MotoBags – Lone Rider
Lone Rider MotoBags
Meeting Fred and the crew
Obviously I knew of the existence of Lone Rider and of their giant Moto Tent because I had been following Fred along his travels for a while, especially his sidecar adventure in Cambodia. The Moto Tent is too much for our needs during travel but I can see perfectly why others decide to use it. Maybe if I ever go on a long sidecar journey, who knows.
When Lone Rider first mentioned that they were busy developing motorcycle soft luggage, Jeku immediately had interest in the project. Fred was sending out emails to customers and gathering information on social media about what ideas other riders have about ‘their perfect luggage’. Combining all those thoughts, enforced by a team of engineers and tested for almost three years, the result is the MotoBags. They don’t call them soft luggage but semi-rigid motorcycle bags. Available in 31l and 38l.
Getting our MotoBags
Just before our two months trip to the Caucasus, Jeku received a message from Fred to come and pick up our MotoBags for the two GS-ses. And if we hurry up to Paris, we could even join in during the video shooting. So off to Paris we went. We wanted to see and test these MotoBags with our own bikes and eyes.
Like they say, if you have a luggage rack, you can mount the luggage on it. On the website they specify which racks are ideal but if you’re a bit handy, they fit on everything. While riding year in year out, I prefer bags that I can clip off the motorcycle in a jiffy. With the MotoBags it is different, when they are mounted they are stuck to the bike till the next time you get your tools out. Anyway, we were going to ride every day for the next two months, so that wasn’t a problem now. Jeku developed a system of his own so that he could remove the MotoBags from the rack when needed.
Two months of travel
My first reaction when I got home, filling the bags up with all my junk for camping, is that I had so much space. And the more space you have, the more you fill your bags. In the end I got home with another three hardcover books of +350 pages (bought on a Georgian yardsale, I learning Russian), some six hardcover childs book and a ton of booze, which was way more cheaper in Bulgaria. So it was good to have some more extra space.
About durability, the bags suffered for 15.000 km in two months through divers terrain, extreme weather and some crashed. The Hypalon of which the MotoBags are made of is indeed a very sturdy fabric. We didn’t have any issues with the straps, the inner liners or the outer shell of the bags. One side of a clip broke during a crash of one of Jeku his bags and one plastic corner protection came loose, also after a crash.
The bags are waterproof, if you use the liner. I learned that the hard way, in my opinion (I’m not that picky) the outer shell is waterproof too but they had to made some holes in the bottom of the bags to get water out of them. Since the bags are attached to the bike, you can’t turn them upside down to get water out. So we had some chacha with some Georgian guys and then we set off to the border of Azerbaijan, encountering a big mudhole I just had to ride through. Which resulted after the chacha in a dive into the water and muddy water entering the right bag. If I had used the liner, everything would have been dry. But I didn’t. So one of my Russian books is brown now.
What do we like the most about the MotoBags?
- big and sturdy, ideal for longer travel and people who still want to take stuff with them and have no need to empower the travel light idea
- if it’s necessary, you can lock the bags with the delivered locks and keys
- fits on every bike
- completely waterproof with usage of the inner liners
- Hypalon fabric, almost not impregnable
What could improve ?
- The weight of the bags
- Detachable from the bike
Overall impression Jess
It took Jeku some time to convince me to try soft luggage, I’m a big fan of aluminum panniers so I had all the prejudice about the MotoBags in advance. For instance the constant battle of the straps. A strap left, a strap right, then another two clips down. It feels as if I’m busy for ages trying to get to my stuff, whereas with a pannier, it’s click and there is my precious loot. Anyway, I need to stress that this has nothing to do with the MotoBags but it’s a issue with all soft luggage for me.
I really like the MotoBags as a luggage system for daily rides and shorter trips of a day or five. They provide me all the comfort of my former metal panniers but add up on safety and impact during a crash. Since the outer shell is a softer fabric, there is less chance to hurt myself and the bags won’t break on me. I was surprised that indeed there are no tears in the bags after the complete trip, I had expected something would have punctured through eventually. Lovable about the bags is that they do stretch a bit if it has too. Read ; when you bough too much at the store and need to punch it all in.
Something worth noting to the shorter rider, the MotoBags are mounted on my R1150GS rack which is a high rack itself so the bags when fully opened were rather high to reach in, making most of the time when the bike was on the sidestand, I was more or less fishing in my left bag because I couldn’t see in it. But again, short people problems, Jeku had no issue with this.