One of the most popular accessories that motorcycle owners like to invest time and money on are the motorcycle saddlebags. Storing luggage on a motorcycle can be tricky because of the limited space that is available, there is no doubt about that; however installing a motorcycle saddlebag pretty much takes away most of your problem.
Every motorcycle enthusiast who is really invested in their motorcycles wants to purchase the best accessory for their vehicle. The motorcycle is like a child for them that they want to care for and treat well; that’s because a bond is created between the owner and their ride because of the numerous adventures they both have had together! Not only do we understand this bond but also appreciate it immensely! There are many things that you can do to look after and maintain your motorcycle; for example, often taking your motorcycle to the mechanic, getting its systems checked, making sure everything is updated and also may be adding a few accessories like getting a new car seat, new motorcycle helmet, upgrading the motorcycle handles. Some like to keep things as simple as possible, however others prefer to experiment and explore new opportunities that will make their motorcycle look ageless, classy, chic and well taken care of.
Deciding what kind of a saddlebag and what material you would prefer the most is very important and should be decided after doing plenty of research. It is without a doubt an important decision because many things depend on the kind of saddlebag you decide to install. Saddlebags are responsible for the security, protection, storage of your belongings as well as compatibility with your motorcycle. A good durable saddlebag will be able to:
- Keep your belongings safely locked away,
- Be weather resistant,
- Provide plenty of storage and compartments,
- Look chic and fashionable on your motorcycle
- Be easily and economically maintained
- And of course, be durable and reliable
As professional researchers about motorcycles and motorcycle luggage, our number one recommendation is to opt for leather saddlebags. Now this suggestion might seem costly and also might be considered by some as being a bold and luxurious choice, but we promise we will explain to you what exactly makes it worthwhile.
Why Opt for Leather Saddlebag
- Very fashionable/chic
It goes without saying that leather is a very expensive and exclusive material, and it has the ability of completely changing the look of any accessory. Riding a motorcycle that has a top of the class quality leather saddlebag attached to it will completely change the way you feel about your motorcycle, as a sense of pride and class will encompass you every time you mount your ride. Everyone knows that leather exudes fashion, luxury and a sense of sophistication that distinguishes you from everyone else. Only people with an extreme sense of style and classiness will be able to afford and then maintain a leather saddlebag.
Leather saddlebags are also unisex, meaning it leather products do not distinguish amongst genders and will provide the same visual satisfaction and create the same edginess for both men and women. Whether you’re a man or a woman, you will always find leather products appealing and a leather saddlebag will always give that finished look to your motorcycle.
If taken care of properly and timely maintained, leather can actually last for up to ten years. Leather is also weather resistant and can protect your belongings from the rain, dust, storm, rubble and also heat. That being said, leather is also breathable so your perishable goods can remain well protected as well.
You can use a leather saddlebag for years, travelling around the world under unpredictable weather and still make it last for years.
- Easy to maintain
The best thing about leather saddlebags is that they are easy to and cheap to maintain, and you can take care of them at home with some good quality cleaning products. The process of cleaning and maintaining leather saddlebags are actually very simple and easy and you don’t need to be a professional to understand it!
- Customize it
Leather saddlebags also give you the opportunity to customize your saddlebag in any way that you want. Having a customized leather saddlebag will increase the sense of belonging for you and also complete a classy and chic look for your motorcycle.
Imagine getting a leather saddlebag made with your choice of color, shape, size and especially personalizing it so that it looks and fits perfectly on your motorcycle. A customized leather saddlebag will complete your entire motorcycle look and also make your ride distinguished from everyone else.
- Eco friendly
Leather is a natural, organic and eco-friendly material that sets it apart from other synthetic materials. The process that goes into creating a leather saddlebag is friendly for the environment, as no harmful chemicals are used in its making, it is easily recyclable; giving you the satisfaction that what you have chosen for your motorcycle is not only the best for you but also in the best interest of the environment.
- Water and Heat resistant
As a person who owns a motorcycle you would know the kind of damaging external forces that can ruin your belongings, even if you’re going on a short trip. With a leather saddlebag you don’t have to worry about it because you will trust that your luggage is well-protected against the rubble, dirt, wind and water that may cause damage to your possessions.
- Very Sturdy
Leather is also very hard to get into, cut through or tear making it extremely durable and sturdy. Only a poorly maintained leather saddlebag will eventually break and that too after years of direct exposure to external forces. Leather saddlebags can also be designed to have many pockets and compartments that will remain strong for years to come. This element alone will allow you to become organized and pack your belongings efficiently.
Let’s face it! Leather is never going out of style anytime soon! It will always remain fashionable, making anything that is made out of it attractive, and always classy.
What you need to protect your leather saddlebags from
Although leather is very durable and will last for years to come, like with anything it needs to be taken care of, cleaned and maintained so it can last for years in its best form. Some of the things that you need to be varying of if you decide to get a leather saddlebag made are:
The sun has very harmful UV rays that can cut through leather, fade its color, make it look old and weary, tear into it and even melt away the top layer. Now as a motorcyclist the chances that you will be exposed to sunlight are massive and that cannot be avoided. You can however take measures to ensure that your leather saddlebag is well protected by covering it with a saddlebag cloth and also trying to park your motorcycle in the shade as much as possible.
- Unpredictable changes in the weather
Exposing leather saddlebags to unpredictable and extreme weathers will also quicken the process of ruining your leather saddlebag very quickly. So for example if you keep travelling from extremely cold places, to wet weather and then suddenly to extremely hot places, then you will increase the chances of wearing your leather saddlebag very quickly.
The trick again is to keep it protected by some form of layer or cloth.
- Not cleaning it thoroughly
Ignoring dirt, stains and weathering marks will not help your cause and also damage the leather very quickly. If you don’t thoroughly clean any dirt or grease marks as soon as possible, they will stay and also cut through the leather material.
- Not using proper leather cleaning materials
If you continue to expose your leather saddlebag to extremely harsh cleaning products then the color of the leather will begin to fade away and also dry out the leather very quickly.
- Grease and sweat stains
The pH levels of sweat have the ability to oxidize leather causing it to lose its fibers and as a result increase its chances of decay and decompose. If you continue to clean your leather saddlebag of any sweat and grease stains then you can delay the process of disintegration by years even.
How you can tell your leather handbag is being damaged
Since leather is a very visually appealing material, when it begins to fade and break apart, you can very easily see and spot it.
- Cuts, breaks and tears start appearing
One of the most striking signs are when you can see cuts, breaks and tears in the upper layer of the leather.
- Sweat and grease stains that won’t come of
You have taken too long and avoided the stains and now no matter how much you clean it they will not come off because they have in a sense become a part of the material itself.
- Color is fading
That distinct and vibrant color that gives the leather its entire look starts to fade off from places, creating a very uneven and untidy look.
- The leather seems ‘brittle’
The leather seems to break off and fall apart even when you touch it lightly. This brittle quality of the leather is a sign that the prime days of the leather are over and it is decomposing very quickly.
- Changes shape
Stuffing your leather saddlebag with more things than it can hold will make it lose its shape and make it look uneven from different sides.
Three crucial and important steps of cleaning your leather saddlebags:
Don’t worry and don’t start to get intimidated by leather just yet, because there are easy, simple and cheap ways of maintaining your leather saddlebag and you don’t need to look anywhere else because we have you covered! If you follow these three crucial steps of how to maintain your leather saddlebag, we promise that owning a saddlebag made out of leather will be worth your while.
Protect the leather saddlebag
- Cover it with a motorcycle cover or a saddlebag cover at all times,
Even when you’re on the road and riding your motorcycle we strongly suggest that you keep the saddlebag covered with some kind of protection to avoid any damage caused by the sun, dirt and the wind.
- Always clean regularly and don’t let any dirt or sand get settled in it
Try to clean the leather saddlebag as often as you clean your motorcycle so to ensure that no dirt or mud gets stuck in the fiber of the leather.
- Don’t use greasy or oil-based products on your leather saddlebag
Try not to rest or put unnecessary weight on your leather saddlebag, and certainly avoid keeping food items like burgers, coke bottles or anything that might damage and cut through the leather on your saddlebag. That will be criminal to the condition of your leather and will quicken the process of decomposition.
Clean the leather saddlebag
The one set way of really maintaining your leather saddlebag is how often and the way that you decide to clean it. The process is extremely easy and manageable and at the end you will be left with a long lasting, classy, chic and fashionable saddlebag so take the cleaning process seriously!
- Use leather friendly products
Using harsh and strong cleaning materials will age your leather very quickly and they don’t pay off well.
- Always clean it in circular motion
Cleaning in an up and down motion will cut through the leather quickly so we recommend going in circular motions every time.
- Clean it with high quality cleaning products
Invest in high quality products even if it means that you will need to spend a buck or more. But in the end, it will be worthwhile we promise!
- Products that are easily available at all times
You don’t want to invest money in products that will not be readily available whenever you need them. Also changing the brand of your cleaning products and exposing the leather to different chemicals will also change the condition of your leather. So, try to remain as consistent as you possibly can with the kind of cleaning products you choose.
- Pay special attention to the bottom of the saddlebag as that area is most likely to get damaged/ come in contact to dirt
Sometimes we forget that the bottom of the saddlebag needs equal attention because it is the bottom part that is most exposed to the dirt, muddy water and rubble when you’re on the road. If any part of the saddlebag begins to wear off then the entire saddlebag will begin to decompose after that.
Condition the leather saddlebags
The purpose of this step is to moisturize the leather leaving it looking supple and giving it a soft texture
How to properly clean your leather saddle bag step by step
All you need are five products to be able to clean and maintain your leather saddlebag, so take out a pencil and paper and write down these products so you can properly take care of your precious leather saddlebag:
- Two towels
- Some lukewarm water
- A small cleaning brush with very soft bristles
- A shampoo or cleaning liquid made specifically for leather
- A conditioner that is also made specifically for the maintenance of leather
Dampen one of your towels in the lukewarm water and pour some leather shampoo on it.
First give your entire leather saddlebag and good but gentle scrubbing with the cloth, identifying areas where you have spot dirt or grease stains. After a general cleaning, try to focus on the stains and marks you saw and continue to scrub them off by applying pressure on them with the same towel.
If and we emphasize on the if the stains do not seem to come off or the dirt spots seem too stubborn then dampen your brush and put some lather shampoo on and begin by gently scrubbing these marks with it. We recommend just scrubbing in one set motion and not cleaning in an up and down motion, because this will erode your material and ruin it.
Read the instructions on the leather shampoo and find out whether you need to use extra water to clean off the excess shampoo or if it will dry out on its own. Most of the leather shampoos do not need to be rinsed off but follow instructions as given on your chosen brand of the leather shampoo.
Now it’s time to apply the conditioner; so, start by using the second untouched towel and pouring some conditioner on it. Now start by rubbing the conditioner onto the leather surface in soft circular motions and making sure every inch of your saddlebag is covered with it.
Now stand back and let the leather absorb the conditioner. You can repeat this step if you feel like your saddlebag needs more, and after if needed you can wipe off the access with a clean surface of the towel.
If you follow these instructions carefully and religiously, we are sure your leather saddlebag will last you a long time and you will not regret this decision!