Your Thoughts on Sportbike Saddlebags
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Thread: Your Thoughts on Sportbike Saddlebags

  1. #1
    One of these days.... Array looper's Avatar
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    Dec 2003
    '97 F3

    Your Thoughts on Sportbike Saddlebags

    Just wondering what people’s thoughts / experiences are of these. I’ve looked at some models online (Joe Rocket / Motopak / Nelson Rigg) and they look OK, but was wondering what people thought after actually using them.

    How do they fit? Are they securely fastened? Any recommendations?

    Also, anybody used them with a passenger? If so, how did that go?

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  3. #2
    Not me!! Array TrueLies's Avatar
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    Jun 2006
    Richmond (If you don't like it here, allow me to point you to the nearest exit. :))
    Quote Originally Posted by looper
    How do they fit? Are they securely fastened? Any recommendations?

    Also, anybody used them with a passenger? If so, how did that go
    I didn't go shopping for bags. But my previous bike (RF900R) came with soft ones. Fit was a joke. It's like a sweater your grandma knitted with shoulders too wide and one sleeve longer than the other. Securely fastened? Maybe. Not enough for a spirited ride though.

    Passenger? I ruled it out. But, the previous owner said yes. I think if you can't get hard bags, you should keep expectations fairly low. Good luck.

  4. #3
    myside.yourside.myside Array bluenote's Avatar
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    Apr 2006
    sold :/
    Looper, thanks for asking this cuz I'm sortof interested too--
    I haven't done any research as yet, but I did see a gixxer kitted out with soft bags a little while back and filed away the memory for future ref.
    (are we talking about soft bags?) The ones I've seen don't look passenger friendly.

    I'm interested in everything you asked, but being impressionable I have one more to add ... 'do they look too gay to use?' I admit thats a (minor) consideration too


  5. #4
    Devil's Advocate Array RoadBlur's Avatar
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    Feb 2002
    The slums of new west
    Suzuki XV 2182
    I have some joe rocket soft bags that a certain married bikeless geek left at my apartment (thanks!). I gave them a go riding over the the island.

    For attachment there are 2 velcro straps between the bags themselves, these run under your passenger seat and are adjustable length to snug the bags up to the body. You want a TIGHT fit because you don't want them drooping down and flopping around (especially if you have a high exhaust like me).

    Other than that they have various strap attachment points. What I chose to do was run a short (about 6" unstretched) bungie under the rear of my tail to the rear lower corners of each bag, to keep it from shifting forward. I also ran short ties from the front lower corners to a convenient spot on my passenger pegs. With all that they were pretty securely fastened and not moving around at all. THe only movement would be more/less sag as I loaded them with different weights.

    Now for the important part, protecting your paint. PUT SOMETHING UNDER THEM OR THEY WILL SCUFF. I chose to grab a roll of that rubber doily-looking shelf liner, drop it across my tail with the seat off, cut out where my rear seat needed to poke through, then mount the bags over top. It keeps things from slipping AT ALL.

    I could take a few photos of the bags, mounting, and custom bits (total cost, about 10 bucks) I used to get a nice fast-to-add/remove setup.

    They accordian out, but I would not load them like that as they'd probably hit my exaust. Nice feature at rest though, I could probably get my boots, gloves.. I think I even jammed my mesh jacked in one side with some creative folding. Couldn't get a helmet in though... they ARE big enough to hold it, just the short zippers don't allow them to open enough to admit a helmet (maybe anal lube is required?).

    ANyways, for the low low price I borrowed them for, pretty sweet! A realistic load they might hold would be:

    Sleeping bag, couple changes of clothes, first aid kit, tools, some food/drink, maybe a little more. Then I could tie/down or cargo net a tent on top.. even throw a small bag on the tail, a jerry of emergency gas.. and off ya go!

    oh, PS. For all the plastic clips/hooks etc on bungies, I wrap them in cloth then with self-galvanizing rubber tape (electrical tape would work) to prevent scratching on paint.
    Last edited by Mr. Murphy; 07-17-2006 at 10:36 AM.
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  6. #5
    Gear Driven Cams Array Spike's Avatar
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    Jun 2003
    Langley, BC
    None right now...
    I had a set of Joe Rocket Sport saddlebags, the generation before the current ones. The current ones have a flat pocket on the outside for maps, papers, thin stuff like that. Mine didn't have that, but otherwise they are about the same. I used them about every time I rode my Nighthawk. Some rain, mostly sun. Never had a problem with water coming in, never had any concerns about them falling off or falling apart. Even when they were stuffed to the gills with gear for two people on vacation. I have Givi hard luggage on the VFR, but if I were in the market the Joe Rocket bags would be #2 on my list. They would have been #1, but:

    My wife just bought a set of Motopak saddlebags (the -60's not the -90's but I expect my comments will apply to the -90's too). I'm very impressed with how well built they are. Motopak bags, apart from being cheaper and made by a Canadian company, seem to be even more robust than the Joe Rockets. Small details, mostly, but they just seem to be very solidly built and have nice features that make you go "hey, that's a great idea" but not something you would have thought of.

    For example: The straps are riveted to the bags, but not solidly. They are set so you can rotate the strap around on the rivet to align with whatever hardware on your bike is nearby for anchoring. Also, they come with a neoprene "rub pad" that sits against your tail fairings to minimize scratches. You can put all of the mounting hardware between the pad and the bags, so only the pad and the straps are touching your bike (at least on my wife's EX500 that's how it works). Also, there are zippers to separate the bags from the strap across (or under) the seat, and the zippers are reinforced with a velcro strap, so it's not the zipper taking the load. Nice touches.

    So Motopak #1, Joe Rocket #2, in my mind at least. Somewhere high on that list i'm sure the Frank Thomas Cargo saddlebags would fit too... I have a FT tank bag, and I have yet to see its equal from another manufacturer. The saddlebags seem to be made the same way (judging from pictures on the 'net).
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  7. #6
    Registered User Array SpideRider's Avatar
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    Jul 2002
    Fraser Valley
    I have the current JR soft saddlebags, and have used them only once on a four-day trip.
    I loved them. Once you ensure the bungee cords aren't going to scratch your paint, they're great!
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  8. #7
    Posing with conviction Array heisenberg9's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    anyone I can lean against
    Yep on all the comments about the Joe Rocket bags. I use one of my bikes as a "pack mule" for groceries on a weekly basis as I live on an island and get food and such from town. Try to do as much of it as possible on my older bike which is suited for the JR bags. The velcro straps could do a real number on the paint job of your tail section if you aren't careful. Bungie cords and cargo nets attach easily to the hooks provided on the saddlebags. When fully extended you can get about five bags of groceries in them and you can strap flats of beers and coolers easliy to the top when loaded.

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