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Old 08-16-2010, 09:24 AM   #1
MaverickH1 OP
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For those of you with Cortech Tri-Bags

I don't know if this is something to expect from Cortech equipment or not, but I just sent this lengthy e-mail to Cortech:

Quote:
I own a Kawasaki KLR650, an on-road/off-road bike. After purchasing the bike, I quickly decided I wanted a tank bag and went with the Cortech Tri-Bag. I figured I couldn't go wrong because it was from a well respected company, and it had all the features that I wanted in a tank bag. This is a very nice bag, with features that I love, but these are the problems I have found with it through real world testing that your engineers and designers may find important.

There are currently two issues I have with this bag. Both have left me questioning the integrity of the design teams of this bag. Firstly, my bike (being an on-road, off-road bike) will fall. It's a definite. You can't explore the peaks and passes of Colorado, or the off-road mining trails of West Virginia without the bike falling over. However, this bag was not prepared for that to happen to the bike. On my way home from work one day, I went to explore a back road I hadn't seen before, and when I tried to stop got a shoe lace stuck on the footpeg (I hate that!) and the bike tumbled down. With only a few documents in the bag (not weighted down), the beginning to the zipper snapped off from the mounting base. From then on, the bag had to be mounted using bungee cords. When I thought that maybe this was just a flaw with this one bag, customer service at Cortech told me my only recourse was to buy another mounting base for $25, and did not offer any condolence to designing a bag strictly for "ideal conditions".

My second complaint, and this one was very shocking to me, comes from a fall on "Mountain Goat Pass" as I would come to call it out in Colorado. The bike tumbled, and gas leaked out of the gas tank (as it is designed to do). Much to my surprise, the waterproof bag for this tank bag pretty much disentigrated. The waterproofing material flaked off and the seams opened up on it.

So running through my head, this tank bag was not designed to survive a fall when nearly empty. How would it fare with the two bags piled on top of each other and a full load of waterproofing gear, spare visor, maps, etc? And for icing on the cake, very important components of the *gas tank* bag is allergic to gasoline.

Needless to say, I'm not very satisfied with this bag. I wish that Cortech would either fix these problems on the drawing board or put a note in advertisements to say that this bag is not a heavy duty bag meant for surviving falls, to keep the waterproof cover away from gasoline, and that it is a bag designed for ideal conditions.

I have cross posted this e-mail on ADVrider to get input from other riders as well as notify some fellow riders of these issues. Maybe my perspective and expectations are completely wrong on this. Any response from you will be copied/pasted into this thread. I look forward to your response.
I added this image just so they can see how their bag looks on the KLR



So, your thoughts? Am I being too unreasonable? I'm not even asking for new/free stuff, I just want them to acknowledge the mistakes or fix them. Hell, I just thank the man upstairs that they had the foresight to put mounting D-hooks on the lower bag at all 4 corners. It sure makes it easy to bungee down.

Really, this bag is great for storage, and it makes for a great pillow on those long, boring interstate rides.
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Old 08-18-2010, 06:40 AM   #2
HaChayalBoded
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don't ride in any shoes that require laces!

Oh and that might be a little too big of a tankbag for the KLR.
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Old 08-18-2010, 06:45 AM   #3
3power
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You dumped your bike and the luggage was damaged. I don't think that is a manufacturer's defect. Also, waterproof does not mean all-liquids-proof. I don't mean to sound like an ass, but I think the bags were not designed for what you want them to handle. They are basically meant to carry items, stay secure to the bike while riding (not crashing), and remain relatively weatherproof. You might look at some other, pricier, bags instead.
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Old 08-18-2010, 07:05 AM   #4
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Try something from Wolfman. They are made for dual sports.


I think the Cortech bag is meant for road riding, where crashes are not a regular occurrence.
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Old 08-18-2010, 07:08 AM   #5
MaverickH1 OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 3power
You dumped your bike and the luggage was damaged. I don't think that is a manufacturer's defect. Also, waterproof does not mean all-liquids-proof. I don't mean to sound like an ass, but I think the bags were not designed for what you want them to handle. They are basically meant to carry items, stay secure to the bike while riding (not crashing), and remain relatively weatherproof. You might look at some other, pricier, bags instead.
For the most part, I agree with you. But on the other hand, I think their engineers dropped the ball on this mind exercise. It really just depends on what they were trying to accomplish. If they were making a bag to suit the needs of Harley riders, this bag is great! But it doesn't have enough leather :)

This isn't a cheap bag. It retails for the same amount that the Wolfman bags sell for. It's more expensive than Ortlieb's tank bag, and my experience with other Ortlieb products so far is that they are damn near bulletproof.

If it doesn't fit the riding that my bike does, that is fine. But I want to alert people of a couple of things, here:

1) I want Cortech to be aware of any possible issues with their product. If they decide the issues are not worth fixing, that's fine.
2) I want people here to know what to expect from Cortech, and if this bag doesn't fit their style of riding, plan accordingly.
3) Keep your waterproofing equipment (I don't know if this is just Cortech) away from any gasoline. It will disentegrate the "waterproofness". (This bag ISN'T waterproof, it comes with a little waterproof cover you install over it. That is what is trashed now.)
4) If you already have one of these bags and you do any off road riding, secure this tank bag with bungee cords so any movement is countered by the bungee cords and not the zipper on the mounting base. Since the mounting base seems to be designed for "ideal conditions".
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Old 08-18-2010, 08:08 PM   #6
steve_k
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Crashing, falling over, and other gravity checks are part of riding. Designing something that can hold up to everything is just not possible, or cost effective.

Thats about all I can say.
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Old 08-18-2010, 08:25 PM   #7
MaverickH1 OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steve_k
Crashing, falling over, and other gravity checks are part of riding. Designing something that can hold up to everything is just not possible, or cost effective.

Thats about all I can say.
Well, I beg to differ.

For example, the manual for anything will usually tell you how they expect you to use their equipment and consequently will give you an idea of what it was designed to handle. If the manual said "Do not load this bag with more than 15 pounds of equipment", then that would be a good indicator that the bag and every structural piece of it should be designed to handle any load caused by the shifting of the cargo inside. And the engineers would design for such a thing.

The worst case scenario would be for a bike falling over. It wouldn't necessarily involve a bike tipping over and having the tank bag catch on a branch and have all 500+ pounds of the bike suspended by the tank bag system's weakest link. If it broke in such a case, I wouldn't be complaining. That is much, much more than the bag should be able to handle.

But again, there was practically nothing in it when it fell, and the zipper just snapped right off the mounting base. You CAN design for such things, and I was surprised that a manufacturer as well regarded as Cortech WOULDN'T design for such things.

My shining example thus far has been Ortlieb. My side bags made by Ortlieb have a weight limit of (I believe) 15 pounds. They specify that in whatever literature there was, or on the website or something. Point is, they DESIGNED these bags for me to have an accident, it seems. The side of the bag that meets the pavement is a tough leathery material, and when my bike got tired at 40 mph in a turn, the bag ripped itself off the bike. The contents were unharmed because they were protected by both the leathery material on the outside of the bag as well as the polymer panel on the inside of the bag. The engineers COULD have designed the mounting system to detach itself if a force of XX was generated. From this, they could estimate the amount of abrasion that the bag will see, and how much material and of what type to put on the exterior of the bag. The end result is that I had a crash (my most violent one to date), and all I had to do was drag my bike from underneath the guardrail, pick up my ejected Ortlieb bag, and slap it back on. And off I went! Now THAT is a good design. I wish I had gone Ortlieb for the tank bag, but I haven't been able to see one in person yet.

MaverickH1 screwed with this post 08-18-2010 at 08:31 PM
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Old 08-19-2010, 07:55 AM   #8
steve_k
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Well, so far you seem to be the only one that agrees with yourself.

Things breaking is all part of riding... For example... The last new RM250 I had before I gave up desert riding came out unscratched after I wadded it up several times over a couple of years, including when I broke my femur. When my buddy took it back to camp while I was being taken to the ranger station, it fell over in camp and the seat got torn when it hit the ground. Oh well, it's part of riding... Or parking in this case.

Not trying to be rude, but you did ask for opinions.
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Old 08-19-2010, 09:43 AM   #9
MaverickH1 OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steve_k
Well, so far you seem to be the only one that agrees with yourself.

Things breaking is all part of riding... For example... The last new RM250 I had before I gave up desert riding came out unscratched after I wadded it up several times over a couple of years, including when I broke my femur. When my buddy took it back to camp while I was being taken to the ranger station, it fell over in camp and the seat got torn when it hit the ground. Oh well, it's part of riding... Or parking in this case.

Not trying to be rude, but you did ask for opinions.
On the first point, very true.

On the second, also very true.

On the third, also true.

But if Wolfman bags actually design their bags to put up with a little bit of wear and tear (which would be easy to do), and if Ortlieb does the same (which the products I have would indicate they do), then I want other Dual Sport riders to be aware of better products. And you or anyone else saying in this thread that it shouldn't be surprising that a drop breaks something... to an extent I agree with that statement, but a whole other side of me disagrees.

A company that makes a good product could easily design these things to take a fall and not break, as I've alluded to earlier in the thread. If we don't demand it from them, the product will never get better.

Basically, and as I said earlier, I just want people who have dual sports to know which equipment is ready for the punishment that our hobby/sport/lifestyle brings. Trust me, one of the last things you want is for a bag holding your luggage to break in a middle of nowhere off road path.

Aside from the design of the bag itself, I was a little surprised (from a customer service perspective), that the only fix from them was to sell me another mounting base at full retail price. And the "large zipper" that I had is supposed to be the heavy duty mounting base...
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Old 08-19-2010, 10:41 AM   #10
TwoShots
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Eh?

I don't use Cortech, but you mentioned Ortlieb.

I had a KLR fitted with Ortliebs. One day the center stand sank into very hot and soft pavement because... well, I'm in UT where it gets ... you guessed it... hot. The bike fell over. Camera equipment in the bag was damaged.

I had a DRZ with Ortliebs as well. After a year of regular exposure to sun/air/dust, the seams frayed and completely failed. Also, the bags roll-top closure ceased to roll smoothly because when the material becomes so dry, it becomes very stiff.

Ortlieb should have anticipated those situations.

So, when I get out of therapy, I'm going to sue for lack of foresight. Then, I'm am going write them a letter telling them to review their entire Research & Development program. Then, I'm going to start a thread on ADVRider to warn how much Ortlieb sucks...





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Old 08-19-2010, 10:56 AM   #11
MaverickH1 OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TwoShots
I don't use Cortech, but you mentioned Ortlieb.

I had a KLR fitted with Ortliebs. One day the center stand sank into very hot and soft pavement because... well, I'm in UT where it gets ... you guessed it... hot. The bike fell over. Camera equipment in the bag was damaged.

I had a DRZ with Ortliebs as well. After a year of regular exposure to sun/air/dust, the seams frayed and completely failed. Also, the bags roll-top closure ceased to roll smoothly because when the material becomes so dry, it becomes very stiff.

Ortlieb should have anticipated those situations.

So, when I get out of therapy, I'm going to sue for lack of foresight. Then, I'm am going write them a letter telling them to review their entire Research & Development program. Then, I'm going to start a thread on ADVRider to warn how much Ortlieb sucks...
Welcome to the Equipment section of the forum, where we discuss equipment. If it gets a little too technical for you to understand, just move on.

You are right, Ortlieb SHOULD be aware of any ill effects caused by (what you say) is UV radiation and dryness. You SHOULD send them an e-mail bringing it to their attention. If it gave their engineers pause at all and made them consider such effects and caused them to design a better bag, you have done a service for your fellow riders who purchase the product down the line.

But saying that you are suprised that something got damaged inside a soft bag on a tumble... that's full retard. And you never go full retard.

If you mock a fellow rider on this forum because he is trying to make it so people can make an informed purchase decision or protect the investment they've already made, why are you in this forum? I suppose it's easier to just mock somebody instead of giving valuable input.

Got to go, my therapy session starts in a few.
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Old 08-19-2010, 11:32 AM   #12
Sanders
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Kudos to you MaverickH1 for presenting an informed, albeit, debateable, position on equipment you find questionable.
I like reading threads like this until they disintigrate...
I too have had less than good experiences with Cortech. While they seem to be well thought out plastic hooks that break and can't be replaced has rendered a tail pack to the shelf.
Good Luck
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Old 08-19-2010, 04:55 PM   #13
steve_k
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MaverickH1

Aside from the design of the bag itself, I was a little surprised (from a customer service perspective), that the only fix from them was to sell me another mounting base at full retail price. And the "large zipper" that I had is supposed to be the heavy duty mounting base...
Im surprised you got a response back from them! A few years back I tried to contact them to see if I could have some repairs made on some gear, never heard back after a few emails over a few months.
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Old 08-19-2010, 05:16 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steve_k
Crashing, falling over, and other gravity checks are part of riding. Designing something that can hold up to everything is just not possible, or cost effective.

Thats about all I can say.
I've had the Tribag for ten years now and haven't had any issues. I consider it one of my best gear purchases. Both of the bags have been on bikes that hit the pavement at one time or another and have always stayed mostly put (they do sometimes slide a little). I have never used the waterproof covers, so can't comment on those.
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Old 08-19-2010, 05:25 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steve_k
Im surprised you got a response back from them! A few years back I tried to contact them to see if I could have some repairs made on some gear, never heard back after a few emails over a few months.
The time I had gotten a response, I called them. When I expect a query to be answered, I call. If I'm just giving them information, I usually e-mail.

It makes no rational sense, it's just what I do
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