The image of adventure touring is that of riders traveling the world on heavyweight motorcycles with big, aluminum panniers and a variety of duffel bags lashed to the top. And if you consider the BMW GS crowd, that is a very popular look. However, you don’t need giant hard bags to travel. Soft luggage will often do quite nicely for overnight, week-long, or even transcontinental treks, and they have the ability to better withstand tipovers without breaking, which can be an issue with hard luggage. What you want from this type of luggage platform is the ability to adjust the carrying capacity to the gear requirements needed for your particular trip. The reality of human nature is that we will find “necessary” gear that exactly matches (or slightly exceeds) the room we have to carry it. Try this quick test the next time you go on a day ride: Ask your friends with panniers what they brought with them. Odds are the bags are mostly filled with things they could need.
Kawasaki has announced it will be producing the Versys 1000 S for the European market. Currently, the top trim level available in Europe is the Versys 1000 SE, which includes the KECS – Kawasaki Electronic Control Suspension. The new S model will ditch the KECS in favor of traditional 43 mm Showa components at both ends, adjustable only for rebound damping and spring preload. Undoubtedly, this will also bring the price down.
It’s the start of a new week, which means Revzilla has a whole bunch of new deals and markdowns to sort through. In this week’s edition of Revzilla deals, we see communicators, luggage, and riding gear getting marked down, but this is only a small sampling. Head on over to Revzilla to see the full list of fresh price drops.
While there’s something to be said about the convenience and cost-effectiveness of being able to toss a set of soft luggage on your motorcycle when you need it, the time comes when you realize that what you really need is a set of hard bags. Since they are bolted or locked to your motorcycle, they are significantly more secure from theft. Then there’s the weatherproofness that can’t be matched by soft luggage. If you’ve done any extensive touring on your motorcycle, you’ve most likely encountered the disappointment of opening your soft luggage to find that you didn’t have it securely closed before that last rain storm, and now, you’ve got to find a laundromat to dry all your clothes.
If you ride motorcycles long enough, inevitably you’re going to want to go on a motorcycle trip. And when you decide to go on a trip, you’re going to need stuff. The challenge becomes finding a place to store all that stuff. Behold – soft luggage. Granted, most of you know the definition of soft luggage, but if not, each bag here has some kind of textile exterior and is not constructed from a hard-shell plastic or metal. Now there are a million and one options when it comes to bags to fit on your motorcycle. Here, we’ve picked a few different ideas to suit a wide-ranging field of motorcycles. All are at least water resistant, and only one is motorcycle-specific.
Motorcyclists can be divided into two groups: those that love tank bags and those who don’t. Personally, I’ve had at least one tank bag for every bike I’ve owned. So, you don’t have to guess which camp I fall into. However, the trend towards tanks that slope sharply towards the rider has made using tank bags a challenge. Throw in the need to stand up on the pegs when riding an adventure bike in the dirt, and the sizing of a tank bag becomes even more difficult. Wolfman, a manufacturer long known among the adventure and off-road set, has come up with what I think is the optimum tank bag for the style of tank most commonly found on the current generation of adventure bikes. The Blackhawk tank bag offers a good compromise of carrying capacity and the need to move freely when standing.
When I picked up our Triumph Tiger 1200 for a 900-mile trip up to northern California’s Monterey Peninsula, I had really hoped Triumph would have outfitted the big adventure touring bike with the OE luggage. Alas, the big trumpet was devoid of storage, save for the impressively large underseat compartment and a not-so-impressive rear rack. Thankfully, Evans Brasstacks always has a backup plan. No sooner had I called Evans whining, he was on the horn with our friends at TwistedThrottle.com working out a solution. Enter the new DRYSPEC H35 waterproof cases.
I got my first Ogio gear bag when I went to ride the first Yamaha R1 in Spain. I believe that was late 1997, and I’ve left the same bag to the tender mercies of international baggage handlers probably 50 times in those 20 ensuing years – and probably twice that many domestic trips. It’s still perfectly fine. No holes, no tears, no puncture wounds, no busted zippers, no problems. Even the rollerblade wheels spin as freely as my own little imagination as I wheel my trusty Ogio through the world’s airports…
So, Father’s Day is here, again, and when I complained to my wife about how I’d made a list of my ideas for motorcycle-related gifts only to discover that it almost exactly mimicked last year’s list, she said, “Remember, you’re providing a service. As a non-rider, I have no idea what to give you for Father’s Day.” My response to her was a simple, “You’re willing to spend more than $100 on me for Father’s Day!” Clearly, this buyer’s guide just became much more important.
I’ve always been a fan of motorcycle tank bags. From within a month of my first bike purchase, I’ve had a tank bag for my bike. In fact, before I became a motojournalist, my tank bag was pretty much part of my motorcycle, only being removed for washing and track days. Twenty-five years ago, all tank bags were strapped on to their respective mounts, making them less convenient for folks who owned more than one bike. Along came magnetic tank bags, and the tank bag was revolutionized. So, naturally, the bike manufacturers countered with fuel cells below the seat and plastic “tanks” containing the airbox.
Folks who ride motorcycles frequently have a high level of independence. So, when it comes to touring by bike, many choose to go their own way instead of signing up with a company organized tour. While this is particularly common when the ride begins from your home turf, you can also do it when you decide to rent a bike in some remote exotic locale.