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Thread: Touring w/ Soft Bags

  1. #1
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    Touring w/ Soft Bags

    For those of you who tour with soft bags, what has been your experience with security in urban environments?

    Im planning some trips before Winter sets in and plan to do some light camping as well as foot tours. Iím leaning toward picking up some Kriega bags to accompany my Oxford duffel. Obviously hard bags, especially aluminum, are more secure and come with the price.

    Has anyone had their soft bags or their contents stolen? Any tips?

  2. #2
    Senior Member Rapturee's Avatar
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    Hey Sas, I have never had any trouble when i travel with the bike and my gear that i have left on it. (no one does until they do right!?).

    if i am just taking a break and am away from the bike a short time, i just leave whatever is on it. Top box, top bag(s), side bags/cases, tank bag etc(i do remove my electronics and either take them with me or drop them in one of the bags).

    if i am going to be away from the bike for longer periods of time or over night, then i will put the cover on it(best security system i've used). At least it keeps honest folks honest. :{)
    Fiat Justicia et Peret Mundus = Do the Right thing, Come what May!

  3. #3
    Senior Member melensdad's Avatar
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    Soft luggage can be hard to lock onto a bike, some does not have any sort of lock other than a snap, but locking bags are still susceptible to being slashed open with a box cutter or knife.

    I use a stainless steel mesh security net over my waterproof duffle. It has a cable and small padlock so you can secure it to the bike. Anyone with a wire/cable snip can cut through the security mesh but most thieves don't walk around with a good pair of cable snippers. I've left the duffle, with all my camping supplies inside, locked to my bike overnight in several hotel parking lots. I'm also a long distance backpacker and have packed across a couple countries in Europe, the same mesh can be used to secure an entire backpack and lock it to a post, table, etc to keep it from being picked up and carried off.

    Most thefts of soft bags are probably thefts of opportunity and not pre-planned. I can recommend "Pacsafe" brand stainless steel cargo nets. Just used a 25L-55L size on my recent trip. Something like this is a strong visual deterrent and eliminates the 'opportunity' theft situations but, just like any other security device, will not stop a determined thief with proper tools.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Touring w/ Soft Bags
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    I routinely keep my tent, pad, and Kermit chair strapped to the the tail of my bike. I've never had a theft occur.

    I would suggest an honest assessment of the value of the items, the inconvenience of the theft, and the probability of it happening. The probability is likely much lower than you think. If you're traveling in a 1st world nation, everything can be replaced pretty easy. Anything super valuable can be taken with you or locked in the frunk.

    I'd be fine with soft luggage. YMMV
    "Roads are just a suggestion, like pants."

  5. #5
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    A group of us (Vulcan 750 riders at the time) met up for an event. Bikes were parked at the hotel and one guy left some stuff on his bike (I don't recall why - quick car ride to dinner?). When we returned, his back rest was gone along with his bag of clothes. Everything was found on the hotel roof so it wasn't a catastrophy.

    Sent from my Pixel 3 using Tapatalk

  6. #6
    Senior Member Touring w/ Soft Bags ld_rider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sasmaster View Post
    For those of you who tour with soft bags, what has been your experience with security in urban environments?
    Depends on the environment and what is in the bags.

    Dirty laundry, chain lube, old tools that I never needed on tour, a tire patch kit that was never used, and misc items? No big loss if stolen and I wouldn't even worry about it.

    Anything of value just lock up or carry on your person.

    You can always add an inexpensive aftermarket top box that will give you more security than soft bags and they aren't all that expensive or as already mentioned, just cover your bike when away from it.
    Rob in New England
    IBA# 540

  7. #7
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    Never had a problem. #1 Cover the bike if going to be away from it. Put electronics in frunk. Hard bags get broken into also, screwdriver to latch takes about 5 seconds!
    Last edited by Chabon; 15th August 2019 at 11:16.

  8. #8
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    I've never had stuff stolen from my bike. Couple of times I've forgotten the key in the ignition overnight and the bike was still there in the morning. I believe a large part of theft prevention is not having new, shiny, expensive bike, with new shiny, expensive items on it. And don't park in dubious places. If I get unlucky and stuff disappears, it'll be cheap stuff that I can easily replace for little money. If someone needs 5 year old worn tent, a sleeping bag with a hole in it, along with heavily scratched Sat-Nav, and soda can stove, they are welcome to it. I'm at the stage now of hoping someone steals some of my old stuff.

  9. #9
    Senior Member melensdad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ld_rider View Post
    Depends on the environment and what is in the bags.
    While I totally agree with this, there is the old saying that an 'ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure'

    We just got back from a 4000 mile trip. Had no issues. But we did have conspicuous security. Even if that security was mostly for appearance sake and would not have stopped a serious thief it does send the opportunity thief somewhere else. I've always believed that its better to be safe than sorry when it comes to this type of stuff.

    While in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan if our tent/sleeping bags would have been stolen there were places were it would have been a 200 mile ride to get replacements. Is that going to destroy a trip? No. But it certainly will screw up a trip. Same with the north side of Lake Superior in Ontario. Not sure if there was a decent outdoor store between Thunder Bay and Sault St Marie, but there were a couple Canadian Tire stores and could have picked up low quality discount store tent/bags. East of Sault St Marie on the north shore of Lake Huron??? Nope, that would have been a problem.

    There are a lot of places where, if $#!t happens it would be a problem to restock.

    I'd guess that Mexico would be a lot worse in some areas, but while I've been there I've never ridden there so I'm not really sure how tough it would be.

    Personally I don't give security as much consideration in small towns. But in urban areas I'm always more careful.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Touring w/ Soft Bags SilverRocket's Avatar
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    What type of soft bags? Tail bags or saddle bags?

    With a soft tail bag you should always take it with you when you leave the bike in questionable places. My old Nelson Rigg tail bag has bungee-style straps with hooks on the ends, so attaching/ detaching was pretty easy. The new bags have plastic buckles for attaching though that could give it a more secure fit.

    With soft saddlebags, detaching and carrying them around is more of a hassle. I bought small luggage locks to lock the 2 zippers together but never felt comfortable leaving my bike out of sight with them on. Perhaps if there had been a way to run the connecting strap(s) under our rear seat. But I've yet to see a soft saddle or tail bag that was designed for the NC700's.

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