How to Carry Things on a Motorcycle: Tips for Safe and Efficient Transportation

How to Carry Things on a Motorcycle: Tips for Safe and Efficient Transportation

Riding a motorcycle offers unmatched freedom, but carrying your essentials can be tricky. Whether you’re commuting to work or embarking on a cross-country adventure, figuring out how to transport your belongings safely and efficiently is crucial.

I’ve spent countless hours on the road and learned a few tricks for packing everything from groceries to camping gear. In this article, I’ll share practical tips and gear recommendations to help you carry things on your motorcycle without compromising safety or comfort.

Key Takeaways

  • Selecting the Right Motorcycle Bags: Understand the advantages of various types of motorcycle bags like saddlebags, tank bags, and tail bags. Consider hard cases for protection and soft bags for flexibility.
  • Weight Distribution Matters: Ensure proper weight distribution to maintain motorcycle stability and handling. Place heavier items low and central to avoid imbalance and improve tire traction.
  • Securing Items Properly: Use bungee cords or straps to secure items, preventing shifts during the ride. Always check and recheck the tightness during long trips for safety.
  • Check Load Limits: Review your motorcycle’s load capacity as outlined in the owner’s manual to avoid exceeding it, which can impact handling and safety.
  • On-Road Handling Tips: Adjust your riding style to accommodate changes in dynamics due to the load. This includes cautious cornering, braking, and lane changes.
  • Specialty Items: Use padded, waterproof bags for electronics and secure fuel containers properly to prevent damage and ensure overall safety.

Choosing the Right Equipment

Types of Motorcycle Bags and Cases

Different types of motorcycle bags and cases provide various advantages. Saddlebags, tank bags, and tail bags are all popular choices. Saddlebags, typically attached to either side of the rear wheel, offer ample storage for longer trips. Tank bags, mounted on the gas tank, are great for smaller items like maps and snacks. Tail bags, fixed on the tail or seat, work well for daily commutes.

Hard cases, often made of plastic or metal, protect items from weather and impact. These rigid structures hold their shape, making them ideal for valuable or fragile belongings. Soft bags, usually made of textile materials, offer flexibility and are easier to pack but offer less protection from elements.

Importance of Weight Distribution

Correct weight distribution is crucial for maintaining a motorcycle’s balance and handling. Uneven loads can affect stability and increase the risk of accidents. Place heavier items low and close to the bike’s center of gravity to maximize control. Avoid overloading one side to prevent tipping or handling issues.

A balanced load improves tire traction, which is essential for safe riding, especially during cornering and braking. To check the load’s balance, lift the bike off its stand to feel if it leans more to one side. If it does, adjust the placement of items to even out the weight distribution.

Properly securing items with bungee cords or straps is also essential. This practice prevents shifting during rides, which can cause erratic handling and distractions.

Preparing for the Ride

Preparing for the Ride

Checking Load Limits

Reviewing your motorcycle’s load limits is essential to ensure a safe journey. The owner’s manual provides the maximum load capacity, including rider, passenger, and cargo. Exceeding this limit can impact handling, braking, and overall stability, leading to potential accidents. Be sure to calculate the combined weight of all items to remain within the specified limits.

Securing Items Properly

Properly securing items on your motorcycle is crucial for avoiding accidents and ensuring a smooth ride. Use bungee cords or straps specifically designed for motorcycles to fasten items securely. Distribute weight evenly, placing heavier items low and near the bike’s center of gravity to maintain balance. Check the tightness of all straps before starting your journey, and periodically recheck them during long rides to ensure nothing shifts.

On-Road Tips

On-Road Tips

Handling Changes in Motorcycle Dynamics

Weight distribution affects handling. When loading my motorcycle, I keep heavy items low and close to the center of gravity. This enhances stability and balance. Light items can go in higher compartments. I also avoid overloading one side to prevent tilting.

Riding with a load changes how the motorcycle reacts. Acceleration might be slower with added weight, and braking distances increase. I give myself extra space when stopping. Corners require more caution. I slow down more than usual and maintain a smooth throttle. Changing lanes also needs careful attention. I ensure clear surroundings before making a move.

Safety Tips While Riding

Securing gear properly is vital. I double-check that bungee cords and straps are tight to prevent items from shifting. If things move during a ride, the motorcycle can become unstable. I keep an eye on my load, especially on long trips.

Visibility is crucial. I ensure my load doesn’t block my rearview mirrors or signal lights. Reflective tape on bags enhances visibility, especially at night. Wearing high-visibility gear increases my presence on the road.

Regular breaks help me monitor my load. I inspect straps, retighten if needed, and check for any damage. This proactive approach keeps my journey safe and stress-free.

Specialty Items Carrying Techniques

Transporting Electronics

Securing electronics on a motorcycle requires specific strategies to prevent damage from vibrations and the elements. I use padded, waterproof bags designed for electronics like laptops and cameras to provide protection from shocks and moisture. These bags should be stored in hard case saddlebags or securely fastened tank bags to minimize movement. For GPS units, specialized mounts designed for motorcycles keep devices stable and accessible. Always place the device in a location where it’s easily visible but doesn’t obstruct the view of the road.

Carrying Extra Fuel Safely

When carrying extra fuel, safety precautions are essential to prevent accidents. Motorcycle-specific fuel containers, often labeled as “jerry cans” or “auxiliary fuel tanks,” are designed to handle the vibrations and bumps of the road. It’s vital to secure these containers using straps to prevent shifts during the ride. I store these containers on the rear rack or saddlebag mounts, away from heat sources like the exhaust. Ensure that the fuel containers are tightly sealed to avoid leaks and fumes.


Carrying items on a motorcycle doesn’t have to be a daunting task. With the right gear and techniques, you can transport your essentials safely and efficiently. Prioritizing weight distribution and securing your load properly will enhance your riding experience and ensure your safety. Investing in quality bags and mounts for electronics and fuel containers can make a significant difference. Always remember to store fuel away from heat sources and secure everything tightly. By following these tips, you’ll be well-equipped for any journey on your motorcycle.

Carrying items on a motorcycle requires careful planning and the right gear to ensure safety and efficiency. Using saddlebags, tank bags, and tail bags can help distribute weight evenly and maintain balance, as detailed in this comprehensive guide from RevZilla. Additionally, securing your load with bungee cords or cargo nets can prevent items from shifting or falling during the ride, according to Motorcycle Cruiser.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the best types of bags for carrying essentials on a motorcycle?

Saddlebags, tank bags, and tail bags are highly recommended for carrying essentials on a motorcycle. They help in distributing weight evenly, which is crucial for maintaining balance and stability while riding.

How do I ensure my items are securely fastened on my motorcycle?

Using bungee cords or straps to secure items is essential. Ensure everything is tightly fastened to prevent movement, which can affect your bike’s balance and your safety.

How can I safely carry electronics on a motorcycle?

Always place electronics in padded, waterproof bags to protect them from damage. Store these bags in hard-case saddlebags or tank bags for added security.

What is the best way to mount a GPS unit on a motorcycle?

Specialized mounts designed for motorcycles are the best way to securely attach a GPS unit. These mounts ensure the GPS remains stable and easily viewable during your ride.

How should I carry extra fuel on my motorcycle?

Use motorcycle-specific fuel containers that are leak-proof and designed for safety. Secure these containers with straps and store them away from heat sources to avoid accidents.

Why is proper sealing of fuel containers important?

Proper sealing prevents fuel leaks and the release of fumes, which are both hazardous. Always check that your containers are well-sealed before embarking on your ride.