There is a common myth that motorcycles are not a good enough mode of transport when it comes to hauling luggage. Quite simply, that’s not the case. A motorcycle will never be as capable as a car when it comes to hauling luggage, but if done right, it can be done. All it requires is some foresight, planning, and knowing what you are going to or not going to need on a trip. The first thing you want to do when deciding to haul your road trip luggage on a motorcycle is decide, is this a temporary arrangement or a permanent one. What we mean by that is - are you going to be hauling luggage often or is this a one time thing.
If this is going to be a temporary situation for you, it is not recommended that you make permanent modifications to your motorcycle for doing the same. A permanent modification will add weight, and will always be in the way when you are riding inside city limits. There are a lot of temporary ways to haul luggage on a motorcycle, but we find it is best to strap luggage to your rear seat using bungee cords. All you need for this is your luggage, preferably a backpack or a roll-top bag and a set of bungee cords. If you are going to be riding in wet weather conditions, make sure that you buy a bag that is waterproof, and if you want to keep it from getting dirty, we suggest you get a cover for it as well. The trick here is to evenly distribute the weight of the contents of the bag across it. This way, when you tie it with a bungee cord on your motorcycle, it will not be hanging off to one side which increases the risk of it falling off. If this is not enough for you, you can also opt for a tank bag, which is a semi-permanent arrangement. Oxford makes tank bags that you can easily attach and detach from the motorcycle. Be sure to check them out.
Next, let’s talk about permanent setups. There are three things you can add to your motorcycle - two panniers and a top box - to increase its luggage hauling capacities. First, while these are not permanent, they do require a lot of work to be installed on the motorcycle. If you hop on to your motorcycle at a moment’s notice for a road trip, this might not be ideal for you. Panniers and top boxes are however good as they can be locked, thus, if you want to park your motorcycle and venture somewhere on foot, you can do so without a worry. This is something that the temporary arrangement listed above doesn’t offer. However, there is a downside to panniers as well. They increase the width of your motorcycle, and decrease its ability to snake through gaps. It’s a trade-off you are going to have deal with, if you want a safe place to stow your luggage on a motorcycle. Check out the Oxford top box which offers up to 30 litres of space for your belongings. You also get soft panniers which can fit on most, if not all motorcycles.Now you must be wondering, we haven’t talked about a backpack on your back, and honestly, a backpack on your back should be the last thing you should be doing on a road trip. For small city rides, it’s fine, a but a moderate to heavy backpack will weigh you down in the long run and sap away at your riding stamina. If you want to check riding backpacks, we suggest you take a look at some of the models offered by Oxford, as they are perfect for everyday commuting, and can also be tied down using ROK Straps.