The New Dakar Freedom soft side saddle bag system has been designed in Germany by SW Motech for riders that already have their own pannier racks.

Motorcycle Soft Side pannier luggage

Suitable for all brands of Enduro and Dual purpose adventure bikes, this universal luggage accessory is hard to beat for its versatility, affordability and inherent strength.

Tested thoroughly worldwide before launch these adventure panniers represent one of the toughest systems currently available. We have personally been involved in their development on overland trips from South Africa to Germany and beyond) and can vouch for their solid construction and attention to detail.

In their construction, attention has not only been focused on class leading materials but also in protecting the contents. An IP66 Weatherproof rating ensures your contents will be protected from dust,water, mud and whatever any trial can throw at it while a unique integrated ABS honeycomb core also protects from that inevitable spill.

With a generous 32 liter per bag capacity (64 liters in total) and everything required, including waterproof inner bags, the Dakar Freedom will be a reliable companion on any trip be it a weekend tour or a longer transcontinental adventure.

Dakar soft luggage clips

What sets these saddle-bags apart from other brand offerings?

Motorcycle Soft Side luggage straps


Virtually all modern soft panniers are made from nylon. Not all nylons are created equal though. For motorcycle luggage most manufacturers use either a basic nylon, Cordura nylon or an Oxford weave nylon. SW Motech has broken convention by using a class leading 1680 denier ballistic nylon.

How do Nylons differ?

Cordura is a nylon fabric originally designed by DuPont. It’s characterized by a rough, fuzzy texture on the outside, and a somewhat rough texture on the inside The chief advantages of Cordura fabric are its abrasion resistance and light weight. It however has a relatively low tear resistance and doesn’t generally accept waterproofing.
Oxford weave is not cloth but a type of weave pattern mainly used in shirts. Given its relative low cost to produce it is now finding its way into other applications. Oxford weave fabric consists of two, thin warp yarns woven to very soft, thicker yarn in the filling direction. The unbalanced construction of the fabric causes the thin yarns to break and leave tiny holes.

Ballistic nylon is a densely woven, high-strength nylon fabric originally developed by DuPont for military body armour. The term ballistic nylon takes its name from the fact that it was intended to protect its wearers from flying debris and fragmentation caused by bullet or artillery shell impacts. This fabric is the top-performing choice for rugged applications where exceptional abrasion, tear and puncture resistance are crucial.

Just as significant as the type of fabric used is the fabric’s denier. Denier is a unit of fineness for the yarn of a fabric. The higher the number the thicker the thread strand and so the denser and “nobby” the weave. Most manufactures use a denier of 800 -1000

The SW Motech Dakar Freedom bags are made from an industry leading 1680 denier ballistics nylon. Yes, it costs considerably more but there is a reason for this.


The thread used in stitching a bag and its components together is an important consideration, a factor that is often overlooked and frequently not mentioned. Some soft panniers are known to come apart under load simply because an inappropriate thread was incorporated into the finished product.

SW Motech not only use a high quality nylon thread that is virtually unbreakable but also triple stitch at stress points , an industry first. At best others only use single or double stitching. This is a critical element as the last thing one needs is to have stitching pull loose on a trip.

Dakar Freedom Motorcycle side luggage stitch

Honeycomb core

Most soft luggage is just that, soft and floppy making packing and removal of the contents difficult and time consuming . To avoid this, each Dakar pannier has an integrated ABS honeycomb core riveted into the fabric layer. ABS is the same substrate used in motorcycle helmets shells. This unique core creates a rigid core for both the back and front of the bag protecting the contents in the event of a fall. It also ensures that the bag retains it shape for easy packing and mounting to the frames.
A further advantage is that heavier items can now also be packed with confidence low down, thus ensuring a positive lower centre of gravity.

Watch the video on how the honeycomb core ensures extra protection


Soft luggage can be perceived as an easy picking and this was another reason for using ballistics nylon. We wanted to make sure they are slash proof. Ballistics is very difficult to cut and this is one of the reasons it is also used by riot police in their stab proof vests.

As an additional measure, provision has been made to lock the bag with third party offerings such as the PacSafe Wrap-safe cables. The advantage of these cables is that you can not only lock the bags shut, but you can lock the bags to your luggage rack or bike by routing the cable through the daisy chain of loops provided on the face of the panniers.

Easy to use

Four solid steel D rings on each bag with corresponding compression straps ensure a solid and secure attachment to virtually any support frame. As a result there is no need for any additional cross over support straps. The bags will stay where you put them and will not flop into the rear wheel of your bike.
Attention to detail includes provision for any excess straps to be neatly and securely stored via integrated elasticized loop points thus removing loose straps flapping in the wind. A large double Velcro seat support strap ensures that a pillions comfort is not compromised either. This strap also helps distribute the load.

Tie down points also allow for additional gear such as sleeping bags or tents to be secured.

Easy to pack

A large roll top opening top facilitates easy access . This configuration not only keeps out dust but also dispenses with the need for a zipper. Zips have been known to fail in dusty & muddy conditions.

Included are two removable IP66 waterproof dry bags allowing you to remove them and your dry stuff out in seconds and take it into your tent or accommodation – without having to rummage through the bag in the rain, or take a wet muddy pannier set into a tent or hotel. The waterproof inner liners can also double up as a tote bag or as a container to wash your clothes in.

(Please note the bobbins required to mount the Trax panniers as depicted in the video are not required when mounting the soft luggage to these racks. Specific compression straps are supplied with Dakar Freedoms)

The Dakar Freedom can fit some bikes without pannier frames however we would strongly recommend using frames.

This will prevent any potential scratching of the bikes bodywork and, more importantly, prevent the bags touching a hot exhaust or sagging if carrying heavy loads. A range of SW Motech Evo quick lock multi purpose pannier frames are available for many models of bikes.

The video shows the Evo racks in conjunction with Trax aluminium panniers.

The versatility of these racks also ensures that you can easily fit the Freedoms and many other types of luggage as well

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