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Original Posting: Sometime in 2001
Last Updated : 02 July 2012

This article was written by Keith Axler



Note : Updated with a reply from Ron Harper - see bottom of page.

After trying many brands over 29 years of licensed street riding, I wanted to share some conclusions.

The bottom line is the Bike Master brand distributed from Tucker Rocky and sold through Cycle Depot are the best I have found. For large sport bikes - they are perfect. Both the tank bag and the saddlebags have so many mounting options - it's like they were made by somebody with a Ph.D. in embroidery! I consider both the tank bag and the saddlebags to be the best design and best build quality. the shiny woven nylon trim resembles carbon fibre (well, a little at least). All the Bike Master luggage has (by a very noticeable margin) the toughest fabric on the market. You can hit them with a garden hose and they do not let water through! And that is without using the included rain covers that the saddlebags and tank bag come with!!!

Some info on other items I tested or examined in recent years
- Chase Harper Stealth Saddlebags The stealth saddlebags have a moulded construction that resemble hard luggage - a real class act. (but their stealth tank bag which matches the saddlebags has a really poor attachment design that abuses the gas tank - it uses metal hooks to purchase the gas tank seam, uggh).

- The Chase Harper Aeropac saddlebags were okay - they lasted me for years, and they were large enough to hold a helmet, but I had to have a shoe repair place perform some major reinforcement surgery to them when they were new as any load seemed too much for the seams.

- The Nelson Rig expandable magnetic tank bag has a design that is second to none, great style, and fair/good build quality compared to most, but is flimsy compared to the Bike Master item, and the magnets are a bit less powerful than I would have preferred.

- The new Nelson Rigg "Sphere" model saddlebags are a bargain and they really do look slick. They are in service on Ming's bike and match the Bandit 1200 really nicely. They may be as good as the Bike Master units but they are bigger than I wanted for the Hayabusa.

- The Eclipse P-38 saddlebags look great but have no structure and hang like scrotum on the bike. They are so inexcusably thin that they can barely carry a 2 quart canteen without risking a tear. They came with "rain covers" that should be marketed as paint removers as they abraded the bike pretty nasty. They are perfect mounted to my CT110 for carrying my extra T-shirt and sunglasses anything heavier would be risky.

- The Eclipse tank bag is the same mediocre item they were selling since the early 1970's - its like a small backpack retrofitted to masquerade as motorcycle luggage. The design assures that your tank with be scratched. A have heard that their magnetic tank bag is a better item - but that is second hand info and after the Eclipse tank bags "left their mark" on my otherwise pristine gas tanks in the past - I don't feel like giving them any more consideration.

- BagMan made a nice tank bag - but it had a fake fleece bottom that would not scratch the tank. The only problem was that the fleece was a dirt magnet (I used the included rain cover to cover the fleece when it was off the bike). I went years with that item and with the tedious protection of that fleece bottom, it never scratched the tank. I can not complain about this item - but I am not sure it is even made any more.
- Oxcelet makes a nice tank bag at an amazingly low price - a friend just bought one. It looks great in pictures, no info at this time. But to be fastidious, the unique fiber on the bottom of the Bike Master unit is so perfect for protecting a painted surface, I can not imagine a better construction material.

Also, I have had no experience with Rally Pack brand - but they do look really good. Especially their Cruiser saddlebags (Their Sport bike saddlebags have such an exaggerated taper I can not imagine them accommodating any practical items (- except maybe the nosecone off an ICBM).

July 2001

The following a is reply to the article written above:

The article written about the stealth tankbag having metal hooks is wrong. Our Stealth tankbag is a traditional 3-point mounting system. Also Keith Axler wrote about our Aeropac Saddlebags which he said needed to be reinforced, while this may have been true do to the load I am not sure we at Chase Harper stand behind our products and would have reinforced the bags at no charge.

We have a lifetime Warranty on our products so any problem other than sun fading we would take care even if the rider is involved in a crash (hopefully not). If you or Keith have any questions please give me a call toll free 877-965-7977. Our website is www.chaseharper.com

Miles 'n Smiles,
October 2003


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