Motorcycle bags are not fashion accessories to make you look good; they are vital components of a rider's journey. These bags serve as the trusty companions that carry our essentials, whether we're on a quick weekend ride or an extended cross-country adventure. Failure of the luggage strapping system at high speed can be catastrophic.
Motorcycle luggage isn’t cheap either. Quality gear costs a pretty penny and it is always in the rider’s interest to make those pennies last as long as possible. A little bit of TLC (Tender Loving Care!) goes a long way in increasing the longevity of all your motorcycle gear - bags included! In this guide, we'll explore the art of storing, maintaining, and cleaning your motorcycle bags.
Storing Motorcycle Bags: A Primer on Longevity
Storing your motorcycle bags properly is the first step to increasing their life span. Neglecting this aspect can lead to damage, wear, and tear that might affect both the aesthetics and functionality of your bags.
1. Empty and Clean Your Bags:
Before storing your bags, empty them entirely. Remove any leftover items, trash, or forgotten snacks that might have collected during your last ride. It's also a good practice to clean the interior of your bags. Wipe away dust and debris, so you start your next trip fresh and organized.
2. Let Them Breathe:
If you have soft saddlebags or any bag made of fabric, it's a great idea to let them breathe after your journey. Leave them open for a few hours in a well-ventilated area to ensure that any trapped moisture or odour dissipates.
3. Store Them in a Cool, Dry Place:
When you're not out on the road, your bags need a comfortable place to rest. Find a cool, dry storage area to house your motorcycle bags. Avoid damp and excessively hot locations, as extreme conditions can damage the bags over time.
4. Hang Them if Possible:
If you have space, consider hanging your bags. This prevents unnecessary creasing and maintains their shape. It also reduces the chances of mould or mildew growth.
5. Protect Them from Dust:
Using dust covers or fabric bags to protect your motorcycle bags when they're not in use can be a game-changer. These covers keep the bags clean and dust-free, saving you a lot of cleaning and maintenance effort in the long run.
Maintaining Luggage Quality: Your Bags Deserve the Best
Maintaining the quality of your motorcycle bags goes beyond just storing them correctly. It involves regular inspections and addressing any issues as they arise. Here's how to ensure your bags remain in top shape over a period of time:
1. Regular Inspections:
Make it a habit to check your bags for wear and tear regularly. Look for loose stitching, zippers that may need lubrication, and any signs of damage. Catching these issues early can prevent further deterioration. As the old saying goes, a stitch in time, can save nine. With fabric bags, that can be quite literal!
2. Zipper Care:
Zippers are often the weak link in many bags. To maintain them, regularly apply a zipper lubricant or a small amount of beeswax to keep them moving smoothly. It's a small step but can make a big difference in the long run. If the zippers spoil, then it is difficult to get quality replacement zippers.
3. Reinforcement and Repairs:
Don't hesitate to reinforce any worn-out areas with fabric patches or seek professional repairs. A small investment in early maintenance can extend your bag's life significantly. Many a time your everyday roadside cobbler can rescue your damaged bag.
4. Loading Wisely:
Overloading your bags can strain the zippers, seams, and straps. Stick to the manufacturer's recommended weight limit and distribute the weight evenly to avoid unnecessary strain.
5. Avoid Sharp Objects:
While it might be a no-brainer, avoid placing sharp objects directly into your bags. If you need to transport something with the potential to puncture your bag (like tools or tent stakes), put them in a separate pouch or container to protect the bag's integrity. This is a surprisingly common reason for people to damage their bags.
Cleaning and Caring Tips for Bags: TLC for Your Trusty Companions
Cleaning and caring for your motorcycle bags is an essential part of maintaining their quality and appearance. Here's how to keep them looking fresh:
1. Regular Cleaning:
Clean your bags after each trip. Use a soft brush or cloth to remove dirt and debris. If your bags are made of leather, invest in a leather cleaner and conditioner to maintain their suppleness and shine.
2. Hand Washing:
If your bags are fabric-based, consider hand washing them using mild soap and water. Avoid machine washing, as the agitation can harm the fabric and straps.
3. Drying Properly:
After cleaning, let your bags air dry. Avoid exposing them to direct sunlight, as it can lead to fading and drying out of the fabric.
4. Leather Maintenance:
For leather bags, apply a leather conditioner after cleaning to keep the material soft and nourished. This helps to prevent cracking and drying.
5. Remove Stains:
Promptly address any stains on your bags. Use appropriate stain removers, but make sure they're safe for the bag's material. Always test on a small, inconspicuous area first.
6. Mould and Mildew Prevention:
To prevent mould and mildew growth, store a silica gel packet or two inside your bags when they're not in use. Ensure your bags are entirely dry before sealing them with the silica gel to avoid trapping moisture inside.
No, don’t go and tightly wrap up your bag. We are just wrapping up this guide for you! Your motorcycle bags are more than just carriers of your gear; they are travel companions. By storing them carefully, maintaining their quality, and cleaning them with care, you ensure they remain your reliable partners on the open road.
With these practices in place, you'll be ready for your next adventure, knowing that your motorcycle bags are in tip-top shape and ready for the ride. It might be easier to just chuck your bag in the loft until your next big ride. But that moment of laziness will turn out to be a strain on your wallet in the long run.