Lockable hard luggage isn’t available for all motorcycles, and when it is, a set of cases and mounting hardware can cost $1,000 or more. Although it provides less security and weather protection, soft luggage is lighter, cheaper and can be mounted to almost any motorcycle. California-based Nelson-Rigg has been making soft luggage since 1972, with products tailored for sportbikes, sport tourers, cruisers, adventure bikes and Can-Am Spyders.
Nelson-Rigg’s CL sport-touring line includes tankbags, tailbags and saddlebags of various sizes and styles. We tested the CL-1060 Sport Tail/Seat Bag ($79.95) and CL-950 Deluxe Saddlebags ($149.95). The CL-1060 tailbag is made of UV-treated Tri-Max ballistic nylon backed by semi-rigid plastic to help it maintain shape. Its main compartment measures 12.5 x 10.5 x 7 inches (8.6 liters), is expandable to 15.1 liters, and features a removable divider, a mesh pocket, pen holders and a storage pocket for the rain cover (which takes up some of the interior space). Four straps with looped ends and adjustable clips attach to plastic D-rings on the tailbag, which makes mounting easy as long
as you can find places to secure the straps to the bike. Unfortunately, the expandable portion of the CL-1060 is below the D-rings, so when the straps are tightened the extra space collapses.
Also made of Tri-Max ballistic nylon, the CL-950 saddlebags have removable plastic inserts to help them maintain shape. Each 19.9-liter bag has a 17- x 6.5- x 11-inch main compartment plus three outer pockets with organizers. Large, zippered top flaps make loading and unloading easy, and the interior has a soft lining. Connecting the saddlebags are two large, adjustable Velcro straps that go over the passenger seat, and adjustable front and rear straps secure each bag to the bike. Large foam rubber pads protect the bike’s bodywork, heat-resistant panels protect the bottom of each saddlebag and removable rain covers are included.
We’ve used this luggage on a cruiser, a naked bike and an adventure bike, and mounting and removal takes only a few minutes. Nelson-Rigg’s quick-release connecting kit (TPKSB-MT-35, $9.95) makes mounting the tailbag/saddlebags combo much easier. The luggage is well made, each piece has a carrying handle and reflective trim, and everything is covered by a lifetime “no hassle” warranty. To keep the saddlebags from drooping and the luggage from shifting around, don’t overload the bags and check the tightness of all straps regularly.
For more information: See your dealer or visit nelson-rigg.com
(This Gear Lab review was published in the July 2014 issue of Rider magazine.)