SW-Motech Bags-Connection Blaze Saddlebags | MC Tested

The problem with soft saddlebags is they’re soft. They typically don’t hold their shape when empty, are a challenge to mount securely and flop around when loaded. After spending time on touring bikes with proper hard luggage, I’ve found most soft-luggage systems frustrating to use and have taken to wearing a backpack on sportbikes.

Stability is the biggest challenge soft bags face. The mounting straps may seem tight in your driveway, but by the time you get to your first gas stop they've loosened up. Load the bags with anything remotely heavy and they sag and shift; more so if one side weighs more than the other. This can lead to potentially harmful contact with your bike's exhaust pipe or rear tire.

So what’s different about these SW-Motech Bags-Connection Blaze saddlebags? First, there is some hardware to install. Model-specific brackets bolt to your bike’s passenger footpegs, each with an aluminum rod pointing toward the rear that slips into a pocket on the back of the corresponding bag. The bags are semi-rigid so they hold their shape well, and with a rod supporting them along their entire length, they’re totally stable.

Additional support comes from a wide Velcro strap that connects the two bags together and drapes over the bike’s passenger seat or tailpiece, further distributing the weight and adding to stability. Once you slide the bags onto the rods, all you have to do is clip them to the bracket and you’re good to go. The backsides of the bags and straps are covered with a non-slip material to protect your bike's finish and keep them from shifting.

Sheathed in heavy-duty nylon the bags are practically bulletproof, although the pointy tail of our Honda CB1000R testbike chewed up their soft backsides. Each bag holds 14 liters and is expandable to 21. Collapsed, the bags have plenty of room for daily commuting. Expanded, they’ll easily hold a weekend’s worth of clothing. In addition to the main compartment, each bag has a small external organizer pocket that can hold its included waterproof cover but not much else.

Available for most popular sportbikes and naked standards, the Blaze saddlebags address all the shortcomings of regular soft luggage and are as convenient to use as the original-equipment hard cases on touring bikes. Commuters will love their simplicity: There’s no need to unload the bags once you arrive at work; just unclip and go. Having the bags on the bike doesn’t prohibit carrying a passenger, like some setups do, and the rods unclip from the mounting brackets with the push of a button when you don’t want to use them. This system is simply brilliant!

SW-MOTECH BAGS-CONNECTION BLAZE SADDLEBAGS

Price: $279.99
Contact: Twisted Throttle _www.twistedthrottle.com_
Verdict: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Transforming your sportbike into a sport-tourer has never been easier

Model-specific mounting brackets bolt to the passenger pegs. Push the button on the bracket and the rod is released, leaving just the receiver.
Rigid shells and a top-loading design make the bags easy to stuff, and they hold their shape when full. Volume increases by fully 50 percent when expanded.