Andy Bell is my hero.
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: Hastings, Nebraska
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Cortech TriBag Saddlebag
Product being reviewed – Cortech TriBag Saddlebag
Product description-Protective heat shield on lower section of bags helps prevent pipe burn
-Neoprene strap and side pads help protect motorcycle´s finish
-U-shaped top-loading main compartment for loading even when Cortech tailbag is attached
-Two zippered side pockets on each bag
-Quick-release mounting system
-Internal support panels
-14.5"l x 11"w x 8.5"h (20 Liters per side)
Earlier this month I decided to head up to Sutrgis for the annual bike rally. For me, it's always been much more enjoyable to ride my bike to these kind of events. One absoloute necessity is a good set of luggage. I had a set of Torumaster SB-34 saddlebags that I have used in the past and liked a whold lot, but were really starting to show their age. What I was looking for in a pair of saddlebags was the ability to hold plenty of essentials and I wanted to take the bags on and off the bike fairly easily. I found all that in the Cortech TriBag saddlebag.
The bags come with a neoprene pad that goes under the adjustable straps which go across the top of the tail section. The bags also come with four quick release tie down straps which will help you attach the bags to parts of the bike to keep the bags solidly attached. A pair of rain covers rounds out this nice package.
I took some extra time to get the velcro straps adjusted just right across my tail section, just to be sure that they would not be rubbing against the plastic. If you were just going to strap these across your back seat, it would be a lot easier, but I wanted to use my tail hump on the bike so the straps had to fit under the hump. I hooked the quick release straps around my rear pegs and blinker stalks. With the straps pulled fairly tight, the bags felt pretty solid and stable. The neoprene pads on the back of each bag looked like they would protect my paint from any rubbing.
With the bags mounted on the bike I started to fill them up. The main compartments are plenty deep and wide. They will hold at least 2-3 days worth of essentials, depending on what you take. The side pocket can be handy, but if you overstuff the main compartment, the outer pockets don't have much room left in them. The U-shaped top opening made loading and unloading all gear pretty easy. With the bags fully loaded, all you have to do is un-do the quick release buckles from the tie down straps and you can lift the pair of bags off you bike with the built in carrying handles. The ease of removing the bags in one of the best features of this unit.
Wtih the bags loaded, they seemed to ride very well as I went down the road. After 20 miles or so, I stopped to readjust the bags a bit since the started to sag a little, but after that adjustment they were good to go for the rest of the trip. I ran into some light rain showers while riding but didn't bother to put on the rain covers. The bags aren't waterproof, but for light moisture they should protect fairly well. If you would be worried about the rain at all, the rain covers are a snap to put on. They have an elastic band that helps hold them around the bags, plus you can use the elastic band as a drawstring to help cinch the covers down and keep them from flying off.
The material that the TriBags are made from appears to be very sturdy and look like it would hold up to a lot of use. The material seems thicker that the material my older Torumaster bags were made of. I also like the fact that it has the reflective strips along the side zippers. Anything that helps to make you or your bike more visible is a great asset. On my Hayabusa, I have the standard dual exhaust and the heat shielding on the bottom of the bags did an outstanding job of protection the bags from any heat off the exhaust cans.
The Cortech saddlebags also have built in quick release buckles that are made to be used with the Cortech TriBag tailbag. Just fill up the tailbag, set it on the back seat, click the quick release buckles together, and you will be ready to go. The tailbag and saddlebags are designed to be used together as a system, hence the TriBag name. I opted not to get the tailbag at that time because I already have a good-sized tank bag that was big enough to hold whatever the saddlebags would not.
Pros - Large main pockets, easily removable, adjustable straps make them able to fit most sportbikes, and the nylon construction looks like it should hold up nicely if the bag happens to get used a lot.
Cons. I did not try out the rain covers, but even though they have the elastic drawstring, I still would find it hard to completely trust the covers from flying off. I doubt I would use the rain covers much unless it was actually raining pretty good. They are a nice feature to have though. Dirty roads might cause dust to collect on the neoprene and possibly scratch the clear coat on the paint. Just need to be sure to keep the bike as dust free as possible.
Compared to – Tourmaster SB-34. The Cortech TriBag saddlebags seem to be made of a little more heavy-duty material than my old bags, plus they are just about 3 liters bigger per side, which is nice.
Purchase price – Around $159
Available to purchase from – Some dealersips will carry these bags in stock or you can get them directly from the Cortech website.
Quality score - I would give these bags an 8.5
Ease of install – I would give these bags an 8. It's always good to take your time when installing a pair of bags like these to be sure you have them secured properly and that you won't harm the pain on your bike.
I would rate these 4 out of 5 stars. These bags are a really good value for their price.
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