #14
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I don't like the idea of a messenger bag on a bike, at least a backpack will stay behind you. Either style bag is adding weight to your body thus slowing your movements & controlling of the bike. Get one of them cargo net bungee things & a brief case & strap it on your back seat, or luggage rack if your bike has one.
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Old 04-08-2010, 03:52 AM   #15
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I don't like the idea of a messenger bag on a bike, at least a backpack will stay behind you. Either style bag is adding weight to your body thus slowing your movements & controlling of the bike. Get one of them cargo net bungee things & a brief case & strap it on your back seat, or luggage rack if your bike has one.
A lot of motorcycle and bicycle messengers use a messenger bag. They do quite well. However, IMHO, I don't like anything on me when I ride. I much prefer a decent tank bag (as mentioned previously) or a tail bag.

I ride to work quite frequently and I use a Cortech tail bag almost every day. I can fit lunch, a laptop, work papers and even extra shoes (in case it rains & I wear my riding boots) without difficulty. Jeff, perhaps you might look into a tail bag.

If you are looking for relatively cheap saddle bags, look into Tour Master, Cortech, or Nelson Rigg brands. They have decent selection and awesome descriptions at New Enough. Here is the link:

New Enough sells motorcycle jackets, helmets, gloves, luggage, tires, parts, etc. :: New Enough.
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Old 04-08-2010, 04:26 PM   #16
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Well, I'm a little closer to deciding. I was at the dealer today to bring them my insurance info and I took another look at the bags they had. I was remembering incorrectly, those $150 Suzuki bags were neither $150 nor were they Suzuki. They were $124.99, and they were River Road. So, I was able to take a close look at one of the throw-over bag brands near the top of my list (with Tourmaster, Saddlemen, and Willie and Max). They seemed pretty nice, they looked good, and while the workmanship wasn't up up to the $600+ bags in stock, it was decent.

So, while I may still go up a notch to the $250-350 bolt-ons, I do now feel more comfortable than I did with the mid-level throw-overs. I still don't really know how nice the bolt-ons are, and I still wonder about the cheap bags (it would be nice to save money if they'd at least look decent), but I'm very tempted to put in an order for some aftermarket bag mounts (if they look like crap at $30-40 I can replace them in a few paychecks) and buy some $100-150 bags. Now, if I buy good mounts, then I may as well go with the bolt ons from Willie and Max since they come with brackets and will cost about the same overall, but if I go cheap on the mounts I could save a little and still have nice looking bags.
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Old 04-08-2010, 04:49 PM   #17
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Well, I'm a little closer to deciding. I was at the dealer today to bring them my insurance info and I took another look at the bags they had. I was remembering incorrectly, those $150 Suzuki bags were neither $150 nor were they Suzuki. They were $124.99, and they were River Road. So, I was able to take a close look at one of the throw-over bag brands near the top of my list (with Tourmaster, Saddlemen, and Willie and Max). They seemed pretty nice, they looked good, and while the workmanship wasn't up up to the $600+ bags in stock, it was decent.

So, while I may still go up a notch to the $250-350 bolt-ons, I do now feel more comfortable than I did with the mid-level throw-overs. I still don't really know how nice the bolt-ons are, and I still wonder about the cheap bags (it would be nice to save money if they'd at least look decent), but I'm very tempted to put in an order for some aftermarket bag mounts (if they look like crap at $30-40 I can replace them in a few paychecks) and buy some $100-150 bags. Now, if I buy good mounts, then I may as well go with the bolt ons from Willie and Max since they come with brackets and will cost about the same overall, but if I go cheap on the mounts I could save a little and still have nice looking bags.
I have the Cortech bags (by Tourmaster). Excellent quality. Worth the money!
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Old 04-08-2010, 05:54 PM   #18
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Don't sweat it too much. If you keep the bike, you'll replace or upgrade a bunch of stuff after you ride a few thou anyway. You have more than one shot at this...
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Old 04-09-2010, 07:19 AM   #19
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Never went tourning on the Bandit then, eh? At least, not a week-long tour.

Sure, I just wear the same thing all week......


No really, I wear my 'stitch to ride in and pack shorts, boxers and tank tops and a few shirts and my Crocs. All the rest of the stuff like soap and towels they have at the motels, I just don't shave for a week and I don't need shampoo unfortunately...
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Old 04-09-2010, 09:24 AM   #20
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Sure, I just wear the same thing all week......


No really, I wear my 'stitch to ride in and pack shorts, boxers and tank tops and a few shirts and my Crocs. All the rest of the stuff like soap and towels they have at the motels, I just don't shave for a week and I don't need shampoo unfortunately...
Ha! You don't take a woman with you either, I see.

Just a tank bag. Hahahaha!
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