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Cruiser luggage - my review & recommendation

Discussion in 'Cruisers' started by Bluesuede, Sep 19, 2007.

  1. Hey all,

    I've been meaning to do a little write up for those cruiser riders that like to do a bit of touring with some of my experiences with luggage. Seeing there is now a Cruiser forum, I figured now might be a perfect time.

    I don't know about you guys, but I've always loved touring. Whilst I love riding about any chance I get - be it on a weekend, at night after work or whenever I have the opportunity - there is nothing quite like jumping on the bike for a period of several days and riding decent distances. And doing it all on a cruiser is the perfect way to enjoy the experience and see the scenery.

    So other than fitting out my bike when I purchased it with a windscreen - a must if you seriously want to spend significant amounts of time at highways speeds on a cruiser - the next most important thing was looking at luggage options. Your regular sports, sports/tourers and tourers of course have their ventura rack options, tank bags, pannier bags and the like, but its a little bit different on a cruiser!

    I'd had a decent sized tank bag in the past that I used on other bikes, but given my cruiser's tank mounted speedo, tank bags are out - except for the smallest option which can basically carry your wallet, sunnies, keys and perhaps a small camera. The most common cruiser luggage option is of course the saddle bags.

    With most saddle bags, you have to remove the pillion seat and they are then slung across the rear guard, and then the seat replaced. Usually leather, they require lots of maintaining and are generally not too waterproof. And personally, having last had a tourer with removable panniers I had gotten used to the convenience of being able to remove them from the bike with a minimum of fuss and carry them with me when staying somewhere overnight.

    So what I ended up purchasing were K-drive removable saddlebags which were perfect. They are made from an imitation leather that requires no maintenance and only need to be wiped down with a cloth and water when dirty. They come with brackets that fit to your specific model, and you simply click them onto and off the brackets. They also can be locked into place. They are reasonably waterproof as well - not totally however as if you are riding in fairly horrible driving rain you'll find that water will make its way up the inside of the flaps of the lid and down into your bag. But certainly nothing penetrates through the joins or the material.


    To ensure anything I carry remains waterproof I ended up getting some large waterproof orange tear resistant storage bags from Ray's outdoors. Ordinary plastic bags can catch and tear when you take them in and out of the saddlebags - and the benefit of the orange bags is you can actually see what you might be looking for inside the bag as opposed to dark coloured garbage bags.

    Ok so that was saddlebags sorted - but I needed a lot more storage as once you put in a stuff like a spare pair of shoes, first aid kit and tyre puncture foam, you can't really fit much gear in saddlebags if you are going away for more than a couple of days.

    So after some fairly extensive researching, I came across the Nelson Rigg Survivor series, and settled on the SVT-600 Next Day Tourer


    The Nelson Rigg range are sissy bar mounted - they come with velcro straps that wrap around the backrest, and a multitude of straps that secure it to the luggage rack and sissy bar. The Next Day Tourer comes with both a decent sized bag and a separate top roll that straps on top. The beauty of the Survivor series is that they are guaranteed 100% waterproof.

    Yes - 100% waterproof. No need to pull on a separate cover over the bags if it rains like most luggage. Nor do you need to put your stuff inside the bag in separate plastic bags. And I can say from experience, having ridden with it in some truly horrible conditions that their claim is justified - I have not had one single drop of rain enter the bags. And the sissybar mounting system is rock solid - and a simple 1 minute task to remove when you reach your destination. They come with various backpack and carry straps that you can fit to the bag to carry it with you.

    Hope this helps anyone looking for some luggage solutions :)
  2. Wow, very cool post. I've been looking around for storage options for my bike, so this is really helpful!

    I used to have a pannier on my previous bike, and got used to the convenience and security...but I've already got a sissybar on my bike so I guess I'll have to get a sissybar bag... Still searching for a good one though...

    Groceries have been a bit of a problem lately...
  3. Blue

    thanks for the excellent write up

    where can you purchase the Nelson Rig stuff in Australia?
    I couldnt work out on the webpage you supplied if they will sell outside the US as the international has Cananda on it??

    Oh and if you bought yours from their website how long did it take to reach our shores?

  4. I commute, so saddle bags are out.
    I like the idea of panniers for the longer trip, cos I have been known to do the odd 1k a day for a week ride.

    I added a ventura rack and bag to my M50, and waht I cant put in the bag (56L) I strap to the back.

    Wouldn't be without it now, as it just makes life so easy.

    Interested to hear what people pack for that longer trip.
    I pack spanners, sockets, spare headlight globe, plenty of ziplock ties, a tubeless repair kit, and a compressor.
    Add some duct tape, a swiss army knife, and my McGuyver abilities, and I am ready for anything. I have a Starcom1 unit for tunes, mobile ph and GPS. Looking at UHF for trips.
    Plenty of ziplock bags, and a few garbage bags for when things get damp.
    a change of clothes, and I am away for a week.
    Oh, forgot, a bag full of change for NSW tolls (free for bikes in Vic)

    What do others take?

    Hey Bluesuede, I am taking a 7 day trip from mlb to townsville and return in Nov. Wanna come?
  5. Bluesuede , thanks for posting , yeah the K-Drive bags are very good and I wanted them for my 1300 but they werent available when I purchased my bike ( I beleive they are now ) I have Saddlemen Jumbo bags on mine ......I purchased these because they are a big bag and hold lots of gear and they look good on the bike also , plus they are a synthetic leather . At the moment I am looking for a luggage roll , that I can tie on behind the pass back rest to put a bit of gear in when my wife and I are out on our day trips..............Steve
  6. Thanks Tracey - Sorry, I should have posted a local Nelson Rigg distributor link! Australian Motorcycle Components are local distributors in Australia, and I purchased from their website. Their delivery was really fast - I ordered just before midnight on a Monday and it was at my door on Wednesday. :) I had thought about purchasing from the US via Cruisercustomizing.com but wanted it a little more quickly so got it locally instead.
  7. Would love to do that!....unfortunately won't be able to get the time off for it in November. I am however doing a 2 week Tassie tour at the end of the year which will be in Event calendar soon - you might like to come on that? :grin: Is going to be after Christmas...basically the first couple of weeks of Jan - trying to decide whether to spend New Years Eve here in Melbourne before I go or in Tassie...decisions decisions! :-k
  8. If you are after a luggage roll, the roll that came with my Nelson Rigg luggage is actually normally purchased as a separate item - but is included with the SVT-600. You can buy it as the SVT-200. It has the same velcro system for attaching to the backrest (if you aren't strapping it on top of the other bag) - I sometimes just use it on its own if I don't need to take a great deal of gear :) It's an excellent luggage roll!
  9. +1 for the K-Drive bags. I have them on my Vulcan and they are invaluable. I particularly like the hard plastic insert they have which helps them retain their shape. They hold quite a bit of gear too.
  10. Great report mate :) .

    I'm not a fan of saddle bags for my M50 muscle cruiser :wink:
    So that would be a great set up.

    I did a 3 day Netrider Snowy mountains trip and didn't have the cash to get touring or saddle bags ,but I had a 40L tank bag ,so this is what I did ..

    I took off my rear seat ,and got a rubber matt from the bike shop ,that you put under you luggage to stop it scratching the paint ..cost ..$20.
    You could use a towel price .$0.
    I cut it out and shaped it to the rear fender of my bike .I then put the tank bag on the rear fender ,most bikes have metal strips the saddle bag rack bolts onto and the tank bag magnets grip onto them. :grin:
    Using the tank bag strap and 1 extra occy strap around the back of the tank bag ,and strap it from pillion peg to pillion peg.
    And you good to go ,great for 2 night -- 3 day trips.
    I had a cargo net from my old Jeep ,and put it over the top with a sleeping bag under it in the picture just to show you ,you can carry and extra bag or Big things like a tent.
    You can get a cargo net ,for $10.

    I also have a ,$30 tool roll with 100 things in it ,tools ,zip ties, Swiss army knife ,pencil touch ,tape ,tyre repair ...etc,ect, and its on my forks
    24-7. :grin:
    And a first aid kit ,in the bike 24-7.

    The best thing about my cheapo quick fix set up ,is my tank bag ,becomes a back rest. PRICE LESS :grin: :grin: :grin: :grin: .

  11. great write up there matey

    personally i dont have a need for saddle bags ect so i get away with a topbox mainly to store locks helmet ect when not in use but well done :cool:
  12. ive got the k drive bags on my c50 there practicle as i hate wearing a back pack but much prefere the look of the bike without them but they are very practicle tough and roomy so i use them all the time.
  13. Where did you get the K Drive bags from, local or import?
  14. I bought them through my bike dealer in Heidelberg :)
  15. That would be the one in Bell St. How much did you pay?
  16. Hmm...for the slant type with brackets for my bike, from memory they were selling them at the time for about $695 the pair and I got a 10% discount in addition to that - so about $625 - I only have the replacement costing they provided me for insurance so I'm not 100% sure, but I definitely got the 10% off - they may have rounded it down to $620...nfi at this point! :LOL:
  17. Good value.
  18. i got my slanted style fitted before i picked up my bike they were purchasced through the dealer gorden turners in gunnedah they were about 650 i think
  19. An update for you all on Nelson Rigg...

    Big thumbs up from me for the manufacturer - I managed to break a couple of the plastic buckles on the bags that you use to secure them to the bike, so I emailed the company to ask where I can buy replacements. Now mind you I bought the bags from an Australian distributor, and I emailed the US manufacturer.

    They replied the next morning and said that they'd be happy to send me replacements at no charge. That's what I call excellent customer service! :beer: