Kawasaki Vulcan Motorcycle SaddleBag Guide
Kawasaki’s Vulcan line of motorcycles is the company’s venture into classic cruiser territory. A bike that’s equally at home eating miles of desert highway or getting you across town, the Vulcan is a changeable creature, available in incarnations ranging from lightweight 125cc configurations to a whopping 2,053cc.
Born in 1984, the Vulcan came from Kawasaki’s desire to compete with American bikes on the cruiser front, and the original model was a whisker under 750cc to avoid tariffs. The typical Vulcan has been 750cc since the tariffs were lifted in 1986 but the bike already comes in dozens of styles and choppers and mod artists have made their own additions to the pantheon. Maybe you have an old-style VZ 750- the 80s version with the chromed wheel arches; maybe you’re running the big, smooth Nomad 1600.
Whichever Vulcan you own, you’ll need bags to match your bike. At Viking Bags, we understand that your needs are as individual as you, or your bike. That’s why we’re the natural choice for Vulcan riders: we have the largest selection of saddlebag styles in the world. So whether you’re heading across the continent or around the block; whether you like to travel light or you’re packing for months; whether your bike is a much-loved workhorse or a thoroughbred built for fun, we have the bags to suit you.
Before you pick something out of the line-up, though, we think there are four important points you need to consider.
1. STYLE 2. CAPACITY 3. MOUNTING 4. SECURITY
Are you the type of rider who likes people to stop and notice your ride? Do you like the classic look of studded bags or do you like a less flashy look? Do you like your bags to have classic buckles? Do you want options for how the bags open and whether or not they lock? Would you prefer your bags to fit snugly around the shock or on top?
How much storage do you need? A week? Two? Maybe you need enough to store gear for work as part of your commute?
Our bags come with the option to be locked or not and our locking bags come with our own Viking Bags key, which we designed in house.
Do you want your bags to easily removable or do you want a more permanent solution?
Style couldn’t be a more personal, subjective choice. It’s all about what rattles right for you as an individual, in clothes, music, pictures – maybe most of all in motorcycles. We have bags with studs and bags without studs, bags that open towards or away from the bike, bags with buckles, and bags without. Sometimes these decisions have to be influenced by practicality, but often it simply boils down to: 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 like to keep a theme going throughout their bike. Sometimes it’s the stripped-down look, sometimes it’s glossy paintwork or polished chrome, sometimes it’s studs. Most people want saddlebags that match the look they’ve opted for on their bike as a whole, which is why many of our saddlebag designs come in both Studded and Plain versions. That means you can finish out your bike’s accessories in a style that fits in – or one that contrasts, if you prefer. All of our studs are rustproof, polished stainless steel, so if you do choose studs you’ll have them looking great for years to come. If you prefer a sleeker line to your bike and your bags, go for our non-studded option for an uncluttered silhouette that leaves attention focussed on your bike.
BUCKLE VS. NO BUCKLE
We have a variety of stylish, practical bags with different fastening types. We have a range of types of buckles, and bags with no buckles at all. Our Warriorand Ultimate bags are good choices if you’re looking for Viking bags with no buckles; their fastenings leave them looking sleek and spare.
STANDARD BAGS VS. SHOCK CUT OUT BAGS
The standard way to mount saddlebags is based on the shape of the back of your bike. Most bags will be slotted into the space between the shock and the turn signal. But that doesn’t always have to be the case. The bag you want might not fit, or your bike might be custom. If that’s the case, you might want to try a Shock Cut-Out bag, where space for the shock is cut out of the back of the bag. That means you can carry bigger bags, or fit bags to a bike other bags won’t fit. Some riders prefer to use our Quick Disconnect System (QDS); besides the added convenience, the QDS sits the bags prouder of the frame than other attachment systems, meaning there’s sometimes room for the shocks. If not, though, or if you like the smooth, bike-hugging look of the Shock Cut-Out bags, it’s an option on many of our bag styles.
The downside to Shock Cut-Out bags is the loss of some bag space, given over to the cut-out itself. However, this feature is available in several large bag styles so that you still end up with plenty of room. If you can’t get the bag you want to fit your bike, or if you want something that fits the look of your custom bike, Shock Cut-Out bags are your best choice.
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 is about your life, your plans for your bike and your own feelings about security. No-one is better placed to make decisions about how much security you need, or what kind you need, than you are. What we can do is provide options from which to make that decision better.
Most riders like the idea of a bag they can lock. Viking Bags’ saddlebags carry locks in two styles, on top of the bags or under the straps. On a bag with the lock under the strap you’ll simply lift the buckle to undo the lock. Every Viking Bags saddlebag features a padlock ring too, though we don’t sell padlocks.
However many locks you fit to a bag, though, you’re really looking at the same question as with home security: how determined is the criminal to gain entrance? An opportunistic thief will be put off by locks, or won’t be able to get past them. If you carry thousands of dollars’ worth of professional equipment like computer gear, cameras and so on around with you in your saddlebags, you might find you attract the attention of determined professional criminals, and no lock will keep someone out who really wants to get in.
Fortunately, you can do with a saddlebag what you can’t do with a house: you can pick it up and take it with you! If you opt for our QDS system, it’s fast and convenient enough that you’ll never have to think twice about just grabbing your bags and taking them into gas stations, rest stops or restaurants, so you can always keep them by you. We also sell some non-locking bags, in case you feel that a lock is redundant, or you want to offset the cost of a lock against the cost of QDS.
Now that you’ve got a handle on which type of bag will suit your bike best, you need to think about how you want to attach the bag to your motorcycle. Viking Bags uses three types of mounting hardware to make sure you get the best fit for your needs:
1- Quick Disconnect System (QDS)
2- Hard Mount Kit
3- Throw Over Kit
Our Quick Disconnect System is designed to let you take bags off your bike and put them back on in just a few seconds. It is priced slightly above other mounting options, but many riders find that it’s a worthwhile investment for its returns in convenience and security.
While hard mount is the most secure mounting system in terms of how easy it is to remove bags, sometime bags left on a bike are targets for thieves or vandals, however well locked they are. The best defence against this is to simply remove the bags from the bike.
For other riders, our QDS is the right choice because other mounting systems won’t let them have the bag they want. If you’re shopping for a plain back bag that would otherwise interfere with your bike’s shocks or other hardware, you might find that QDS, because it sits the bag slightly farther out and away from the body of the bag, allows you that fit. That’s why we don’t suggest using QDS with Shock Cut-Out bags.
There is one final benefit to this piece of gear: when the bags are disconnected from the bike, there’s nothing to show they were ever there apart from a couple of small, unobtrusive docking posts. That means you can have two looks for your bike, for different types of riding, and make the switch in seconds!
Hard mount is the toughest, most secure mounting system available. Hard mount simply means bolting the bag to the bike with nuts and bolts. Whenever you buy a saddlebag from our website, we provide a hard mount kit as part of the deal, for free. We always include standard bolts for every manufacturer, including Kawasaki, but the range of styles and customizations means we can’t stock every bolt for every bike. You might need to source your own from a hardware store, though they’re easy to find and won’t put you out more than a few dollars.
Providing free mounting hardware is unfortunately not the industry standard, but Viking Bags aren’t standard bags: we wanted our customer service to go as far beyond expectations as our bags do!
The hard mount is by far the most popular of our mounting systems, and it has the great plus point that your bags won’t come away from your bike without a few minutes with a wrench, so you’ll never have any cause to wonder if they somehow came loose.
Throw Over mounting offers something of a middle ground between QDS and hard mount. It’s a more solid mounting than QDS but less permanent and more convenient than hard mount if you like to remove your bags. Throw Over mounting is based on a chrome cradle that sits astride your bike, and it remains in place when you take your bags off. As a result, it’s less of an either/or proposition than QDS or hard mount. Even when your bags are off your bike the cradle stays in place, showing that you do have bags, but it’s much easier and simpler to take your bags off than with hard mount. If you have any questions about the installation process, why not call us? Between us we have over 100 years worth of motorcycle experience and knowledge, 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 Vulcan, you can select which Vulcan you have and browse through our selection on our Vulcan 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