Soft motorcycle luggage is great for those who can pack light or stick to fair-weather riding. They are also good if you have several motorcycles, as they are easier to fit to different models. Hard luggage is often bigger, so ideal if the missus, or you, need several pairs of shoes, other handbags, a bathroom full of toiletries…
There are many variations on soft and hard luggage - tank bags, panniers, tail packs, backpacks and so on, so think carefully about what will suit your lifestyle and your pocket
Panniers are one of the most popular options for those who go on many motorcycle tours, as they are fastened securely to each side of the bike. This means they do not get in the way of rider or pillion, but they must be packed carefully to ensure even weight distribution. Both soft and hard panniers are available, so check out each kind. Hard ones usually offer more room, but are a bit heavier. Those who do shorter trips as well as bigger tours might find soft panniers are more flexible and so better value for money.
Tank bags make the most of the unused area in front of the rider, and usually have strong magnets on the bottom to keep them fixed to the tank. These are great for smaller, softer items and care must be taken to ensure the tank bag does not restrict the arms when turning.
Tail packs sit on or under the pillion seat and also allow extra room on the bike to be put to good use when touring. Of course, this assumes you do not have a pillion sat on the seat! As with tank bags, pack wisely and do not put anything in tail packs that could slide around while riding as this can throw you off balance and on to the tarmac.
Back packs can be worn by a sole rider or you can get your pillion to wear one with all their stuff in. Again, these are great for shorter journeys but must be properly packed and fitted so they do not cause discomfort or become loose and make you wobble!