When traveling by motorcycle, the ideal is to be as lightly loaded as possible to make the most of the maneuverability of your vehicle. However, circumstances may require the carrying of more or less bulky luggage, whether on regular journeys or long journeys.
The daily journeys
Simple commutes to work may require packing a few essentials. This is obviously your papers and personal effects (driver’s license, cards, insurance, money, keys, maintenance booklet, accident report) but also the necessary in case of bad weather such as a rain suit, and possibly business to change if you can’t spend the day in a motorcycle jacket or boots!
A simple backpack is enough to take a few spare clothes and carry a helmet and gloves during the day. Opt for a bag that straps well and is padded for more comfort, and avoid putting rigid objects in it that can be dangerous in the event of a fall. Also, make sure it is waterproof or has a rain cover to protect your belongings in the event of bad weather. To protect your helmet from minor shocks and dust during the day, the bag sold with it may even be sufficient if it has straps or straps.
Longer solo trips
For longer routes, the backpack remains a valid option, provided you choose it well and do not overload it. The ideal is to choose one that attaches perfectly with a chest or belly strap. Some models, specifically designed for motorcyclists, are performed and reinforced for greater comfort and safety. Bear in mind, however, that carrying an over-loaded 50-liter bag, even if it is well fixed and balanced, is painful over long distances.
Another solution is to saddle luggage to be fixed on the passenger seat behind the driver. Specific models exist on the market, but you can also use a classic dry bag of 25 to 40 liters, of the “sailor” or duffel type for example, and secure it with a net or tensioners. Easily removable to prevent theft during stops, it is easily transported once you arrive at your destination.
The tank bag, on the other hand, allows you to carry a heavier load without too much impact on driving, and to keep a road map, cash, or toll tickets close at hand. Magnetic or with clips, they can however scratch the tank and need to be detached each time you fill-up with gas.
If you are leaving for a long time or your destination is experiencing a cold or rainy climate, for example, you may also need side luggage, rigid suitcases, or saddlebags. With a large capacity, the rigid version however modifies the aesthetics and handling of the motorcycle. Be careful also, on some models, the bags may be too close to the exhaust pipes!
Long journeys with a passenger
Impossible for a passenger to install saddle luggage, and some saddlebags can prove to be uncomfortable in the long run. The solution is the top-box fixed at the back using top-box support and incidentally acting as a backrest. If it has a large capacity, however, care must be taken not to overload it because it modifies the distribution of the masses and therefore the handling of the motorcycle, but it will be perfect for transporting bulky clothes or sleeping bags. It is quite expensive, but be aware that it doubles as a suitcase when it is removable and its lock allows you to leave your belongings safe when you are away. The reflectors with which it is often equipped also promote better visibility.
The case of long bivouac holidays is more complicated. To carry tent canvas, toiletries, and cooking essentials, you will have to be clever and combine different luggage solutions: backpack, side panniers, tank bag, top case… If today we find solutions adapted to all budgets (mini towels, nestable crockery, self-inflating mattress), you will undeniably have to settle for the essentials so as not to exceed the payload of your vehicle. Adjust your suspensions according to the weight transported and, in case of major needs, evaluate the possibility of a trailer, an expensive solution and not really aesthetic but with a large capacity. A more complete article is available on our blog, to help you prepare for your motorcycle trip.
It is therefore up to you to assess your needs according to the climate and the planned route. Know how to limit yourself and organize your luggage to put the heaviest loads at the bottom and balance everything well to maintain a smooth ride and enjoy the trip as best as possible!
Also, remember to organize your motorbike holidays well!