Monday, November 26, 2012

Wolfman E-12 Enduro Saddle Bags review

Just before I left for the Melbourne Cup Ride my order for these little beauties arrived. Being the ultimate sucker for gear bags I've had a few goes at this on the Hyper but I hoped I had just found my perfect solution to luggage. Have I? Read on.
Quite simply the answer is yes. The Wolfman E-12 Enduro Saddle Bags are, in  my opinion, the perfect luggage solution for your Hypermotard and can carry enough gear and clean clothes for a 3 night, four-day ride and then some. This is not a sponsored post but I want to mention that Adventure Moto were really top-notch at handling my order.  There was a delay which they communicated quickly and advised me when they would be expected, and then they did exactly as promised and packed them off before that date. I like it when things go as advised. Anyway, they were great (please send me free stuff) and you can score heaps of Wolfman luggage right here in Australia from them (they ship internationally too) or alternatively check out the Wolfman Luggage site.

Style

The reason I chose this style in the end over a duffel bag or roll-up, is simple. When loaded up, the weight is kept really low and distributed evenly which means the bike feels virtually no different. I tried strapping a backpack to the luggage rack last year and it moved around a lot and make me feel like I had to keep checking it all the time. They look the part in rugged black '1680 Denier Ballistic fabric' with a non-scratch backing that is designed not to damage ya bits.

Fitting

The secret to that system is the cool strapping system. At first I was miffed by all the tie downs, clamps, buckles and straps and feeling a little angry, tired, and old I flung them in the office and left it for another day. On second attempt, it was all quite obvious really, proving that you should try to do new things with a clear head and not after a painful, long (stressful) day at work. There are two attachment points, front and rear with the main straps slung centred over your seat/tail. I covered my decals on the rear carbon tail pieces with some painters tape just to be sure they weren't damaged. I'm not sure that this saddle bag system would work with a full single side exhaust fitted... just sayin Big Steve :P


I really like these bags.
I think my DP Luggage rack really came into its own for this job and I can't guarantee that without one you'd be able to attach it as easily as I could. I wouldn't imagine using the gutter hooks on the small tail piece which is held down mostly with velcro. The rear gutter hooks clip onto the luggage rack like they are intended on a trail bike's rear fender, and then the front straps tied and tensioned nicely around a rear post of the subframe. From there all I had to do was tension up and space them out correctly and BAM! Job done. Once I had this down pat, pulling them off at the end of the day was less than a minutes work and putting them back on each day little more than five minutes. Easy. This is an excellent system for attaching saddle bags.

 


 I should add that even with the gutter hooks on, and bags installed, I was still able to fit my DP tail bag, which in hindsight was probably a better option than taking the back pack, and in fact was able to secure it even better than intended by using the D rings to tie it down very securely.

Storage

To give you a practical idea of what they hold (a reported 22 litres per pair) here is what I needed to jam in for my 3 night getaway.
  • jeans
  • hoodie
  • runners
  • 3x t-shirts
  • 3 x jocks 'n socks
  • thermals - pants and top
  • spare winter gloves
  • toiletries and meds (fact of life at my age lol)
  • some cables and electronic goodies
  • MSR fuel bottle
  • Map (Bear's Top 200 rides)
  • Chain lube
  • Basic tools
Looking at it splayed out over the kitchen table I thought 'there is no way in hell all of that crap is going to fit in those two tiny bags'. But it did. Much like the TARDIS, stuff just kept cramming inside and disappearing. I did also take a small Maxpedition Sitka gearslinger predominantly because I wanted to take my netbook to transfer video across at the end of every day, so while they carry a lot, I'd say it depends on the type of cargo you need to haul as to whether they will fit everything you want in them. More than adequate for a full weekends worth of clothes kinda adventure though.

Travelling

On the road with bags full of everything I could imagine there was barely any noticeable difference to the way the bike handled. The bags secure down brilliantly, make no noise, now clanging or rattling of buckles and felt just as solidly strapped down when we stopped as they were went we left in the morning. Top marks over panniers and top boxes which cause more wind drag and just look ugly imho.

Wear & Tear

This gear appears to be made of some very tough stuff. Given that the rear nubs (?) of the bag were jammed up under the steel of the luggage rack there were some serious stress points hitting the canvass parts of the nubs (I really don't know what to call them). But even over some of the roughest dirt roads I have ever ventured on a street bike, they handled it extremely well with only the slightest of wear on the strapping pulling them tight. Wolfman luggage also has replaceable strapping. Bonus. Full marks for durability from me and 1800kms of testing so far.

Value

I'm a terrible judge of good value really and have to rely on mates telling me what it equates to most of the time, it's not because I'm fully loaded by any sense of the term, it's more that I get blindsided and suffer tunnel vision when I see something I like and will stop at nothing until I have it. That's what happened with these bags. A mention on the forum here, a video there, couple of bits of internet researching and next thing you know they're being delivered and my VISA card has a headache. That said they cost $165.95 AUD and were just shy of $200 delivered and by comparison to the price of a decent back pack or set of luggage I value it as a complete bargain. Having put them through their paces including some pretty intense heat and long rides strapped pretty close to the pipes, enough dust to put Dubai to shame I'd say these bags are going to be with me for many years to come.