luggage product review
B-Bag Speed Packs soft motorcycle luggage
Anyone who tours on a
sport bike knows that finding motorcycle
luggage offering decent carrying capacity
can be a real challenge. The typically
higher exhaust significantly limits
motorcycle saddlebag volume.
saddlebags in turn translate into the
need to carry the bulk of the luggage on
top of the motorcycle.
When I planned a tour to
Newfoundland using the CBR929 in 2002, I
realized that I needed to find motorcycle
luggage that met the following criteria.
- The motorcycle
luggage system needed to be
waterproof and of durable
- It needed to
provide reasonable luggage
- It needed to have
the least effect on bike
handling. Especially when dealing
with strong and gusty side-winds.
I researched for what
seemed like a long time as my departure
As I scoured the market, I came across
some motorcycle saddlebags options that
met part of the criteria, but they all
seemed lacking in at least one respect.
And then I found the B-Bag
Speed Packs distributed exclusively by
This is a modular
motorcycle luggage system, created by
acclaimed German designer Arno Beyer.
Though it was designed to complement the
needs of sportier bikes, its advantages
can be applied to just about any type of
motorcycle. The well thought out B-Bag
Speed Packs are a two-part system
consisting of motorcycle saddlebags
(which can be used separately) and the
topcase. the system is meant to be
installed over the passenger seat.
The saddlebags provide 18
liters of volume each and the top case 65
liters for a total of approx. 100 litres
of storage capacity. Quite respectable.
The aerodynamically shaped
saddlebags are reinforced to maintain a
semi-rigid form. No sagging or flopping.
But what really set the
B-Bag Speed Packs apart is the
slope-sided, expandable topcase. By its
simple but effective design, it
accomplishes two important
handling-related functions in addition to
offering generous storage.
- The sloping sides
offer little resistance to gusty
- They also ensure a
more effective center of mass.
In addition, the front and
back of the top case are reinforced with
semi rigid side panels that create good
support and clean lines. In the full up
position, it provides a generous 65
liters of volume. For lower volumes, the
top case can be progressively cinched
down. In the fully cinched position, the
topcase is flat across.
The B-Bag Speed Packs are
constructed of durable Teflon-coated
Dupont Cordura. Along with the
splash-proof zippers, this provides
excellent protection in the rain and goes
a long way in keeping your contents dry.
To further improve wet-weather
protection, each of the bags comes with
its own custom-shaped removable inner dry
Notes: the inner sides of
the saddlebags are lined with soft rubber
to minimize any abrasion on painted
surfaces. In addition, to further protect
surfaces, B-Bag Speed Packs come with a
sheet of removable, clear protective
film. Just cut out the shape required and
press on. To remove, simply peel off.
Colors: black, with
several colors available for piping.
Generous reflective surface area.
Setting up is
a simple affair.
- Velcro the
saddlebag straps together and
place saddlebags over passenger
- Place top case
over saddlebags, connect both
using Velcro straps.
- One longer strap
fixes the rear while one strap on
each side fixes the front.
Quite a simple operation.
Cinched down the system is very snug and
What I found:
When in fully expanded
mode, the sloped profile of the topcase
and the rounded profile of the saddlebags
offer very little surface resistance to
side winds. A major benefit.
Frontal drag is at a
minimum as the B-Bag Speed Packs remain
mostly inside of the slipstream created
by rider and bike. An added benefit is
that they remain remarkably clean,
despite having been subjected to
sustained crappy weather. This is a clear
indication that the system resides in the
quiet air pocket behind the rider.
At all legal street
speeds, I found bike stability to be
excellent including bad weather and windy
conditions. When encountering
exceptionally strong and gusty
side-winds, the bike never feels
noticeably different. This is a real plus
for both safety and a decrease in riding
I also have it on very
good authority that professional riders
on closed courses have attained speeds
considerably higher than legal with nary
an effect on handling. :)
In addition to good
aerodynamics, the normal positioning of
the B-Bag Speed Packs result in mass
located closer to the motorcycle's center
of gravity. This makes an appreciable
difference on handling when compared to a
weight that is sitting further back of
the rear axle (resulting in a lever
effect when accelerating or
These bags have been on
all my tours since 2002 including twice
to Newfoundland. While most of the tours
have included periods of sustained rain,
the Chase Harper B-Bag Speed Packs have
always kept my contents dry and
When touring, I dont
even know theyre there.