Adam Child :
VIRTUALLY FLAWLESS Kriega's R35 rucksack is quite possibly the best bag in the world:
It almost feels like this rucksack is part of me; I've had it so long and use it constantly. If this bag could talk it would have some interesting stories, it's been on nearly every photo shoot at MCN in the past three years, carrying note pad, waterproofs, wallet etc. It's been across Europe on countless occasions including a mammoth trek on the Cannonball Run in 20005 and is used daily on my 90-mile commute from Yorkshire to Peterborough. This backpack must have covered over 50,000 miles, it's one of the best bits of kit I've ever had and still works perfectly fine. So why is it good? It's mainly down to the harness system, which means you hardly notice youa're wearing it. The weight is more spread out rather than painfully digging into your shoulders. It's reallly so comfy that you hardly notice it's there. Even touring across Europe around the 100mph mark nearly all day long you can almost forget it's there. On top of that there are some excellent design touches like waterproof zip covers. The fabric is nearly waterproof, but sadly not quite, though it takes a long ride in heavy rain before it starts to leak. There's a small compartment for keys on top and the front pads have small zip-tight compartments - perfect for toll cards and coins when touring abroad. It means you don't have to take off all your gear just to get to your loose change. The spine protector is really comfy and should add some absorbtion if you tipple off. The bag's 35-litre capacity is more than enough to accomodate enough clothes for a week-end away. If you need any more space you can bolt on extra room/bags (seetheir website for more information). Yes it's slightly expensive, but highly recommended, I've given it the ultimate test and it's come out on top.
IN THIS WE TRUST: Tim Thompson
I carry my world plus a packed lunch in a prototype Krug R35, a pre-production version of the rucksack that became the Kriega. I've used this over 2000 times and it almost needs a new zip, or might do in a couple of years time. Quality: find it then cling to it.
ICON - Kriega R35: Gary Inman
Made from real American Cordura, not Far Eastern knock-off material, and utilising patented buckles to keep your load from slewing around, the Kriega R35 is the essential motorcyclist's rucksack. Other than a few minor improvements, it hasn't changed in 9 years. It's tough, and the designers are so confident in its quality, that they sell it with a 10-year guarantee. "This is not just an off-the-shelf bag that we've branded" says Kriega's Dom Longman. "We've put as much design time into this bag as big leather companies put into their most expensive suits. They can't give that much time to a rucksack. For them luggage is just an accessory, another revenue stream. It's everything to us. When it comes to manufacture costs our harness system costs as much as most other companies 'whole' bag". Longman and his business partner Michael Cottam are both former product designers working for clients as diverse as Aston Martin and Karrimor. They're adamant their product has nothing to do with fashion. That's what makes it so iconic. It looks good, because it's made well and has minimal fuss. It has a functionality that bandwagon jumpers can't compete with, because they must revamp every few years to keep customers coming back. Kriega are much smaller, happy to search out customers all over the world who are more interested in quality then this year's colour. Making rucksacks for motorcyclists is about as niche a business plan as you can have. If you're going to be a niche specialist with a limited range of products you better ensure your product's good. Kriega did just that. The R35 is great.
THE BEST OF EVERYTHING: Tim Thompson
A GOOD RUCKSACK covers your back:
A good rucksack is so important to your well being, but so very hard to find... When you finally capture one that doesn't burst its straps on the Autoroute, soak up water like a 35 litre sponge or cut the circulation to your arms, one that takes repeated overloading without derailing a zip, slips easily over body armour and goes unnoticed on your back for mile after mile.... guard it with your life. Everyone has their favourite - it's hard to be objective about a close friend - but the Krug(now Kriega) R35 was the one that moved bike sacks into a different class.
IT'S ALL ABOUT COMFORT: Mike Armitage
I'm a bit of a rucksack nerd, fond of searching for the perfect fit andleast noticeable baggage to wear. So far it's this Kriega R35, by some margin. It's not the biggest (35 litres, funny enough) but it offers simple, effective adjustment with no flapping straps, plenty of pockets, reflective bits, a ten-year guarantee and it keeps out showers. Most importantly, it's beautifully, effortlessly ergonomic. Mine always contains spare gloves, visor, a plastic bag (never know what you'll need to carry in a storm) and something to clear my vision... Never underestimate a good sack * * * * *
I've tried a few rucksacks in my time, some general purpose jobbies, some supposedly specifically designed for bikers. Most are shite. However. Kriega's R35 is far from shite. I can honestly tell you that this is the best rucksack I've ever used on a bike. and when it gets old and dies, I'll be begging for the same again. I carry a fair amount of crap around most of the time, and regularly get a couple of changes of clothes, spare visors, and various bits of bike in it with ease. The zip-up chest harness works beautifully, and the double front zipper pockets are also damn useful for keys, cards and coins. The 'sack is designed to take all the weight off your shoulders, and it really works too. You wouldn't believe it without trying one, but you genuienly forget you are wearing it sometimes; it's that comfy. Add in the fully waterproof inner sack, and you can be sure everything will be 100% dry after even the wettest journey. The 'sack is rainproof without, but why risk it in a persistent downpour? If you need to pack a particularly large sack at some point, you can also clip on a fully waterproof Kriega US-10 and you've got another 10 litres without having to shell out for another 'sack, or put up with a whopper when you rarely need the capacity. If any of you are as generously preportioned (fat) as me, Kriega offer a full fitting service, ensuring that the straps have got enough length for your girth too. Stick one on your Christmas list - they're bloody marvelous.