Here’s the problem. Your adrenaline-pumping supersport is stupidly fast and skinny as a runway model. Okay, so that’s just your fantasy, but here’s some truth: It may be speedy but there’s almost no place to mount a decent set of luggage. In case, you know, you want to go somewhere. It’s duffle bag and bungee cords for you, pal.
You can take it with you: The Mistral I includes shoulder straps to turn it into a massive
Or not. Ventura has a solution called the Bike-Pack. With it, Ventura builds a truly modular system with a host of options. The bags—including the Mistral I tested here and used in our “A Fast Getaway” cover story (MC Nov.)—are designed to fit over a tall vertical loop with an integrated rack. They range from the 10-liter Sport-Pack up to the tanker-sized, 47-liter Mistral I. Ventura just introduced the Bora I, a 31-liter bag sharing the Mistral’s semi-rigid, formed-shell construction.
The bags and rack are the same for every application. What changes are bike mounts that, generally, bolt in place of existing grab rails or to other structures on the rear subframe. Ventura’s fitment chart is, incidentally, staggering—if it’s not there, your bike might not exist.
In the case of Suzuki’s Hayabusa, the Ventura parts replaced the stock grab rail, a 10-minute swap. For Triumph’s Speed Triple R the installation was slightly more complicated, requiring the removal of some plastic, but the steel tubes went on without a hitch and cleared (if just barely) the Triumph’s under-seat mufflers.
Each bike gets a specific set of L-Brackets that connect to something sturdy under the pla
These L-Brackets, as Ventura calls them, terminate in open sockets. Into them you can insert the tall Pack-Rack, a shorter Sport-Rack, or a Grab-Handle. (No extra charge for the capitals or hyphens.) Ventura’s modularity allows you install L-Brackets on different bikes and move the rack/bag combo where needed.
Our experience with the Ventura system has been universally good, once past the ribbing our man Ari Henning gets for having a “sissy bar” on his Speed Trip. On the Hayabusa, a fully packed Mistral I impacted handling only at very high speed, while the Triumph was also largely immune to the weight. Because the Pack-Rack can be mounted with the rack facing forward so you can place the bag with most of the weight is over the passenger seat, not hanging over the taillight. Reversing it shifts the back rearward and accommodates a passenger.
The Mistral I bag has a massive, lined center compartment with three exterior pockets and a smaller pocket in the lid for your cell phone and wallet. If what you need doesn’t fit, take the car. At $479, the system is more expensive than throw-over saddlebags, but includes the bag, a Pack-Rack and one set of L-Brackets. A storm cover is optional. All system components are available separately, in case you need to repair crash damage or want different bags for different days. Actually, there is one problem with the Ventura system. It’s so effective that all your no-good GSX-R buddies will ask you to carry their junk. Learn to say no.
|Ventura Bike-Pack Luggage
|Contact: Ventura Motorcycle Accessories
|Verdict: 5 stars
|Flexible, capable semi-hard luggage that fits almost every bike. Even yours.