Monday, February 3, 2014

Ventura Bike Pack System and Headlight protectors

Below you can read our evaluation of Ventura Bike Pack and headlight protectors, or you can go straight to the Ventura website by clicking on the Ventura logo on the left.
Paul Dold made his first Ventura Bike Pack System in the 1970s. He designed a clever system consisting of a universal rack that can be fitted to a wide range of motorcycles via bike specific brackets. The so called L-brackets make the system a custom fit. To suit different bike styles and uses, Paul also designed a series of 6 different bags to fit the racks; from big and square like we have, to aerodynamically shaped versions for sports bikes. 

All bags and racks are interchangeable. What sets the system further apart is the quick and simple fitment of the bags to the racks: they simply slide over the rack. Years of continuous development and staying on top of his game means the bike pack system is now available for about 1800 (!) different bike models. 

No flattened pipe ends here
I looked at the bike pack system about 5 years ago and was impressed. Impressed with the quality of workmanship and the clever fitting of the bag to the rack. There are quite a few manufacturers out there that make a mounting point by simply flattening pipe ends and drill a hole in them, not Paul Dold. His brackets and racks are well made and the paint quality is very high too. The L-brackets are so strong that they even form the basis of the pannier racks for the aluminium panniers on both our Bonnevilles.

Light Guards come in all shapes and
sizes, like this one for our XT660R
We found the whole bike pack system easy to live with as removing and refitting takes just seconds. On our Bonnevilles we have the expandable Euro bags fitted. The zippered pockets are great to store items you want to have handy and the extendable top has been a real bonus too. Attention to detail is everywhere, from the use of heavy ballistic nylon for the bags to mesh pockets on the inside for smaller items. There are even handy strap mounting points for strapping things on top of the bags. Over the years the colours have faded a bit. The harsh Australian climate with it's high UV didn't help here, but apart from that they have been flawless despite very hard use. The bags live outside 365 days a year. The Yamaha came fitted with a Spada 35 litre that worked well, but had two problems for us. The 35 litres was too small and we needed something for Mike that was lockable. In the end we replaced it with a top case from Holan.
But guess where the top case is mounted to? Yep, the same well made Ventura rack!

The headlight protector saved the $400,- headlight
Apart from Ventura bike packs, we also have Ventura Light Guards. They are made from impact resistant Zykalon CS™ material and come in various shapes and sizes. Knowing the price of headlights, a Light Guard is not just a smart investment; it's a no-brainer. Little did we know how quickly they repaid themselves. On the very first leg of our trip, in New Zealand, Jeanette slid over railway tracks on the wet West Coast. The Light Guard saved the headlight as it scraped over the road. Look at the photo on the right; the headlight unit would have set us back well over $400,- in Australia, the Light Guard from Ventura is $40,-

Ventura products are available worldwide and can be found clicking on the Ventura logo at the top of this post.

Update: as of May 2014 we have replaced the Ventura bags with Wolfman. The Ventura bike pack bags were worn out. The zippers needed replacing and the material was badly faded. We still use the Ventura racks on the Bonneville and headlight protectors on all 3 bikes.