Mar 11, 2012

Hard Sidebags: Pelican-Storm Adventure Touring Motorcycle Luggage

Runkle is the owner of a set of Pelican know, those almost ugly black things sticking off the sides making the rear end shockingly larger than my own?? (Whew, what a relief!)   We've had the cases for about a year now and thought it was time to offer ya'll a review.   

There are too many options for hard cases which just left me confused.  Top opening, side opening? Plastic or metal?  Tall or short?   Why do so many options have to complicate things?  And what about capacity?  How much room do I need?  I have no idea.  Less space than a dead body would take up but more than a gallon of milk?   

Confused by options, I did the most logical thing I could think of.  I showed photos of the boxes to my female friends.  The big question wasn’t which is more functional or which is more reasonably priced.  Instead, I wow’d them with this:  “Which is prettier?”    I know, my methods probably left something to be desired.  But, if it works, don’t mess with it.  That wasn’t the end all and be all of my decision.  I’m not that much of a girl.  I made sure to do some more research on the winning set, just to ensure I wasn’t stuck with a lemon.  

Eventually, after all my very scientific research, Caribou Motorcycle Luggage ( won the contest.   I had determined that the most important quality in a set of luggage for my needs was the ability for the cases to be easily removed.  I didn’t want to unbolt, unscrew, or otherwise mess with anything.  I wanted a quick release so if I were just riding around the back roads by my house I wouldn’t have to necessarily be stuck dragging the bags along.  The second thing I was looking for was a good warranty.   Third, I wanted them to be 100% waterproof all the time, anytime.  
Just twist and the bags slide off
Caribou Motorcycle Luggage met my hard case specifications.  How can you argue with a company whose slogan is, “Worlds Toughest Motorcycle Luggage”?  I mean, geez, the military uses Pelican cases!  The luggage has a lifetime warranty, as do the seals.  Want to remove the luggage?  Turn the knob and suddenly you have a suitcase with a top handle.  (Okay, and a couple screws sticking out the back but no one is perfect.)  The price? This luggage was among the most reasonably priced I found.  I paid $798 US and $35.00 for shipping and handling.
According to Caribou’s website, the cases are “made from super tough case material with a heavy duty watertight O-ring lid seal that won’t crack or shatter like hard plastic, will not dent & leak like aluminum luggage.”   Yada yada.  All I heard was "drop the bike and the case will be fine."
Caution:  Wide Load (or as I like to put it, one way to make your arse look smaller)
I bought the 36 liter but the luggage also comes in 35 and 40 liter side opening cases.  The latches on the 36 liter luggage system have push buttons in them and are very easy to open and close.  The width of the bike with the cases on is about 38”.  The installation would have been a breeze had it not been for the BMW bolts on the bike.  I couldn’t get the bolt off the top of the bike and had to call in a reinforcement, but he was able to remove the bolt with minimal trouble.  He even went so far as to finish the installation on one side (when you’re a girl weird stuff like that happens and I’m not about to decline help).  

Overall, I am very happy with what I paid for, given they are hard cases.  The luggage  holds a lot more than I had anticipated.  It comes in basic black but you can also order tan and yellow.  The installation was easy, despite the instructions on the Hepco Becker side luggage rack being in German.  The only issues on the rack installation I had was the fact that the rack fits behind the mounts near the license plate and not in front.  The photos didn’t clearly show that view but my capable helper figured it out.

I was wondering how I’d like the side openings but so far, I haven’t had any issues.  I have had numerous comments about how UGLY the bags are and I really think they are an acquired taste.  I prefer these bags over the metal hardcases I've had on prior bikes and have never, not once, had an issue opening them due to pressure changes.  That's a big bonus.  


  1. That's really inventive. It's in a hard case too so you shouldn't have to worry about damaging the contents while you're on the road.

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