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Old 05-09-2010, 03:43 PM   #1
Aanarchy OP
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Wolfman Expedition Dry Saddlebags – User Review

I recently mounted these bags and racks on my BMW F800GS. Here is a pic, loaded for a six day (non-camping) trip from Dallas to Big Bend National Park.


That giant tank bag (tank & seat bags from Wunderlich) was only one-third full, with room for overflow. In a nutshell, these bags worked great and I am happy with my purchase, so far.

When I bought the bike I thought I would eventually get hard panniers for longer trips. But first I tried various configurations of soft bags, strapped to the luggage rack and the back of the seat.

Here is what it looked like last November, 5 days camping in Big Bend, cold weather gear..


The weight was way too high and all that gear was hard to strap down securely enough for the rocky bits. And picking the bike up – fuggedaboutit.

So I re-visited the pannier options: Touratech, Hepco-Becker, Micatech, Jesse, Happy Tails, Metal Mule. All of them are expensive, wide, and HEAVY. My favorite among these was the Touratech 31/38L, black powder coat. $1470, 41 inches wide, and 30 lbs including racks and panniers.

I just couldn’t accept the weight, so I looked at soft bag options. I know a lot of people love the Great Basin Giant Loop, but it still sits mostly on top and looks hard to get in and out of while on the road. So finally I opted for the Wolfman setup. One-third the weight (11 lbs by my scale) and cost of the Touratechs and only 35” wide, fully loaded.

Installation – piece of cake. The racks bolt on to the mounting points for the stock grab rail and two additional points (on each side) under the tail. They mount securely and have not budged since I installed them. The muffler must be removed to install the left side rack, but it was an easy removal and re-install, even for a mechanically challenged individual like myself.

I was a little put off at first about losing the grab rail, but it now seems unimportant. These racks work fine for strapping gear to by bungee or strap.

Although smaller than the panniers, these carried everything I needed including tubes, air compressor, tools, extra clothes. My raingear and extra gloves went in the seat bag, miscellaneous stuff in the tank bag. If I was camping, I’d carry a 35L river drybag on the luggage rack with tent, sleeping pad and bag. If I needed more gear I could replace the seat bag with another dry bag. The round river bags strap very securely to the bike and present a low profile.

When riding out of our motel base camp I carried just what I needed for the day and cinched the bags down on a reduced load. There are several adjustment straps.

The bags attach to the racks by metal buckles that fit through the rectangular brackets at the four “corners” of the racks, and you tighten the backs against the racks with adjustable straps. When I first got the bags they seemed a little “fiddly”, what with all the straps, but once I got used to the system it was a snap to tighten the bags up or loosen them to put in more gear.

There are two wide straps on each bag that go over the seat and connect with sturdy (for plastic) fastex type buckles. The bags are easy to remove and carry inside for the night – push the buckles back through the corner brackets while the bags hang from the straps, then pick them both up by the straps and carry them away..

There is enough room between the left side bag and the pipe that I was not worried about contact and burning of the bag. I checked it a number of times during the trip, and I am not the least concerned about that now.

Getting into and out of the bags on the road is easy, simply disconnect the fore and aft fastex buckles, unroll the top. Roll the top back down and hook up the buckles again.

My buddy on this trip had the 1200GSA with BMW panniers, and they are cavernous. The lids come off for complete access to your gear. The Wolfman bags are more like digging into a backpack. But the reduced weight and cost of the Wolfman bags make them more appealing to me.

We got rained on one day, but it wasn’t a downpour, just on and off showers half a day, so I can’t comment on waterproof qualities in extreme wet weather. But the bags were dry inside after that little bit of rain.

I bought mine through Berg Briggs -

I spoke to him before I purchased the bags, and he was helpful.

Overall rating is an A. I’ll update as I use them more and encounter different conditions, especially the wet. As for durability, too early to tell, but no failures on this 2,000 mile trip.

More pics -

Aanarchy screwed with this post 05-09-2010 at 04:02 PM
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