Different Types of Motorcycle Luggage

While this surely won’t come as a surprise to you, there are many different types of motorcycle luggage. You have probably seen several different varieties on display at your local bike shop, but probably not all. Many are specialized and designed to be only used by niche riders. So what are a few of the different types of motorcycle bags and luggage? Read on.


Panniers are the classic form of motorcycle luggage. Also known as hard saddlebags, panniers are permanent additions to your bike. They are usually made of metal and are designed to be as durable as it is possible to make them. They have to be, because if the bike is dropped, they will have the full weight of the contraption on them.

Panniers are favored by adventure travelers because their hard shells make it hard for thief’s to break into their contents while their hard shells keep fragile things from getting smashed when the bike falls (which can be a common occurrence on certain roads and trails).


Much like panniers, except usually soft. Saddlebags are bags that hang from the side of your bike. They add easy and cheap storage to your bike, though they lack the durability of panniers. Saddlebags do feature one major advantage over panniers, however: they are removable. You can drag them around as your luggage, if you want to.

Most people have saddlebags on their bikes, and for good reason. Despite the cheap cost of this type of motorcycle luggage, they are some of the most flexible bags you can get. Saddlebags are a great choice of motorcycle luggage no matter how you ride.

Tank Bag

Tank bags are less common than saddlebags, but are not less useful for many people. In their most basic form tank bags act as a convenient spot to store small things like wallets, cards and snacks. Their utility often goes further than that, however. Tank bags usually include a specialized slot for different things. Tank bags with map holders are a common variant, as you can glance down at your tank to see where you are going. Since maps have been largely supplanted by GPS, other variants host a slot for your GPS system.

Tank bags will never store a lot, but they are a more convenient type of motorcycle bags luggage than most. If you want an easy place to store small things or you need to be able to look at maps while driving, a tank bag is right for you.

Handlebar Bags

Motorcyclist cram storage wherever they can, and the handlebars are no exception. Like tank bags, handlebar bags are a small type of motorcycle luggage bags. They usually consist of some combination of small bags hanging from the handlebars and a bag hanging out over the top.

Not every motorcycle can sport handlebar bags. This type of motorcycle luggage only works with bikes that have enough space on the bars to host more things or don’t have the light attached at the very top of the bike. If your bike can host them, however, these are a great addition to your motorcycle

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