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Triumph Thunderbird Motorcycle Saddlebag Guide

Triumph Thunderbird Motorcycle Saddlebag Guide

The Triumph Thunderbird, despite being the only Parallel Twin in its class, is a beast. The reviews are off the chart and nothing comes close to the Thunderbird. Whether the rider is looking for touring comfort or is looking for brute force, the Thunderbird delivers in spades. Triumph promised to focus their bikes around their base engine configurations and the Thunderbird is everything right with the company’s strategy.

Don’t test ride this bike unless you’re ready to buy. But, once you’ve signed the bill of sale, your focus will most likely shift to accessories. The first must-have accessory you’ll want is probably saddlebags. The last thing you’ll want on your new Thunderbird are plain, boring, or poorly built bags. You’re going to want the best and the best motorcycle saddlebags are from Viking Bags.

Viking Bags knows bikes, and we know the luggage that goes with them. As the largest seller of saddlebags in the world, we also pride ourselves on our outstanding customer service and guidance to choose the best bag for you. We know many types of people ride, for pleasure, for business, or both. Viking Bags knows you need saddlebags that match your lifestyle, not just your bike.

Many of our customers want flexibility, they want the ability to change out their bags based on their plans. They don’t need tons of space to run a few errands, but they want lots of storage geography for that four week tour of the European countryside.

Some of our customers ride the Florida panhandle and others love the Tuscany region of Italy. But, our customers know quality and they know that Viking saddlebags are the best they can get..



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?


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.

Non Buckle
shock cut out


rc duna plain bag vs studded style

Plain VS. Studded

Style is a matter of personal taste. That’s why we carry over 200 saddlebag styles. Now that you’ve settled into your capacity, security and mounting desires, it’s time to focus on how your saddlebags look. Some riders like a smooth contoured look while others look for a more rugged view.

One appearance choice you get to make is whether or not you want a studded saddlebag. Almost every bag we sell will give you the option for a studded appearance or a smooth outer shell. This decision, like most of your choices, will match your overall vision for your Triumph. But, as it is with every step in the saddlebag selection process, we have you covered with our amazing customer service staff.

buckle vs. nobuckle


Beyond studs, another styling choice is whether or not you want buckles on your new saddlebags. At Viking, we offer multiple buckle types. But, some owners are seeking smoother lines. Whichever you choose, it’s most likely that we have the exact match saddlebag for your Triumph.

rc dyna plain back vs shock cutout


The final, but not less important step in selecting the perfect saddlebags for your Triumph is the overall design of your bag. Saddlebags, like most motorcycle accessories, are generally designed to work around the manufacturer’s build. Class saddlebags live in between the rear shock absorber and the turn signal.

But, we think you might want to take a good look at your Shock Cut-Out bags. As we mentioned earlier, you can also use the Quick Disconnect System (QDS) to mount your bags parallel to the shocks.

Much of this circles back to the profile you want for your bike. If you are looking for a thinner view where your bags ride tight to the frame, then the Shock Cut-Out Bag should be a strong contender. However, if you are hunting a more beefy and wider stance, then traditional bags or the QDS might be a better choice.

With the Shock Cut-Out bags, you’ll notice a look that says “custom made” but you will obviously lose a small amount of capacity to the shock’s profile and the additional cost is due to the special design of these bags.

rc dyna plain back vs shock cutout

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.




Another early key consideration when choosing your saddlebags is capacity. If you plan to take long rides that last days or weeks, you’ll probably want larger capacity than the owner who won’t be leaving his or her home turf.

Some riders prefer the “minimalist” look to their saddlebags, while others want or need utility and enjoy the wider stance appearance that full capacity bags will show. For riders that are using their Thunderbird for work, the larger capacity bags will probably be the best choice.





Once you’ve settled on items including your desired mount and capacity, it’s time to think about security. Owners who select the QDS so they can remove their saddlebags and Throw Over buyers have the same line of thinking, but Viking Bags also provides locks on their bags.

Unfortunately, some people think it is okay to help themselves to the contents of your bags, but our locks are secure, giving you time to notice the petty thief and deal with him as you see fit.

If you desire even greater saddlebag security, this is another place where Viking stands apart because we include a padlock ring in every bag we sell. You can use your favorite lock, if you like. Try to find this feature with other saddlebag manufacturers.




There are three main hardware choices that we offer when it comes to mounting your bags on your bike. The three types that Viking Bags carries each have various advantages.

They are:

1- Quick Disconnect System (QDS)
2- Hard Mount Kit
3- Throw Over Kit

The only bad choice you can make here is no choice. Each installation type is designed to give you exactly the security and mobility you want for your saddlebags with as little fuss as possible.

1. Quick Disconnect system
2. Hard mount kit
3. Throw over kit



rc dyna removed qds brackets


Our newest and increasingly popular mounting option is The Quick Disconnect System (QDS). QDS gives you the security of a hard mount combined with the ability to detach the bags with a simple step.

At $114.99 on the website, the Quick Disconnect System is a bit more expensive, but there are a couple notable benefits. First, because of the QDS design, you don’t have to opt for shock cut-out bags. You won’t have any shock interference. Also, the best protection against someone wanting to steal your bags is to keep them with you and the QDS gives you this option, too. Finally, when your bags are loaded on your ride, you’ll barely notice the mounts. This gives your bike two distinct profiles, touring and short rides. 

rc dyna hard mount brackets


You will always receive a hard mount kit with every saddlebag we sell at no charge. Unlike some saddlebags sellers, we see the hard mount as a natural extension of the saddlebags. We make sure that our hard mount fits your factory bike and send you factory correct bolts. Some models may require different bolts, in which case, a quick trip to the store will get you the bolts you need.

The majority of our customers use the hard mount system. Many tell us that they like the security of knowing that their bags are secure and nothing short of a wrench will dislodge them.

rc dyna throw over brackets


Some riders prefer saddlebags that act like, well, saddlebags. They want to be able to throw their bags over their shoulder in town then toss them across their ride for the journey beyond.

Despite their name, throw over saddlebags still require a mount called a cradle. Made of chrome, the cradle gives form and security to the bags when they are mounted on the bike. However, it is easier to grab your bags as you park your ride, leaving the cradle still attached. When your bags are hung on the cradle, it’s virtually impossible to see the cradle, but the bags look as if they are hard-mounted to your horse.








Hopefully you have found this article interesting and helpful. If you are interested in purchasing saddlebags for your Triumph Speedmaster, you can select your Speedmaster and browse through our selection on our Triumph Speedmaster 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