Saddle bags, as I have explained in the luggage page, there are times in a riders life when he/she plans for a really long ride , which means more stuff to pack and that translates to the need of more storage space. In this condition , a tank bag /tail bag might turn out to be terribly short handed for the job at hand. That’s where the saddle bags comes into play. Saddle bags are storage containers that are mounted or suspended on both sides of the bike, thereby giving a lot more potential storage space for the rider so that he/she can carry more stuff around with him or her.
Now, lets get into details of what we have been testing for the past few weeks. And it is , as you have guessed a saddle bag and that too the latest addition to the Rynox gears list of product.
So now, let’s get going with the review and findings, shall we ?
First let’s see what the company themselves have to say about the product, that can be viewed here
On first view , the bag looks very compact , and stylish too, the styling has been kept very minimal , yet looks very pleasant too.Upon initial inspection you might feel that the sideways width of the storage space might be a tad too less to fit in stuff inside it, well, it is a bit short in width a trade-off in keeping the bags look compact, but then once you start filling it with stuff, you find that it can fit quite a lot of stuff than expected.
Also, it has a straps that allow it to be a make shift carry bag,which is a really handy feature when it comes to carrying the bags around, it also has dedicated straps for carrying it around without using the shoulder straps.
The bags are pretty light too, the thickness of the material used might give a impression of it being heavy, but I found it to be very much light in weight.
So, now let’s break down certain aspect relevant towards this product , which one needs to consider when looking for a saddle bag.
Each bag has the following features, a main compartment where we can store most of the luggage It’s storage capacity is supposedly 32 Ltrs(expanded) and about 30 Ltrs when in its normal form.
Then we have a side pouch on each bag, facing towards the outside of the bag. Amount of storage space is limited here, small items such as documents of bike and some other stuff like mobile phone chargers, mp4 players,P&S digital cams and similar items can only be stored. If you are willing, your tablet phones can also fit it easily, but nothing bigger or wider than that will go in.
The bag has 3 D ring mounting points,which can be used to securely hold the bags in place and to make sure they do not move about much /at all(can be adjusted by changing the length of the securing straps).
As per the company description each side of the 2 bags has a capacity of 32 Ltrs, which adds to a total storage space of 64 Ltrs, which is quite a luxurious amount of space to have for storing stuff. Now since the use of a saddle bag is apparent when the rider has to carry a lot of stuff around, so this is a good thing, even the competition in the market for saddle bags are not providing as much space as Rynox.
So, for the initial test for making sure how much the bag can withstand we filled the bag with clothes and other essentials as would be required for a long tour. And with the ample amount of space available we were able to fit about 10 Shirts , 10 T-Shirts , 5 pairs of denims, and 6-7 pair of undergarments and we still had a lot of space at hand, so we went ahead and stuffed a few towels and books and other stuff just to get an idea of how much it could hold. As a rough figure we reached to a conclusion that you could almost stuff about a month’s supplies without any kind of problems(Bags can get a bit heavy at this point).
Then there is always the option of using the expansion zips to expand the size of the bag a additional 2 ltrs per side and stuff a few more things if you want to.
P.S: Though the bag can take the extra abuse , as we tested it with that kind of weight , it is always advised to pack just the correct amount of stuff that you might need , so as to eliminate the risk of the being stuck in a situation with a failed luggage carrier as a result of overload, which could mean possible risk of bringing the ride to a premature end.Also, always make it a point to keep essential items during a ride in a tank bag or someplace more accessible.
Mounting of the bags are pretty easy and is a straight forward task. First attach both the bags together with the 2 big and wide velcro straps provided, though they may look short in length , they are very strong velcro bands and will hold it’s place and won’t cause it to slip mid ride or in bumpy conditions, we can say this with confidence because having tested it in very bad roads of about 20-30 kms and with full load and came out with flying colors. After that is done, place the bags such that the velcro strip rest on the rear seat.
The correct way of placement would be when the Reflective stripe with “RYNOX” branded on it should be facing the back side of the bike.
Once the bags have been placed securely, now one must secure the position of the bag so as to prevent the bag from sliding or falling off , for which we use the securing straps and hold them in place using the D-rings. Pic below explains the way they have been strapped on through the rear foot-pegs, make sure that the straps are pulled in at the correct length to get a perfect fit and tension on the straps.
Then there is the 3rd strap which is at the back of the bag, which is used to secure the bag from the back side to prevent it from sliding out from the seat in forward direction. Method of securing is just as same as the other 2.
We have tested the bag mounting on 4 different bikes namely the Pulsar 220Dts-i, Yamaha FZ, CBR 250 and the Duke 390. The had fit securely for all the 4 bikes without any issues what so ever.
This is one very important factor when it comes to saddle bags, as we are hanging a considerable amount of weight on both sides of the bike.
So the most important thing to keep in mind is that one must be careful to allot the luggage in such a way that both the bags almost weight the same, it is just plain common sense that if one side of the bag is heavy then it will sag to the heavier part and put abnormal amount of pressure on the mounting points and can cause the bag to snap or fall off and also will cause balance issues while riding, all of which can cause unwanted problem and injuries to the rider or the people coming behind you. So one must be careful to avoid that by packing properly and distributing the weight equally to both sides.
Now that we have made that point clear let’s get to the result of how good the bags performed in the aspect of stability in various road conditions and various speeds.
So, we had tested the bag for well over 2000-2500 kms , which included all kinds of roads and high speed dashes along empty stretches of highway during our interstate rides. So now let us evaluate it using a list.
Good smooth roads : The bag maintained its position , no balancing issues what so ever.
Bumpy /Rocky roads : The bag tends to slide a bit forward onto the rider seat area which can be felt as the straps kind of started to brush against the rider after riding through the bumpy roads for about 10-15 kms, but then again, it took a good 10-15 kms of horrible road to make the bag budge from its position, this can be easily solved by making a mild change in the mounting strap position, a pic will explain it best rather than words.
Another aspect of the bumpy road test was to check how the mounting points would take the abuse with a fully loaded bag in the bumpy roads and they passed the test with flying colors, we have been using the bag some 1500-2000 kms after the bumpy test and still felt no issues till now, which included the many high speed runs we did after that. This proved to be a big confidence booster during the rides.
High speed runs : We tested the bag till speeds of 140 km/h and at a steady pace of 110-120 km/h for considerable distance and the bag was rock solid stable, it did not slide up or down, stood its position and had no negative effects on the bike’s handling at all. So that was a high point while testing.
Well,looks wise the bag scores a 10/10, it is compact yet spacious and is of high quality, has ample amount of reflective striping on it. It in no way causes any kind of balancing issues to the bike(bags weight must be distributed at a even rate).As far as the ride is concerned, if mounted properly even in it’s fully loaded form it does not cause any kind of hindrance to the bike and also it does not stay bulky enough, but still one must be careful not to be too careless.
City usage ergonomics was also satisfactory,but one will always have the worry that the bags might brush against other vehicles or chances of it hooking onto some other bike or car parts. It can be avoided by being a bit cautious while maneuvering the bike through city spaces.
Dis-mounting is a not a issue, can be done very easily,but handling the bags can be a bit tricky, even though it does have the option of converting it into a side bag, hanging both the bags on both shoulders would be a bit of a task physically, the shoulder straps to help a lot.
A issue that I found with the bags in the ergonomics is that is it not very much pillion friendly, once the bag is fully loaded it covers the area of the rear foot-peg, that makes it a hard task for the pillion to sit on the bike, as they cannot place their legs properly on the pegs, if the pillion is seated the bag will have to be moved backwards, which will cause it to apply pressure on the rear indicators which might lead to the rear indicators breaking, so this is once area where the ergonomics can be improved.
Although that is the case, it must be added that the straps that rest on the pillion seat did not cause much/any irritation for the pillion when sitting on it.
The saddle bags comes with 2 waterproof covers, which can be easily put on and off, the quality looks good and the material is a bit thick , so should be able to hold back water from entering into the bags.
We haven’t had a situation for riding in rain, so this part of the review is will be completed when we get a chance to test the bags in the rain.
But one thing i felt were they could have improved is that they could have included reflective liner on the rain covers too,as it is in rains there are chances for less visibility in such conditions, it would be good if they were to introduce the reflective type strips on the rain cover too.
The cost of the saddle bags are listed as Rs 4550/- , might seem a tad high, but then again the storage capacity provided and the quality of the bags is top notch, so it is money well spent.
Overall Build quality
This is again a area where Rynox excels, Rynox products are known for their quality, the Rynox Optimus tank bag was a very popular product considering the storage space and the fit and finish of the product. And Rynox did not disappoint , the build quality of the saddle bags are extremely good and even after a lot of abuse the bag still looks and feels as good as a new one. No stitch marks of any kind, no loose threads, compact and light, yet looks tough.
Now coming to the zippers and quality of the d-rings and mounting points, they also have not given any problems yet, they performed extremely well under full load and under bad road condition where they were mercilessly yanked at continuously but still show no sign of weakness.
So, to conclude , the build quality of the bag has exceeded expectations.
The bag is available through Rynox website, and its many authorized re-sellers, for people in Kerala, DJ Helmets are the authorized dealers of Rynox gears in Kerala. You can contact them here.
So to conclude, over the 2000-2500kms we tested the bags, the bag has performed extremely well and impressed us with its quality , build strength and toughness, aesthetically it looks catchy and very pleasing to the eyes and holds a lot of luggage , converting it to a serious contender to be considered when shopping for saddle bags, attention to detail has been given high importance.
So, would i recommend this bag if one is looking for a very capable saddle bag ? Yes, definitely.
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