Motorcycles Storage Compartments – How To Carry Luggage

black and gray touring motorcycle on wooden dock near brown field under gray and orange skies

You would think that all motorcycles would come with a storage compartment for storing your personal items. Sadly, that is not the case. Sure, you may find some bikes with compartments, but they are usually small and not very practical. However, there are a few ways to store your personal items on a motorcycle.

Most motorcycles have a small compartment under the seat. However, this space is just for some small items (e.g., tool kits, bike documents). If you’re thinking about going on a long ride and you need more storage, you’ll have to be creative.

Best Options For Storage Compartment:

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Why most motorcycles don’t have built in storage

Storage becomes a big issue for motorcycle riders if they only use a motorcycle for their daily commute and long rides during the weekend. As a result, motorcycle and scooter manufacturers and riders alike have been looking for ways to increase the storage capacity of their vehicles.

In fact, sometime in the 70s, Kawasaki, Harley, and Suzuki put their heads together and talked about how this storage problem could be solved.  The dilemma was that having some sort of storage on the body of the motorcycle would sacrifice the quality of ride, something that would be opposed by the riders.

Most motorcycles have slender bodies; adding a compartment would mean changing their look. They would have to move the fuel tank under the seat with a reduced capacity, then use the vacated section as the dedicated storage space. Manufacturers are wary about reducing the fuel tank capacity of their motorcycles since this is one of the reasons why certain brands and models are preferred by riders. 

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Many scooters (between 110 to 700cc) have a big enough compartment to hold a full or half-face helmet and more. The space is a blessing if you need to go to the grocery or the market, and it can even accommodate some luggage during a long ride.  The side effect? Scooters have a fuel tank capacity of 4 to 8 liters versus motorcycles with a fuel capacity of 12 to 18 liters. 

Storage Accessories

If you’re not fussy about the look of your motorcycle and you badly need storage, then an aftermarket one is the way to go. There are a lot of ways of attaching them to your bike. Only your budget is the limit. 

Here are a few examples. 

1. Bags

This is probably the most cost-effective, accessible, and readily available storage option for every rider. Why? Most people already own a bag, a backpack, or a duffel bag. All you need to do is get a strap to secure your bag on the pillion seat of your bike. 

The option to use a backpack is also available. If the backpack’s contents are heavy, your back and shoulder will feel it, especially during the long ride. If you have a tall enough backpack for the bottom to sit on the pillion area, it will help with the back and shoulder pain.  

2. Tank Bags

If you have a metal gas tank, a magnetic tank bag does the trick, but do know that a tank bag is still small, so the luggage is still limited. Not all tank bags are magnetic. Some are attached via a strap or with the help of a latch. Most tank bags I’ve seen come with a transparent covered compartment where you can place your phone. Thus, it becomes the ideal storage for your phone and other small items.

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3. Top Box

Top boxes come with sturdy brackets, and they are placed at the rear section of your motorcycle. Top boxes are big enough to increase the carrying capacity of your bike. Because they are easy to remove and install, they double up as your luggage. Another advantage of a top box is that it can serve as the backrest of your pillion. Depending on the size of the top box, you can fit a full-face helmet, a small backpack, or a full-size duffel bag. 

4. Panniers or saddlebags

Panniers or saddlebags always come in a set of two. These are storage boxes that hang or are attached (via a bracket) to the side of your motorcycle. Since these side-installed bags are huge, they offer a large storage capacity, good enough for several days of riding. Panniers are made from softer weather-proof material, while saddlebags are made from studier material that can withstand harsh weather conditions. 

5. Bungee Cords and Straps

If you go with the bag option, you will need bungee cords or straps. They are the perfect partners. Bungee cords and straps are easy to put in your bag or top box, and they can be used on any bag you strap to your bike. Undeniably, bungee cords and straps help secure your luggage. 

6. Tail Pack

A tail pack is a small bag strapped to your back seat. Depending on the brand and model, they can be weather resistant. This bag is large enough to hold a significant load on a road trip. Even if it’s heavy, you won’t feel it because it can be attached to your passenger seat.

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Final Words

Because people tend to think that a motorcycle can only be used for short trips. They tend to neglect that it’s more than capable of making more extended trips. Many riders use motorcycles for long rides. They solve their storage problems by buying any of the options mentioned above.

Of course, nothing is better than being in a car when it comes to convenience and even better storage. The freedom, enjoyment, and relaxation that you feel when you’re on a motorcycle are never felt in a car, but that’s just me.

That is why I believe that a motorcycle is the ultimate form of transportation. It’s fun, exciting, and adventurous, and it’s just the best way to travel.

And when you need to travel for longer periods, then a motorcycle is the way to go. So, I hope that this article has helped you to gain a better understanding of motorcycle luggage. Thanks for reading.