Luggage for Rick’s 2002 KLR 650
….so many options!!! Part 1
When your are looking into adding the touring capacity to any motorcycle you have to consider what type of touring your will be doing.
Selection luggage for your motorcycle is as important as selecting the right bike for your motorcycling requirements. Only you can decide what will best fill your needs. I am listing what I found has worked out well for my bike and me.
My wife and I have Kawasaki KLR650 Dual Sport Motorcycles, more on our bikes can be seen on the “Our Bikes” page.
With a large range of options available in today’s market, it can lead to an overwhelmed feeling, what bags are better? What colour? What size? Will it fit my bike?…..you get the idea.
I have toured on most of my previous motorcycles and having run my own bike repair shop I have had a few bikes over the years. Here is how I kitted a couple of them out, first was an old 1979 Harley that I found some leather saddlebags at a swap meet…..they did ok for the money and easy of installation, toss over the rear portion of my seat and tie down the bottoms (make sure they don’t get caught in the rear wheel)…and off I went.’
Another one was a 1990 Harley Electra Glide, which was already kitted out with hard fiberglass saddlebags and a large tour pak or top case as some refer to it. These large tour bikes are already to go. Add your gear some clothes and fuel up then bam your touring. Makes life nice and simple, just relax and enjoy the ride!
Now onto the Kawasaki KLR 650 and how I kitted it out. I find the KLR to be an awesome and fun bike to kit out, we have added tank bags, hard case panniers and a top case.
While researching what would tick all the boxes for my set up, I broke it down to a “needs” and “wants” the needs was a list of “it has to have this feature” and the wants is a list of “be nice if it had this option/feature”.
My “needs” list;
My “wants” list;
- Light weight
- Easy to mount
- Light coloured
So I did loads and loads of internet searching, catalog flipping, bike shop visiting and you soon realize again it can be a bit overwhelming. Honestly if money wasn’t an option I would ordered one of the aluminum panniers and top case system and have no regrets of dropping $1500 and up for this system, they tick all the boxes from both my lists of features. Hard to resist these![phpbay keywords=”motorcycle aluminum panniers” num=”2″ siteid=”1″ sortorder=”BestMatch” templatename=”default” paging=”true”]
Or another option is the soft sided luggage systems that fit over the rear sear/rack portion of your bike, these are so versatile and expandable with numerous options, plus they can be easily removed and taken with you. Hard for someone to break into your luggage if it is with you in your tent/hotel/hostel…. big plus for me.[phpbay keywords=”motorcycle panniers” num=”2″ siteid=”1″ sortorder=”BestMatch” templatename=”default” paging=”true”]
It must be the Scotsman in me I’m a very frugal person, and I am mechanically inclined so I look at these systems and figured I can create my own and here is how I did it. Just remember this is what worked out for me, and I hope this helps you decide what will best work for you and your motorcycle.
Let’s start at the fuel tank, and my tank bags, I have 2 styles on my tank, a set of Coleman ATV tank bags, these bad boys are just like regular saddlebags only smaller, lightweight, waterproof and have a hole in the strap for fuel cap….big plus. Installation is quite simple lay it over the tank and align fuel cap hole, adjust velcro straps to move bags up/down the tank, find the spot that works, peel of the backing from the 50mm x 125mm velcro pads on the back side of the bags and stick to your tank….done! I also added a expandable tank bag with the side bags.. both bags work well together, the top bag has the clear map pocket, which comes in very handy when your GPS leads you astray or the battery dies.
Here is a few pictures of the bags
Quite versatile set up I think, as I mentioned before no need to remove the badge for fueling up…..big thumbs up there!
Heather liked the Coleman tank bags so much we had to pick up a set for her bike as well. They even offer a nice wind break on the knees.
I will be adding a separate post on just the panniers and top case.