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Pack It Up

4 ways to load your bike up for that next overnight trip

Over the last few years we've tested a lot of luggage, both soft and hard. But we've never written about it until now. Buying luggage for your bike can be expensive, but buying the wrong luggage for your needs can be even more costly. Below we've listed a few of our favorites and why we like them.

Givi 52 Hard Box

Givi's 52 liter hard case is the largest unit they make. You can mount the box horizontally over the rear of the bike, or triple your pleasure by adding two boxes vertically to the rear for a whopping 156 liters of storage.

Installation on most bikes is a snap if you're mechanically inclined. Allow 1-3 hours.

Optional brake lights can be purchased with the box, which really light up your rear end (we particularly like putting them in line with the Kisan brake lamp modulator unit which adds a special Christmas tree light effect each time you press your brakes). Installing the brake light option can be cumbersome and it takes about 1 � hours per box, but if you order your box(es) with them already installed, you can save yourself the headache.

The handle is inset and pops out when you place pressure on the key in a clockwise motion. This is a nice touch, keeping the bag sleek, yet portable for when you're done with your ride.

We spotted two drawbacks in the box unit.

First off, there's no way to attach additional cargo to the outside of the box. A rack unit would be nice for those who want to pack a tent or Thermarest.

The second major drawback is that although the box locks to the bike, it takes little more than a nudge from a screw driver to break the box away from its mount, as we found out testing our first unit. The word of caution here is: take the box off the bike when you're not riding.

Nonetheless, the Givi 52 makes a great unit to have - whether you're out running errands, or traveling overnight.

Nelson-Rigg CTB900

Wow, 90 liters in a sturdy soft bag. This unit is simple to mount to any cruiser, or just about any bike with a back rest on it. In our test we mounted it to a Givi back rest on a Honda Silver Wing.

Nelson-Rigg is making the best soft luggage on the market today, beating the pants off companies like Joe Rocket, who are otherwise making inferior products that may get you through a weekend trip, but if you tour a full season it's the NR luggage that will make it through.

A lot of thinking goes into the production of NR's luggage. While it's not completely water tight, unless you're in pelting rain for a considerable time, don't expect things to get wet inside. And just so you can play it safe, NR has included a dry bag with the unit which is perfect for clothing, a laptop or any other valuables that don't do well when moist.

There's a round stuff bag that mounts to the top of the rectangular luggage which is perfect for putting a sleeping bag or tent into. Beware though, that once you've mounted the extra stuff bag the height is getting up there and you're becoming a moving sail.

There are even eyelets to run a security cable through, but you'll have to buy that and the lock separately. These might make you feel better when you stop at a restaurant for a bite, but even so, we'd recommend you remove the bag when overnighting somewhere.

With Nelson-Rigg products in general, there are many options for mounting and connecting them to your bike. That's where NR leaves the thinking up to you, providing little in the way of instructions for the use of their bags. But hey, once you've got it figured out you'll find this one to be a great touring bag all around

Nelson-Rigg DLSB-500/RTB-500 combo

With yet more ingenuity at a high level, NR has created a saddle bag and duffle combo that can't be beat.

Again, the use of dry bags is an included option here to give you that extra insurance that the key items you're carrying will stay dry.

The duffle comes with two sets of mounting straps. A hook set allows you to mount the duffle to the bag solo in case you don't marry it with the saddle bags. The second set utilizes a dual clip and adjustable strap, which allows you to mount it to the saddle bags, making it a breeze to remove at the end of the day.

The duffle also features eyelets, which will allow you to utilize a cargo net over the top so you can carry a tent, Thermarest, tripod, or any other large item that otherwise won't fit in the bag.

The saddle bags come with dry bags and are easy to mount to most bikes that have tubular accessory mounts at the rear of the seat (about 99% of the bikes on the market today).

This is another great set of luggage perfect for overnight trips, but the duffle makes a good commuter accessory as well. The duffle and saddle bags are sold separately.

Ventura Bag Systems

Ventura makes soft luggage systems that mount over the rear of the bike using a mounting bracket that keeps the bags off your precious bike so your paint stays pristine.

The Aero 45 is a 45 liter soft bag that mounts solo on the rack (it also ships with a 10 liter pouch for smaller jobs). All racks are individually fitted for the specific make and model of bike you own. If 45 liters of storage aren't enough (it won't be if you plan on camping) you can zip on an additional Areo 35 liter bag to get the rest of your gear into.

The drawback with this system is that because each mounting unit is unique to the make and model of bike you own, you won't see this line readily at most retailers. If this is the line for you, we've made it easy to order them online in the Sound RIDER! store.

PT/Summer 03


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