Bruno Valeri


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Product Review

Chase Harper: B-Bags Speed Packs motorcycle luggage product review

Chase Harper B-Bag Speed Packs soft motorcycle luggage system

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.

Smaller motorcycle 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 construction.
  • It needed to provide reasonable luggage capacity.
  • 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 date approached.
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 Chase Harper.

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 side winds.
  • 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 bag.

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 seat.
  • 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 stable.

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 fatigue.

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 decelerating).

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 protected.

When touring, I don’t even know they’re there.

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