When you ride for weeks on end, you need to have a reliable luggage system on your bike. You can’t just hang a bag on your shoulders, because it will make your back ache like anything, and it will never have enough space for all of your stuff. So when we were planning for our 2 week Ladakh ride, we wanted to go with the best saddle bag available out there.
There aren’t much options as far as saddlebags are concerned. You can either go with the Cramster Colt or the Viaterra Claw. As always, Cramster didn’t qualify our list because of their bad reviews on Xbhp forums, so we went ahead and bought ourselves a Claw. The claw isn’t like any conventional saddlebag system out there, it looks like a mash-up of a saddlebag with a tail bag. This is the Viaterra Claw review for your benefit.
Viaterra Claw review: Is it spacious?
Oh yes it is, much more spacious than the Cramster Colt or even the Cramster Stallion. With a massive 55 liters of space, you can carry all you want and then some. However, unlike the conventional saddlebag systems, where you automatically get two compartments, there is just one big space in the Claw, no segregation as such. We liked this setup, makes it easier to find stuff. Just open up the bag and shove your hand in, it will be there somewhere!
There are 2 huge pockets on the sides, which can gobble up four 1 liter water bottles and some more stuff. There is a zip up top to keep maps and bungee cords. Then on the inside, you get a mesh zip where you can keep some important stuff like backup money etc. As far space and usability is concerned, there is nothing like the Viaterra Claw.
Viaterra Claw review: Is it waterproof?
Yes. The bag itself isn’t completely waterproof, but you get a nice rain cover when you buy the Claw. This rain cover fits snugly over the bag and is fastened via a simple velcro strap so it doesn’t fly away. All you have to do is add some plastic inside the bag at the base, since that is the only area where dampness comes in from the rear tire water splashes.
For this Viaterra Claw review, with this setup, plastic inside and rain cover outside, we drove the Claw into the rains and hail and snow of Ladakh and the insides remained perfectly dry. Full marks in the waterproofing department.
Viaterra Claw review: Is it easy to mount?
Yes. It might come as a surprise, but the Viaterra Claw fits into position with only 3 straps. There are two straps on the sides, which you can wrap near the front foot pegs. These straps stop the side movement of the bag. Then there is one strap out back, which you wrap around the tail of the bike. This stops the bag from moving forward. We were quite skeptical initially if only 3 straps will hold such an enormous weight, however we drove like this from Delhi to Chandigarh and the bag didn’t move an inch.
The mounting itself takes about 2 minutes. Put the bag in position, push down a bit to make it a snug fit, then bring the straps into position and you are ready to go!
Viaterra Claw review: How is the build quality?
The build quality is very nice. The bag retains its shape even if you stuff it haphazardly. The straps, although puny to look at, are quite strong. The zips work flawlessly. The whole package feels nicely built and sturdy.
Viaterra Claw review: Does it affect your ride?
No. Even a fully loaded Viaterra Claw won’t affect the way you drive, except one thing: The braking distance increases a bit. You can attack corners with the same zest, flick the bike with the same ease, but you need to keep a little more buffer as far as braking is concerned. The added weight on the rear of the bike makes the front disk a bit less effective. But that would be the case with any saddlebag system.
Viaterra claw review: Is it easy to carry off the bike?
No. Because of the shape and its huge capacity, a fully loaded Viaterra Claw feels like a dead body. There is a very wide shoulder strap, but that doesn’t help a lot. Carrying it a few meters, from the road to the hotel, isn’t going to be a problem. But anything longer than 50 meters and your shoulders are going to ache. We have already suggested the Viaterra team to add wheels to this monster, if they oblige, the Claw is going to be invincible.
Viaterra Claw review: Verdict
It’s quite obvious from this Viaterra Claw review that we are thoroughly impressed by it. It is a must have luggage system for any tourer. The best part about this bag is, it is bike independent. We have seen this bag on Bullets, Pulsars, Dukes, Ninjas, R15s, even Ducati Monsters. You don’t need to worry about straight or up-swept exhaust either. Just strap it on and enjoy the ride. For 2900 rupees, it is awesome value for money as well.
RiderZone recommends the Claw as a MUST HAVE item for serious tourer.
Image source: http://viaterra.in. Video review coming soon!