The Longer Story
When it comes to luggage for motorcycle touring, there are a lot of choices out there: soft, rigid, big, small, rollers, shoulder straps, etc, etc. But, there are always three things that you want to make sure of: is the luggage rugged/put together well, is it easy to use, and most importantly, can it hold all the stuff I need?
In my case, I wanted luggage that:
- Was straight forward to use with lots of features (rain proof was a must),
- Had enough space for both my wife's AND my gear on long camping tours,
- Didn't fall apart after a 4000 mile trip,
- Had good looks. Yes, looks are important! Do you really want to be flying down the highway with a bag that makes people think you are a motorcycle riding descendant of ma and pa Kettle?
So, after doing a little research on the internet, I went to an online superstore and bought the Universal Lonestar luggage by T-bag.
There were two main reasons I initially chose this luggage over others. First, it had fairly favorable comments from people on the internet (of the comments that I could find, not much is out there on motorcycle luggage). And second, it had a universal motorcycle backrest mounting system, which meant that I could use it on a variety of different motorcycles!
When the UPS man arrived with my new luggage, I was quite excited. After opening the box and doing an initial inspection (it was very well put together), I went straight out to the garage to put the bag on my motorcycle.
Much to my surprise, it took me a total of 10 minutes to put the luggage on the bike, and that was including time to read the instructions. Very easy to use! Most of my time was spent wedging it on to my current backrest which is 13 3/4 inches wide which is the upper limit (14 inches) of what the Lonestar was meant to fit.
The Universal Mounting system was strong, tight fitting, and well designed. I've tried this bag on a few other motorcycles and have had no problems mounting to different backrests. There is never any "slop" in the mounting system either: everything is tight and where it should be. I love the fact that I can use it on different motorcycles, so when I get a new motorcycle, I don't have to blow another wad of cash to get a bag that fits
For those of you that are unfamiliar with how motorcycle luggage works, the luggage rack does not actually do much beyond supporting the bag so that it doesn't sit on your fender. Most luggage racks are rated to only hold 12 lbs which means the 40+ lbs of stuff I packed into my bag would have easily busted the rack on a longer tour. The real workhorse in holding luggage is the bag's mounting system that attaches to the passenger backrest. So, make sure your mounting system is high quality and snug!
From a looks standpoint, this luggage was great. It looked the same on the bike empty as when it was completely full.
There was a nice big opening to stuff things in the main compartment, lots of pockets on the side to store little knick-nacks, a store-away raincover that was permanently attached to the bag so you couldn't lose it, and an organizer on the front to store maps, cell phones, keys, etc.