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.
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.