Iron Rider Luggage from Dowco

story by Ken Glassman, Photograph by Ken Glassman, Created Oct. 14, 2006
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So you're ready to pack up the cruiser, and head out on a road trip. Now you've got to pack all your clothes and gear judiciously to fit what you'll need on the road. You fill your saddlebags with tools, tire repair kit and pump, first aid kit, water bottle, and other incidentals, and now you need to move on to the clothes and gear. Most cruiser riders have used some variant of a universally-mounted, single compartment bag such as a T-Bag... which is a brand name by the way. But there are other companies making similar products, including this fine one by Dowco, which even has roller wheels and a disappearing handle.

The Iron Rider Main Bag, Overnighter and Roll Bag from Dowco But the folks at Dowco have reinvented motorcycle luggage with their revolutionary Iron Rider Motorcycle Luggage System, which allows you to configure five different size bags to suit every travel need, whether it's for a day trip, office commute, weekend, or weeks-long tour. Each bag is made from heavy duty 1680 polyester, and has rigid sides to hold its shape even when not filled to capacity. The bottoms of each bag have a rugged rubberized diamond-plate non-skid base, and each bag comes with a full rain cover. All the bags are quality pieces, with sturdy dual zippers that can accommodate a luggage lock, and even the zipper pulls are rugged. All bags can be mounted individually to the sissy bar and luggage rack, by using the two exterior hook & loop straps.

You can also turn it around so the bags are resting on the passenger portion of the seat if you prefer, which creates a decent back rest. On the larger Main Bag and Overnighter Bag, additional straps and buckles are deployed from hidden compartments on the bottom of each side, so you can secure the bags around turn signal stalks or other mounting points on the bike. For stacking, all bags come with additional adjustable straps to lash each bag to another with easy to use plastic clips that hook to the D-rings fitted to all of the luggage pieces.The Main Bag seen here, has 1.75 cu. ft. of storage capacity.

You can start with the Main Bag which anchors the system. It measures 23"x11.5"x11.5", and holds 1.75 cu. ft. of storage. The large front/top opening makes it easy to pack. Extra side storage compartments are expandable and make for easy access to smaller items. The Overnighter Bag is a bit smaller, measuring 14"x10.5"x9" and has .75 cu. Ft. of storage. It also has zippered side storage compartments, but those are not expandable. You can top off the system with the Roll Bag, which measures 14"x10.5'x6.5" and that holds .50 cu. ft. of storage. Naturally any of these bags can also be used on the luggage rack of a Harley Electra-Glide or on a Honda Gold Wing trunk.

Two other bags in the system are quite unique. One is the Garment Bag, which allows you to fit a suit and dress shirts into the bag on hangars in case you need to have some dressier clothing when you arrive at your destination. Just lay your clothes out flat into the detachable zip-up nylon suit bag, then place the hangars into the bracket inside the Garment Bag, roll it up and you're done. It even comes with an over the door metal hook to hang the bag on a closet door. I packed a suit and two dress shirts and left them in the bag for 48 hours. When I removed them, they were not wrinkle-free, but they looked no worse than the same items I packed in a standard suit bag I use for airline travel. The suit looked a great deal better than if I'd tried to pack it in any other type of bag. So if you're thinking of driving your car on that business trip just so that you may pack a suit, you now have the option of riding your bike, which will make any business trip more enjoyable.The Garment Bag works better than most standard bags people often use and would be especially useful for those "business trips" that you take on your "motorcycle."

And should you need to bring your briefcase and laptop along for that Power Point presentation, not to worry. Dowco has the perfect Commuter Briefcase to transport all your office needs. The padded case has a section to tightly secure your laptop, cords and peripherals, as well as a place for extra CD's, DVD's, file folders, binders, calculator, cell phone, pens, and everything a well designed briefcase should have. And again, this bag, like all the rest, can be used alone, so it's a great case for your everyday commute to the office.

The Main Bag, Overnight Bag, and Garment Bag come with removable padded handles, while the Roll Bag and Briefcase have attached handles. All come with comfortable detachable shoulder straps as well. When you arrive at your hotel for the night, you can just detach the bottom bag that is secured to the motorcycle, and carry the whole unit with just the handle on the top bag.

Because of height, you should only plan to stack a maximum of three bags. But there are 20 combinations you can use to design the best configuration to suit your travel needs. The Iron Rider system is great for traveling with a passenger because now each of you can have your own bag, (you can even stack two of the largest Main Bags) and share the third bag for the rain gear, or the extra layer that goes on and off during the course of the day. Or you can segregate soiled clothes from fresh ones, wet clothes from dry, or just pack one bag for the clothes you'll need while on the road, and the rest with the clothes you'll need when you arrive at your destination. You can even take one empty bag along to pack up all the things you'll buy along the way. The Main Bag comes with an expandable rain cover that allows you to cover all three bags while stacked, so you don't have to cover them individually.

For a weekend trip, two-up, the combination of Main Bag, Overnight Bag and Roll Bag is enough for a couple. Main Bag for her, Overnighter for me, and Roll bag for rain gear, gloves, and incidentals. For a 10 day solo trip to Sturgis, I'd use two Main Bags and the Roll Bag for myself, and that provides more capacity than a T-Bag would. Having the clothes in separate bags is also a huge convenience because you don't have to disruHang 'em high. pt all your things to get at what you need. And those expandable side pockets will come in handy to bring the souvenir T-Shirts home.

Each of these bags can be used as carry-on luggage for an airplane trip, so you'll get more use out of it than just for your bike; they're obviously ideal for those times when you fly to your destination, and rent a bike and go exploring. The prices are reasonable and an excellent value considering the high quality. The Main Bag retails for $99.95, the Overnight Bag for $64.95, the Roll Bag for $39.95, the Garment Bag for $89.95, and the Briefcase for $89.95.

So if you're looking for a convenient and flexible way to pack for your next trip to Sturgis, Daytona, or just to the office, Check out the Iron Rider Luggage from Dowco. To learn more about the Iron Rider Luggage, as well as Dowco's full line of motorcycle covers, leather saddlebags, tank bags and other accessories, visit their website at http://www.dowco-inc.com/. Dowco doesn't sell direct, but you can call 1-800-558-7755 to reach their Customer Service Line and they will help you find a local dealer.



 

 

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