First of all, both luggage items provided by Motorcycle House did a great job carrying the necessities of life on the road. There is space galore, and while the sissy bar bag is well thought through with regards to organizing your stuff, the saddle bags turn the Shadow into a true cruiser storage-wise, and also by appearance.
Second, the luggage didn't come off the bike. Having said that, there are some minor issues that might need some attention by the manufacturer. Otherwise I'd recommend to make sure to ride on smooth tarmac only, or carry extra straps, duct tape and tie wraps, because uneven pavement does a little number on the gear.
1. The Viking sissy bar bag:
The handsome bag goes well with a cruiser style motorcycle. It is easy to mount, and to remove (if needed), and comes with extra straps for carrying (best: backpack style). The height had me worried with regards to how it would affect the bike's stability in crosswinds or at higher speed, but at no time did this become an issue. Storage is plenty and well thought through. Double thumbs up! For trip preparation and packing review click HERE.
The mounting system contains of straps and fastening clips, which look fairly sturdy but obviously have their limitations.
|Day two: broken clip|
On the second day, I felt the bag shifting while riding, and found that one of the main clips to hold the bag in place was broken. Nothing, a tie wrap couldn't fix.
Not sure, if it were the change in temperatures (3°C to 24°C), the weather, the crosswinds, or the road conditions, but none of the clips where holding longterm. They all came lose eventually, were bent and wouldn't fasten permanently. Hence, there came more tie wraps to the rescue.
Of course there is some normal wear and tear on the zippers and the stitching but the quality seems absolutely roadworthy. No trouble here.
I didn't bother protecting the sissybar bag with the rain cover. My backpack is waterproof. However, even after a full day of pouring rain, the heavy duty Cordura/leather material kept surprisingly dry on the inside. There was some humidity to the touch, yes, but no puddles inside. That's a plus!
Speaking of the inside. Plastic frames on both sides keep the sissybar bag in its shape. At one point, likely when going through a pothole or a dip, one of the frames broke at the bottom, very much at a predetermined breaking point. However, it did not affect the bag, or deformed it. I had only noticed it very late into my trip. No need to fix it.
Oh, and I loved the roll bag. It was permanently mounted with Rok-straps to the pillion seat, not on the sissybar bag itself. I kept it exclusively for food storage: fruit, beverages, my little freeze box, and snacks.
My rating: Thumbs up! The riding was rough at times, and the minor issues developing through my long haul road trip over 6.700km through various weather and road conditions are i.m.h.o. normal wear and tear, and didn't affect the overall performance. At (currently) 169USD it's a steal. You'll get an exceptionally big bang for your buck.
|Cabot Trail, N.S.|
2. The Viking Lammelar Saddlebags:
It's all in the looks! And these streamlined leather covered hard bags make the Shadow look like a pro. Mounting was not all that easy though. Please visit David's blog to learn more about the installation of the saddlebags.
The inside is covered with a smooth liner. Which is both, good and bad. Good, as nothing starts rattling through vibrations, bad if you have a leakage of a fluid container, in my case oil drops causing stains that were hard to remove.
The mounting hardware and frame are definitely heavy duty, and survived through many potholes, dips and over miles of gravel roads. The saddle bags are lockable, that's a big bonus, however, the two-key system (one per side) is a bit awkward. But you get used to it, just use different coloured key rings, problem solved. The hinges are sturdy as well, and the lids stay open once in upright position. What didn't impress were the hinge covers.
This is how it looked like after - literally - a ride around the block: The hardware and subsequently the plastic cover loosened instantly. I fixed it several times while on the road but vibrations continued unfastening the screws every so often. In the end, the whole cover came loose, leaving the hinge unprotected, and in direct contact with the stored items. A short term solution to protect both, the hinges and the contents was duct tape. For long term, maybe the drilling of new holes, and a new set of nuts and bolts?
And once mounted, it is - hinge covers aside - a darn sturdy construction, and can be filled to the max. The right side ended up carrying my laptop, my cosmetic bag, a cable/accessory box, extra gloves, and rain gear. The left side's content was an MSR fuel bottle (filled), a 1l Oil container, chain lube, a tool bag, and a mini air compressor.
|Confederation Bridge, P-E-I|
For the (current) cost at 399USD it is a well priced option to make a bike not only look better but also suitable for long or short haul purposes. That is if you're not too shy to put a little effort in when mounting it for the very first time. Thumbs up - despite the hinge cover issue.
Sorry, hierzu gibt es (noch) keinen deutschen Bericht, da der Motorradzubehörversand Motorcycle House (noch) nicht auf dem deutschsprachigen Markt vertreten ist.