Join Date: May 2006
Location: Rideau Ferry, Ontario, Canada
I have the luxury, for the moment of having both. I started with soft luggage -the Nelson Rigg DSLB500 and RTB500 combo. Worked well, good quality and rain covers actually work. A little small for what I like to carry and because of the high , outboard exhaust, the bags stretch their strap lenghts to about 5 inches. Also, need a support for the left side bag on the 650 ($4 for 1" aluminum bar and some bending at Home Depot. Once tethered however - they work fine but same worries about what you do with them when you leave them.
I wanted something larger and more rigid that was also secure+ locakable. I have Givi E41s with an E52 top case - total storage -136l total storage space whihc is great since I travel with clothes, 4 piece fly rod and Nikon cameras just about everywhere I go. Lockable, easily removable and looks good. (You can do it with the soft bags as well - just leaves a little less space for some things).
I was going to sell the Nelson Riggs but decided to keep them for perhaps and unusual reason.....recently I accidentlally knocked my bike off the side stand with the Givis - popped left bag off and broke the top latch - $35 Cdn later, + 2 weeks wait I had the part to replace on my now not so new hard bag (scuffed up a bit but no real damage except to my pride. Since I do more than a little gravel road day tripping with rod /reel and cameral, I'd rather scuff up a flexible soft bag than the Givi's (when I don't really need all that capacity for the day. That's what I've been doing when I don't need to haul a lot along for a day mostly on gravel - saving my Givis for larger things, longer trips, usualy just keeping the top case on and using the soft side bags.
As far as keeping things waterproof - even with good covers on soft luggage - I still invest in dry bags (from my canoe camping days) to carry stuff and never have had a problem yet.
One nice thing about hard luggage - althgouh it's a small point - ease of getting most hard cases on / off bike. My Givi set are a 30 second operation for all 3 cases and easy to carry into hotel room. Soft bags - a little more but no problem.
For me, this approach, albeit more initial cost, works. Hope there's some useful points for thought.
Necessity may be the mother of invention, but desperation is it's father........... (Bell)