By Ryan Adams
Updated January 2021:
Saddlebags, side cases, panniers, bags. Whatever you call them, having luggage options for your motorcycle opens up a whole new world of uses for your motorcycle, like cross-country touring or grocery getting. We prefer the former. There are generally two perspectives when considering motorcycle luggage: hard or soft. Our opinion? It depends on the circumstance and your preference. Each has pros and cons. So, we put together a motorcycle saddlebags buyer’s guide to take a look at a few options from each side of the fence, but first, let’s consider some pros and cons.
Soft luggage generally costs less, weighs less, can be used interchangeably with many motorcycles or rack systems, and isn’t likely to get damaged, like a hard case, from a tip over. Conversely, soft luggage doesn’t offer the same security that a hard locking case has, can be more heavily damaged in certain crash scenarios, and doesn’t offer as convenient of access, as opening a latch, since they tend to have multiple straps and/or roll tops to be weatherproof.
To touch back on some of the points previously mentioned, hard cases offer better security as they are generally made out of metal or plastic or a combination of the two. Also, they can lock to your motorcycle and be locked shut. Mounting hard luggage also can help with stability as the cases are less likely to move around at speed. Hard luggage can provide better crash resistance in certain circumstances, but it really just depends on how it all goes down… literally.