beetlebags or factory saddlebags

chromehead

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Feb 15, 2007
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I've researched this to death by this point, and I have a few more questions before pulling the trigger. I'm hopelessly torn between Beetle Bags and factory leather saddlebags. My problem is that I really love the way the bike looks as it is — naked. It has a bar-hopping bad-assness that I fear will melt away once the bags go on. But I've been inconvenienced too many times already to limit myself to what fits in my pockets for a long day on the bike. So here goes, please help:

Regarding the Beetle Bags, what's the turnaround time? Can a dealer get a better price than an individual? How hard to install? Can they be easily removed for washing, or for that matter, for local riding (or do they leave unsightly brackets?)

Regarding the factory leather saddlebags, I've seen a lot of pictures where the bags have lost their square shape. Is this common, or just what happens when they are overstuffed? The factory brackets seem pretty big — can one have the best of both worlds by mounting them to EZ/Ghost brackets for quick-release, or like most after-market accessories, do those brackets introduce other problems?

I've also been considering the LeatherLykes, as they seem to be easy to take off when not in use, but I can't get excited about mounting plastic boxes to the sides of my prized Rocket. The K-Drives look pretty good, but again, the fake leather is a holdup and the bracket. The Buffalo Bags seem to be high quality, but the bracket is too big.

Thanks. I appreciate the help.
 

Sidecar Flip

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My take on bags.....

When I got my Classic, I choose the Classic over the standard just because I liked the look of the Triumph leather panniers....lets call them the American term......saddlebags.

I didn't like all the accessory gook like the 3 chrome rails or the Triumph embezzler, just the plain leather bags. Mine aren't sagging or out of shape, but then, I don't try to stuff my laptop in or a couple of 12 packs either. The stock bags are supported from the bottom and back sides. I do suspect that as time goes on, they will succumb to the relentless pull of gravity and start to loose their shape just like older women do, but just like older women, I have a cure for any eventual sagging. Women call it cosmetic surgery, I call it aluminum plates cut to shape and riveted with stainless button head studs in the lids, front, back and sides when the time comes. Personally, and I've said this before, while the Corbin baguettes don't ruin the look of the R3, the Corbin bags look better on a VTX. In all actuality, the R3 with the Beetle bags looks like an 1800 VTX from the back, the only difference being is that the 1800 VTX with the Corbin bags has integrated turn signals, which, believe it or not, are off the shelf Toyota Celica units.

Triumph calls out their bags as 4mm Aniline leather. They are pretty thick. I use Black Rock leather supplement on mine. It's available in good harness shops. I haven't a clue what Aniline leather is. Aniline might be a good term for water buffalo hide for all I know. The Triumph bags aren't cheap, but compared to the Corbin bags they are. Forget the liners. I use hefty bags anyway. We call hefty bags for trips, 'West Virginia Luggage'.

I'm with you on the Leatherlykes. They ain't anything like leather. They look like a cheap (Wally world) attaché case. Just the thing to screw up a classy bike.
 

TxRIIIRider

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As a different view than Flips, I think the factory leather bags don't do justice for the looks of the bike. They look like rectangle boxes bolted to the side, but they do look better than Leatherlykes.

There are +'s and -'s to all three, as I'm sure you're aware of. With Corbins, you always have to be aware of where your foot is when you're throwing it over the bike. Even more so for the passenger. Don't won't those expensive bags scratched up! Where as, with leather, you can knock your foot on it and nothing happens. Leatherlykes are also very tough but do look like, well, the plastic they are to me. That being said, I plan on making a run up to Leatherlyke the week after next with my wife's NightHawk to see if they think it would be possible to make her some bags.

However you can't do this with leather bags or Leatherlyke bags..
 
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chromehead

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Appreciate both perspectives. Eager to hear more.

Tex, that's one heck of a bike. But how can you look yourself in the mirror when you've got the pimped out $2K Corbins on your bike and you're sticking your wife with some plastic LeatherLykes ;)
 

chromehead

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Tex, looks like you have the Rivco license plate relocation bracket. Did you have to bend the turn signals to find under the Beetles, or does it all play nicely together?

Thanks
 

Molinoman

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bags and questions

Having recently been thru this myself I symphatize greatly with/for you. There are pros and cons for any of the options that have been mentioned.

From what I've learned (and the info from the LeatherLykes is mainly input from Baggage1) the LL's are the least expensive and the easiest to take off, they are plastic but they have good capacity and are very functional, for under $450.00 (or less) with brackets they are an "immediate" fix.

I'll let Flip's comments stand for the factory "panniers" or saddlebags along with the care.

I got the Corbin's, if you are a veteran or active duty, if you order direct from Corbin they told me that you can have a 10% discount. I had mine financed in with the Rocket when I bought it and mentioned Corbin's offer to D&D Cycles and they matched it...and I got the two tone. They are expensive, but they look great (look in my photo album for pics), following advice from this site I fixed the problem of the adhesive heat resistant pads from coming off the bottom of the bags and notified Corbin they may want to try another adhesive. If you get the Corbins, get a coat of wax on them pretty fast, I have one "scuff" mark on the left side already and I am very consious of the bags when I throw my foot over them. You can remove the Corbins, but it takes about 10 minutes to do so or so I am told (I haven't removed them yet) if you want the occasional "naked" look.

My main reason for buying them is that they are lockable and I had to have a set of bags that did that and they "flowed" along the fender line. If someone thinks I look like a VTX from the rear they'll lose that notion once I turn on the gas.

Sorry, I forgot the LeatherLykes are lockable as well.
Hope this helps.
Dennis
 

chromehead

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Thanks Dennis.

In some pictures, the Beetles look outstanding. Particularly from the back and back quarter, matching the lines of the bike as if they were designed by Triumph. But the front, where the bag recedes to allow for a passenger's leg, doesn't look as good. At least to me. Maybe that's not as much of an issue in real life.

The factory bags have grown on me, if for no other reason that I've seen them on enough Rockets that they are beginning to look like they belong. But they do seem overly blockish, walling off the flowing rear fender that is a big part of the bike's appeal. I ride with a solo seat, and I really like the clean look back there.

Has anyone used Ghost/EZ brackets with the factory bags? It seems that the factory bracket offers some support underneath, and I'm guessing that the aftermarket brackets that elongate the fender bolts would overstress the fender and cause the bag to sag onto the pipes.

The LeatherLykes, as much as I've/we've busted on them, are a dark-horse contender. And not only because of the cost. Their best attribute is that they can disappear on a moment's notice, restoring my Rocket to its naked glory on a moment's notice. I can't see buying the smoothies, though; and the studded concho version won't go with my flame-stitched seat.

If I had to make a choice today, I'd likely choose the Beetles. Ask me again in an hour and I'll be championing the factory leathers. It's comforting to hear that I'm not the only one who has wrestled with this decision.
 

PianoMan

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Apr 1, 2006
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Overland Park, Kansas USA
Pros & Cons

I started with the Triumph bags and thought they looked great until I saw Corbin's Beetlebags. One reason for changing was the tops of the leather kept falling in and wouldn't hold a shape. They held a great deal of "stuff" but couldn't be locked where the Beetlebags can. Like Milanoman, I can put them off or on in about 10 minutes. It's certainly an option but I usually leave them on.

I liked the lines of the Beetles and especially the under side that seemed to flow exactly with the exhaust pipes. It doesn't bother me that the indentations in the front ( which my gal appreciates a lot) might show when she's not riding with me. For the most part, I think most people approaching you on the road will not even notice. They always seem to gawk to see what the name is and how big the engine looks. We magicians call it " Mis Direction".

Though others have mentioned they don't like the floorboard for the rider, they fold up enough to be out of my way and they stay there until I move them down. My gal loves the comfort of the boards over the pegs and Rivco now makes an extension to work with the Beetles ( not the rock group).

One disadvantage is there's no room for rear dresser bars. Maybe that will make me be a bit more cautious about letting the beast tip over.

Anyway, everyone's got their opinion and no use spending good money on something you don't really like.
 

Sidecar Flip

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In defense of myself and all my friends on this forum, my opinions of the Triumph leather bags, the Corbin bags, the LeatherLykes and whatever are just my opinion, that's all. Having said that, Dennis, the VTX with the Corbins don't look at all bad and I for one like the built in turn indicators. I myself don't like the lines the Corbin bags impart to the rear of the Rocket as much as the way the bags flow on the VTX and finally, when I purchased my Classic, the only option at the dealer was the LeatherLykes or the factory bags and the LL's looked chincy compared to the OEM bags.

If we had no options on bike colors or acessories, we'd all be riding cookie cutter bikes and that ain't gonna happen.....
 

RatBoy

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Dec 5, 2006
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Durham, NC
A different type of baggage

If you haven't surmised from previous posts I have a different perspective on a lot of things so it shouldn't surprise anyone so here it goes....

I've had bikes with Leatherlykes... (ugly but functional and lockable)..
I've had bikes with Leather saddlebags and regardless of how much spend or don't... they all fade and sag like an 70 year old lady.

I, too, love the look of my R3 without the saddlebags on the back, but I have problems carrying the stuff that I think that I need when I'm away for several days to a week.

I opted for the Cortex magnetic tank bag setup. It has 21 liters spread across to bags that zip together so I can take the small or the large one, or both. They have ceramic magnets that attach to your tank. The wind screen keeps them from moving around and I can take them off whenever I want. They also make a nice resting spot when the ole lower back needs a rest.

http://www.tourmaster.com/xcart/product.php?productid=144&cat=31
 

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