How Do You Carry Items on a Motorcycle [Large and Small] – 6 Ideas

How Do You Carry Items on a Motorcycle

This article gives you 6 ideas on how to carry items on a motorcycle. 3 ideas will be for large items and 3 additional ideas for smaller items. With the help of bags and creativity, you can turn your motorcycle into a logistic machine.

Here are 6 ways to carry even large items on a motorcycle:

  1. ROK straps
  2. Cargo nets
  3. Rear saddle bags with top case
  4. Tank bags
  5. Tank rear bag
  6. Handlebar bags


How to carry large items on a motorcycle

For large items, there are only a few selected ways unless you want to risk running into legal issue.


1. Use Rok straps

Rok straps are the convenient and flexible way to secure large items on a motorcycle.

motorcycle rok straps


As you can see from the image above, they can be used to secure objects of different kinds of objects and sizes.

rok straps review

How to use rok straps

You first unhook the rok strap buckle to separate the straps into two. You then form 2 loops at separate ends, one at anywhere on your bike and one on the object.You then buckle the straps again to secure the connect.

Depending on the  size of the object, you need a minimal of 2 to 4 straps.

For normal duffel bags or gym bags, two is usually enough.

For added security, you can add a third strap across the body of the object you are carrying. In such cases, the two ends will be attached to your bike rather than the object.

Compared to bungie cords, rok straps offer the following benefits:

  • Adjustable: With bungie cords, you need to know the exact length which you usually don’t. Rok straps’s length can be adjusted
  • Stay in place: Since both ends of the straps are attached, they will not drop to floor once you unbuckle them. With bungie cords they usually drop to the floor once you loosened them
  • More secure: You usually need multi bungie cords to ensure object do not move. Rok straps usually only need 2.


2. Use cargo nets

Another way to move large items on a motorcycle is through cargo nets.

cargo net motorcycle


Cargo nets are very cheap (this one from Amazon is cheap and has thousands of positive reviews). However, they are so versatile that you can literally carry anything on your bike. I have seen bikers used them from house plants to luggage to weeks of groceries.

For bikers who drink, carrying cans of beers is now a solved problem with these nets 🙂


3. Motorcycle rear saddle bags and top case

For those who like more security or protective, you can consider installing a rear pannier/saddle bags and top cases to create storage capacity on your bike.

This solution is ideal if you are wondering on how to carry a passenger helmet on a motorcycle.  Cargo nets and rok straps will not work since the helmet can be stolen. However, a top case can be locked so a passenger helmet will be secured.

Motorcycle rear pannier and top case


Compared to rok strap and cargo nets, the rear pannier and top case have more restriction in terms of the cargo they can carry. However they offer more security in case you need to leave items like your backpacks on the bike. They also offer more protection as the items will be covered.

Emgo 72-32440If you need recommendations, here is one that is reasonably priced but has been positively reviewed on Amazon: Emgo 72-32440.

The capacity is pretty good. It can carry stuff like 12 cans of beer, helmets, backpacks, shoes etc with no issue.

The case itself is pretty solid. I read reviews about how it can survive even crashes, with the only thing being broken being the plate.

Depending on the model, you might need to drill holes when you are installing this on your bike. Be careful not to make the installation too tight or the plate might break after usage.

The only downside is that there are no replacement parts for Emgo. If the plate breaks for whatever reasons, you will need to replace the entire thing or DIY a plate.

Nelson-Rigg rear pannierFor rear saddle bags, I recommend this pair from Nelson-Rigg.

These bags are soft bags so they are more light weight than the hard case ones. However, they can still take quite a bit of beating,

The inner bags have slightly thinner walls so you need to be more gentle when packing your stuff inside.

In terms of capacity, they can hold quite a bit of stuff including clothes, drinks, shoes etc.

Installation wise, it should be fine if you follow their installation manual.  However be careful when installing the bag stiffeners. I have read other reviewers saying they can break when you are twisting them into an S shape for the installation.


4. Motorcycle Tank bag

Motorcycle tank bag

Tank bag is one of the most convenient way to carry smaller items on your bike. It can be placed in front of you and has a large enough capacity to hold items such as water bottle, lunch, or anything that you might need in the middle of the trip.

Since the bag is in front of you, it is easy to retrieve items from it. For example, drinking water during traffic light stops or swapping out visors is very easy with a tank bag.

If you want to get one, the best motorcycle tank bag is from Chase Harper.

Chase Harper motorcycle tank bag

This tank bag is pretty perfect. It has the right size ( It measures roughly 8*10 inches.) and is pretty light weight. Best of all, it has little compartments that makes a lot of sense in terms of storage.

At first, I thought the magnets holding this bag in place will not be sufficient. I was dead wrong. Despite the magnet’s small sizes, it is very secured. Even traveling at speeds of 125 mph did not cause any problems.

Another important things is it will not scratch your bike. Once as long as you don’t shift the bag after it has been attached, there is zero chance of this happening. The only way scratching will happen if there was pebbles that got caught between the bag and the tank when you are attaching it.


Magnetic vs strap tank bag

One of the main consideration when buying a tank bag is magnetic vs strap.

The big difference is a magnetic tank bag uses strong magnets to hold the bag while a strap tank bag uses manual strapping. A magnetic tang bag is therefore more convenient but a strap tank bag offers more flexibility and less chances of the bag moving.

That being said, a strong product like Chase Harper offer magnetic tank bags that have as strong a hold as any strap bag.


5. Motorcycle rear bag

motorcycle rear bag

A cheaper and smaller option to the top case is the motorcycle rear bag as shown above.

It functions like a backpack that is strapped to the rear end of the bike. It can hold as much as a tank bag so things like water bottles, shoes, motorcycle jacket etc are no issue.

However, since the bag is attached at the bag, it is not as convenient to retrieve the items as a tank bag.


6. Motorcycle handlebar bags

For smaller storage options, there is the motorcycle handlebar bags

Motorcycle handlebar bags


These type of bags are usually for storage items such as phone, gloves at the front of the motorcycle where it is easy to retrieve.

Compared to the tank bag, it offers a smaller capacity but keeps your front looking less clutter.

It is suitable for riders who only need small storage.

Chase Harper handlebar bagFor recommendations, this one by Chase Harper is a good choice. (Click here to see prices on Amazon)

Like all Chase Harper bags, it uses high quality leather and has a solid built all around.

Capacity is as stated and measures 9.5″L x 4.75″W x 4.75″H.

One thing I like is the small compartments found inside the bar. This comes in handy for stuff like keys or phones.

Although this is a handlebar bag, it can be attached anywhere on the bike. That flexibility allows you the best position for your bike that suits your riding style and aesthetic  preference.



Motorcycle seems to offer limited logistic capability. However, with the use of additional bags and straps, you will be surprised at how much it can really hold.

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