Frank Thomas Lid Lugger Max Motorcycle Backpack

A motorcycle-minded backpack equipped to carry a helmet. By Evans Brasfield.

One of the limitations of using motorcycles as a daily mode of transportation is the lack of cargo carrying capacity. Those of us who ride regularly have tried everything only to find each new discovery has a different set of shortcomings: tank bags and saddlebags are tough to carry off the bike; courier bags give you that hunched-shoulder look with extended use; and most backpacks don't take motorcycle-specific needs into account. Well, Frank Thomas' Lid Lugger Max comes close to the Holy Grail of personal cargo carrying.

Constructed with an outer shell of heavy-duty nylon, the Lid Lugger Max offers pre-curved shoulder and belt straps designed specifically with motorcyclists in mind. We particularly liked the adjustability of the straps at the top of the shoulders, which kept a variety of shapes and sizes centered on the rider's hips. By keeping the weight low, back and shoulder fatigue are rarely an issue while riding--even with a ridiculously heavy load. The chest and waist belts keep the pack in place once everything is adjusted correctly, although the chest strap tends to flap at speed. (This might be an annoyance for those with sensitive nipples.) The sturdy dual-density foam backing keeps oddly-shaped cargo from jabbing the rider while helping the pack retain its shape even when lightly loaded.

The large central compartment features a zippered opening that frees the top third of the bag for loading gear. Two large outer pockets can hold more frequently accessed items. But what sets this pack apart is the nifty pouch that allows you to carry your expensive lid with you off the bike. The stretchy, soft nylon sack protects the helmet's finish while three beefy plastic clips hold it in place. Although you walk around looking like your back is pregnant, you'll be glad you have both hands free to hold your Coke and a hot dog at a race. Just don't forget how far the pack protrudes behind you when trying to turn around in a store full of expensive, fragile gewgaws.

After three months of daily use, our Lid Lugger Max has held up well. The only discernible wear is a slight tearing of the soft nylon fabric above the sturdy shoulder harness mounts. Although the damage is mostly cosmetic, we attribute some of the tearing to the foolish amounts of gear we've carried to work on a few occasions. The rain cover kept the all-important laptop dry for a few rainy commutes. All in all, we're quite happy with this pack.

The Lid Lugger Max is available from Cycle Gear in all black, blue/black and red/black for approximately $80.

Cycle Gear

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