Big Bike Parts Motorcycle Luggage Rack and UltraGard Touring Bag Review
[This Big Bike Parts Motorcycle Luggage Rack and UltraGard Touring Bag Review was originally published in the May 2009 issue of Rider magazine]
Once you start touring, especially when carrying a passenger, you’re going to need more luggage space. To make things a little easier for those who ride Honda GL1800 Gold Wings and a few other bikes, Big Bike Parts now offers its Luggage Rack that mounts to the trunk lid and greatly expands the bike’s luggage capacity. It’s made of billet aluminum and includes rubber inserts that not only look good, but also make it less likely that your load will scuff that chrome finish.
To give the rack a real-world test I called my friend, Tony, who rode over on his GL. Mounting the rack took a bit more time and effort than we had anticipated. First, there’s a secondary liner inside the trunk lid that has to be removed. Second, because no template is furnished with the rack, we had to place it on the trunk and measure very carefully several times to be sure it was centered, and that we had properly placed the drill guide marks for the rack’s four legs; a template would really have saved time and simplified this step. Once we had the holes drilled through the plastic trunk lid, things went smoothly. Mounting hardware is included, and the parts fit together well.
Made specifically for luggage racks, the UltraGard Touring Luggage Rack Bag (also by Big Bike Parts) is made of water-resistant heavy-duty black polyester, and includes an attached rain cover. It connects to the rack with four hook-and-loop straps, and our man Tony reported that he had to squeeze his fingers under the rack to join the hook-and-loop together as there wasn’t much clearance. A riser kit is available at extra cost, and Tony would have liked it.
After installation, Tony went on a 3,400-mile ride from California into Canada and back, and gave me a full report when he returned. Overall he had high praise for the bag, which consists of a large main compartment and four additional zippered compartments, along with two expandable side pockets for a total of about 2,500 cubic inches of storage space. If anything, Tony said, there were more pockets than he could use! (Let’s see how many two-up tourers make that observation!) He really liked the grab handle, but did not use the shoulder strap. Tony also noted that while he liked the rack’s style, its rounded shapes and width made it difficult to utilize bungee cords. While the Luggage Rack was fine for holding the Luggage Rack Bag, for bungeed items Tony would have preferred a tube-steel rack (BBP also offers one) as they tend to be much less expensive and bungee attachment is easier. He was a bit shocked at this rack’s $349.95 price tag. Keep in mind it’s a top quality unit, stylish, and because it’s aluminum it won’t ever rust—though its hardware can. Finally, in addition to the GL1800 it also fits the GL1500, Honda Valkyrie Interstate and Yamaha Royal Star Venture. Offsetting this was the very reasonable $59.95 price tag on the Rack Bag.
For more information: See your Big Bike Parts dealer or www.bigbikeparts.com