The question remains, should it be hard luggage that will stay on your bike for the duration of your trip or soft luggage that is easily removable.
In many cases a combination of the two may be ideal. We hope that you find the following information useful.
Hard luggage usually refers to a top box (or top case)
and/or two side cases that sit either side of your pillion seat. These are
usually mounted to your existing framework, or have brackets which you
attach to your bike and then attach the luggage to them.
Hard cases are usually lockable, which offers a good amount of security if you are leaving your bike parked up somewhere.
They are also durable, most commonly made of hard plastics or aluminium. This also makes them fully waterproof. In addition to this, they will keep items within them folded (if we're talking clothes) and protected.
Hard luggage is a good option if you wish to have ample space and security. It is also a great option if you are travelling on a daily basis on your trip.
Luggage Racks are attached to the frame of your bike. You may also consider a luggage rack, instead of a top box.
Soft luggage refers to a multitude of motorbike luggage options. Including, but not limited to, Tank Bags, Panniers, Bike Bags and Rucksacks.
Tank Bags are usually attached by magnets to the tank of your bike. They are fully enclosed and will not cause any damage unless misused. Some Tank Bag Systems attach by way of a Tank Bra, or Tank protector, which stays on your bike. They can range from anything between a 4 litre capacity to a 40 litre capacity. The higher tank bags may require a more upright riding position.
Tail Packs / Tail Bags are designed to sit either on your pillion seat or luggage rack. These can range from 4 litre capacity to 60 litre capacity. Do remember that more weight you have off the back end of your motorbike, the lighter the front end will be.
Panniers are suitable for most types of bike. They usually sit over the pillion seat. They still leave room for a pillion rider and do not usually hinder the usual position of a passenger or rider. Capacity varies between 30 to 60 litres.
Rucksacks are designed to be worn... you probably already knew that. Motorcycle specific rucksacks are a little more sophisticated than standard rucksacks. Many are aerodynamically designed and have easy access pockets and panels.
Waist Bags also known as Bum Bags are worn around your waist and can be very handy for carrying your documents in.
Soft luggage is a great option if you are staying somewhere for just a few nights getaway. It is also an ideal option if you are staying somewhere for any length of time, as the luggage can all be taken off whilst you have your day trips.
The amount of luggage you will want to to take will depend greatly on where you are going, where you are staying and for how long.
Remember the more weight you pack on your motorcycle will affect handling and performance. If you have a luggage rack loaded up at the rear of your vehicle, your front end will be lighter. So take the first few miles incredibly steady until you have adjusted to riding with a fully loaded bike.
Be sure to load the weight into your panniers evenly.
Travelling light has it's complications, even more so if you are rider and pillion.
The art of packing essentials and picking up the rest en-route has to be mastered and even the best of planners usually finds they have forgotten something.
Many of the Accommodation providers who advertise with Bike Stay, will offer ironing or washing facilities which means you don't have to worry too much about packing a fresh set of clothes for each day of your holiday. In such cases, a few t-shirts and changes of underwear can be the bare minimum you may wish to take with you.
If you plan on wearing your leathers only for your ride, and changing into civvies for your evenings don't forget to pack a pair of shoes/trainers/sandals for civvy-wear. (It's often overlooked and many a biker has found themselves with just their motorcycle boots to wear.)
Most accommodation providers will supply towels and basic toiletries, soap & shampoo as standard. Check before you set off and you may only need to pack a toothbrush and razor. A lot of our advertisers offer a lot more than just soap to keep yourself clean! Some extras you may have to pay for, but others may be complimentary.
Many chemists and supermarkets sell miniature toiletries specific for travelling, these can be a good choice as they are compact, light and do the job.
Self Catering Cottages and Apartments will usually have clothes washing facilities, but may not provide linen without prior arrangement, be sure to check and ask in advance if you require these. If you do require linen and towels, there is usually a surcharge to add on the cost. Please check before you leave and be sure to order linen if it is required!
Other Personal Equipment
On board, you would be wise to carry a fully charged mobile phone for emergencies. Don't forget your phone charger either!
A small first aid or emergency kit can also be a good idea. Including items such as paracetamol and an antiseptic cream can be useful.