Choosing The Right Saddlebags
When shopping for saddlebags you want to look for a shape and/or size that will not make contact with the exhaust, you need a minimum of two inches of clearance between the exhaust and the saddlebags. Luggage manufacturers do not consider damage to saddlebags from contact with the exhaust as a product defect or warranty issue, it is viewed as user neglect. Always be sure to review the dimensions listed on the web page in the “Sizing Information” section and compare that to the area on your motorcycle where the saddlebags will be mounted. This is not always easy, but it gives you an idea how much space your motorcycle provides you for mounting saddlebags. Remember that regardless of the style, shape, and size saddlebags you want, the motorcycle you ride will dictate what you can use.
Motorcycles with high mount or undertail exhausts will almost certainly damage any brand or style of saddlebags (with the exception of “hard bags”). The only manufacturer that addresses this situation is Nelson Rigg. They now offer the “CL-HSP Saddlebag Heat Shields for the saddlebags in their luggage lineup. If you are looking for luggage and your motorcycle has an undertail or high mount exhaust, I strongly recommend you purchase Nelson Rigg Saddlebags along with their heat shields.
Cruiser style and standard motorcycles should not use saddlebags without saddlebag supports/guards for two reasons. Saddlebags on these motorcycles can and will get sucked into the rear wheel. Most cruiser and standard motorcycles have rear coiled/spring shocks that will make contact with the saddlebags and damage them very quickly, which is not considered a warranty situation by luggage manufacturers. Saddlebag supports/guards prevent these things from happening.
Dual sport, dual purpose, off road, or adventure style motorcycles are almost guaranteed to have an exhaust in a position that will make contact with the saddlebags. Because of this, they require saddlebag supports/guards or luggage racks that provide a mounting platform for saddlebags to keep them away from the exhaust and rear wheel. TCI offers the TCI Products Dual Sport Luggage Racks for mounting tail bags or saddlebags or both at the same time. These racks require virtually no modifications to install them, can handle heavy off roading, and they don’t look ridiculous! If you are considering luggage for your dual sport and TCI Products manufactures a luggage rack for your make/model of motorcycle, there is no better way to securely mount luggage on your dual sport.
Remember that these are just suggestions, it is solely up to you, the end user to decide if the way you are mounting or setting up your luggage is secure enough to support your cargo and any road conditions you may encounter.
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