Bring the kitchen sink, comfortably
If you use your motorcycle for transportation as well as recreation, then you know the frustration of trying to find a convenient yet comfortable way to bring your stuff with you. Your laptop, work files, books, lunch, workout gear and such all need to go where you go but finding a way to pack it all safely on your bike is a pain. And that pain is usually in your back and neck.
When looking for a way to haul items, many riders will automatically default to something like a standard school book bag or day pack, simply because they are cheap and typically because most of us have one kicking around somewhere. While such totes are somewhat convenient, they become obnoxious to wear on a motorcycle the second you put anything of substantial weight inside. Bags like these tend to affect the way we ride, usually because they won't sit still! When using my motorcycle for transportation, I'm usually hauling quite a lot of stuff in my backpack. The load is often fifteen to twenty pounds, which for a small woman aboard a Ninja 250 is a substantial load. I didn’t really think there was that much a backpack could do to relieve the strain of all that extra weight. I was in for a welcome surprise when I tested Kriega’s new R-25 backpack.
The R-25 is serious, motorcycle-specific gear, which fundamentally changes the experience of carrying luggage on your back while you ride. Kriega’s distinctive QUADLOC harness system distributes the weight of the backpack evenly across the rider’s hips and chest, relieving the typical stress that many backpacks place upon the shoulders and neck. Supplementing this support is the pre-curved and heavily padded back cushion. It offers great breathability and lots of added comfort.
The R-25's right and left straps are divided into three separate sections, each optimized for adjustability. Torso length, waist circumference and hip width can all be adjusted for. This allows a custom fit for riders of widely varying body types. A really impressive design element is that the unused length of these straps retracts into the pack, rather than flapping in the breeze. The
pack straps have no-slip grip material on the backside and feature Schoeller DYNATECH with integrated 3M Scotchlite reflective material on the front. The lower section of the harness is sewn in at a horizontal angle that is ideal when you are in the riding position. CNC-machined 6061-T6 alloy side slide buckles along the sides feature pull loops which allow for easy adjustment of the pack when you throw it on over your riding gear.
Most backpacks are not easy to wriggle into or out of when you are fully geared up. With the R-25, Kriega addressed this frustrating problem in several ways. The QUADLOC clips on the harness do not work the way you expect them to. Instead of having to pinch the clips, they act like quarter-sized buttons. All you have to do is press the buttons to release, which is possible even while wearing gauntlet gloves. It doesn’t get any easier than that! While these large plastic clips serve to offer a more customized fit, they also make it ridiculously easy to get the R-25 on and off. The harness is designed with a very broad opening when unclipped, making it effortless to put on or remove. No more flailing behind you for that second strap, then contorting your arm behind your body while trying to force it through! Once the R-25 has been fitted to you, it can be taken off and put back on without the need for readjustment. Best of all, once you're strapped into the QUADRALOC harness, you'll discover that your arms retain their full range of motion. This is something which we've never experienced before while wearing a backpack.
The R-25 has a total capacity of 25 liters. It is constructed from 5mm airspace fabric and 420D ripstop nylon. Additional features include an inside compartment which can be fitted with an optional back protector and/or water reservoir and a document protector located right at the top of the inside flap of the main compartment for easy access. An outside compartment features 4 point adjustable compression, which allows the pack 's material to be pulled down snugly over its contents. All adjustment straps are equipped with sliders that prevent them from whipping in the wind. Oversized YKK coil zippers provide easy access whether your hands are gloved or not. In addition to the 3M Scotchlite reflectivity on the harness straps, there is another sizeable block of the stuff on the backside of the pack that cannot be missed by the drivers of following cars. In use, the Kriega R-25 is surprisingly sleek with a low profile. You won't be having flashbacks to the monster that you toted to your freshman year of high school. This backpack has serious cargo capacity but without the bulk; an especially nice feature for smaller riders.
Kriega has several great accessory options available for the $189.00 R-25. The backpack comes fully set up for their $49.00 3-litre Hydrapak reservoir. The same pocket that holds the reservoir is also compatible with Kriega’s $75.00 back protector insert and is large enough to accommodate both items. You'll also find a loop inside the pack for hanging the reservoir, along with a well concealed pass-through and elastic loops along the straps to hold the straw in place. The added bonus of a drink system makes the pack perfectly suitable for day-long rides where you will need storage space for some extra layers, snacks and supplies and will also want to focus on staying hydrated. The best part? Because the R-25 distributes weight so well, there's no need to worry about packing light for fear of killing your back!
Need even more room? Kriega also offers the $49.00 US-5 Drypack and the $99.00 US-10 Drypack. Both items offer additional carrying capacity in the amount of 5 and 10 liters respectively. Either unit is easily and securely fastened directly over the backside of the pack in a matter of seconds.
Finally, Kriega offers the $25.00 Kube Pocket. This is a very handy 0.5-litre harness pocket that attaches on the middle section of the harness straps and provides a great deal of convenience. It features 3M Scotchlite reflectivity, a YKK coil zipper and is water resistant. It provides easy storage and quick access for small, vital items such as your cell phone and wallet.
Kriega’s R-25 model motorcycle-specific backpack is the one to beat. From comfort and adjustability to capacity and practicality, Kriega has thought of everything. What’s more, it’s built to last. Kriega is so confident in the quality and durability of their product that they guarantee it for 10 years. This backpack is highly practical for any type of rider on the street, whether you are running to the store, headed to class, commuting to work, or just headed out for fun. My expectations for a motorcycle-specific backpack were vastly exceeded by the Kriega R-25. This pack stays glued to your body at highway speeds and distributes its weight so well that you may even forget it’s there. Check it out at http://www.kriega.us/r25-motorcycle-backpack/