Living with Ventura's Aerodynamic BikePack Luggage
by J. Rex Brown
Motorcyclists are more than familiar with the age-old problem of where to put stuff. If you own a sport bike, dual sport or sport-touring machine you'll know exactly what I mean. A tank bag, fanny pack or coat with lots of pockets is great for around town. But it's hard to do a weekend with the missus out of a fanny pack. One of the cleanest solutions we've seen is the soft luggage system from Ventura.
Fox Creek Leather
I have owned one of Ventura's Bike-Pack sets for about three years now. The system is comprised of a steel rack, a pair of custom-fit brackets and bags designed to attach to the rack. The brackets are designed specifically for each bike and are mounted permanently. The bags are available in four sizes and two can be mounted simultaneously. There is also an optional grab rail and Sport Rack intended for those times when the luggage isn't necessary.
All Ventura products are made in New Zealand by Dold Industries and offered through regional Distributors. The exclusive North American Distributor for Ventura Bike Pack Systems and Lightguards is CycleVenture, Inc. You can order through any of their distributors or directly on their web site.
My 1996 Triumph Sprint received the Bike-Pack shortly after we bought it. I ordered the basic kit with a 45-liter and a 35-liter bag. The rack and brackets are tubular steel and nicely finished in gloss black. The bags are PVC-backed fabric with heavy reinforcements in the bottoms and nice zippers. Both bags have heavy-duty handles on top and the smaller one even sports shoulder straps! The reflective triangles are also a nice touch.
It took about 20 minutes to remove the tail section and rear turn signals to attach the L brackets to the Triumph. The fit was great and installation was no problem. The Pack Rack slides into the brackets and knurled knobs secure it in place. These bolt heads are drilled for a "key" which consists of a steel pin. The bags then slide over the rack, one at a time or both if you zip them together. Nylon straps on the bottom of the bags are then looped around the rack to secure them in place.
The test of the Aero-Pack came when we spent a week in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. Upon our arrival I unlocked the whole kit from the bike and carried it upstairs like a regular suitcase. The two bags held most everything the two of us needed for the week.
Another versatile feature is the luggage and rack can be fitted to other bikes with the purchase of additional brackets. A bonus if you have more than one bike. If you don't like the look of the brackets sans bags, consider adding the Sport Rack. It provides a convenient storage for small items when the luggage isn't mounted. The quality and durability of Ventura's soft luggage system makes it well worth a look. Today the bags hang in our garage, zipped to the rack, waiting for their next outing.
Available online from Cycle Venture