How to Tie Down Motorcycle Bags


Many people use a motorcycle as a means of transportation, which means eventually you'll have to carry something on it. If a backpack isn't comfortable, there are many options for storage on the motorcycle itself. Tank bags, tail bags, and throw over saddle bags are just a few of the most popular options.

Things You'll Need

  • Your choice of motorcycle bag
  • A set of wrenches
  • A set of Allen wrenches

Tank Bags

  • Place the tank bag on top of your gas tank, making sure to leave room for your arms to reach over it. Also, do not to cover the gas cap so you don't have to take the bag off just to fill the tank.

  • Using the bag's included attachment straps and hooks, hook the straps under the lower section of the tank or the frame tubes underneath and in front of the tank. If it has straps, there should be four locations at which the bag is secured. If the bag attaches magnetically, There may be only two straps or none at all.

  • Tighten any straps that you have attached to the tank or the frame tubes. No need to tighten them a whole lot, but make them tight enough that the bag will no shift when a small amount of pressure is applied from the sides, front, or back.

Tail Bag

  • Center the tail bag on the rear fender of the bike, taking care to face it forward if your bag is directional.

  • There will be attachment straps with hooks at the end. Uses these hooks to secure the bag by hooking them under the fender or attaching them to any kind of hard mounted support that may be part of another system, such as a rear seat.

  • Tighten the straps enough that the bag does not shift from side to side or forward and backward. Don't tighten it so much that the fender bends from the tension.

Throw-Over Saddle Bags

  • Remove either the rear seat or both seats depending on which kind of bike you have. Most seats attach with Allen bolts, which have a six sided hole in the head.

  • Mount the saddle bag brackets (if your bags came with it) according to the instructions specific to your bike. Almost every bike has a different location to mount these brackets, but if you get brackets made for your model bike, they will come with instructions as to where to mount them.

  • Adjust your saddle bags'width according to how wide your rear fender is, and toss them over so that there is one bag hanging on each side of the bike below the rear seat.

  • Reinstall the seats.

Tips & Warnings

  • Make sure that saddle bags do not contact your exhaust pipes or block the view of any turn signal lights, as this could cause dangerous conditions. Tank bags can affect how you sit on a bike, so before beginning any trip with a new one, practice with it on first. Tank and tail bags are rarely a permanent installation, so plan on removing them and taking them with you.
  • When loading your bags, make sure the load is balanced, or handling may be compromised. Do not exceed the weight capacity of your bike, as this could cause a crash.

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