Born to Ride: Everything You Need to Know About Harley's Touring Packs

what is a Harley tour pack

What is a Harley Tour Pack?

A Harley Davidson Tour Pack is a large storage box that mounts on the rear of a Harley touring motorcycle. It provides significant additional carrying capacity compared to the standard saddlebags.

The main purpose of a Harley Tour Pack is for luggage storage and carrying capacity while touring. It allows riders to pack more clothing, tools, spare parts, camping gear, and other equipment for long-distance motorcycle trips.

A Tour Pack is essentially a large plastic trunk or top case that is mounted on a luggage rack above the rear wheel of the bike. It is secured and locked into place. Tour Packs come in various sizes ranging from around 50 liters up to over 90 liters of storage capacity. They have a hinged lid that allows access to the interior storage space.

Harley Tour Packs are designed and shaped to integrate seamlessly with the styling of Harley touring motorcycles. They are contoured and styled to flow with the rear fender and overall look of the bike. Tour Packs come color matched to the specific Harley model's paint scheme.

While adding weight at the rear, a Tour Pack also helps balance the load on touring bikes. The extra carrying capacity allows riders to evenly distribute gear between the Tour Pack, saddlebags, and other luggage areas. For longer trips and packing more supplies, a Harley Tour Pack becomes an essential component.

History of the Harley Tour Pack

Harley-Davidson first introduced tour packs in the 1980s as an option for their touring motorcycles. The bags were designed to provide extra storage capacity and comfort for riders going on long distance trips.

In the beginning, the tour packs were fairly simple vinyl or leather bags that mounted on a luggage rack. They provided basic storage space but not much else. Over the years, Harley's tour packs evolved to become more advanced and functional.

By the 1990s, Harley was making hard saddlebag style tour packs made of injection molded plastic. These offered more protection and security for gear stored inside. The bags were lockable and waterproof.

In the 2000s, Harley introduced tour packs with more integrated and sleek styling. The bags blended in better with the motorcycle's lines for a more custom look. Interior storage was redesigned to better hold helmets, clothes and other gear.

Modern Harley tour packs are made of molded plastic or fiberglass. They feature one-touch locking, stereo systems, power ports, interior lighting and even have options for passenger backrests. Harley offers a wide selection of custom color options to match each bike.

Over the decades, the Harley Tour Pack has progressed from a simple storage add-on to an integrated part of the touring motorcycle experience. Riders today enjoy the convenience, comfort and custom styling that the modern tour pack provides.

Benefits of Using a Tour Pack


Harley-Davidson Tour Packs offer riders several advantages over riding without one. Here are some of the key benefits Tour Packs provide:

Extra Storage

One of the main reasons riders add a Tour Pack is for the extra storage capacity. Tour Packs allow you to carry additional items and luggage that wouldn't fit elsewhere on your bike. The large, enclosed space gives you room for clothes, tools, camping gear, or anything else you need for long trips and adventures. Tour Packs offer between 12 and 18 gallons of storage capacity depending on the model.

Comfort for Passenger

Tour Packs also provide a comfortable backrest for your passenger. The padding and support make longer rides much more enjoyable for your passenger. They can easily lean back and relax against the Tour Pack. Some Tour Packs even have adjustable backrests to customize the comfort and support.

Protection from Weather

The enclosed storage space of the Tour Pack protects your belongings from sun, rain, and other elements. You don't have to worry about your clothes or gear getting wet if you run into precipitation. The Tour Pack keeps everything clean and dry inside. It also shields your passenger from weather as they can lean back against the Tour Pack.

Popular Tour Pack Models

Harley-Davidson offers several popular tour pack models for riders to choose from. Here are some of the most common options:

King Tour Pak

The King Tour Pak is one of Harley's premium touring models. It has a large capacity of 1750 cubic inches (98.5 liters) and is designed to fit Harley Touring models. The King Tour Pak has an aerodynamic shape and features a covered key lock, integrated LED tail lamp, and chrome luggage rack. It provides ample storage for longer trips while maintaining the classic Harley style.

Tour-Pak Conversion Kit

For riders who want to add storage to their existing bike, the Tour-Pak conversion kit is a top choice. It allows you to mount the King Tour Pak onto Harley models like the Road King and Street Glide. The kit includes all necessary mounting hardware and wiring to install the Tour Pak for a custom look and increased cargo capacity.

Road King Classic Tour Pak

The Road King Classic is a popular touring motorcycle, and the matching Tour Pak provides an excellent luggage solution. Like the King Tour Pak, it has a 98.5 liter volume along with an integrated tail light and rack. The Road King Tour Pak uses color-matched panels to seamlessly blend in with the motorcycle's rear fender and hard saddlebags. This provides Road King riders with ample integrated storage options.

Customizing Your Tour Pack

One of the best parts about Harley's Tour Pack is how customizable it can be. You have numerous options when it comes to customizing the look and functionality of your Tour Pack.

Colors

Harley offers their Tour Packs in a variety of color options. You can choose a color that matches your bike's paint job and aesthetics. Some popular color choices include basic black, vivid black, river rock gray, bonlux black, bonlux brown, bonlux blue, bonlux red, and bonlux green. You can also opt for a two-tone paint scheme.

Materials

The Tour Pack lid and body are made from injection-molded polypropylene plastic. This durable plastic can withstand the elements while riding. The latching system uses stainless steel for corrosion resistance.

Mounting Options

Harley's Tour Pack can be mounted as a fixed backrest or detachable luggage. The fixed option provides a backrest for the passenger. The detachable option allows you to remove the Tour Pack for a stripped down look. Both mounting options are secure and easy to install.

Security Locks

To keep your belongings safe while parked, Harley offers a security lock for the Tour Pack. This allows you to lock the lid closed so no one can access the contents inside. It provides peace of mind when leaving your bike unattended. The lock cylinders match the bike's ignition key for convenience.

With Harley's wide range of customization options, you can create a Tour Pack that fits your style and storage needs. From colors and materials to mounting and security, you have plenty of ways to make your Tour Pack your own.

Adding Accessories

Harley Tour Packs can be customized with a variety of useful accessories for added comfort, convenience, and functionality. Here are some of the most popular accessories to consider:

Luggage Racks

Luggage racks mounted on top of the Tour Pack provide additional storage space for strapping down bags, cases, or other cargo. Chrome and black powder coated options are available to match your bike's aesthetics. Ensure the rack is securely mounted and check cargo straps regularly on long trips.

Backrests

Adding a padded backrest is a great way to increase passenger comfort on long rides. Backrest pads attach to mounting racks and provide lumbar support. Some feature quick release mechanisms for easy on and off. Heated options are also available for cold weather riding comfort.

Liners

Waterproof liner bags are a smart add-on to keep the interior of your Tour Pack clean and protected. They prevent leaks and spills from damaging the Tour Pack. Many liners feature pockets and compartments to keep items organized and easily accessible. Some also have carry handles for removing the bag.

Travel Bags

Soft travel bags specifically designed to fit in Tour Pack compartments provide increased packing space for trips. Look for bags that maximize the available space and have compartments to keep items secure. Durable fabrics like nylon and convenient carry handles allow the bag to double as luggage off the bike.

With the wide selection of accessories available, you can truly customize your Tour Pack setup for touring, commuting, or everyday use. Add the features that fit your riding needs and style.

Tour Pack Storage Capacity

Harley Tour Packs provide ample storage space for long rides. The storage capacity is measured in cubic inches (cu in). Here's a look at the cubic inch capacity of some popular Tour Pack models:

  • Standard Tour Pack: 1900 cu in
  • Quick Release Tour Pack: 1700 cu in
  • Detachable Tour Pack: 2300 cu in

With 1900 cu in of space, the Standard Tour Pack can hold 2 full-face helmets or 1 full-face helmet and a jacket. It's enough room for a weekend trip without needing saddlebags.

The Detachable Tour Pack offers even more space at 2300 cu in. You can fit 2 full-face helmets plus extra gear like clothes, tools, and camping supplies. It provides cavernous storage for long cross-country rides.

Even the smaller Quick Release Tour Pack with 1700 cu in provides ample room for a helmet plus extras like raingear or camera equipment.

The generous storage capacity of Harley Tour Packs allows riders to bring all the essentials for long trips. No more wearing a heavy backpack or trying to balance items on your lap. Tour Packs let you stow gear securely while keeping your hands free for riding.

Cost Considerations

The cost of a Harley Tour Pack can vary widely depending on the model and options you choose. Here's an overview of tour pack pricing:

- Stock Tour Packs: Harley's stock tour packs range from $995 - $1,595. The Street Glide Special Tour Pak retails for $995, while the Road Glide Ultra Tour Pak costs $1,595.

- Color Options: Opting for custom color options will add $150 - $400 to the cost. Special edition colors like Anniversary Edition or CVOTM designs cost more.

- Audio: Adding a high-end audio system to your tour pack can add $600 - $900 to the price. More basic audio options are around $300 - $500.

- Lighting: Custom lighting like halo lights or underglow can add $200 - $600 depending on the setup. More basic lighting is around $100 - $300.

- Power Options: Adding extra charging ports, power outlets, and wiring for electronics generally adds $100 - $300 to the cost.

- Security: You can expect to pay $100 - $300 to add locks and security features like alarms.

- Custom Paint: A custom paint job can add $1,000 - $3,000+ to the price depending on the detail and graphics. Airbrushing and custom designs cost more.

- Accessories: Luggage racks, backrests, liners, and other accessories can range from $50 - $500 per item.

So while a basic black Tour Pak starts around $1,000, a fully loaded custom Tour Pak with paint, audio, and accessories could cost $5,000 - $8,000. Consider how you plan to use your Tour Pak when budgeting.

Maintenance Tips

Proper maintenance is crucial for getting the most out of your Harley Tour Pack. Here are some tips:

Cleaning

  • Use a soft cloth or chamois with warm water and a mild detergent to clean the exterior of the tour pack. Avoid using harsh cleaners or abrasive pads.
  • For stubborn dirt, use a degreasing agent made specifically for motorcycles. Ensure it is safe for use on plastic components.
  • To prevent scratches, wash with smooth circular motions. Rinse thoroughly.
  • Clean the interior periodically with a vacuum and vinyl/leather cleaner to prevent buildup of dirt.

Weatherproofing

  • Treat leather and vinyl components with a conditioner to prevent cracking. Do this before winter or rainy seasons.
  • Check that drain holes are clear of debris so water does not pool inside the pack.
  • Inspect seals around the lid and ensure they are intact. Replace if cracked or worn.
  • Apply a protectant like wax to the painted surfaces to protect the finish from UV damage and road debris.

Inspecting Mounts

  • Periodically check that all mounting hardware is tight. Tighten or replace any loose or damaged bolts.
  • Make sure rubber isolators are in good condition and not cracked or flattened. Replace if deteriorated.
  • Look for signs of stress like cracks around welded joints. Address any issues promptly.
  • Test the release and locking mechanism to ensure smooth operation. Lubricate release cables if needed.


Proper maintenance will extend the life of your tour pack and keep it looking great for years. Be diligent about regular cleaning, inspections and weatherproofing. Address any issues promptly to prevent bigger problems down the road.

Is a Tour Pack Right for You?

When deciding if adding a tour pack is the right choice, assess your needs and riding style first. Tour packs offer useful benefits, but also come with some drawbacks to weigh.

Assessing Your Needs

Consider how much added storage capacity you require. Tour packs typically offer around 1700 cubic inches (28 L) of lockable, weatherproof space. This allows you to pack clothes, tools, camping gear, groceries, and more. If you frequently carry bulky or numerous items, a tour pack can enable longer trips.

Also factor in passenger comfort. Tour packs provide a large backrest for passengers to lean against. This can make long rides more enjoyable for a second rider.

Pros of Tour Packs

  • Expanded storage space, ideal for long trips or bulky items
  • Provides passenger backrest for comfort
  • Protects contents from weather and road debris
  • Convenient access to gear while on the road
  • Improved weight distribution compared to saddlebags
  • Can hold helmets while off bike

Cons of Tour Packs

  • Added cost of purchase and installation
  • Increased weight high up on the bike
  • Potentially blocks rider's view
  • Requires maintenance like seals and latches
  • Styling may not appeal to all riders
  • Can get in way when mounting for shorter riders

Best Uses

Tour packs work best for:
  • Riders who frequently carry a passenger
  • Long distance touring with extensive gear
  • Bulky loads like helmets or camping equipment
  • Riding in all weather conditions
  • Quick access to stored items on the go
Riders who only do short trips or carry minimal gear may find saddlebags better suited to their needs. Consider your individual riding style and needs.

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