Motorcycle.com

MO Tested: Cortech Super 2.0 Saddlebags/Tail Bag Review

News flash: Most motorcycles have very little cargo carrying capacity. Shocking, I know. Still, in every motorcyclist’s riding career, there comes a time when traveling – and being able to carry a couple days worth of belongings – is the goal of the ride. In those situations, unless you own a touring rig, you’ll need to mount up some luggage.

While, in my youth, I took many a weekend trip where I just tossed a clean t-shirt, underwear, and socks in my tank bag and was good to go. However, other trips required that I pack not just extra clothing but things like a camp stove and food. For this intermittent task, a set of soft bags really can’t be beat. They can hold your gear when you need it and pack away easily until the next trip. The Cortech Super 2.0 Saddlebags and Tail Bag offer expandable storage without the droopiness associated with similarly featured soft luggage.

The left side of the bags have been expanded while the right side remains zipped. Note the heat-shielding on the bottoms of the bags.

The saddlebags measure in inches 16.9L x 6.7W x 10.2D when not expanded, and the tail bag’s standard dimensions are 13.4L x 14.2W x 7.5D. Each zippered expansion panel adds approximately 3 inches additional width to the bottom of the bags and about 2 inches at the top. Both the saddlebags and the tail bag are constructed of 1680-denier ballistic polyester with an outer layer of 1800-denier twill Jacquard. How can you tell the difference between the two fabrics? The ballistic polyester has a square weave pattern, and the twill Jacquard has a diagonal weave design. The real importance of these two fabrics is that they are both hella strong and offer long-term durability to the bag construction.

The bag interior polyester liners sandwich stiff internal support panels and help the bags maintain their shape even when empty. Frankly, nothing looks worse than soft luggage that wilts when empty. The tail bag liner (and, to a lesser extent, the saddlebag liners) is a bright red color that makes it easy to find items within the bags. The tail bag also offers a zippered pouch, a key hook, a mesh pouch, and pen slots for storing small items.

The red lining makes it much easier to find items in the bag. The top flap storage is a good place to keep small items.

Speaking of zippers, the Super 2.0 Saddlebags have several of them. The top closure features dual zippers connected by a joined pull strap to allow you to open both zippers simultaneously. This strap can be tucked away under a beefy hook-and-loop fastener at the back of the bags to prevent flapping. Each saddlebag sports a small zippered pocket for frequently accessed items like sunscreen. The saddlebags each have a circumferential zipper that releases expansion panels that increase the bags’ capacity from approximately 26 liters to 36 liters. Typically, bags with similar expansion panels tend to droop when the panels are extended. The Super 2.0 Saddlebags and Tail Bag have internal support panels that, when wedged under the rolled internal seam of the bag, stiffen the expansion panel and prevent the floppiness. This is a nice touch that points to the well thought out design of this luggage. (I shouldn’t be surprised about this since Cortech is the performance line produced by Tourmaster.)

Mounting the saddlebags is as easy as wrapping four nylon mesh straps around attachment points, like passenger pegs and grab rails, and clipping them to the saddlebags. The tail bag can be mounted separately via a set of straps, but my favorite feature is how it connects directly to the saddlebags through the use of built-in hooks on both the saddlebags and the tail bag. Very useful!

The tail bag attaches so securely to the saddlebags that it’s possible to remove them as a set to be carried into a hotel room.

Many of the current generation sportbikes have sharply angled tail sections that may not play nicely with the straight sides of the Super 2.0 Saddlebags. To resolve this issue, Cortech created the Super 2.0 Contoured Saddlebags which have a curved shape to better match modern sportbike lines. (The Contoured Saddlebags, however, do not have the expansion panels or the dual top zippers because of the bags’ shape.)

The Super 2.0 bags also include several other nice features. They include slip-over rain covers to keep your belongings dry. Reflective piping increases your conspicuity at night. The saddlebag bottoms include a heat shield to protect the bags (a minimum of 2 inches clearance between the bag and pipe is required, though). Finally, protective non-slip, non-scratch diamond-pattern strap and side pads prevent the tough, ballistic polyester of the bags from marring your motorcycle’s finish.

The pad not only protects your bike’s finish, but it also helps to hold the bags in place.

The Cortech Super 2.0 Saddlebags and Tail Bag have proven to be a useful addition to my motorcycling kit. They hold a decent amount of gear and have fit every bike I’ve tried them on (though a couple would have probably fit the Contoured Saddlebags better). The Cortech Super 2.0 Saddlebags retail for $159.99 while the 24-liter Cortech Super 2.0 Tail Bag has a $109.99 MSRP. You can buy them directly from the manufacturer or at many online dealers.

All of the tie-downs have plastic clips and clever hook-and-loop fasteners to keep the extra strap from flapping.