I love my backpack, and I plan to keep wearing it regardless of the luggage I purchase, but it’s time to store some of my tools and first aid kit in a separate bag.
My budget is about $150 and I’m looking for a simple black bag, bonus points if it’s adjustable for use in long touring trips. The only requirement I have is that it needs to fit a 1L bottle of water and can be secured closed (with either a zipper or a buckle). I do plan on purchasing a sissy bar for those extra long trips, but for daily commuting, I need a swing arm bag ASAP.
I first looked to the brand that is known for making bags that don’t break the bank: Viking Bags. They have limited options for a sportster, but I did find one that was $99. Add on the 12% coupon for a new subscriber to their newsletter, and I thought I had a great deal on a decent looking bag – WRONG. Shipping and tax added $30+ to the total, making this bag $122. It’s still under budget, but I can get free shipping at other online stores (and I’m not fond of brands that offer a million different coupon codes when they could just reduce the actual price of the item. Just because I have a coupon doesn’t mean I’m more likely to buy it. You’re not fooling me!)
Next up is an adjustable bag from Get Lowered. It’s a basic bag with diamond detail on the flap (that I’m not too fond of). The benefit is that this bag is adjustable. There is a zipper on the side that expands the width of the bag, perfect for some of my longer solo trips since I don’t have a sissy bar yet. It’s low profile and seamless, but I’m not sure if it’s secured on the inside to stay closed by a button or buckle. I also couldn’t find any reviews on it either, so this one was a hard maybe.
JP Cycles had even more limited swing arm bags. Here’s the only rigid one I saw on their site. I’m not too fond of the detail on the bag nor the price, so this was an easy pass for me.
Last but not least, Revzilla came through in their selection. Besides the Viking Leather bag, this one is the cheapest out of the three, and I have seen Blockhead Moto review it on his channel. So I can safely say that my water bottle will fit in the bag. I am not, however, impressed with how floppy it looks. I can already tell that as soon as I pack it to the brim on a long trip, it will stay stretched out and loose (if that makes sense). This one is another hard maybe.
I was about to make my purchase on the Viking Bags website, when I remembered I can shop on Amazon! To my very happy wallet’s surprise, the Viking Bag that I wanted was available through a third party on Amazon.
Not only was the actual price of the bag less than what Viking Bags advertises, I also get free shipping. I’m not an Amazon Prime member, so I opted for free standard shipping that took about a week and a half. I placed my order on March 27th and it arrived on April 6th.
I was so excited that the bag was not a knock off, and seems extremely sturdy and rigid. I don’t think I’ll be able to fit my 1 liter water bottle, but I can still fit a smaller bottle.
It also came with mounting hardware. So I’ll do another post on the install and a full review after a few months/miles of use.
Transparency: While browsing through the Viking Bags website, reading about their story and the customer feedback they publish on their blog, Facebook, and YouTube channel, I saw that they do have an affiliate program. I am not affiliated with Viking Bags and I do not receive any commission from them for this purchase.
I am affiliated with Amazon and receive commission from Amazon only. My affiliation with Amazon was not the reason I purchased these through them, the price difference was. I am no longer affiliated with Amazon, but since MANY people are, please keep in mind that they receive commission from purchases you make on Amazon from clicking their links. I get free shipping so my total was $70 vs. $120. If the difference was a few bucks, I’d buy these straight from the source, but I’m cheap. If you do buy from Amazon or Ebay or even Craigslist, make sure it’s not a knock-off and confirm straight from the source, especially if you’re buying heavy duty bags that may come with manufacturer warranty. Don’t buy anything that doesn’t have customer reviews or a return policy either!
Update! I’ve put on a few thousand miles with this swing arm bag and I haven’t even opened it once! I store my first aid kit and tools in there only. It’s not a practical bag for getting things in and out on a regular basis. Heck, a water bottle doesn’t really fit in it. So depending on what you’re looking for in a swing arm bag, this one might not be for you. A more flexible leather bag might work best if you want to store easy to grab items, but this one is so solid/rigid it makes opening and closing it really difficult (but I knew that when I bought it so I can’t really complain). I don’t mind though because I have my sissy bar to help carry my stuff, but I kind of feel like the installation was not worth the hassle. It’s held up in the rain and wind though.