Words & Photos by | Jun Song | (Contributing Photos by Moe Lauchert)
(Disclosure: The Company sent this bag for me to review; however this is not a paid advertisement/endorsement for the Company, and the Company has no influence on my review/opinion of their products)
About 6 months ago, Gold Tree Pacific LLC, a motorcycle leather good manufacturer, sent me a set of their Moto Bag, which is made to be used as a side cover bag. The Company is targeting their product towards Triumph classic bikes, which I happened to own one, so I thought I’d give it a try. Below is my review of these bags that I had the chance to used over the last 6 months.
I think the design is the most appealing part about this product, especially for Triumph Bonneville owners. I own a Thruxton, and I don’t think these bags look as good as it does on a Bonnveille, because the Thruxton has the sportier cowl in the back and the bags seem to disrupt the overall flow of the bike. But on a Bonneville, just from the pictures I’ve seen, I think it looks really good.
Because the bags are attached to the bikes via three leather belt straps in the back, I think these bags can be installed on pretty much most non-Triumph bikes (I have not verified this with the Company so please don’t take my word for it, but instead contact the company to see if it will fit your non-Triumph bike). It may not be a perfect fit, but the belts are long enough and flexible enough, they can be mounted to most exposed-frames on the side of a bike.
The bag comes in three colors, black, brown, and camel (the one I have is brown) and I think any of these colors would look great on a modern/vintage classic bikes, i.e. cafe racers. Probably not the best look on a modern bike, but you might be able to make it work.
The only thing I dislike about the design is the company’s big logo on the front flap of the bag. Seeing big logos on any supposed-to-be classic products is a big pet peeve for me. I’m a believer of minimalistic design and I think seeing an enlarged logo on a product ruins any products’ aesthetics. You don’t see a big Filson logo on any of their classic bags do you?
The only time I really carry bags while riding is when I’m carrying my camera gears, but otherwise I rarely need bags for storage on my bike. This is just me and I know a lot of people do like to have storage on their motorcycles. You’re not going to be able to stash a jacket or a hoodie in this side bag, because it’s pretty small. The single side bag has less capacity than a small-car’s glove compartment, so you won’t be able to store much. Items such as a small tool roll, bottle of water, pair of gloves, and etc would be the perfect times for this bag (maybe not all at once).
Other than limited space, I found myself not using it as often because of how inconvenient the cover buckles were. It’s very easy to loosen the buckle to access the bag (like loosening any belt), but very hard to close the bag with gloves on. So in order to use the bag, you always need to remove your gloves, but even with bare hands, the prongs on the buckles seemed a bit flimsy and it was hard to lock them up.
Other than the aforementioned comments, I did end up keeping things in the bag permanently, such as tire pressure gauge, bungee cords and wash cloth, which were nice to have and did come in handy on random occasions. Additionally, I did find the storage helpful with unexpected items that I accumulated during my rides. So overall, I think having some storage capacity is a nice option to have and this bag definitely provides it.
A single Moto Bag costs $279 and $558 for a pair. That’s excluding tax and shipping, so all out, you’re spending a little over $600 for a pair of bags to store your gloves in. So I think that pretty much answers your question about “value” of this product. Don’t get me wrong, the product is well made, and yes it’s “made in USA”, so you are paying a premium, but that still doesn’t change the fact that you’re paying over $600 for a pair of small sized bags.
Let me be clear about this. Value of any item is very subjective so if you’re the type that spends $2,000 for a branded bag, then yes, $300 for one of these is good value, but for any average consumer, spending that much money is still a lot, including myself. So for me, price is probably the biggest limitation about this product, but this cost many not be an issue to you, in which case this may be a great value product.
In conclusion, should you buy it? I don’t think the answer is that straightforward. If you have a Triumph classic and you’re looking for a piece of accessory that can add some nice aesthetic look to your bike, then I think this bag is definitely a good option. I really haven’t seen much side-bags from Triumphs that look and fit well as these do, so you may not have that many alternative option. Plus, on top providing the nice look, it give you some storage space; however if you are looking for a proper luggage bag (i.e. alternative to a saddle bag), then this probably isn’t the most practical bag for you. Now, this is all assuming that the cost of the bag does not factor into your decision. If it does matter and you really want this bag, then you can always go for purchasing one bag instead of the pair.
Video via www.goldtreepacific.com