Nelson Rigg Survivor Series Dry Saddlebags - Long Term Review

Discussion in 'Equipment' started by C-Stain, Mar 7, 2013.

  1. C-Stain

    C-Stain Accredited Nincompoop

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    They finally arrived!

    I've been searching for the "perfect" luggage solution in soft bags for about two years. I wanted something on my V-Strom that I could throw over and not mount my large, sail-like Mermite Panniers. I'd considered Wolfman Luggage and Ortleib for Dry Saddlebags and the Nelson Rigg CL850 for regular soft bags.

    But I'm not good at making decisions. Ask Mrs. Stain. She'll tell you. Every time she hears me start a conversation about Motorcycle Luggage, I get the eye roll.

    When I purchased my BMW F800GS last summer, I was aghast at the prices for luggage racks and pannier systems. I mean, I'd just bought a BMW...did they think I had any money left over? I wanted a good set of luggage for extended and overnight trips, and over the winter I'd hummed and nattered on many different solutions. Finally, I decided that Soft Bags were the way to go.

    That's when I saw this thread:

    http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=860321

    And made this post:

    http://advrider.com/forums/showpost.php?p=20662536&postcount=11

    Well, after that I was contacted by Nelson Rigg who are registered here and they offered to send me a set of the Survivor Bags for liking their products so much. Of course, I said "Yes" and a box arrived in the mail today.

    Please note I do not have any association with Nelson Rigg other than being a long term customer who has been nothing but happy with their products. Everything that I've purchased from them has been of exceptional quality.

    Because I'm getting a set of racks for my F800, my plan is to switch these Saddlebags between the two bikes and given my first impression, purchase a full line of luggage for both machines in the future.

    So, here is the start of my Long Term Review.
    #1
  2. C-Stain

    C-Stain Accredited Nincompoop

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    I went to the mailbox this morning and was greeting by the package notification and went to pick up the box. Emblazoned with the Nelson Rigg logo, I was like a kid in a candy store. I mean, who doesn't like to get neat stuff from Canada Post?

    As these have been on route, I've continued to shop for luggage. I was mentally preparing myself to be disappointed. I'd considered the Wolfman Adventure Dry Saddlebags and the new Monarch Pass model. Because Mrs. Stain is getting her Motorcycle Endorsement this spring, the necessity for new luggage has increased a bit in order to outfit two bikes.

    I unpacked the box and was immediately impressed by the weight of these bags. I wasn't sure what to expect, but I have to say, the material is heavy and rolling down the top to make the dry seal takes some effort to make a tight roll. I'm sure this will loosen up over time, but it speaks to the quality of the material used.

    With the bags out of the box, both Mrs. Stain and I couldn't believe how big these things were either. Nelson Rigg claims 27.5L capacity. I'm pretty sure its all there too.

    All the seams are sealed, and the straps utilize a slider to keep excess strap "tail" from flapping.

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    Now for some measurements.

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    Basically, the bags are large. The roll top is great with a nylon ribbing to increase stiffness.

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    Strap Detail:

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    Ideally, these bags should be mounted with a rack. There are straps top and bottom to secure the bags to your racks as well and straps that extend from the side to keep them from flapping.

    So far, I'm suitably impressed. Between the material weight and the size and the fastening system, these seem to be a good choice.

    I have my bikes in storage at the moment and will be up to do some farkling next week. I'll take my Nelson Rigg bags with me and test out the mounting system and post more pics then. In the meantime, if anyone has any more questions, I'd be happy to answer them.
    #2
  3. sierraoffroad

    sierraoffroad Long timer

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    terrific write up C Stain. could you post pics of them together for an overall view? I think Nelson Rigg is definately stepping up to the plate in the ADV luggage world with the survivor offering.
    #3
  4. Unstable Rider

    Unstable Rider Moto Fotografist

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    Did you say what each one actually weighs?

    It will be good to see em on your bike.
    #4
  5. effensteve

    effensteve Enjoying the ride

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    Dammit man, I started that thread and you grabbed the swag, I even tried to contact them. Leave an effen message they say. Congrats to you though :thumb . they do look nice and had the NR folks done a better job on the website or even given me the time of day I probably would have chosen there product over the more expensive wolfmans. Oh well maybe nextime
    #5
  6. MightyMouse

    MightyMouse Adventurer

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    A picture tells a thousand words, but I would still like more words in this review. In the interest in spurring more conversation, here is my critical impression from looking at those pictures:

    I may be way off base here since I haven't seen these bags in person, but from looking at the pics, they just look CHEAP to me. They don't look like they are made out of the quality PVC-coated nylon or PVC-coated polyester that real whitewater river-running dry bags are made out of. I'm used to the quality of river dry bags made by Sotar, NRS, and Jacks Plastic Welding. They also look like they are assembled without attention to detail on the seams and patches where the straps are attached. It looks like the cut edges of the material will fray because they are not fully glued down. The main straps also look narrow and cheap.

    Based entirely on pictures, they don't look to be the quality of Wolfman Expedition Dry Saddlebags nor the Ortiebs. The problem with the Wolfman and Orliebs is they are too small for me, so they is why I am interested in the Nelson Riggs.
    #6
  7. C-Stain

    C-Stain Accredited Nincompoop

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    Well, without having a scale to weigh them, I can tell you the entire BOX when shipped that included the bags and three catalogs weighed in at 6lbs by USPS. So, I'd say a rough estimate they're are about 2lbs apiece? And that is probably generous. Then again, so was the six pounds.


    Ok..fair enough.

    Up until this year, I have used a Dry Duffel that I purchased at a Outdoor Shop in Halifax over three years ago. This bag was 35L range and I paid around $95 for it. It was made by Chilkoot Technical Outdoor Gear. Comparing the fabric weigh of these two bags, the weight of the Nelson Riggs are MUCH heavier. Not having any experience with the products you mentioned, I can not offer a fully formed opinion or comparison for your statement.

    From the Nelson Rigg Website:

    • Electronically heat welded seams makes this bag 100% waterproof
    • Air tight roll closure ensures no water enters the bag
    • Made from waterproof and durable tarpaulin PVC
    • Coated outer material prevents slipping or marking
    • Firm internal back plate helps support bag
    • Heavy duty top straps can mount directly to most factory and aftermarket saddlebag racks and grab rails
    • Securely mount using wide Velcro® straps and quick release buckles
    • Strong D-rings allow more Survivor bags to be attached
    • Compression straps easily adjust to volume of content

    Without having tested them on the bike as yet, or filled them with anything, I can tell you they are not a lightweight PVC. I would consider them quite heavy-duty compared to paddling bags that I used many years ago. And honestly, with the roll top fully extended the material is thick enough to stand there on its own.

    As far as the straps go, the main weight bearing straps that connect the bags are 1 7/8" wide. The straps that act as compression straps top and bottom are 7/8" and the straps that keep them from flapping are 5/8".

    All the straps are the same material that was used on other Nelson Rigg products that I have used and had no problem with.

    I feel the same about the Wolfman's and Ortleibs. And compared to some of the Wolfman Products I have had contact with, (and honestly, that's not many and I'm no expert) the weight of the material feels very similar. The other thing that you have to remember too, the Wolfman's are $213 and the Ortleib's are $129.97 per bag, all at Happy-Trail.com. There is a definite price difference, as I have seen the Nelson Rigg's listed at $116 at BikeBandit.com That's about half price compared to the other Vendors.

    My plan for next week is this: my duty tour is extended by one day and I am off on Wednesday and Thursday. I'm going to "pack" all the gear that I would take for a 7-10 day trip and carry in saddlebags. It'll give you guys an idea as to capacity and how the packed bags look on the bike.

    Personally, I've been very impressed so far by the product. The bags seem very well made and of good weight and thickness. I wanted these based on my previous experience with Nelson Rigg and so far, I am not disappointed.
    #7
  8. mouthfulloflake

    mouthfulloflake Not afraid

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    C-stain.

    does the warranty or any of that stuff mention covering fraying, or leaking at a seam?
    #8
  9. C-Stain

    C-Stain Accredited Nincompoop

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    I don't know.

    Website says this:

    • Includes a Lifetime "No Hassle” warranty

    If I can find any better information, I'll let you know.
    #9
  10. Echo1

    Echo1 Been here awhile

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    Thanks for the review. I look forward to your follow-up posts.

    I'm not sure what that fabric is in the above pic. Bottom of bag protection? Is it stitched into the bag? Potential leak source?

    Perhaps a submersion test of truth is in order. :lol3
    #10
  11. MightyMouse

    MightyMouse Adventurer

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    Thanks for the further details. I appreciate it.

    One thing bothers me:
    The statement that says "Made from waterproof and durable tarpaulin PVC".

    That is a description that does not tell me much. Most descriptions of dry bags say something like "24 oz. PVC-coated-polyester" or "40 oz. PVC-coated nylon".

    This makes me ask the obvious question: Are these bags made of PVC-coated heavy FABRIC, or is there no fabric or only very thin fabric within the PVC on some parts of the bags, making them simply a very heavy PLASTIC, like a swimming pool liner? Simply being heavy does not make them good if most of the weight is from the PVC rather than from fabric.

    If they are made from regular dry-bag fabric, then it sounds like they may be a good value, and I'll probably buy them.
    #11
  12. mouthfulloflake

    mouthfulloflake Not afraid

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    The Pool liners I have messed with, are thick, heavy and expensive, and obviously hold water pretty well.

    are you talking about a kiddy pool liner? or an inflatable pool or something?



    #12
  13. C-Stain

    C-Stain Accredited Nincompoop

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    Yes. That is bottom of the bag protection. The Inside seam on the bottom is welded, so I don't think it is a source for leakage. However, I will consider a submersion test.
    #13
  14. C-Stain

    C-Stain Accredited Nincompoop

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    I can't answer your question because I just don't have that information. I'll give you an honest opinion as to the construction, usability and value.

    Perhaps an email to Nelson Rigg Customer Service can better answer your questions and concerns.

    Sorry I can't be of more assistance.
    #14
  15. Dan Alexander

    Dan Alexander Ride Far - Ride Fast

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    Good review so far, thanks :clap

    Looking forward to seeing them packed and on the bike.
    #15
  16. MillCreek

    MillCreek ADV Risk Manager

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    Mine arrived and these are not going to be for me. So I am debating on keeping them versus sending them back. They seem well-made enough but after mounting them on my racks, they were just too floppy without an internal stiffener, and it was difficult to cinch the straps down enough without them being fully loaded.

    My NR CL-850 bags with the internal stiffeners mount in a much more solid fashion.
    #16
  17. Dan Alexander

    Dan Alexander Ride Far - Ride Fast

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    I didn't like the thin internal stiffeners that came with my Wolfman Expeditions so I searched around and found a Sterilite kitchen garbage can that was just the right size, cut it down to appropriate height and the bags keep their nice shape empty or full. Also the white interior makes finding things easy in low light conditions.

    I think it was the 1082 but for the new bags you'd have to check the specs for sizes or hit Wallmart etc and see what will work

    http://www.sterilite.com/ProductCategory.html?ProductCategory=29&section=3

    Others have used 5 gallon gas containers and cut the tops off. Works on Andy Straps, Steel Pony and all the other soft bags out there
    #17
  18. mouthfulloflake

    mouthfulloflake Not afraid

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    By a sheet of thin pastic from mcmaster carr, and make your own stiffeners.
    #18
  19. MightyMouse

    MightyMouse Adventurer

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    I'd like to know if the Nelson Riggs Adventure Dry Saddlebags are made out of a heavy vinyl or if they are are made out of a heavy coated material, like a normal dry bag? I will buy them if they are made of a woven fabric that is coated with PVC, but don't want to buy them if they are simply a heavy plastic/vinyl that does not have any fiber in them.
    #19
  20. C-Stain

    C-Stain Accredited Nincompoop

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    I emailed your question to Nelson Rigg and received a response.

    Hope this helps in your decision.
    #20