This review includes three parts -
Tank Bag |
Saddlebags - Panniers
Let's see -- so far we have 36 liters of space in
the Compact Tank Bag and 42 liters in the Sport
Tail Bag. That should be enough to get you back
and forth to work in good shape, but how about another 55 liters
worth of storage space for those long treks?
Oxford Sport Saddlebags can be fitted to many
different motorcycle types, as long as the muffler
doesn't interfere with the mounting location. The Humpback saddlebags are a
bit smaller at 45 liters, and they're shaped with a
slightly different angle, which should fit most sport bikes.
Each bag measures roughly
50cm (20") long by 22 cm (8-1/2") wide (unexpanded) and
tapers from about 30cm (1 ft.) high at the front to
about 23cm (9") high at the rear. Unzip the
expansion pocket to add approximately 10cm (4") of
space, for the total of 55 liters of very useful storage
The saddlebags have a full
length top lid with a built-in stiffener. The lid
opens via two zippers, one on each side, and reveals a
huge, open cavern, all of which is usable space.
We were able to stow a
full-face helmet inside with enough room left over for
a sweater and a rain suit.
The internal configuration
of the right and left bags is slightly different.
The right side bag has a full-length zippered pocket on
its internal wall, and includes a mesh pocket and a
120mm (4-3/4") wide by 180mm (7") high storage pocket
with a flap secured by Velcro. The left side bag
has a single open slit pocket along the full length of
its inside wall, suitable for maps or other papers or
Each saddlebag also has two
outside pockets. The front pockets are about 250mm
(9-3/4") tall by 200mm (8") wide and can be stuffed to
about 50mm (2") thick. Each rear pocket is roughly
230mm tall by 200mm wide and just as deep.
They each open with a top mounted zipper using Oxford's
metal ring zipper pulls.
Our test Bandit has a
Yoshimura exhaust system, and although it may not look
like it in the photo on the left, there was enough clearance
between the right side bag and the exhaust to ensure
The Sport Saddlebags are not designed to rest on
the muffler, but they have a heat resistant bottom made
from Oxford's "Firetex" material, which
The backs of the saddlebags also have a rubberized and padded
section of material along their lower half to help protect the
sides of the bike from damage.
Sport Saddlebag, flip side (the side that mounts
towards the bike). The yellow arrows
indicate the two external safety straps that
must be looped through a mounting point on the
motorcycle. The white arrows indicate the
under-seat strap (lower) and the two
over-the-seat straps (upper, laying on top of
each other). The padded shoulder strap is
shown at the bottom of the photo.
illustrates a typical mounting point for
the external safety strap on the Sport
Saddlebags. The Suzuki Bandit has
a perfect location under the tail
section. The strap is shown prior
Sport Saddlebags also come with a pair
of rain covers.
The saddlebags don't require
any type of external mounting brackets on the
motorcycle. They have a built-in mounting system
three separate straps. A 35mm
(1-3/8") center strap is placed over the top of the
seat (or can also be placed underneath), and two 50mm
(2") wide straps are placed under the seat to hold the
saddlebags on the bike.
should be wide enough to fit across (and under) the back
motorcycle seats. Using Oxford's recommended 150mm (~6")
of overlap for the Velcro allows the Sport Saddlebags to fit
a motorcycle with approximately a 425mm
(17") wide rear.
We didn't have any problems
mounting the saddlebags across
the back of the Suzuki Bandit 1200, and they also would
theoretically fit the
width of the Triumph Thunderbird Sport, but that bike's
radically upswept dual
mufflers don't provide enough clearance for the
right-side bag to hang without touching.
The Sport Saddlebags have
two additional mounting straps on the internal side (the
side facing the motorcycle). These
25mm (1") wide adjustable nylon straps are designed to
be looped around a solid mounting point on the bike,
such as frame sections, passenger pegs or dedicated
luggage hooks. It was easy to find a couple of good
locations on the Suzuki's frame to secure the straps.
It took us a few tries during the first installation to
figure out the best mounting locations and to get the
straps properly adjusted through their buckles and
configured so that the loose strap ends would fit into
The instructions advise the owner to ensure that the
straps are securely and tightly fastened, to prevent the bags from
bouncing around and possibly damaging the paint or
causing some other type of mischief.
them down as tight as we could and we never felt any
insecurities about losing the bags. The Bandit was
taken up to about 100 mph on our secret test track and
we didn't notice any problems or undue buffeting.
It would be nice perhaps to
have some type of quick release mechanism so that the
mounting straps could be semi-permanently attached to
the bike, which potentially could help make the bags easier to install
and remove. If the bags are removed from the bike
and taken into a hotel
room at night, for example, the straps
must be removed and reinstalled in the morning.
It's not really a problem, and becomes second nature
after it's done a few times, as long as it's not raining
or dark or both.
Each saddlebag is supplied
with internal stiffener that can be inserted
into a zippered pocket at the bottom of each bag.
Another nice touch is a small pocket at the front of
each bag that's specifically designed to hold the rain
cover. This is very handy, because the rain cover
either takes up usable space inside the saddlebag or
disappears somewhere in the garage, never to be seen
Oxford also provides four
bungee cords with the pair of saddlebags, to be used as
additional hold-downs. The bags have a pair of big
D-rings, one in front and one at the rear for attaching
the bungees. Each bag also comes with a padded
shoulder strap that can be attached to a couple of
smaller D-rings for this purpose. Each bag also
has a padded carrying handle at the front of each bag.
Even if factory hard luggage is
available for your motorcycle, the saddlebags alone can easily cost well over
$1,000.00, with an additional expense for the mounting system.
And hard luggage doesn't necessarily mean you'll end up with a logical amount of usable
space, due to the idiosyncrasies in the way that the
bags may be molded. I've owned some king-sized hard
luggage that still couldn't hold a full-face helmet.
Oxford soft luggage system solves a lot of
problems. We liked the flexibility of the built-in
mounting system and the quality of the materials.
Oxford's designers did a good job of thinking through
the feature set, with goodies like the padded shoulder
straps, the extra map pocket on the tank bag base and
the removable bum bag, with its own belt, no less!
The hidden pocket for the saddlebag rain cover is a
great idea, and a suggestion might be to include this
feature on the Tank Bag and Tail Bag.
The luggage fits many
different types of motorcycles, which will be much
appreciated by sportbike owners. There are a
couple of issues with fitting the Tail Bag and the
saddlebags to some bikes. The saddlebags will need
at least two solid places on each side of the bike to
attach the straps. Also, the Tail Bag's strap
system may not fit around your motorcycle's seat; this
probably won't be a problem on sportbikes but may be on
The system shown here provides more than enough storage space for just
about any type of travel, either local or long-distance.
When you consider that you could own this complete set
of soft luggage for somewhere around 1/3 the cost of a set of hard bags
and mounts, it's
an easy decision.
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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.
owners on Oxford luggage review home page