Expedition Dry Saddlebags And Side Racks
I’ve had a lot of success with Wolfman products in the past, mostly because the stuff is rugged, functional and built by guys who ride the wheels off their bikes. The Expedition Dry Saddlebags are the latest offering from the adventure-oriented company, and Wolfman states that you can jury-rig them to fit any way you want, though it recommends you use its purpose-built Side Racks. I tested both components.Available for a wide variety of Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki, Kawasaki, KTM and BMW adventure bikes, the Side Racks range in price from $214.99-$289.00. Built from burly chrome-moly steel, these puppies aren’t at all lightweight, but through hundreds of miles of off-road I never had one bend or crack. Installation was a bear, partly because I was trying to pair the Side Racks with another aftermarket fender rack and also because the fit wasn’t 100 percent in agreement with the DR650. It took a fair amount of sweating, hitting, grumbling and cross threading, but I was finally able to get everything mounted solidly. With the Side Racks in place, fastening the $214.99 Expedition Bag pair is a snap. Thanks to four mounting points and a variety of straps, buckles and cinches, it takes less than a minute to hook on both saddlebags. However, one downfall of the Expedition is that the cinch straps are also the main mounting straps, so you can’t effectively tighten the saddlebags to the racks when the bags are empty. What’s more, each time you remove something from the bag on the trail, the strap setup must be retightened so the mounting isn’t loose. This is hands-down my number-one complaint with these bags.Wolfman claims the capacity of each bag is 19 liters (with an additional two liters available if you utilize the extra tall top), which is an excellent amount of storage space for the average adventurer. When combined with the rubber-like fabric, the roll-top of the bags makes for a 100 percent waterproof seal. Given the relatively low mounting point of the bags when compared to a fender-mounted setup, I had no choice but to test this claim in a deep river crossing, and I was pleased to discover the dry bags live up to their name. Not a drop of water got into them, but on that same note no moisture is able to escape, either. I absentmindedly put a wet towel in one of the bags before a several-hundred-mile stretch of desert in wicked heat, and when I finally unpacked that side it smelled worse than my boots did.
The dry bags mount in high-risk locations, but they’re honestly so dang overbuilt you can use one as a hillside kickstand for your bike, so long as the contents aren’t fragile. When fully loaded, the Expeditions drastically affect handling and make your motorcycle look like J-Lo, so use caution if you’re going to pack the kitchen sink. Overall, I think they’re a solid addition to the hard-core adventure rider’s steed. I had my installation issues and a few minor beefs with the design, but I have no doubt the durable components and weatherproof design of the Expedition Dry Saddlebags make them some of the most rugged motorcycle luggage pieces available. -Chris Denison