Soft saddlebags (panniers) for Triumph motorcycle, $10

'Saddlebag' is a generic term used to describe the things that fit the rear sides of a motorcycle and hold stuff. A complete set of motorcycle luggage may also include a case that sits atop the rear fender between the bags. Saddlebags come in hard plastic, soft vinyl, leather, or even fabric like the ones in this example, as well as in all different prices and grades of quality. In addition to the really expensive bags, you'll also encounter the cheapo generic bags that sell for about $20 a pair on eBay, which are usually made from an unusual reconstituted leather of some type.

You may have heard the term 'pannier,' because it's a term used to describe the system used to carry loads on horses and mules, where the bags are slung over the animal's back and loaded up. In cycling, panniers are bags that are slung over the seat - or even the fender. Many panniers, as in the case of these, are also strapped to a metal frame bolted to the side of the bike. You may also sometimes hear hard saddlebag cases referred to as panniers, but for the most part, the term is reserved for the soft bags that sling over the bike.

Whether hard of soft, saddlebags or panniers, it can sometimes be a little confusing to price these things so that you'll know if they're worth buying or not. But thankfully, there's a rule you can use to help you out. Remember, there are numerous aftermarket companies making these things, ranging from the expensive custom makers to the pieces of Chinese reconstituted leather trash that aren't worth the raw materials it took to make them.

When it comes to vehicle accessories, it's nearly always a good sign when the brand of the accessory matches the brand of the machine it's going on or going with. In most cases, the reason for this match is that the vehicle’s owner bought it at the dealership when he bought the vehicle. Dealerships of all kinds - cars, trucks, jet skis, boats or motorcycles - have all kinds of stuff you can buy to go along with your new vehicle, like saddlebags, floor mats, covers, windscreens, helmets, fairings, seat covers and the list goes on. As you can imagine, this stuff isn’t cheap, but the dealerships know that people normally have little problem paying up for the 'original' stuff that’s 'supposed' to go with their vehicle! OEM stuff can be a great profit opportunity for you!

These Triumph panniers sold on eBay to a guy in Australia for $128.

Photo of Triumph motorcycle panniers saddlebags