I love sportsbikes. It’ll be no secret to anyone who regularly visits this site that my default riding choice has low bars and high pegs. It probably also doesn’t have much of a pillion seat. Looking around the UK, it seems that, although our national love affair with sportsbikes has waned slightly in favour of massive adventure machines, there’s still a significant proportion who feel like I do. Not only that, but manufacturers appear to believe that, regardless of your riding preferences, your pillion will be tiny and extremely flexible because passenger accommodation has almost universally shrunk.
Now this presents a unique set of problems if you happen to need to carry much more than a phone and a wallet. There’s no room under the seat most of the time and for some unknown reason it’s no longer considered useful to put more than two places to attach bungees – and how the Hell are you supposed to secure a bag like that? Not very securely, that’s how…
If you’re a regular luggage user it’s easy of course – just treat yourself to a Ventura kit and you’re fine. But otherwise you’re basically stuck with either getting a cricked neck checking your precariously strapped on bag is still behind you or carrying it on your back.
Now the last rucksack I actually bought and used for a bike cost me, I think, a tenner and I bought it solely because I needed to take some stuff home from whatever bike show I’d just visited. The stuff was rubbish, but the rucksack wasn’t. It lasted a few years and then the zip failed and now I have no idea what make it was.
But that doesn’t matter. Because it could have been The Best Rucksack In The World at the time. Maybe it was. But (spoiler alert) it would be eclipsed by this little gem.
The Knox Trekker is their top of the range rucksack. I could put it on the floor and dance around it for a while before cutting to the chase, but as I’ve already given it away I’ll get straight to it. This is bloody brilliant.
Just looking at it gives some pretty good clues. It’s made of proper heavy duty material and the stitching is as good as you’ll find on any heavyweight bike clothing. Flimsy it is not. It’s got all the things you’d expect – adjustable straps with a waist band and a chest clip to stop them from getting blown back at speed; a couple of outside pockets and so on – plus a couple of things you might not expect.
It’s waterproof. Properly waterproof. In the biblical rain we had here in England after a long dry summer two things remained undampened. Me in my oversuit and whatever I had put in this bag. Once that top is rolled over there’s nothing short of total immersion that will make your party frock (or whatever is in there) get wet.
It’s enormous. The twenty five litre capacity means you can comfortably get more in it than you’d really want to carry on your back for any length of time.
It’s comfortable to wear. Possibly not if you’ve filled it to capacity, but on a five hour round trip ride with a suit, shoes, laptop and assorted paraphernalia in it I remained quite happy and unruffled by having a fairly hefty bag on my back. As my back is knackered (possibly not unrelated to the first couple of sentences in this article) that’s an achievement in itself.
It’s really really well thought out. The two external pockets on the sides are waterproof as you’d expect, but so are the zips, which are always the weak spot. There’s a front pocket which is handy. Handier yet is the attached ripstop nylon bag inside that is big enough to fit a full face helmet comfortably. Yes – there’s a built-in helmet carrier. Pop your lid in, pull the drawcord tight and put the attached Velcro loop through the D-ring at the bottom of the bag. Then it doesn’t bounce around.
Then the clever bit that took me by surprise. At the back of the bag – the part that is against your back – there’s a zip. Open it and it reveals a waterproof (of course) padded pouch just the right size for a laptop. Just for extra safety there’s a branded waterproof laptop bag inside – just the right size for the 15” screen most of us use but big enough for a 17” Macbook Pro. The padding and position makes the laptop super secure, and if it all goes terribly wrong it basically acts as an additional spine protector. Probably not officially approved but I should imagine it’s pretty effective nonetheless.
One last thing. It’s a really good looking, well finished bag. And it has carrying handles on the top for ease of handling when you’re not carrying it on your back.
So what’s the catch? There isn’t one really. It’s not cheap at £99.99 but it’s not really expensive either, certainly when you consider its quality and general usefulness. I reckon it’ll last pretty much until I hang up my riding gear, and as I intend to do that at roughly the same time as I stop breathing (hopefully not for a while yet) it qualifies as a sound investment…
As always the best place to get it is direct from www.planet-knox.com. And yes. I would absolutely recommend it if you ever need to carry stuff.
One thing though - it's a brilliant piece of kit but an absolute pig to photograph. Sorry for the horrible quality of these two pictures...