JUST THE FACTS:
If you want just the facts of the comparison, you can skip to the aptly named section:
"JUST THE FACTS. " However, if you'd like a ride on the Ramieri Roller-Coaster of Rigorous Written Report, then read on!
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to a spectacle of splendiferous satchels, a flagrant filleting of fanny-fabulous, tote-tastic trunks of travel! Which magnanimous module of migration might make the motorcycle merch master's mark? Well, regale in the scent of a sanguine-soaked skirmish as we pit pack against parcel, haversack against humpback, and rucksacks versus barracks bags.
In the Blue corner, weighing in at 4 lbs. and measuring 20" x 5" x 11.5" is Viking Bag's "Vessel of Versatility": The Viking Medium Black Street/Sportbike Backpack. Also referred to as the "Axe" Series backpack from Viking Bags, this crown contender has a 12" x 9" central lid opening and can contain a respectable 488 cubic inches of crap.
The Viking "Axe"Series... so called in "Viking Eric's" video:
In the Red corner weighing in at 5.09 lbs. and measuring 21.9" x 14.4" x 8.9" inches, is the O.G., the Reigning Champion Supreeeeeme: The Ducati Redline No Drag Backpack by Ogio. This Redline B1, made by Ogio with Ducati emblazoned embellishments, is a preformed knapsack designed not to lose its shape in the wind. Ogio toutes this backpack as a true technical knapsack (I haven't used that word since I was 11) to accompany sporty riders on road trips. There are a few non-Ducati-branded versions of the "No Drag" Ogio design. The equivalent non-branded version is the Ogio No Drag Mach 5.
The Ogio Ducati Redline B1 No Drag Backpack... that's a mouthful. Real nice for all you "Ducatistas" out there, but no... you don't need matching gear to wear this pack. I even wear mine on my Kawasaki! Well, I did before I crashed it, and I will when (and if) my new one finally comes in!
Now before we get into the epic dual "whole-hog, It feels appropriate to present a couple of disclosures. First, Viking Bags did pay me to do this review. Dude, did they pay me! Whoa-hoah, boy! I might as well drop the mic and head for Aruba... set fo' life! Well, no... obviously, I jest. They did not actually pay me with paper monies, digital monies, or even jingly forgettable monies. They sort of paid me... by providing the bag for review for free. The deal was that I have to write a review. However, and this is a BIG however, I made ZERO agreements to present this product in a positive light. Also, I will not be keeping this backpack. Now that I have concluded my research, the pack will be raffled off via All Riders so that one lucky All Rider can win it and ride off into the sunset with it.
Wanna win it? Win the Viking Bags Backpack reviewed here or a brand new Cardo Packtalk Bold communicator with JBL Speakers by buying raffle tickets here:
The other disclosure I feel I should make is that the Ducati Redline B1 No Drag Backpack by Ogio is one I purchased many moons ago for my riding pleasure. If you didn't know already, while I wouldn't call myself a "Ducatista," I am a Ducati fan who owns two Ducatis. Hence the choice of the Ducati-branded version of the bag. As a matter of fact, I bought the bag at Euro Cycles Ducati of Tampa Bay just because it and I were there simultaneously. That bag has been in use quite a bit for several years now, so it does have the disadvantage of being old compared to the brand new Viking Bag.
The two bruisers side by side.
Another point worth noting is that Viking Bags makes a bag that would be a better apples-to-apples comparison to the Ogio. That bag is their Viking Velocity Large Black Street/Sportbike Backpack. It looks a whole lot like the Ogio. I'm not going to point fingers, but someone had the idea first. Anyway, I am not pitting that bag against the Ogio simply because it is not the bag I got to try out. Viking Bags decided to send me the Axe series bag, so I am reviewing the Ave series bag.
Now for some details. We'll start with the O.G. (Original Gansta), the Ogio pack. As I mentioned earlier, the Ogio has been a staple of mine for quite some time now. With its "no drag" molded shape, it maintains a predictable size, and it doesn't make you look like Egor, the hunchback when you are walking around. It does, however, make an impression. When I wear it, "Friends" call me "Dora the Explorer" and often refer to my bag as my "Ninja Turtle" pack. I say they are just jealous but be warned: If you are a "shrinking violet," then this may not be the right backpack for you. However, if you are steadfast in your awesomeness, and you boast some mental fortitude, then by all means, ride on!
Dora's gone explorin'
This bag opens from the inside: in other words, the side that goes against your back. So there is no zipper on the outside, the side that faces the world. This is nice because stuff won't fly out if you forget to zipper the bag and go riding. Yes, I have done this numerous times, and my property has stayed stuffed within. Also, you might find yourself traversing the tributaries and varicose veins of a big city. You find yourself in an alley at night, or packed tight into a dimly lit subway train. If you do, you can be confident that some master "pick-pocketeer" will not be able to wiggle his whittle digits into a pocket containing your medical marijuana card.
With this bag, if a criminal wants something from you, he cannot be passive-aggressive about it. He'll have to go full-aggressive and stick a Glock in your face, or just shiv you where you stand. Comforting.
While the open-from-the-inside deal is an excellent security feature, it also has the downside of making it a pain-in-the-ass to get stuff out when you need to on the fly. Always a double-edged sword. You see, many times when you need to grab something out of a conventional backpack, you can let one-half of the bag drop down to the front by releasing just one strap, unzip a pouch, and pull the thing out. All of this time, you have the strap on the other shoulder still holding the bag in place. This is an easy way to retrieve something without having to take the entire pack off of both shoulders and set it on the ground to get at that tube of vaseline, uh, err... tube of chapstick that you need in a pinch. The Ogio "No Drag" backpacks are also "no easy access" backpacks because the nature of the location of the zipper opening makes it impossible to gain access in such a way. You really have to pull the whole bag off of your shoulders and set it in front of you to get into it.
Once you do get into the bag, however, it does have a lot of exciting components that make carrying most of what you'd want to take doable. This bag has a section for a 15" laptop, 2 separate slotted pockets, a mesh retaining divider, two elastic sleeves for shoes, a key holder, a bunch of small pockets for pens & pencils, and a semi-rigid visor bag that uses the contour of the molded shell to fit up against. There is also an auxiliary expandable aspect of the bag controlled by an extra zipper that runs around the bag on the inside. Unzip this for mo' space.
There is even a little zippered pocket above the main bag opening that is perfect for a cigar. It also works well for lipstick style external battery packs and switchblades (if you are not a smoker).
Other fabulous embellishments include a chest strap with quick-connect fittings and a hip strap designed the same way so that you can strap the bag down positively against you while riding. This makes it so there is no opportunity for the bag to lift away from you while riding in a "spirited" manner. I ditched the hip strap pretty early on, feeling like I didn't need that one (cool that it is removable). There is also a convenient helmet retaining leash that filters through your chin strap and lets you carry your helmet beside you as you mill about the Renaissance Fair. The location is not bad because it allows you to rest your right arm on the helmet and gives you the warm and fuzzies, knowing that the helmet is safe and sound. However, you do need to be a little careful. One time I was merrily walking about with my helmet strapped alongside when I realized that my helmet was rubbing against my jean rivets. They left some good scratches on the sunscreen visor lift mechanism.
The bag also comes with a small "fanny pack" type deal that straps onto the hip strap. You can use this to put your change in or to fill with vaseline, chapstick, or whatever little things you need to get at rapidly and without wanting to take the whole pack off of your back. This is a nice little touch. I left this behind pretty early on also, and only remembered I had it because I researched stock photos of the bag for this review.
The helmet Leash in action. Conspicuously marked: "Not for use while riding", my helmet leash has seen better days. The "coating' over the meat of the fabric has begun to flake off. While not a great thing, the leash is several years old. I'm not going to hold that against it.
The way cool internal semi-rigged visor bag. You can remove it too.
Summing it up for the Ogio, this is a badass bag that I solemnly recommend to any rider of any level of experience. The thing was built of a quantity of quality parts. The Ducati Redline version is excellent, but I'm sure the generic Mach 5 is incredible too. It comes in a variety of colors as well, which you don't get from most manufacturers. This way, you can choose the color that most matches your fabulous flavor! The Ogios cost around $155 on Amazon for the Ducati Redline (down from almost $300 when I bought it), and $199 from Cyclegear for the non-branded Mach 5 No Drag. In both cases, you are getting quality gear for your money.
But can the Ogio stand up against the contender to the crown? How does Viking Bag's Viking Medium Black Street/Sportbike Backpack "Axe Series" hold up against the Ogio Gansta? Read on to find out.
A Rainbow of color options! Well, three... maybe a few more...
Ding, Ding, Dinnnnng! Both bags clipped each other with right hands in the opening seconds of the bout, with the Viking Axe feeling the more significant effects of this double knockdown. Ogio's Redline appeared to have slipped as its right strap became trapped under its opponent's and set upon the Black Bagger as soon as it returned upright.
A swing! A Miss! A left uppercut followed by a right to the body! Awe, man, someone is horizontal staring at the bottom rope! But who is it????
The Viking Medium Black Street/Sportbike Backpack showed up at the Matt Cave, and I was pretty stoked. It is always fantastic to get a chance to experience new motorcycle shit if you are a motorcycle dork, such as me. So, I tore into that cardboard box like I was waitin' for a raindrop in a drought. My first impressions were a bit mixed. Right off the bat, I noticed that the Viking Bags emblem was on a bit crooked (which is annoying to a moto-fectionist), and the whole bag was kind of skewed or squished to the side a bit. I'd say that was a punch to the jaw for the Scandinavian.
Just by looking at it, I thought that my fears were coming true. I had a sneaky suspicion that this bag would be a heap of Chinese garbage masquerading as a bag of brilliance. In retrospect, I guess I formulated that prejudice based on the relatively low $89.99 price tag (although they have a little white $134.00 print with a slash through it on the listing to make us feel like we are getting a deal).
Early disappointment gave way to some encouragement as I began to investigate. It turned out that the zippers felt like sturdy quality items, and they functioned pretty smoothly. This bag also boasts chest and hip retaining straps, which are great for that "no-lift" action (or lack of action) on spirited rides (which I enjoy going on from time to time).
While the bag does not have the security of the Ogio's inside zipper entry, it also does not have the PIA associated with said design. This bag has the zippers on the outside, but they are a little bit understated, and a tad "incognito", which I think provides for the best of both worlds between security and functionality.
Add to that, the bag has a rigidity not in common with the typical backpack and similar to the Ogio No Draft.
The pack is not "As" rigid as the Ogio, but it is stiff enough that if you left it unzipped and went riding, it might hold closed sufficient to keep your crap inside just because of its structural rigidity.
I also found a waterproof sack meant to be put on over the bag in the event of rain. While it would be better if the pack were waterproof, very few riding bags are. I'd also be surprised if there are ANY waterproof backpacks at this price range. So, since waterproof isn't possible, an included waterproof bag helps. Some manufacturers make you buy the waterproof rain cover for their non-waterproof backpack. I should point out that the Ogio also came with a waterproof bag.
So, things were looking up then I used it. I put a total of about 328 miles on this backpack. When I first put it on, I was immediately impressed that it perfectly fit my portly proportions. Amazingly enough, the shoulder straps, the chest strap, and the hip strap all fit me without making any adjustments. Add to that; there was plenty of adjustment left on all of those parts to tighten it down (or maybe even loosen it) for other customers. This was a big deal! If you have ever tried similar inexpensive items online, they are typically designed for Chinese leprechauns. Normally, even with the straps adjusted all the way out, they won't even come close to fitting around my tubular dimensions, never mind those of someone any more rotund than me. That made me very happy.
I packed the bag full of raffle tickets and All Riders patches, added a small Bugslide kit and microfiber towel to keep my visor clean, then went out a ridin'. I spent a good hour and some change riding with the pack on my back at highway speeds ( and beyond on a closed course, of course), and I was impressed with the way the bag just clung to my body with those tie-down points of the chest and hip straps. The thing did not lift at all. By the time I got where I was going, I had completely forgotten that I even had the backpack on my back. The shape and weight of the pack is so well distributed that you literally forget that it is on. I cannot say that I can remember forgetting that I had my Ogio on. That being said, I also have never noticed it lifting. I feel like I can remember when I could feel its weight, but I may have had it pretty well laden at the time. That is one problem with comparing a new, barely used item to one I've had many experiences with—more time for bad things to happen.
I met up with some other All Riders on a few occasions wearing this bag, and I got some excellent feedback. People seemed to like how streamlined it was and how non-intrusive it looked on my back. My buddy Angel even tried it on and pointed out that it is great because you cannot see its sides when you look at him wearing it from straight on. Angel is about 140 lbs after a pizza party, which certainly speaks to the bag's sleek qualities.
The Axe Series Backpack on riders.
I had begun thinking that maybe I would not be able to give this bag up for the All Riders raffle. I had to sit myself down and say: "Self... don't be a dick. You have the Ogio, and you love your All Riders peeps, so suck it up and do what you know is right." Sigh. Alas, I have decided to listen to my not-drunk Self and agree with me on this one. The better, not-drunk me that is (for clarification).
Just while I was reveling in the awesomeness of The Viking Medium Black Street/Sportbike Backpack, I realized that it was still going to be a tough battle against the Ogio if the Vicious Viking was going to take the crown. One glaring omission on the part of the Viking Bag was that it did not have a helmet leash! Man, this is one pretty big difference since we are talking motorcycle riding bags. Any rider who wears a helmet would consider the Ogio over the Viking just because the Viking had no way to carry your helmet.
Or did it?! It turns out that while I was investigating both bags for my final notes, I discovered a hidden zippered compartment on the bottom of the Viking bag. "What in tarnation is that for?", I says to myself. Lo-and-behold... Drumrolllll!
It is a helmet sling! Dun, Dun, Dun! The Viking Bag is back in the competition. This sling folds up and tucks away into the bottom of the backpack via zippered compartment until you need it, then fan it out, roll it over the helmet, and clip it into place. Depending on how you look at it, it could even be a better way to stow your helmet than with the Ogio helmet leash. The sling keeps the helmet out of your way, but you do risk bashing it on shit while you walk around like a bull in a China shop. So, it all depends on how you like to carry your helmet. The upside is that with either backpack, you can tote your lid with ease. It looks like Viking pulled off a classic "Rope-a-Dope, and just when Ogio was on the offensive...Parry! It turns out the Axe Series Backpack is a southpaw!? That'll wake you up in the morning, boy!
It clips to the loops installed on the edges
of the backpack.
The helmet sling.
It sticks out a bit far. Just try to keep in mind that it is there... I don't think you'll be forgetting the pack is on your back when helmet laden.
In conclusion, I think it is fair to say that I was impressed with the Viking Bags Medium Black Street/Sportbike Backpack. The main things that made me happy are how light it feels on your back (almost non-existent) and how it stays right up against you when pulling strong on the bike. Another happy-maker is the stiff build (that's what she said). The quality of construction also seems reasonable, but I'd say distinctly not as good as the Ogio, and I didn't get to test it long enough to know for sure. Downsides include that it arrived a bit malformed, and I don't know if that was a package/shipping issue or not, and the logo was mounted askew. It is also a pretty cheap-feeling plastic farkle. Supposedly, the side pockets are waterproof, but I did not test that, and other than that, the bag is not waterproof. Again, nor is the Ogio, which is pretty standard for the type and price of both of these backpacks.
The Ogio is a more refined animal. I don't know if that is because mine is the Ducati Redline, which was almost $300 when I bought it, or if the $199 No Drag Mach 5 also holds up to the same level of quality. The Ogio tickles my fancy primarily because of its "No Drag" qualities and that convenient helmet leash. I think my experience with the Viking convinced me to go back to the hip strap and start using the included fanny pack, which negates the aspects of the Ogio that would serve as negatives against the Viking. So, all in all, I'd say that they are a pretty evenly matched set of products. Yeah, yeah, I can already hear the collective sigh and see the mass eye-roll coming at me. What a cop-out... a draw?!
If the Devil is in the details then Ogio wins the belt.
The quality of the finished work is much better on the Ogio, and brings to mind the refinement indicative of an Italian brand.
Welllll, not really. I'd say from ringside view; the two packs are pretty interchangeable. You would do quite well to use either one of them. That being said, our sanctioning body won't accept a complete draw. Since there was no knockout, this fight has come down to a technical decision. Considering a delta of $110 between the non-branded Mach 5 and the Axe Series backpack and $66 delta between the current price of the Redline and the Viking Bags Axe Series backpack, Viking takes the belt by an inch! With the Viking pack, you get a lot of good-quality bag for the money, while with the Ogio, in either case, you are paying for what you get.
JUST THE FACTS:
Cost: $155 on Amazon
Dimensions: 21.9 x 14.4 x 8.9 inches
Weight: 5.09 lbs
Model Number: 98104052
From the manufacturer:
Redline B1, made by Ogio with Ducati customizations, is a preformed knapsack designed to be functional on the motorcycle. The semi-rigid outer structure adapts to the body and does not lose its shape in the wind, while the interior is arranged to hold all materials neatly and securely. Lined pockets, partitions, and soft fabrics provide safe storage for any kind of accessory, while outside there are volume adjustments, breathable 3D mesh inserts, and even a handy removable pouch. A true technical knapsack to accompany sporty riders on road trips.
Main Features for Me (Pros):
No drag molded shell
Access to inside from the body side of the bag, not the outside: cannot lose contents if left unzipped while riding
Additional fanny pack included
Visor bag included
Waterproof rain cover included
Access to inside from the body side of the bag, not the outside: makes it difficult to quick access contents
Price requires a commitment
Cost: $89 on Viking Bags website
Dimensions: 21.9 x 14.4 x 8.9 inches
Weight: 5.09 lbs
Model Number: 98104052
From the manufacturer:
Heavy duty Cardura Construction.
Reflective piping for additional night time visibility.
Fits most 15" laptops in padded compartment.
Detailed organizer for your keys, wallet and other small items.
Protective eyewear pocket.
Duraflex® buckles throughout for added strength.
Height and width adjustable sternum strap.
Aerodynamic molded body.
Main Features for Me (Pros):
Waterproof rain cover included
Price is approachable
Conventional outside zipper configuration could potentially lead to lost contents if left unzipped while riding
Quality of components and embellishments leave a little bit to be desired
Thanks for tuning in ladies and gents. Don't forget, you can win the Viking Medium Black Street/Sportbike Backpack in the All Riders raffle by showing up at one of our rides, or by buying raffle tickets here. The draw date will be set any day now, and it will be posted on RafflePay.
This event was brought to by All Riders direct from Matt Cave Moto. Keep an eye out for more content (written reviews and video) from the Matt Cave. Subscribe by clicking the logo:
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* A Side Note About Fair and Honest Review Practices:
Here in the Matt Cave, and everywhere else, I take my obligation to a fair, honest, and Impartial review very seriously. I want to reiterate that although I was gifted the Viking Bag, that fact did not influence the outcome of this pretty positive review. The backpack just so happens to be a pretty good product. If the fact that they provided the bag had any influence on me at all, I would suggest that it actually forced me to look at the product more critically. Because I was hypersensitive about looking at the backpack with rose-colored glasses, I may have scrutinized it more than I would have had I bought it myself. Anyway, if you are skeptical about this review and think it is not very objective, I would invite you to pick one up and see what you think of it. As always, I welcome a healthy debate, and I welcome you to post your impressions in the comments below. Feel free to email me as well, and if your thoughts and writing skills make it worth it to me, then I will post a subsequent addition, addendum, or expansion to include your contrary opinion.