Saddlebags have provided mobile storage for centuries.
Most motorcycles have little room for storage. If you plan on using your Harley Davidson 883 Sportster as an alternative to a car for commuting or long-distance travel, some type of storage system is a must. Saddlebags are often one of the first accessories motorcyclists buy and one of the most expensive. There are three basic types of saddlebags: hard, leather and synthetic.
Hard saddlebags are usually made from molded plastic or fiberglass. The advantages to hard saddlebags are they provide superior protection for their contents and they can usually be matched to the exact color of your 883 Sportster. The major disadvantage to hard saddlebags is that they are expensive and often cost more than $1,000. Harley Davidson offers color-matched hard saddlebags for most model years of the 883 Sportster. A number of other manufacturers make hard saddlebags that will fit the 883 Sportster. These include Tsukayu, Champion, Corbin, Givi and National Cycle. For hard saddlebags, Andy Cherney in the October 2004 issue of “Motorcycle Cruiser” magazine recommends the National Cycle Cruiseliner Saddlebags. Victorino Sianghio Jr. seconds this recommendation on MadeMan.com.
Many choices in leather saddlebags exist for the 883 Sportster. Harley Davidson offers both “rigid” and soft leather bags. Leather offers a degree of protection for your contents and is fairly easy to clean. Because it’s a natural material, it will be affected by exposure to weather. Leather saddlebags can be expensive; costs start at several hundreds of dollars. Chelsea Adams of AmericanRider.com recommends Leatherworks Touring Saddlebags.
Synthetic saddlebags for the 883 Sportster offer a less-expensive alternative to leather. Most of the synthetic saddlebags provide adequate protection to contents with the advantage of being less prone to damage from weather while still looking like leather. Harley Davidson offers a number of options in the synthetic category for the 883 Sportster. The June 2000 issue of “Motorcycle Cruiser” magazine recommends Tour Master synthetic saddlebags.
Most saddlebags for the 883 Sportster will require the purchase of mounting brackets or supports to keep the saddlebags from interfering with the movement of the rear wheel. Larger saddlebags might also necessitate buying a turn signal relocation kit.