If you plan a trip with your bike or have to carry along heaps of stuff on your commute you sooner or later think about purchasing a set of motorcycle bags. Many manufacturers offer different styles of bags but being careful about the appearance of your classic or custom bike you don’t want to fit these black plastic boxes with reflectors on your ride that make it look like a rolling depression.
Lately, a growing number of manufacturers came up with saddle bags, tool rolls and other motorcycle bags that actually look good on and off the bike and Belgian manufacturer Longride belongs to this circle (read an article about their Heritage Collection here).
They provided me with a Saddle Bag Medium and a selection of straps, binders and adaptors to test it and write a review about it. The following are the experiences I made with the bag over the last couple of weeks:
Workmanship and materials are spot-on. Longride is a branch of well-known Belgian leather goods manufacturer Ruitertassen and it shows immediately that people over there seem to know their job. The waxed canvas as well as the leather are top-notch and convey the impression that you will be able to use these bags for many years. The inner lining, the zippers and the seams are flawless as well and should withstand the elements they are exposed to when fitted to a bike without any problems. Naturally, waxed canvas or leather isn’t 100% water-proof so Longride equips their bags with a polyester inner lining and offers a removable nylon inner bag in order to guarantee your undies and socks will stay dry. Central European weather gave the Longride bag ample opportunities to prove it’s abilities under the rain and most of the time there wouldn’t have been any need for the inner nylon bag but I suggest you use it anyway if you want to be on the safe side with your stuff or if you expect heavy rain. The roll-up system of the bag along with the adjustable leather straps allows you to adjust its size easily according to the stuff you put in it. The only drawback is that Longride only put a carrying handle on it and didn’t add the possibility to put a shoulder strap on the bag. The Saddle Bag Medium looks so good one would like to use it as a messenger bag off the bike.
Due to the fact that the Heritage Collection is mainly intended as a universal fitting range of bags you have to be aware that sometimes your improvisational skills are needed to attach them securely to your bike. But Longride offers a set of mounting brackets for Ducati Scrambler models which can be fitted to the bike in a jiffy and allow you to fix the bag conveniently. Although fixed with only two bolts you have to loosen two screws on the Ducati and push aside some trim in order to reach the bolts with a wrench or a spanner so forget about fitting them five minutes prior to departure. However, it takes you only 10 to 15 minutes to attach them and once fitted you can leave them in place if you don’t need the bag, they are not too apparent. The bag itself can be fitted to the brackets with the adjustable straps and binders or simply with a couple of zip ties.
But the best fitting method comes with the bag as standard. If you happen to ride a classic bike with a removable seat, you will be able to mount the bag with the universal, detachable and lockable leather flap. Simply fix the leather flap with bolts or zip ties under you seat (you can even cut it to the shape that fits your bike best) and leave only the small bit with the push-buttons peeping out underneath the seat. Then, the bag can be easily fixed or detached with the mentioned push buttons and the eyelet on the flap allows you to put a little lock on it so no one can steal it if you leave it on the bike.
Bottom line: nothing to criticize about the quality of the materials. The Longride Saddle Bag Medium really looks good and seems to keep its promise in terms of waterproofness. The only drawback is the lack of a shoulder strap in order to use it as a messenger bag.
Fixing the bag to different motorcycles is no problem. Some bikes require more improvisational skills than others but thanks to the wide selection of available binders and straps everyone should be able to fit the bag to his/her bike. The brackets for the Scrambler simplify the procedure considerably for Ducati owners.
Owners of classic bikes with a removable seat will love the universal leather flap that comes as standard with the bag. The easy installation as well as the discreet looks when the bag is not attached makes this a very recommendable solution.
The Medium Saddle Bag comes with a 219€ price tag. More info and a list of dealers can be found here, on Longride’s website.