Motorcycle Touring Luggage
This review includes three parts -
Tank Bag |
Believe it or not,
there was a time in the not-too-distant past when humans
were able to survive without air conditioning or cruise
control in their automobiles. But those accessories
that were once considered luxuries proved to be so useful that they quickly
became essential features of modern life.
It's the same thing with
motorcycle luggage. Experience the
benefits of adequate storage space on your bike and it's hard to imagine how you got
along without it.
Motorcycles have very little
room for taking along even the most
basic life sustaining items. For example, how can anyone
ride without a cell phone, an MP3 player, a selection of Power Bars,
bottles of water, an LED flashlight -- not to
mention the laptop,
the digital camera... (just joking, of course!).
But seriously, if motorcycling
is to be promoted as an alternative
to cars and SUVs for daily commuting, then some type of
on-board storage capacity is a must. And it goes
without saying that any type of long-distance motorcycle travel
certainly requires significant amounts of room to stow the
essentials. But not everyone wants a Gold Wing...
Only one or two
motorcycle manufacturers seem to understand this, and
who offer hard
luggage designed specifically for their bikes. BMW motorcycle owners are
especially lucky in this regard, because almost every
Beemer since the 1970's has been available with factory
designed hard luggage and purpose-built mounting systems.
Several of the modern Hinckley Triumphs also come to
mind. But it's hard to fathom why more motorcycles
aren't sold with some form of luggage, hard
or soft. Surely there's a profit center here, no?
Well, don't hold your
breath waiting for your dealer to stock ZX-10R
hard bags. In the meantime, Oxford manufactures a
variety of soft luggage systems will fit
just about any
type of motorcycle, including sport bikes. So now you can
serious about turning
that Blackbird into a super-sports tourer!
Oxford Products was started
by a group of motorcycle enthusiasts in the university
city of Oxford, England (hence the name) back in the early 1970's. Oxford now
manufactures a wide variety of motorcycle accessories that
are distributed worldwide, including their soft
motorcycle luggage, which has become their flagship product.
I first discovered Oxford
luggage during one of my trips to the U.K. several years
ago. It's usually easy to recognize a motorcycle
accessory design that springs from
real-world experience rather than from the mind
of some marketing
consultancy. The right combination of passion and
knowledge results in products with much more value and utility.
This is the case with Oxford luggage.
Something about its design and functionality just seems right, so
my guess is
that Oxford's designers know what they're about.
It took a while for the
Oxford distribution network to make it to the U.S.A.,
but the wait is over. Fans of Oxford's soft luggage for motorcycles will now be pleased to learn that there's
a U.S.A. distribution network, managed through
Castle Sales in Green Bay, Wisconsin. I caught up with the folks from
Castle at the recent Motorcycle Dealer Expo in Indianapolis, and
they sent us a complete set of the Oxford "Sport" series
of soft motorcycle luggage for this review, including the Compact Tank
Bag, the Sport Tail Bag and the Oxford Sport Saddlebags.
We installed the system on a 1999 Suzuki Bandit 1200
workhorse and spent a few weeks checking it out whilst laying on the miles.
Oxford luggage is
compact and it has the right proportions for motorcycle
This may sound like a simple equation to solve, but I
guess it isn't so easy. Too many
brands of soft (and some hard) luggage for motorcycles seem
to lack any sense of style or scale and can easily make
a cool-looking bike seem more like something Granny
might own. Oxford soft luggage is available in two
different styles that look right on most any bike; the Sport series
shown here and the "Humpback" series, which is a bit
smaller and a touch more "streamlined".
The two product lines can
be successfully mixed and matched, and they will fit many
different motorcycle types, including touring bikes, sport-tourers, "naked"
bikes and even sport bikes,
whose owners normally can't even dream of factory luggage options.
It's interesting to think about the possibilities of
fitting, for example, a complete set of luggage on
a GSXR-1000 for a cross-country blitz!
Even though I'm sure
Oxford would be delighted if you purchased a complete set,
each of these
luggage items are available separately, so we reviewed
each one on its own merits. Consider this as
a three-for-one webBikeWorld review: we'll take
a detailed look at Oxford's Compact Tank Bag, the Sport Tail
Bag and the Oxford Sport Saddlebags (Panniers).
You'll have to read through to the final page for our
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Motorcycle Luggage - Compact Tank Bag, Sport Tail Bag and
From: Castle Sales
is the U.S.A. Distributor
| Also visit the Oxford Products
Suggested Retail Price: Tank
Bag $104.95; Tail Bag $124.95; Saddlebags $194.95
Red, Blue. Also special Silver coating ($5.00 extra)
Product Comments: Soft motorcycle luggage that fits a
variety of makes and models, including sportbikes.
Mix and match components to obtain touring bike storage capacity. Rugged design and good looks.
Sport and Humpback lines of soft luggage carry lifetime
guarantee against manufacturer defects. Made from waterproof PVC-backed
1500 Denier polyester. 3M Scotchguard treated and 3M Scotchlite
reflective accents. Rain covers and padded shoulder
straps are included for each item. Tank bag includes
separate rubberized mesh blanket for protecting fuel tank
finish. Nice strong zippers with big pull tabs that
can be gripped when wearing gloves. Sport models shown
here are designed for maximum capacity; also available in
the "Humpback" series, which are slightly smaller and more
aerodynamic. Oxford also offers the "1st Time" range
of soft luggage at a lower price point. The 1st Time
line carries a 1 year warranty against manufacturer defects.
wBW Visitor "J.": "Your
article on Oxford luggage was really great and told me so much
about the product that I bought it. Panniers and Tail Pack
in black. Thanks for taking the time to put that all
together. I'm sure I'm not the only one who has found it
very helpful." Thanks for your comments, J.!
wBW Visitor "G.S.":
"Really enjoy your site. Have owned the Humpback Tail Bag
for 2 years and never take it off my '01 B1200. Top
quality, fit and looks. Outstanding product.
Regards, G.S." Thanks for sending
your comments, G.S.!"