Whether going for a quick ride with the girls, or a weekend getaway, one thing I have been missing on my 2019 Triumph Bonneville Speedmaster is storage. You can ask my friend Kathy, my bag friend. Don’t lie to yourselves my bagless friends, you too have a Kathy. I swear, she bought her Harley-Davidson Road Glide Special with a trunk so that I have somewhere to put my stuff. I admit it, I use her for her bags shamelessly. Over the years, she has transported my countless belongings, some of which best remain nameless. Kathy is a good friend and she just got a whole lot more space in her own bags because this girl got herself some saddlebags! Not just any saddlebags, these are the saddlebags to get for a retro styled bike—SW-MOTECH Legend Gear side bags.
People often assume my bike is vintage so, naturally, I didn’t want just any ol’ bags. I searched high and low and decided to give these classy looking SW-MOTECH canvas panniers a try. While these motorcycle bags are also available in the LS (Legend Gear Bag Strap) throw-over version using the SLS (Side Legend Gear Strap), I opted for the quick-release hard mounted set up. SW-MOTECH developed the Side Bag System SLC (Side Legend Gear Carrier) consisting of a bike specific rack and the universal LC (Legend Gear Carrier) side bags that mount securely to the rack using a quick-lock system. If you have two motorcycles, you might even consider getting two racks so you can easily use the bags on both bikes.
The rack is available for a wide variety of motorcycles but the LS throw-over version is an option if you can’t find a rack made specifically for your bike. The LC bags are available as left or right, small (9.8 liters) or large (13.5 liters) with two color choices: brown/black or black. For a more retro look, I went with the brown/black option in large on both sides—the perfect accessory for my British Stallion.
Stylishly packaged in soft burlap sacks, the bags give off vintage vibes right out of the box. The installation is a breeze and includes hardware and directions specific to your motorcycle. (Some companies make “universal hardware kits” that make installation very difficult.)
For installation, I had to supply blue liquid threadlocker, Allen keys (4mm, 5mm, 8mm) and Torx wrenches (T40 and T50). The guide bolts screw into the bracket and become the mechanism by which the bag attaches to the bracket. For the Triumph Speedmaster, three screws replace existing screws on the bike’s rear fender strut that the sissybar attaches to. The thick spacers are used between the bracket and the sissybar for a flush mount.
The bag’s quick-lock system is made of glass fiber reinforced polyamide which is a strong, lightweight plastic. The plastic piece that is attached to the canvas bag slides right onto the two docking points and lock in place. It only takes a few seconds to put the bag on or take it off.
With such an easy mounting process and brackets that are barely noticeable, I can promptly go back to a clean look for a quick scoot around town. What more can I ask? The bags are there when I need them and off when I don’t.
The Legend Gear bags are made of Napalon synthetic leather and waxed canvas. While the waxed canvas provides water resistance, an inner lining included with the bag is waterproof in case of a downpour. To close the bag, you just seal the two top edges together with the Velcro strips and roll the top down. Then it fastens securely with the three aluminum buckles that slide to fasten. Be mindful of the location of the middle strap when opening the bag as it flips over the bracket and could scratch the bike.
Going camping? When filled, the top of the bags are level with the pillion seat making it the perfect surface for strapping your camping gear. Conveniently secure your additional luggage to the bracket or canvas loops on the saddlebags.
The Legend Gear bags do not lock, so it’s best to take your valuables with you. Knowing that it takes seconds to detach, I am a little nervous about someone walking away with my bag and everything inside of it. Luckily, SW-MOTECH has thought of that as well. An extra $18 will get you a cable lock which secures the bag onto the bracket. Also, a shoulder strap (LA4) for an additional $30 clips onto the bag for easy carrying.
Pulling out of the dealership and rolling that very first mile on my odometer was thrilling and I knew I couldn’t get just any bags for this special motorcycle. As Kathy will tell you, I had been holding off to find just the right bags for the Triumph. That quest has been fulfilled and my backpack stuffing days are over. Now, I shall stuff saddlebags instead. Ride safe my fellow moto babes!
For more information visit SW-MOTECH.com.