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Harley Davidson Luggage - Bags and Boxes

Updated on October 2, 2010

Some of the bigger touring Harley Davidsons come with Luggage as standard such as the Harley Davidson Road Glide, but for middle and bottom range Harley's, it is either option only or not available.

There are designed-to-fit specific Harley models luggage, but they usually come at a premium price compared to universal fit luggage (commonly called saddle bags or pannier boxes too). I will discuss all options below. Firstly we need to decide what kind of motorcycle luggage you are after and certain features you require.

  • Size - Ultimately, this is the reason for extra luggage on Harley Davidson motorcycles, there is only so much you can fit on the stock design. Too big of a box can negatively effect aerodynamics and therefore fuel efficiency which is important on tour.
  • Weight - The lighter the better to improve the suspension capability and fuel efficency.
  • Security - Because carrying stuff loses the point when it gets stolen.
  • Functions - Ease of use, fitment, can the whole boxes be taken off easily, does it have interior removeable bags, etc
  • Price - Because at the end of the day - it's a box.

Where to Buy Harley Davidson Luggage

Harley Davidson owners forums are a good place to see if you can buy the original luggage from someone else. They are often taken off and sold separate as they fetch more money on their own than if they were sold with the motorcycle, especially for motorcycles like the Harley Davidson Screamin Eagle. eBay is also a place to find them but forums are usually cheaper due to savings on eBay fee's, trust is higher on them too.

If you do not like the original luggage fitment or have a Harley where it is not available, then there are third party motorcycle luggage manufacturers that have the market well covered.

Most luggage boxes are universal and you may need to buy a separate mount specific to your motorcycle, however there are some universal manufacturers who get around this by using straps and this allows the retail price to be cheaper.

Types of Harley Davidson Luggage Available

There are a few different types of luggage that have different benefits. Here is a brief summary:

Harley Davidson Pannier boxes / Harley Davidson Saddle Bags

Pannier Boxes are the luggage boxes that go on the rear of the bike on the sides. You would usually have 2 to balance out the look and weight - one on each side. It is important to match the inside weight of these too as it can affect handling if you have one box full of heavy equipment (camera, laptop, tools, etc) and the other light (clothing) so try to balance it out.

Top Box

Top Boxes would refer to the box or bag on the back of the motorcycle on top. These are typically where a pillion passenger would sit if you have a one-seat motorcycle, and are extended back slightly if you carry a pillion passenger to allow room for them to sit. They make a good single box alternative to panniers if you do not carry much and also compliment saddle bags if you need additional storage.

Tank Bags

Tank bags are usually called bags rather than boxes as they are typically soft storage not hard plastic or metal like pannier boxes and top boxes. They can affect your seating position and are not the most comfortable option to travel with. They tend to effect visibility on the Harley traditional sitting back position too. I'd advise these are the last storage compartment you add to your motorcycle and only to be used if necessary.


Quite simple really - not many are designed for motorcycles and they mean you are carrying the load on your back rather than the motorcycle carrying the load, so are typically used for very light luggage or short distance trips as opposed to long Harley Davidson touring. They are however, easily the cheapest option available.


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