I've been holding off blogging about my new order just in case things ended up with me being disappointed. As of today, I can gladly say that I'm far from disappointed. As much as I would love this to be a review of the installation, it's going to have to be a review of the shipping. The weather out there is crappy and I don't have the tools nor the time
Today I received my order from Tsukayu.
As you can see, it was well packaged. The box itself took a few knocks and was actually broke open in a couple of spots, but it was wrapped in plastic so nothing actually went through the box.
The items were wrapped in a double layer of foam wrap as well as being encased and separated with styrofoam sheets.
I'm always nervous about unwrapping things like this. I hate seeing things so nicely wrapped only to discover that it still didn't protect it. We all know what the mail is like. No matter how many stickers you put on there announcing that it's fragile, there is always someone who just doesn't care.
Much to my delight, there wasn't a mark on them.
They were covered in dust and bits of foam, but that was nothing a good polishing rag couldn't take care of. I am thoroughly impressed with the finish of these saddle bags. They have a mirror finish with no imperfections at all. I'll have to coat them with a few layers of wax to make sure they are well protected.
The details really make these worth it. The new latch style they are using really looks nice. it used to be a barrel style that was set into the case itself. The new chrome latch helps keep the lid closed tightly and really looks nice against the black.
One of the big selling points for me was the felt lining. In comparison, the National Cycle saddle bags cost twice as much and don't come with any kind of lining. The rubber seal looks pretty sturdy and will definitely get tested out with the weather around the Maritimes.
The prop seems sturdy and holds the cover up quite nicely. It locks solid and doesn't flex either. As of right now I have to release the prop lock myself. I'm guessing that's just because it's new and a little stiff. It doesn't bother me either way as long as it keeps the cover up.
The only thing that really bothers me is the plastic hinge on the rear. It's black, so it doesn't show up that much, but I would rather it be chrome. I'm afraid that this type of plastic may not weather well and could quickly become discoloured. I may replace them with chrome hinges myself, but I have other things that are a higher priority than that.
The mounting hardware was wrapped in bubble wrap and foam wrap which in turn was surrounded by a styrofoam box which was, again, wrapped in foam wrap. Each of them was placed inside a saddle bag. I have to hand it to the packers, short of being dropped from a plane, nothing was going to happen to the mounts.
The mounting hardware is quite different then what I'm used to seeing. Apparently they are designed to keep the cases as close to the bike as possible. The metal is quite thick and sturdy, but I have to wonder if they are strong enough to support the cases. In my searches for information on the internet I never encountered one complaint about this type of mount, so I'm guessing I won't have any issues. Besides, you aren't supposed to overload your saddlebags for safety reasons.
Last, but certainly not least, is the bag-O-parts. In here are all the little things you need to make sure the cases stay on the bike. A very good thing indeed. As you can see, there are keys in there. The locks on the latches are very real and will only open with those keys. I figured they would be the "pretend" locks that you can get, where almost any key will open them. I have one of those locks on my Kawasaki's gas cap. I could use my house key to open it. I'm not quite sure if you can tell, but they supply three keys for the cases. That is very handy for a forgetful person such as myself. One key will stay home, one will be with me and one will be with Joey. As you can tell, I've had experience with "misplacing" keys.
All in all, I am not disappointed with choosing Tsukayu. Total cost for the cases came to $643.31CAD ($539.00USD) and it took approximately 25 days (from order date to delivery date) for me to receive them. I know that seems to be a long time, but you have to keep in mind they came from Hong Kong.
In comparison; the National Cycle Cruiserliner Saddlebags are $649.99USD and you have to buy the mounting hardware separately for $229.95USD. Not including duty (which can be high and you can't get away without it paying now) that's $879.94USD ($1001.37CAD)...yikes. And that's without felt lining and an actual chromed latch.
I know the Cruiserliner Saddlebags would be easier to install and I know that National Cycle is a great name, but I just can't justify that much for a set of hard saddlebags. And no, I wasn't about to buy soft ones. Soft bags just aren't my style and some of them are just as expensive as the Tsukayu ones I now have.
I also have to compliment the staff. Mavis and Yoko (the two I dealt with) were more then willing to answer any questions and were very prompt with all replies. Tsukayu was probably the friendliest and most helpful online dealer I've every had the pleasure of communicating with.
Now the bad news. I'm not going to have time to mount them anytime soon. I'm back into my weekend rotations at work and it will be a month before I have actual weekends again. It has to be done on the weekend due to the fact that my Dad has all the cool tools and this is definitely not a one man job. So, the next installment of this review will come at a later date and will be more detailed with just as many pictures...if not more. For the time being I'll just watch the snow melt...or accumulate...*sigh*