The largest saddle bags you can fit on the bike, with bag supports to keep them away from the wheel. Are you planning these trips solo, or with a passenger? If solo, maybe set you T-bag on the rear seat and look into a rear box/trunk. SaddleMan among other make universal ones or you could addapt one from a full dresser such as a Voyager, Goldwing, or UltraClassic.
I installed the large Saddlemen Drifter Slant Custom Fit Saddlebags and they fit perfectly. Any bigger and it would interfere with the passenger or you would have to relocate the signal lights.
I have a set of leather bags that came with the wife's 09. They
weren't on the bike but he said he used them on it. They are much larger than the ones on my other 500. But I didn't get the bag supports with them.
I'm putting hard bags on the wife's 500 that are painted the same as the bike.
I have Leather Lyke bags and trunk on my Vulcan 1500, and love them.
I don't know if they would fit the 500 or not. You might look them up.
Hello Blackbird68. I just ordered a very expensive set of luggage from MotoMachines - located in Sterling, VA. I spoke to Alan extensively about their line and the quality before I mortgaged my house to buy the bags. I received them a couple of weeks ago, just before Sandy hit. I had only a few minutes at that time to check them out. The frame is four pieces with lots of support for the hefty bags. The bags themselves are Gobi's made by Hepco and Becker and are they TOUGH! These are by far the toughest bags I've seen so far. I plan to travel cross country so I needed something strong and waterproof! No wet clothes or soggy laptops for us.
The bags each have 37 Liters of space which corresponds roughly to about just over a square foot. That's actually a lot of space. The Gobi's have this strange quality - they are double walled so that you can put a spigot on them and pour water into the cavity between the two walls. That's nice, but I don't think I'll be crossing any deserts so I passed on that option. But the downside of this is that the interior of the bags is just that much smaller. Still, it's got plenty of room. Due to the cost, I only bought the bags and not the top case which I might get later. I really like being able to sling my leg over the bike.
Anyway, I dry fitted the frame and it looks like it could work well. The rear directionals have to be relocated and they supply an L bracket and some screws and some wiring. Because I didn't want to mess with the electrical, I brought the whole mess to my favorite bike shop and gave them the German instructions! You don't really need instructions, just a picture. I have not got them back yet, but I also haven't got any phone calls either. So, either they are busy or it's going along just fine.
This morning it is SNOWING!
Oh, I did think I found another bag that might work. I also had extensive talks with
the Edge Company and their method of attaching brackets. I did have an order with them for several months to make something that would fit my bike. The fellow promised he would send me the proper "stuff" like long enough bolts to get the bags
far enough away from the exposed shocks. But, the bags I chose were on back order f o r e v e r and I finally cancelled the order. I was not sure these would work.
I do have another solution which I have to look up the company names for and which I will write info on in another message. This option looks a lot like the German Hepco-Becker option. You'd have to order the frame from Hepco-Becker and then use this other company's bags to attach to the frame. Actually this company whose name escapes me had an excellent attachment system which would work with virtually any type hard bag.
Oh, I am making an assumption here - that you are interested only in hard bags. All my comments are about hard bags because they offer security and a waterproof environment. In the end, I decided not to take the chance and just order up what was made for my bike.
You'll have the best bet looking at foreign companies because in the states the 500 is not popular but it is a hot item in Europe for it's size and economy - being a small cruiser type cycle. In Europe you are taxed on the cc's so a 500 is fairly economical while larger cc's get pretty pricey.
This is the link for the hard bags I got: http://www.motomachines.com/Gobi-_c_24.html. It takes at least 3 weeks to get them as they are imported from Germany. Look up Hepco and Becker on the internet and you'll see it's not a fly-by-night company - they make regular luggage that looks bomb proof. That exploration of their other product lines convinced me to spend the big bucks.
I also got a slilp stream windscreen and now I find out I can't add driving lights.
MotoMachines has a light that might work, but electrical parts are not returnable if they don't work out, so I'm not biting. Anyone out there have driving lights and a windscreen?