Duffles are the retro version of tail bags. The perfect shape for vintage, classic and cafe racer motorcycles.
This bag is a must for long adventures as it expands your cargo capacity without straining on your shoulder, or making your machine bulkier.
This guide is based on the Longride Traveler tail bag. A duffle bag made from thick waxed-cotton and full-grain leather.
There are several ways to secure a tail bag to a motorcycle. The best method depends on the motorcycle, the bag, and the content.
Here's a simple, universal method that can serve as a basis for most scenarios.
We will also throw-in some alternatives and tips at the end.
HOW TO PREPARE THE BAG.
We always provide you with two straps with any Traveler tail bag, which is the minimum kit you'll need to secure the bag.
Here's how to prepare the bag.
On each side of the bag, you will find 3 leather loops to get your straps through.
Use one strap for the left side, and the other for the right side.
Depending on the required remaining length to strap the bag to the motorcycle, you can choose to go through all 3 loops, or only 2 at the base of the duffle bag.
Using all 3 loops to completely circle the bag is ideal for maximum grip, but not an absolute necessity if you need to free some length to reach your anchor points on the frame.
HOW TO CREATE ANCHOR POINTS.
Now that your bag is strapped, you need to be able to secure it to the motorcycle.
The straps are stretchable and they end with carabiner hooks for better security.
You need anchor points on the motorcycle. Don't expect to find easy and practical ones if your motorcycle is not accessorised. However, you can sometimes find parts of the frame that are suitable. The anchor point needs to be stable, and under 7.5 mm thick so the carabiners can grab it.
More often than not, you won't find anything suitable exactly where you would like to attach your strap.
That's why we have designed the Tube Rings.
You can find them over here.
You can fit them anywhere on your frame, thus creating useful, polyvalent and removable anchor points.
We make them with a strong non-slip material so they have a tight grip on your tubes. You just need to measure your tubes diameter in order to choose the right tube rings. We make them in 25, 30 and 40 mm.
Simply measure your tubes, and choose the closest value.
For maximum flexibility, fit two rings on each side of your machine. Choose a position that forces the straps to be under the right tension when securing the tail bag.
Note that you can also add only one anchor point per side, as illustrated on the following photo.
OTHER ANCHOR POINTS.
The Longride tube rings are fantastic, but you might come across similar solutions that could work just as well for you.
For example, here's a customer who had fitted anchor points on the sub-frame of the seat in order to install his Longride duffle bag. The design is different but it's exactly the same idea.
Now for an alternative idea coming from Hanna Johansson.
You might know Hanna from Instagram, and if you don't, check her out.
She straps her motorcycle "permanently" so she's always ready to quickly install her tail bag.
She lifts her seat, secure the straps on the sub-frame, and put the seat back on.
The straps are dangling down from the seat on either side of the bike.
When she's ready to hit the road, she puts her Longride duffle down and strap it up with her cam buckle straps.
Here's an extract from one of her stories where she offers her take on how to strap down a duffle tail bag.
A LUGGAGE BRACKET AS ANCHORING BASE.
For those of you who have, or plan on having a luggage rack, you can still create those practical anchor points using your rack. But you might wonder if you can skip those, and strap your tail bag onto the rack directly.
Well that's something you can experiment with for sure.
Strap your bag, loop the straps around your rack and bring back the carabiner ends to the D rings that you'll find on each side of your duffle bag.
The D rings on your Traveller bag are meant either for that, or to attach a shoulder strap.
YOUR SADDLEBAGS AS ANCHORING POINTS.
If you already have saddlebags, chances are, you can rely on them to secure your tail bag. The following video takes you all the way from installing the saddlebags, to strapping the tail bag to them. This time, you will use the D rings from your saddlebags to strap down the tail bag.
The Traveler bag is available in two sizes.
The small one fits comfortably on most seats.
However, the large one will certainly extend out on the sides. Because it's made from supple materials, il might dangle a bit. If you also have saddlebags, the duffle will lean on them, problem solved.
If you don't have saddlebags, you can stow your rigid things at the bottom to straighten it a bit. And just try different arrangements because it might be that the dangling sides are not a problem, it depends on your motorcycle.
At first, check your installation regularly, and after short distances.
Wind can exercise a pressure in ways you had not foreseen. So give yourself a chance to re-adjust your method if the first try isn't optimal.
If you want to further enhance the security of your installation, you can add a luggage net on your tail bag. These bungee cargo nets are usually fitted with carabiners so you will need anchor points, but you know how to create them now. The cool thing with a net is that you can add something on top of your duffle bag, like camping gear.
This guide wouldn't have been complete without the photos of our Longride customers. So if you recognise your photo, thank you very much!
We always prefer to work with authentic material to illustrate our advice, so you can be sure these a real-world examples from bikers like yourself.
We hope this guide will prove useful.