The Search for the Perfect Swing Arm Bag

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.West Eagle from Get Lowered

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.

j&p cycles

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.

revzilla willie n max

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.




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