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Mistakes To Avoid When Buying Motorcycle Luggage

by Daniel Noble 17 May 2024 0 Comments

SHAD Motorcycle Luggage Set

The hunt for new motorcycle luggage is never an easy task, there are simply too many options and before you know it, you will be up to your eyes in top boxes and panniers.

From brands and styles and sizes to bonus features, there truly are a lot of aspects to consider as when looking for the luggage cases that best suit your needs.

However, being spoiled for choice is not a bad problem to have, what should be kept in mind is the potential mistakes that could lead to picking the wrong options. On that note, what are the common mistakes and how can they be avoided?

Buying Fitting Kits Incompatible With Luggage Cases

It is always advisable to find a suitable motorcycle fitting kit and then look for luggage cases that are compatible with the kit itself. Too often, people make the mistake of finding a top box or panniers that they like the look of, committing to a purchase and then realising the cases are now of no use to them as they cannot be fitted to the bike specific rack that is needed for their motorcycle.

Common issues that arise in this area include trying to mount a third-party top box or panniers to their motorbike’s original rack or a fitting kit from other luggage manufacturers. Take SHAD for example, their luggage is designed and tested to fit their mounting kits and more often than not, is incompatible with racks from other manufacturers while their top-opening SH23 panniers do not work with the mounts for certain models as they foul on the body.

Buying Fitting Kits For Different Motorcycle Models

SHAD 3P Motorcycle Pannier Fitting Kit

Motorcycle luggage racks are designed for each motorbike model.

In most cases, motorcycle luggage fitting kits are specific to each model of motorcycle and therefore, will only fit that particular motorbike. Yes, there are some kits that fit to multiple bikes but often, even a slightly different model or year of motorcycle will make all the difference.

Manufacturers often make changes to their motorcycles and from year to year, these changes can result in needing a different rack even when it is the same model but a different reg year. For example, a Honda CB650R from 2020 uses a different rack to the 2021 model.

Buy Cheap Buy Twice

With anything in life, cheaper alternatives tend to be of a lower quality and as the classic goes if you buy cheap you buy twice. Motorcycle luggage is no different and what may seem expensive at the time is more than likely going to last longer and save money in the long run.

There are plenty of cheap top boxes and panniers out there, such as the Chinese alternatives, but the lower price actually comes at a cost. Cheap luggage cases usually offer the bare minimum, they are more susceptible to the damage caused by impacts and certainly do not include locking systems or a waterproof structure amongst many other features that are omitted.

Buying Motorcycle Luggage That Is Too Small

SHAD SH23 Motorcycle Panniers

Smaller luggage cases may not meet your storage needs.

As we explained in our size matters blog, when buying new motorcycle luggage, it is of the highest importance to ensure you select top boxes and/or panniers that have a large enough storage capacity to suit your needs. Whether you carry clothing, helmets, supplies or any other essentials, the main thing is to consider the size of the luggage cases and assess whether or not they have an adequate volume to hold all of the gear you require for your journey.

Perhaps the best way to evaluate the size, especially when it comes to top boxes, is the helmet capacity. Most top boxes can store a full-face helmet while others can hold two and this ability is great for gauging how much can fit inside.

Will Aftermarket Products Affect Luggage Compatibility?

There are times when aftermarket accessories that have already been fitted to the motorbike may affect the compatibility of motorcycle luggage. Firstly, tail tidies adjust the location of the indicators which may prevent panniers from fitting if it turns out the panniers foul on the indicators. This can be resolved by fitting the original licence plate holder as it is what the panniers have been designed to fit alongside.

In other cases, there are times when certain motorcycles are unable to have both a top box rack and pannier racks fitted at the same time. This is due to the fact that they sometimes fit to the same mounting locations and there simply is not room for both. If you would like a full luggage set, it is recommended you check this as just because both kits are listed as compatible with the motorbike, it does not mean they are compatible with each other.

So, with all of the common motorcycle luggage mistakes laid out along with some guidance on how to avoid them, you should now have all the information needed to ensure you can find the best luggage for your needs.

The main thing to remember is ensuring compatibility. Once you have found the required motorcycle rack and married it up with a suitable luggage case or cases with an ample amount of storage, you will be all set for your next motorbike journey.

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