Kawasaki Meanstreak Motorcycle SaddleBag Guide
Kawasaki’s Mean Streak is a performance cruiser – a hybrid machine with the looks of a Harley-style cruiser and the running gears of a sports bike. Built up out of Kawasaki’s existing V-twin cruiser, the powerful VN1500, the Mean Streak has more ground clearance, stiffer suspension and stickier tyres. It also comes with a stylish finish, with chrome and gloss black paint backing up the image of an exciting ride that offers the performance of a sports bike and the classic lines, iconic image and sense of style of a custom cruiser.
Factory-standard machines come powered by a 72bhp 1500cc V-twin that’s as bold and exciting as it sounds and the Mean Streak’s combination of looks and performance has given it a loyal fan base.
Mean Streak riders come in all shapes and sizes; they like different things about the bike, some praising its speed and the muscular feel of the big engine, others using it for long-distance riding and speaking up for its comfort and reliability. And just like every motorcycle develops its own personality, the needs of every rider are individual too. At Viking Bags, we understand that you need saddlebags that fit your bike, your needs – and your personality. And, with the largest selection of saddlebags you’ll find anywhere in the world, we’re pretty confident that we can find you what you’re looking for!
Before you settle on one of our saddlebags, though, we think you should consider these four important points:
1. STYLE 2. CAPACITY 3. MOUNTING 4. SECURITY
Do you like to turn people’s heads as you ride by or do you prefer a little less attention? Do you want to compliment the classic look of the Virago? Would you like buckles, studs or just a plain, sleek look to your bags? Would you like options as to how your bags open?
How much storage do you need? A week? Two? Maybe you need enough to store gear for work as part of your commute?
Do you need your bags to lock or not? Viking Bags are easily secured with our own innovative Viking Bags key, which is unique to only our bag systems.
Are you looking to permanently mount your bags? Would you prefer a less permanent option?
What looks good is a very personal decision. It’s about how you personally react to something, so people’s opinions and ideas tend to differ. Motorcycles are something people tend to feel strongly about; riders want their bikes to reflect their personality. So we have saddlebags that open away from the bike or towards it, and saddlebags that are mounted behind the shocks or over them. Our bags come with buckles and without them, without studs and with them. Our bags have locks, mostly – but we sell some without. Sometimes your decision will be influenced by the function you demand from your Viking bags, but a lot of the time, the real question is simply: what do you like?
Bags come in a variety of different styles. Most riders will want the bags that will match best with their bike. The majority of our bags come in two styles, plain or studded. If your bike already has studs, you can keep the theme going by adding a pair of Studded Saddlebags. All Viking Bags studs are rust proof, polished, and stainless steel. Non-studded or Plain bags are very clean themselves and can keep the clean look throughout.
Plain VS. Studded
Most riders will want to match the style of their bags up to the style of their bike. The vast majority of Viking bags come in studded and non-studded versions, which means you can carry the theme of your bike over into your saddlebags. – or create a contrast, if that’s what you prefer. If you do decide to go with studs, you’ll be pleased to hear that all our studs are high-polish, rustproof stainless steel, so your bags will look their best for years to come. If you prefer smoother shapes for your bags, non-studded options let you carry a sleek silhouette over from your bike to your bags.
BUCKLE VS. NO BUCKLE
Viking Bags’ motorcycle saddlebags range from practical to stylish bags and come with a range of fastenings. We have a variety of different styles of buckle, to suit every taste – and some bags have no buckles at all. OurWarrior and Spear bags are good examples of saddlebags without buckles, just clean lines and a secure, non-buckle fastening.
STANDARD BAGS VS. SHOCK CUT OUT BAGS
The usual place to mount saddlebags on a motorcycle is behind the shocks and in front of the turn signal. But that isn’t always the best way: some people want a larger bag than will fit into that space, others have modified or custom bikes that simply don’t leave enough space. For those people, we created the Shock Cut-Out bag. These have a plastic mold inserted into the front of the bag that molds the bag into a cutaway shape. Leaving room for the shock while allowing the bag to hug the bike’s frame. Some riders prefer to use our Quick Disconnect System (QDS) – while it’s chiefly used for convenience and security, it does have the additional benefit of mounting the bag slightly proud of the bike frame, meaning there’s sometimes room for shocks under the back of the bag. Sometimes that isn’t appropriate, though, and some riders like the smooth, frame-hugging ‘custom’ look of the Shock Cut-Out bag.
Shock Cut-Out bags are slightly more expensive, and it’s unavoidable that you lose some space to make room for the mold, but this feature is available in several large styles and sizes of bag, so you should still wind up with space to spare. If you can’t get the bag you want on your bike any other way, or you ride a custom bike and you want to match it up to bags that look like custom bags at a fraction of the cost, this option could be for you.
Hard VS. Soft
We also offer bags that are completely blacked out without any buckle. Take a look at our Warrior and Spear bags. They are two options for bags that have no shiny buckles or studs.
Viking Bags has over 200 style and storage options—in fact, we’re the largest saddlebag manufacturer in the world—and with so many options, we understand that it can seem a little overwhelming. We’ve remedied this issue with an easy to use search filter to help you find the perfect bag to fit your capacity needs. Our bags range in size from small to extra large, and with so many options (studs, buckles, plain, etc.), we want to make it as easy as possible for you to find your perfect bag. The search filter on the navigation bar to the left side of our website allows you to select and deselect the options you are (and aren’t) looking for.
The level of security you need depends on your lifestyle, your neighborhood and the kinds of places you plan to ride and park your motorcycle. To a large extent, it’ also an individual choice: the right amount of security is the amount you think you need. While you’re the best judge of that, we can provide you with the options to make the right choice for you.
Most riders think a bag with a lock is a good place to start. Most Viking Bags saddlebags have locks either on top of the bag or under the straps. With the bags with strap buckles, you simply raise the straps to access the lock. Every Viking Bags saddlebag comes with a padlock ring too, though sans the padlocks.
Locking a bag is like locking a home: however secure it is, someone who really, really wants to get in will always find a way. Locks deter opportunistic theft – but if you keep expensive equipment in your saddlebags, you might feel safer with a different kind of security. Rethinking security might mean taking your bags with you instead of festooning them with ineffective anti-theft devices, and that’s where QDS comes into play. You can remove your saddlebags and take them with you into the gas station, the restaurant, the office or workspace – you’ll never need to have them out of your sight.
We do also sell some non-locking bags, in case you feel locks are redundant or you want to offset the cost of QDS against locks you feel you don’t need.
How you mount your saddlebags isn’t the dry, technical question it might seem at first glance. It has to do with how you intend to use your saddlebags: hard mount bags won’t come off without a wrench, while Quick Disconnect System (QDS) mounted bags come off quickly and easily. That means two different kinds of security, so we recommend thinking about what you’ll mostly be using your bags for and picking out a mounting system that will make that run smoothly.
Now that you’ve worked out which kind of bag will fit your bike and your life best, you need to decide how to attach your bags to your motorcycle. Viking Bags carry three mounting hardware types, and each one has its own distinct set of advantages.
Choosing the Right Mounting Hardware:
1- Quick Disconnect System (QDS)
2- Hard Mount Kit
3- Throw Over Kit
Our Quick Disconnect System is designed to let a rider remove the bags form their bike in seconds, and re-attach them just as quickly. QDS does come in slightly above other mounting systems in price terms, running at $99 through our website, but for many riders that extra investment is recouped in convenience and peace of mind!
Security is a common reason cited by Viking customers for choosing QDS too: in areas where bags left on a bike can be targets for thieves or just vandals, the best way to protect your bags and their contents is to take them with you.
Sometimes the deciding factor is that QDS will let you fit a plain back bag over your shocks, where otherwise your only options would be a Shock Cut-Out bag or a smaller saddlebag. QDS allows riders to fit bags slightly proud of the bike’s frame. That’s why we don’t recommend using this mounting system with Shock Cut-Out bags: the shock cut-out isn’t needed and the bags are mounted by QDS in the wrong place for it to be used.
A final benefit to QDS is that when your bags are disconnected from your bike, there’s virtually nothing to show they were ever there. A couple of small, unobtrusive docking posts are the only signs to show you even have saddlebags. That means you can convert your bike from a motorcycle that has saddlebags to one that doesn’t, for a different type of riding, in just a few seconds – and make the switch back just as fast.
Whenever you buy a saddlebag from our website we include a hard mount kit as part of the deal – free of charge. It’s not industry standard practice to provide free mounting hardware with saddlebags, but we want to look after our customers! That being said, we’ll always include the standard bolts for the manufacturer and we have the bolts for Kawasaki’s production styles and trims. With so many customized bikes out there we can’t guarantee we have the right bolts for every bike. If we don’t have the bolts you need, your local DIY or hardware store will have them for just a few dollars.
The hard mount kit is far and away our most popular mounting hardware, and it comes with the benefit that the bags won’t come off without a wrench, so you’ll never need to worry about them coming loose!
Throw Over brackets offer a kind of halfway house between hard mount and QDS. They’re built around a chrome cradle that sits astride your bike, and the cradle stays in place when your bags are removed. While it can be seen as the best of both worlds, Throw Over mounting also doesn’t allow you to conceal the fact that you have saddlebags at all, or to remove them with the same convenience as our innovative QDS. At the same time, though, it’s far easier to remove saddlebags mounted this way than to take them off a hard mount. If you have any questions about the installation process, please get in touch with us right away: we have over 100 years’ worth of motorcycle knowledge and experience combined, and we’re always happy to share with fellow riders!
INSTALLATION & REVIEW VIDEOS
VIKING BAGS MOTORCYCLE SADDLEBAGS
THROW OVER INSTALLATION
VIKING BAGS SADDLEBAG INSTALLATION VIDEO
Hopefully you have found this article interesting and helpful. If you are interested in purchasing saddlebags for your Kawasaki Mean Streak, you can browse through our selection on our Mean Streak saddlebag page. If you have any questions about any of our products, please don’t hesitate to contact us. One of our Motorcycle Luggage Experts will be happy to give you any help they can. For further information, Contact Us