Cheap gear questions- saddlebags

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Infevit
Posts: 2
Joined: Tue Jul 02, 2019 11:15 am
Location: Santa Clara

Cheap gear questions- saddlebags

Post by Infevit » Wed Oct 07, 2020 6:15 pm

I don't know if this is the best section for this question, but I basically have it since I am new, so I'll put it here. If a mod wants to move it someplace more appropriate I understand.

Anyway, here goes:

OK, I'm a new rider who bought a new bike. I eventually want to get nice high quality bags with back support, to see them click here. However, I know from reading these boards that new riders often drop their bike. I don't want to mess up a nice pair of bags by dropping my bike in a parking lot.

I still want bags though. In addition to looks, they serve a practical purpose. They make the bike more versatile. if I ride it to work I can bring lesson plans and materials (I'm a teacher), my lunch, a change of clothes (can't very well teach wearing motorcycle leathers in front of the class), and have a convenient place to leave my helmet. Of course, they also make the bike an option for light shopping and would let me leave the car at home more often. Also, I bought engine guards to help protect the front of the bike from scratches and dents if I do end up dropping it, and I'm thinking bags between the pavement and the rear fenders may help protect from some scratches as well.

So, I do want to get some bags, but bags that I won't be too upset if they get messed up, and bags that I will plan to replace in a year or two anyway. On the other hand, I don't want bags that look too cheap because I do want my bike to look good.

I've got two options. At the dealer where I bought my motorcycle they have bags specifically made for my Suzuki Boulevard C50 that are cheaper than the regular bags and run about $150 (and I still may be able to wrangle the 15% discount on gear they gave me for the gear I bought after buying the bike). On the rack, they look pretty good. The other is online, but then I have no way of seeing how they look before I buy (though returning or exchanging is always an option).

I've been checking all the inexpensive online sources- jfrum.com, Amazon.com, leatherup.com, etc. I've noticed that they have real leather from the discount brands (like Xelement) for around $35-60 and waterproof PVC bags from the discount brands in the $55-70 range and better brands (Tourmaster, Fieldsheer) in the $100-200 range. The cheaper bags also tend to be "throw-over" style and claim not to need supports (which would save some money).

So, some questions:

-Are any of the discount brands still going to look OK? $150 for bags from Suzuki isn't bad (and even if I damage the bags, the supports should be OK and would be needed for the better bags later anyway). $100-200 for Tourmaster or Fieldsheer isn't too bad either. However, I am putting out a lot of money at once for all my gear and if I can save a little money on something I intend to be temporary I will be very happy. Many of these bags are well rated by the customer ratings on the sites, but most people enter those ratings right after buying something (they may look great for the first month or two and wear out quickly) and I don't know if the sites reject most poor reviews (I know Amazon is fine for that, but only a few on Amazon have any ratings).

-If I go with the discount brands, leather or PVC? How waterproof are the PVC? How quickly will rain ruin the leather? I only intend to keep these bags a year, two max, if they'll look OK for a year or two $35-50 for the leather would be nice. Will the leather provide any weather protection for my stuff? Which looks better?

-The "throw-over" style that claim you don't need supports might be nice right now since it would save money until I'm ready for better bags. However, do they really work well without supports or are you better off with supports anyway? Do they even work with supports?

I'm sure I'm forgetting something but I guess that's it for now. Does anyone have experience with these, or know people who do, who can steer me in the right direction?
Evan

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