Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Motorcycle luggage: panniers, boxes and bags

The old Royal Enfield Military model came standard with metal pannier boxes, often referred to as "ammo cans." These answered the question "where are you going to put your stuff?"

For other models (and other motorcycles) a set of saddlebags is the standard answer. But motorcyclists and motorcycle designers are inventive, and many other possible solutions were on show at the Mods vs. Rockers event I attended recently. Here are some of my favorites:

If you need a trunk, why not just attach a trunk? This handsome, square cornered box looks impressive on the back of a scooter. It disdains streamlining and therefore offers the perfect perch for a helmet.

At the other end of the spectrum (of usefulness) is this neat glove compartment integrated into the boxy design of the 1971 Velocette LE. The Velocette itself is a box, as seen below. All corners and angles.

Two streamlined Honda Pacific Coast motorcycles loom in the background, and here again is a solution to how to package everything. The Honda, too, is a box, with everything including luggage compartments neatly sealed up. Yet it is not boxy in the least.

Indeed, a neighboring Pacific Coast sported the "Body by Tupperware" badge below. The owner cheerfully reported that many people believe it's real. It is believable.

Another Honda, styled as a rat bike, went the route of the Royal Enfield Military, but this time with actual Army issue boxes as panniers. According to the labels, these were meant to hold night vision devices. I would guess they're padded inside, or were.

In my opinion, the modern tank bag, with its zippers and Velcro and plastic map windows just plain looks wrong on a classically styled motorcycle.

But I will make an exception for this tank bag, whose owner thought to add a period cheesecake picture. Yes, that is just fine, thank you.

1 comment:

  1. "...zippers and Velcro and plastic map windows just plain looks wrong on a classically styled motorcycle."

    Quoted for truth! Old leather saddle bags or military panniers are the way to go.


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