Review: Kriega R25 - £119.00

People often evangelise Kriega bags, and after using the R25 for a few months, I can see why

I SEEM to see people using Kriega bags on a daily basis and most people I’ve talked to who use them are quick to evangelise their enthusiasm for anything with ‘Kriega’ stitched in to it, so when my tired old North Face rucksack finally died, I decided to see what all the fuss is about.

The Kriega R25 has, wait for it… 25 litres of storage. There’s nothing particularly revolutionary about the storage space, which is made up of one large main compartment containing a smaller zip-close pocket (useful for phone, wallet etc) and then a larger zip-close sleeve on the front of the bag. There’s no faffing about trying to fit things in different pockets; the R25 gladly and easily accepts anything I’ve so far tried to cram in, be that clothes for weekends away, or a notepad and laptop for daily duties.

Thanks to four straps and clips on the R25’s exterior it can cinched down when it’s less full. That’s useful, but when these straps are pulled tightest (when the bag is least full), there’s always bit of excess strap left flapping about in the wind.

The Kriega R25's best feature is the comfort on offer from the harness and 'Quadlock' retention system. Because of the way the harness straps don't run right under the arms or at the edges of the shoulders, they don’t pull at my shoulders or dig in under my arm, or constrict them when the bag is full and pulled tight in to my body.

The Quadlock harness system also gives the R25 a very secure fit. Once on, it locks in to place with two sets of high-quality plastic clips at the chest and can be drawn closer to the body using the metal adjusters at the waist.

The result is that at speed, the R25 stays firmly locked in place instead of being a distracting hindrance when riding fast and moving around the bike a lot, or getting buffeted by the wind. It means that I never have to give a moment’s consideration to whether my bag is moving around on my back, leaving me free to concentrate on riding.

I’ve used plenty of other backpacks that, with the use of chest and waist straps, have been able to achieve a secure fit, but no way near as comfortably as the R25 because they require all the straps to be pulled tight – often too tight for comfort. The Kreiga has none of that and it even manages to be comfortable when loaded full because of the substantial padding on the back of the bag.

The undersides of the straps are covered in a grippy silicone-like material to stop them from sliding around against clothes and although it’s OK with textile jackets, it seems to grip best against leather.

The R25 is made of 1000D Cordura and my experience of it tells me that in the rain, water is eventually going to find a way through. I’ve used the R25 in varying degrees of rain and it’s kept the water out apart from during one hour-long ride in very heavy rain when moisture seeped in through the bottom and my stuff at the bottom of the bag ended up getting damp. I’m now slightly wary about carrying my laptop in it in the rain, unless I've got a plastic bag with me.

The R25 is superbly constructed - the zips are sturdy and chunky, as are the various plastic clips and clasps, and the alloy waist harness adjusters. The reflective areas on the back of the bag and the front of the harness are a simple but effective way of adding some visibility in to the otherwise black exterior. Kriega are clearly confident of the R25’s quality too, because it comes with a 10-year guarantee.

A rucksack is part of my daily riding kit, so to have one designed specifically for motorcyclists, and executed so well, with such high levels of comfort and stability makes Kriega R25 an essential piece of kit for me, but it remains to be seen whether I become one of those people who can't help but evangelise Kreiga.

Tested: Kriega R25 rucksack

Price: £119.99

Contact: Kreiga

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