Gear: Kriega R35 backpack

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Grant and I wore these to ride from LA to Laguna Seca and back. The idea behind the Kriega R35 is to offer a large capacity backpack specifically tailored to the ergonomics of riding a motorcycle. As such, the load isn’t carried through your shoulders or on your hips like with a hiking pack, but through your chest and onto your hips. Initially, that looks and feels awkward, but once you’re in a riding position it’s totally comfortable.

Update: Matrix Motosports is the official importer and distributor of Kriega products in the US.
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The R35 is the largest pack offered by Kriega and its 35-liter capacity
will be enough for most people’s needs. We filled them to overflowing
with laptops and camera gear, then realized we didn’t have any space
for clean undies. At least that’s Grant’s excuse.

Because they’re designed specifically to work in a riding position, you
won’t be able to use the Kriega as a day-to-day off-bike pack, but once
you’ve worn one on a long ride you’ll appreciate the specialization.
Virtually no weight is carried through the shoulder straps and they’re
cut in such a way that they leave your neck and shoulders free to move
naturally and uninhibited. That’ll be a particular boon to sports
riders, who will be able to move about the bike unencumbered, even
while carrying a heavy load.

In addition to the large main compartment, there’s multiple pockets
with water-resistant zips capable of carrying a variety of shapes and
weights. I filled the outer pockets with tools and zip ties so they’d
be easily accessible and stuffed my Macbook into the A4-sized sleeve in
the main compartment. There’s a plastic divider between the carrying
area and the frame, ensuring that sharp corners and hard object won’t
poke you in the back or prove a risk in a crash. On the outside,
there’s bungees and a mesh pocket for smelly socks or anything that
needs to be stored externally, while compression straps cinch the whole
thing down securely. No straps, zips or anything fly loose in the wind.

To secure the R35, you put it over your shoulders, zip up the main zip
then pull the hip straps tight. Once you’ve gotten a good fit, there’s
no more need for adjustment, just zip yourself in and out as you see
fit. inside that front harness are two pockets big enough for an
iPhone, cash and cards and necessary documentation, having them right
there is really convenient.

I wore the R35 with my Alpinestars MX-1 one-piece and it worked just fine with the aerodynamic hump.

Despite the comfort and maneuverability, the R35 can’t work magic;
after a couple of hours we had to stop and move some weight out of the
Kriegas and into our tailpacks. My laptop in particular seemed to be a
stretch too far, but considering it was in there with a week’s worth of
clothes, a pair of shoes, toiletries and other odds and ends, that’s
still pretty impressive. Weight transfered and the packs proved
comfortable for the rest of the 800-ish mile round trip. The $185 R35 is
easily the most comfortable backpack I’ve worn on a motorcycle.

Kriega

  • http://www.urbanrider.eu urbanrider

    +1 for Kriega. Is it hard to get in the US?

    I have an R35 and its built to last. I just throw it in the washing machine and it still looks like new.

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      I think they’re about to announce a new distribution deal here.

    • http://greatjoballweek.blogspot.com Case

      Another +1 for Kriega.

      I have the R25. Great for commuting: it fits my laptop and workout gear (shirt/shorts/trainers). I also use the little ‘kube’ pocket to keep my cellphone handy b/c the R25 doesn’t have pockets built into the front harness.

      Kriega recently opened a US distributor / website so now you can get it here, although the brand is not widely known.

      Also, when I ordered from the distr. in AZ they upgraded me to second day shipping at no charge.

  • http://www.selfedge.com kiya babzani

    Wait, i think i need one of these.. so the verdict is that there’s no store that carries this in the US?

    • Case

      Yes there is at least one store that carries them here, and it’s in Arizona:

      http://www.helmetharbor.com/

      Register to get a discount. I buy gear there occasionally and the customer service is good.

      Alternatively: order off the Kriega website for a greater selection. Product will ship from the distributor (also in Arizona).

      I would guess that helmetharbor gets their stuff direct from the distributor.

  • http://garrettnelson.wordpress.com/ Garrett Nelson

    Good info. Have you used the smaller 25 at all? I would be interested to see how that stacks up as I’m looking for a better bag for hauling around my macbook and work portfolio. A skateboard back pack doesn’t cut it anymore.

    Also have you tried out the US20? Im also considering purchasing one of those. Looks like a genius tail bag. But also wondering how much will actually fit in it.

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      This is our first experience with Kriega, but judging by the quality of the product, you won’t go wrong with any of their products.

      The R35 compresses nearly flat, so you could use that for light commuting to touring.

  • http://www.selfedge.com kiya babzani

    Which further proves my point, Arizona loves motorcycles.
    Thanks for the info, might have to try one of these out even though i just bought a Visvim bag for twice the cost of the Kriega bag..

  • johnny

    all very nice gear, although I’m regretting clicking on the high res of the socks and undies!

  • http://f800gs002.blogspot.com/ doubleoh2

    Yeah but it looks like shit. Combine the functionality of the Kriega with looks that equal the Mulholland Master and we’d have a winner.

  • Mitch

    I’ve lusted after Kriega for a while but the import costs put me off. I use an Ogio metro right now that does okay, but will look at Kriega again when you can get them here.

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      You can get them here.

  • http://www.peterlombardi.com Peter Lombardi

    I love my R25!!! It’s the perfect all a-rounder pack I can fit a few days worth of clothes, a small camera, a couple chargers, and my laptop in the R25.

    I use one of the cube pockets as well, great for pens, smaller phones, change, a flashlight, batteries, keys, etc.

    Kriega’s are worth their weight in gold. I don’t think I’d buy another backpack after buying one of these.
    -peter

  • http://www.peterlombardi.com Peter Lombardi

    Ooops, I meant R20, not 25, derrrr…
    -peter

  • chrisF

    Great review!

    I have the R25, as well as the US5 and US20 tail packs.

    The R25 is great. Like Wes said, the load is positioned well – the compression straps keeps everything together against my back, and chest via the front clips. I don’t feel the weight on my shoulders. That’s especially good for longer trips. The material is also water resistant enough to keep my stuff dry in moderate rain (Oz winter).

    The only gripe I have at the moment is the lack of pockets on the front harness. When the front harness is secured, access to jacket side pockets is impossible. Said pocket would be handy for phone, keys, change (paying for paddock parking at MotoGP or WSBK).

    The US20 is great too. No need for racks like the Ventura products. The bag just straps onto the pillion seat unit. I use it when I want to have absolute freedom (the R25 is great but no magic – I can still feel it’s there). However, recently I have been taking more loads (6-7kg) with the US20, and I discover that the straps loosen up, allowing the bag to slide around a bit. That leads me to think that the straps setup is not capable of securing heavier loads.

    chris

  • http://www.pittedchrome.com Markus

    Wes /All,
    Nice review, but I have to respectfully disagree with your comment that “once you’re in a riding position it’s totally comfortable.”

    I owned one for a year+ and rode with it on long sportbike trips, and high-milage dualsport outings.
    The pack was great as a piece of equipment, but I had a real problem with the top of the pack hitting the rear of my helmet…horribly.
    Both with my Arai and Shoei it would press on the rear of my helmet not allowing my full range…esp. on the RC51.

    Never got around to trying out the smaller models that may have worked better.
    Anyway, didn’t have any problem selling it on e-buy after deciding it wasn’t for me.

    -Markus

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      Weird, it wasn’t even close to our helmets.

    • geonerd

      I think that depends a lot upon the kind of bike you’re riding. An RC51 has pretty aggressive ergos. I ride a GSXR and I am unable to wear almost any back pack unless it’s very small because of the helmet interference. It’s a real hinderance. But I couldn’t say for sure without trying this one. Gotta go with black though.

      • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Grant Ray

        Geonerd, we were on a 2009 GSX-R1000 and a 2009 Tuono. I never felt it touch my helmet on either bike.

  • TK
  • Sen

    A picture with it on would be a lot easier to understand and very much appreciated.

  • http://www.kriega.us Scott

    Real nice review. Appreciate it HFL. With Wes’ permission we posted to our USA site for Kriega. (www.kriega.us). There are photos on the site, some with riders wearing the rucksacks – that may help show fitment for some.

    In response to Markus’ experience, Kriega places a notice on the product page that riders under 5’6″ are better suited to the R25. Not sure of Markus’ height, but that may answer the issue. Maybe not. Glad you however had a great resale.
    Thanks,
    Scott

    • http://www.pittedchrome.com Markus

      sorry for the late response-

      Yes, I could understand it for shorter statures, but I’m 6’3″.
      Odd-
      Either way, the quality was second to none so If it’s fitting correctly (as it seems to have Wes/Grant) it’s a top product.

      Thanks for the response Scott-
      -Markus

  • Peter

    Kriega is not cheap, but its well worth every penny.. have a couple of bags, tailbags..etc and they are all super reliable, durable. as far as I recall Kriega has a 10yr warranty on their products