The SW-Motech Legend luggage on review here took some research before I settled on it. As the proud owner of a 2014 Harley-Davidson Fat Boy Special that’s covered 7,500 in the seven years I’ve owned it, I’ve never ventured that far from home. Until now.
When some friends invited me on a group ride to France, I knew I needed a way to carry spare clothing, and the Legend kit seemed the best option.
Harley does offer luggage for my Fat Boy, but I think it’s too cumbersome and didn’t suit the styling for me. It was important to me that any luggage looked like it suited the bike (so no, a top-box wasn’t an option), and while SW Motech also makes a 48 litre tail pack, I didn’t want anything that covered the rear seat. So despite only being available for the right-hand side, I figured the 13.5 litre Legend Gear Side bag would be big enough…
After a 913 mile trip, this is what I thought of it…
The SW Motech Legend Gear Side Bag LC2’s outer is a mix of ‘Napalon’ synthetic leather (polyurethane) and waxed canvas. The bag’s water-resistant, but there’s also a roll-top 210D waterproof inner bag supplied.
I have to say that the overall look is of very good quality – it’s neat, it’s stylish and it certainly fits the bike’s appearance. The fasteners are also very well made, with a real feel of quality.
The removable waterproof bag has a Velcro seal that you roll over and fasten with a pair of plastic buckles, while the outer also has a fold-over flap (like a postman’s bag) fastened by a metal hook that slots through a material loop and can be adjusted for length.
There are two further straps running over the shoulders of the bag, which are also adjustable. When it’s fully packed a should strap would be helpful, but one’s not supplied. The Legend Gear LA4 shoulder strap is offered as an optional extra at £32.95, but I reckon it should be included.
The Legend Gear Side Bag swallows up to 13.5 litres, and I opted for this over the 9.8-litre version thinking I’d need the extra space for a few days away. I also thought the larger version would look better on the bike.
It would have been less of a squeeze to get everything in if there was a left-hand side bag too, but the fitting kit isn’t available for this bike. Still, I managed to get a washbag, four pairs of underwear, socks, T-shirts, a sweatshirt and a pair of jeans in by extending the main strap over the top to its longest position.
MOLLE-style loops also feature on the bag, which could expand the storage space a little. The £23.95 LA1 Accessory Bag can add 0.8 litres, while the £41.95 LA2 can add 1.0. Or there’s the £32.95 LA3 Smartphone pouch, which can take a phone with up to a 5.5” screen, though I’d say this is more suited to being mounted on the tank.
Those MOLLE loops also retain the side straps to stop them from flapping about – another nice design touch.
The mounting hardware is sold separately as it’s specific to your bike
The SW Motech Legend luggage system is sold in two parts: the bag, and a bike-specific bracket. For my Harley, the side-carrier is £69.12 and looks impressively minimalistic when the bag’s removed.
Fitting was a simple matter of removing two bolts, then fitting the side-carrier bracket with the new ones supplied. All you need is an Allen key, though the instructions do also recommend using some thread-lock on the two bolts… probably even more important on my bike!
My Harley has a sissy bar fitted, but the supplied bolts aren’t long enough to accommodate that too, so I left it off for this trip. I’ll likely source a longer pair at some point…
Once the bracket’s on, the SW Motech Side Bag simply clips on via three hooks, an audible ‘click’ proving it’s in place and secure. To release it, there’s a small thumb-operated lever tucked away that’s good for security but just the right size to release easily when you want to remove the bag and take it with you.
The inner bag is removable, and totally waterproof
The inner bag is 100% waterproof (and I thoroughly tested it), but the outer shell did let a little water in. Still, it was only a very small amount, which I thought was acceptable given the really heavy rain we rode through for at least an hour along the motorway, at motorway speeds.
I was really happy to see all my clothes remained nice and dry after those conditions, so yes, the inner bag is safe.
While the outer will likely be all you need if you get caught in a shower, it is a shame that the outer isn’t fully waterproof on its own.
The SW Motech Legend Side Bag can’t be locked closed, or to the bike. The small catch to remove it isn’t that visible – which may deter the opportunistic thief – but as the bag doesn’t come with any locking system, it’s best to take it with you when stopping.
There are lots of options for luggage on a bike, but it depends very much on how much you want to carry, the type of luggage you want, and of course what motorbike you have. Here are five to consider…
Overall, I was very, very impressed with the quality, the style, the space and the waterproofing of the SW Motech Legend Gear luggage. I would love to have one for the other side of the Harley, but a left-hand carrier must have proven to interfere with some aspect of the frame, swingarm or rear wheel on this machine, so there’s not one available.
Still, there was enough space for what I needed for my short tour, and it’d be ideal to carry the essentials for a day out too, including a Thermos and pack-up!
What really impresses me is how well styled and put together the SW Motech luggage is. The fact that it looks just like a soft pannier bag, yet has an extremely solid and reliable clip fastening – with none of the hassles of strapping to the bike every time you want to use it – makes this well worth the asking price.
In an ideal world, I’d like it to be lockable to the bike and to come with a shoulder strap as part of the price, but overall the SW Motech Legend is a quality piece of kit that I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend.
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BikeSocial group member Mark Davis uses the SW Motech Legend luggage on his Triumph Street Twin – here’s what he has to say about it:
“The snap on/off system is brilliant, although having no built-in carry handle is a pain; I bought the shoulder strap, but must say that it’s a faff to fit when you arrive.
“The roll-top is great and the three straps holding it closed are a good idea, but with one flaw: the central strap has no easy way to tighten or loosen it, so you have to use fingers (out of gloves) to move the middle buckle to adjust it, which can be a hassle, and I’ve found that if you to try and find a tightness that works without adjustment, when the bags are empty the hook can work loose. “When I bought the Legend bags they were the only luggage to fit SLC carriers/rails, and on my bike that SLC system was perfect as it was neat and unobtrusive. Since then, SW motech has launched the Sysbag that also fits the SLC carrier with an adaptor, and these look more modern and have a ‘lid’ on them so they might be an alternative you want to consider.
“Combined with a Kriega 20L pack, the SW Motech Legend luggage has proven to give me enough storage for a whole week, and while l don’t use it for heavy commuting, I have been on light tours and overnight stays with it for four years now. The leather-effect panels on the base can scratch easily if you put them on rough ground, but otherwise the kit’s still going strong. The bags aren't perfect due to the centre strap coming loose when empty, but they have been super reliable.”