One of the first things I wanted to get on my 1999 Honda Valkyrie after taking ownership was a good set of hard saddle bags. Since I commute to work and carry my laptop to and from work I needed saddle bags that I could lock and have relative security of my belongings while the Valk was unattended.
As I started to research potential bags for this installation I was amazed at how much saddle bags cost. You can easily spend well over $1,000 dollars for a set of lockable saddle bags. One company that kept rising to the top in my research was Viking Bags. Not only did Viking offer a ton of choices, they also had great prices. The retail price for the Lamellar Slanted Leather Covered Motorcycle Hard Saddlebags is only $355.00 at the time of this post. The Lamellar bags seemed to offer everything I was looking for, they were large, lockable and as a bonus were a leather covered hard bag so I would not have the additional cost of getting them painted for my install. Another nice feature of the bags from Viking is a universal mounting kit is included at no additional cost.
I ordered the bags and shipping was very quick from Viking. With in a couple of days of the order the bags were at my front door ready to be installed. I set aside some time on a Saturday morning to get my new Viking Bags installed.
The mounting hardware that is included with the Viking bags includes 4 upright posts, 2 cross members and various nuts and bolts to get everything snug and tight. The kit is called a “universal” install kit and maybe it does work on most bikes but such was my luck that the included bolts were not long enough for my install. Multiple trips to various hardware stores finally netted me the necessary hardware to complete my install. If you plan on using the free universal mount kit from Viking, keep in mind that some hardware may not be applicable to your particular install.
The mounts themselves seem to be well made and allow for an install that keep the bags fairly tight to the sides of the Valkyrie. I really like the look of how the bags fit on the bike. Viking bags also makes a quick release mount for an additional fee, if you are so inclined. It does appear from the photos on Vikings web site that the quick release will cause the bags to stick out a little further from the sides than the universal kit. Since I have no plans to take the bags off and it offered a tighter install I chose to go with the free universal kit.
Overall I am really happy with the Viking Bags so far. They look great on the bike and really compliment the lines of the rear fender. I appreciate the fact that the hinge is designed so that the lid stays open on it’s own making it much easier to get stuff in and out of the saddle bags.
In the couple of weeks of ownership I have scraped my boot across the top of the bags a couple of times getting on or off the bike. Since they are covered bags the scrape mark came right out using some mink oil or leather lotion.
One problem with the bags is the lock. Viking does not provide matching locks for the bags so you will need to carry two keys, one for each bag. It seems Viking could make life much easier for us by providing matching locks for a set of bags.
There is a pretty decent amount of room in these bags. I am able to carry my 15 inch laptop in a laptop case in one of the saddlebags. However gone are the days of fitting a fullface helmet in the panniers like I was able to do on my FJR. These bags while roomy are no match for a fullface Shoei helmet. :)
For the price these bags cannot be beat. For under $400 bucks you can have a nice looking set of lockable saddle bags that would easily cost $1000 – $1500 elsewhere. I can highly recommend this set of bags to any prospective owner in need of lockable storage for their motorcycle.
Make sure and check out all the other types of bags that Viking has to offer if this particular application does not meet your needs. If you have any experience with Viking Bags leave us a comment below and let us know how it went.