Expensive but no regrets
Recently I’ve tried (and failed) to move away from riding with a backpack altogether but after looking at my options (tail/tank bags… etc) I have begrudgingly accepted that a backpack is in fact, the best option I have for my daily commute. I do have a set of really sweet and spacious Givi V35 hard bags that can be mounted on my bike, but most days I don’t carry enough items to require lugging around the two hard bags. Also, I definitely prefer the handling characteristics of my bike without them. For overnight or longer road trips, I would use them for sure, but for my daily commute I wanted another solution to carry my most essential supplies.
Back to the backpack options…
I used to carry around a tactical style 5-11 3-day MOLLE backpack which would fit all my daily supplies easily but it started getting worn and ragged from riding with it all the time. Not to mention I would have sore shoulders every day from the wind trying to rip the bag off my back at highway speeds (most of my commute). Mostly for this reason, I decided that my next backpack would be a purpose built motorcycle backpack instead of a more ‘hiking’ oriented one. After spending a couple of weeks doing research, reading reviews, and looking at different brands and styles, I decided to go with the Ogio ‘No Drag’ series and then I decided to get the top-of-the-line Mach 5 version.
It has an excellent assortment of internal pockets and trick features like the separate padded laptop/tablet pockets, shoe holders and built-in visor pocket… Basically, It fits everything I need for my daily commute with ease (keys, lunch, wallet, laptop, i-pod, various chargers/cables, extra clear helmet visor, phone, go-pro/accessories, pens, notepad, rain gear (pants and jacket), first aid kit, pliers, screwdriver, hex/allen keys, and tire pressure gauge – whew! I think that’s everything). If the standard size isn’t enough, there is an expansion zipper on the Mach 5 that allows you to cram more things in if needed.
It has an additional helmet leash to 'hands-free-carry' your helmet on the right side of your body.
Good weight distribution when fully loaded and riding. No heavy spots.
Almost NO felt wind resistance #and subsequently less shoulder pain than a typical backpack causes# at prolonged highway speeds.
No movement/shifting in crosswinds. This is a huge problem with a typical backpack. I always see other riders with their backpacks falling over to one side!
Specially designed back padding creates a cooling channel of wind right down the center of your back #even when carrying a full camelback water bladder#.
The Mach 5 comes with an extra waist strap with a small pouch for items like wallet, keys, or other small items you may need quick access to.
Last but not least… Cool looking design.
The external surfaces of the bag are so delicate that any nick or scratch is immediately visible and depending on your OCD level, this might drive you crazy. You’ll have to get used to not throwing your backpack around or laying it on its back.
The main compartment opens up from the underside of the bag, which requires you to lay it down on its back each time you go into it, see the above comment for why this is frustrating. #I open it by sitting it upright on my work chair so that the back rests against the cushion of the chair#
When in the fully tucked riding position the back of your helmet makes contact with the top of the bag.
If you have to ride to work on a daily basis and are looking for a backpack you should definitely consider this option. It’s not cheap, but it’s surely one of the more comfortable options for riders and may be worth the money to you depending on how much actual time you spend riding at highway speeds. That said, there are three different trim versions. Taking all that into consideration, any version of this bag would be better for highway riding than your typical soft-bags or hiking backpacks simply due to the hard-shell design that reduces wind resistance, and fatigue over time… For me the bottom line is this... If I'm going to spend 2-3 hours per day going 70 mph on my motorcycle I want to make sure I do it comfortably with as few distractions as possible so I can stay 100% focused on the road. Wait! I think I just justified the purchase of this bag as “safety equipment”