If there’s one thing adventure riders can agree on, it’s that soft luggage has no place on their bike.
That may not be entirely true. Yes, there’s great debate about which is better – soft luggage or hard. There are pros and cons to both options, but at Lone Rider we think the best solution is a hybrid one like our MotoBags semi-rigid motorcycle bags.
This is exactly what it sounds like. We’ve combined the best of both worlds into one piece of luggage that can do it all. But if you’re convinced that hard luggage is better, let us explain the eight advantages of our semi-rigid luggage.
1. Can be just as large
One advantage of hard bags over their soft alternatives is the ability to carry more stuff. Hard bags can be large, and because of the solid walls, you can still organize the contents inside. But you can do the same thing with Lone Rider MotoBags. Available in 31- and 38-liter capacities, MotoBags are made from Hypalon and plastics, and the Quick Release System is mainly stainless steel.
A high-strength plastic board gives the MotoBags its shape and allows you to organize contents inside. It’s also removable to collapse the bag smaller. The outer layer of the bag is also made of Hypalon, a waterproof material.
2. Toughness due to flexibility
These top-of-the-line materials and durable frame allow it to stand up to the harshest of riding conditions nearly as well as a fully-rigid hard case, and even better in some cases. The MotoBags can withstand brushes with trees or even a crash and remain functional.
The semi-rigidness lets it conform to whatever it’s impacting, whereas a hard case is prone to denting or even being ripped off the bike completely because metal won’t deflect off an object.
(It should go without saying, but we’ll say it anyway: no piece of luggage is invincible. If you hit something hard enough or fast enough, you can still destroy it. And yourself.)
3. Safer in a crash than hard cases
Since we’re on the topic of crashing, another big negative of hard bags is the chance that they might severely damage your body if you fall and the hard case lands on top of you. All you have to do is search for hard case injuries on the internet to see the numerous leg fractures suffered as a result of a hard case falling on top of someone.
The semi-rigid MotoBags can partially deflect in a crash, meaning it will take some of the impact energy instead of transferring it directly to your leg. There’s always a chance you might still get hurt from the impact, but the damage shouldn’t be as severe.
As a bonus, this deflection from semi-rigid bags also means the impact energy (or less of it) will get transferred to your subframe or other hard parts on the bike, potentially saving hundreds of dollars in replacement parts or fixes.
4. Can still be lockable
One of the benefits of a hard bag is its security. You can close it, lock it, and walk away feeling reasonably confident the contents inside the bag are safe.
With the MotoBags you get a padlock to keep them locked when you walk away. Granted, it’s not entirely as secure as a full-metal case, but it’s the next best thing. Keep in mind that if a thief is committed enough to steal something, there’s no stopping them.
5. Can still add accessories onto
You can fit a lot of stuff into one of the MotoBags. But sometimes, you still need to pack more. The beauty of semi-rigid luggage, and the MotoBags in particular, is that the M.O.L.L.E. System makes it easy to add your bags and tools.
6. Fits on most racks
Suppose you already have racks from a previous luggage system. In that case, you can keep them – the MotoBags will likely fit since they’re compatible with most tubular-shaped racks on the market. The nature of semi-rigid luggage means you have more flexibility to incorporate them into whatever system you’re already using.
Of course, if you’re new to the world of luggage, or at least semi-rigid luggage, we offer our own stainless steel mounting frames, powder coated in either black or silver. Not sure if we have something that will fit your bike? Don’t worry—we have a page with over 50 different pannier racks that fit the MotoBags.
The nature of adventure riding means you are bound to face the elements eventually. Even when the weather is nice, there’s still the chance of a water crossing getting your things soggy.
You don’t have to worry about that with the MotoBags. While it may seem evident that hard panniers keep the elements away better than soft bags or even semi-rigid luggage, the reality is that this isn’t always the case. Regular wear and tear can affect the seal of the hard case, and so can prolonged exposure to moisture (if you live near the ocean, or in a high-humidity area, for example).
The MotoBags are designed to be 100% waterproof, starting with the Hypalon outer layer. This synthetic rubber is commonly used in the watercraft industry, so you know it can stand up to rain or a water crossing.
Underneath, there’s another waterproof layer with the inner bag, ensuring your items stay dry and dust free. The inner bag is also removable, so you can easily take it out and take it with you once you’re done riding for the day.
8. Fully collapsible
Sure, it’s nice to have lots of room to store things away, but how about when you don’t have anything to carry, such as riding in town or leaving your stuff at the campsite? The MotoBags collapse, which is a huge benefit of the semi-rigid design compared to hard-case ADV luggage. Clearly, with hard cases, you can’t do anything about their width.
The MotoBags can collapse by removing the plastic board inside and flattening things out. That little difference in width could be the difference between making it through or not. Then, when you need the space inside again, put the board back in, and you’re back in business.
This feature is also advantageous when you're traveling a longer distance with empty MotoBags and want to save fuel.
Are you convinced yet? To us, semi-rigid cases really are the best of both worlds without any sacrifice.
Available in different sizes, you can also pair the MotoBags with other items in our luggage collection, like the Overlander, Ranger Tank Bag, Handlebar Bag, and much more. With this complete system, you can bring everything you need for your next trip without the added heft of a hard case.