Who am I and why the hell should you care about reading my blog?

Avid motorcyclist & freelance writer, specializing in motorcycles & motorcycle related topics, with a healthy dose of good humor, good vibes & general advice on simply being a good person.
Showing posts with label street bob. Show all posts
Showing posts with label street bob. Show all posts

Saturday, May 4, 2024

MotoReview- Viking Bag’s Dagr Sissy Bar Bag

MotoReview- Viking Bags’ Dagr Sissy Bar Bag

Well, MotoReaders, as promised, I humbly submit to you, my review of the Viking Bags 22L Dagr sissy bar bag! 

Okay, first off- in the interest of FULL disclosure- I did not buy this bag, I do not work for Viking Bags, I am not related to anyone (that I know of) that works for Viking Bags and I do not own any stock in Viking Bags, nor will I benefit from a positive review of, or suffer from a negative review of, this bag (or any other items I review on my site). That said, let’s get to it, shall we?

Initial impression

 When I arrived home from work today, I was excited to see a decent sized brown box, waiting for me at my driveway. I anxiously picked it up and noticed that it had a little heft to it… again, a wave of pleasant surprise and satisfaction washed over me. Once inside, I opened the box to find a nice sized bag wrapped in a clear plastic bag that was tied. Had it been raining, I’m confident that the cardboard box’s contents would have been safe and dry inside. After plucking the bag out of the box and unwrapping it like an impatient child at Christmas, I removed the hefty, well made and very sturdy bag from it’s plastic cocoon. 

I, gratuitously, decided that the best place to take some photos of the bag was on my work bench, where I’ve been working on resurrecting the MotoWriter Dyna, which, if you haven’t heard (or, read about here on the site, yet… click the link here —>>) I crashed a few months back. Yes, I must also admit that the MotoWriter wall sign, that my good friend Nick over at The Wood Shop made for me, makes for a nice background detail… again, I know it’s gratuitous, but hey, I’m grown and I do what I want! 

Digging in

Hearing a distinct rattle when handling the bag, I feverishly began unzipping the compartments to see what goodies the bag contained. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the two side pockets are big. Not, “hold a pair of jeans” big, but definitely “keep your phone, GPS, keys, wallet, Snicker bars, and maybe even some miscellaneous H-D poker chips or challenge coins” big. The best part is, that there are two of them and they are equally large, not like some of those bags that have the random sized compartments that make no real sense. The main compartment held the culprits of the rattling sound- a rain cover, a shoulder strap and two (2) smaller straps for tying the bag to your bike in, probably, any way that you might want. 

In this photo, I’ve got them propped open with a marker (on one side) and a roll of painter’s tape (on the other side). The main compartment is big and has plenty of room for a couple of pairs of socks, underwear and maybe a t-shirt or two if you pack them tight enough (disclaimer- I wear a size large t-shirt, so I can make it work… if you’re bigger than that, it might get tricky for you). Viking also claims that the bag will hold “31 cans”… but I’ve yet to try that, as I’m more of a bourbon man. The “flap” (if you can even call it that) opens up and it has two detachable straps on either side to keep it from flopping open and dumping it’s contents. They are adjustable, so if you only want it to open a little bit, you can. If you want it to open all the way, adjust them out or simply unclip them. I, very loosely, refer to the flap as a “flap” because it doesn’t “flap” at all. There isn’t anything on this bag that is “flappy”, actually. The “flap” is very well made and semi-rigid to keep the contents of the bag safe, while helping to maintain the bag’s shape. On the inside, it has a mesh, zipper close, compartment that could be used for any small items you don’t want falling out of, or getting mixed up in, the main compartment. Did I mention the security? No? Well, I will. The main compartment can be closed and secured with a small padlock- think, “TSA approved.” It won’t keep anyone from stealing your bag, but it will prevent anyone from rooting through your bag and gawking at your weird under britches that have the hearts printed on them. 

Inside the main compartment is another zipper that runs along the entire inner wall. Snooping around and unzipping it, reveals the inner plastic “wall” that gives rigidity to the outside of the bag and maintains the overall shape. The plastic is thick, maybe 3/16” or just a tiny bit thinner and its made of a nice flexible ABS plastic that really looks like it can take a beating without shattering or cracking. The top of the bag has a sewn-in, and riveted, nylon strap handle that has a plastic “comfort strap” (that’s what I’m calling it… maybe the folks at Viking Bags can use that). The handle is well made and will, no doubt, be able to easily hold up to all of the weight that can be crammed into this bag- be it 31 cans of your favorite beverage, or all of those “heart” boxers that your aunt Susie gave you for your birthday.

The intelligent design didn’t stop at the back of the bag either. The strap to attach it to the sissy bar is wide and thick and will easily fit over most sissy bars (or back rests for you folks that are offended by the word “sissy”). It comes with something that, if I’m being honest, I’ve never seen before- two vertical, and removable, metal rods. The rods are used to adjust for the width of your bike’s sissy bar- a very cool feature and one that was very well planned and, from what I can tell so far, very well executed. There are D rings on the rear of the bag that can be used with the straps provided, to secure the bag to your bike, or, convert the bag into a backpack! Very cool! 

Overall Thoughts

My overall first impression of the Dagr bag is that it is very well made. It has what I like to call “smart engineering and design” all throughout. It’s obvious that whoever designed this bag, did so intentionally. The name, Dagr, is an old Norse word meaning, basically, “day” and that’s exactly what this bag is perfect for (although, I can see myself using it on overnight trips, too). 

Quality is top notch- the stitching is sturdy and the materials are very nice- a mix of nylon rip-stop and a rugged, rubber composite that blends very well into the design, making this bag not only functional, but attractive. The size is perfect for holding a variety of necessities on a road trip- sunglasses (and reading glasses for those of us who are getting a little older these days), sunscreen, gloves, snacks, and whatever else you want, or need, to bring along to make your trip a little better. 

While the MotoWriter Road King has big, cavernous saddlebags and a detachable trunk for my longer trips, I plan on using this bag on the MotoWriter Street Bob, once it’s put back together and ready for road trippin’ again, that is.

Durability, longevity and affordability 

I can’t, personally, speak on affordability, as I didn’t actually buy this bag, but I can tell you that, for the msrp of $69.99, and a current promotion (as of today) of $59.41, I think it’s a steal. This is a bag that you will keep from bike to bike until your significant other or one of your kids (or grandkids) decide to “appropriate” it for their own use. It looks good and is well made. 

As for the durability or the longevity of the bag, I obviously won’t be able to speak on this yet, either, as I just got this thing today. I will honestly be surprised if it doesn’t outlast some of my other gear (and maybe even one of my bikes), but I’ll do a proper follow-up review in 6 months, and another one at a year, to give you some updates on it, in case you’re still not convinced. 

Final thoughts

I’ll leave you with this to ponder- how much do you spend at the coffee shop every month? How much do you spend on fast food? How much do you give to your co-workers’ kids that are always selling cookies or doing some other kind of fund raisers? If you’re an average person, I’d be willing to bet that you could buy two of these bags a month, every month, for what you spend in coffee and fast food alone. So, why not take a chance and get a bag that will, absolutely, last longer than all those McBurgers and Starspressos. Go check out Viking Bags (by clicking the link at the top right of this page) or by clicking here and check out what they have to offer. 

Instead of spending a hundred bucks a month for some overpriced drinks or some, potentially cold, fries that will only give you joy, happiness or satisfaction for a few moments, take a break from the drive-thru line for a few weeks and buy yourself a bag that, I suspect, will give you years of service. Hell, what’s the worst that could happen? If you only use it for one year’s worth of road trips, it will still have given you more use than those deep fried fart sticks and that chalky ass, coffee flavored, sugar water. Make your coffee at home and brown bag your lunch for a month and get something that will actually bring you some joy- the Viking Bags Dagr sissy bar bag. (<<— shameless plug, but click the link and check it out for yourself!)

Now, I better get back to working on the MotoWriter Street Bob, so I can put this bag to good use before the next review!

Until next time, MotoReaders… ride safe and make good choices!

Saturday, September 2, 2023

I Crashed


I don't think this will buff out.

I crashed the MotoWriter Street Bob

Well, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again- if you ride motorcycles, it’s not a matter of if, but when, you will have a mishap. I’ve had my share over the years, but it’s been a long time since I’ve had anything serious happen… until a few nights ago. I was riding a road that I’ve ridden, probably a few dozen times, and I failed to heed the warnings. You see, there is one particular curve that, while it’s not crazy, it is dangerous enough that the county road department installed a sign warning “dangerous curve ahead” on the approach. If you’ve watched any of my earlier videos, you likely saw the one where I went into this exact curve in the least sexy way possible. It always has gravel in the apex… always. On this fateful night, there was no exception. 

An evening ride on a known road

I would venture to guess that, statistically, casually known roads are more dangerous to us than those that are brand new, or well known, to us. We tend to take it easier on roads that we're unfamiliar with, and get more relaxed on roads that we know (or think we know) well. It's the in-between roads though, that seem to be the ones that really get us in trouble. Those backroads that we know well enough to be comfortable on, but we don't ride on enough to be able to anticipate every curve. 

While taking an evening ride on one of those roads- one that I’ve ridden multiple times in the past, but is not one of my "regular" rides- I approached the aforementioned "dangerous curve." I was looking for the tell-tale signs of the ever-present gravel swath, but there was none… until suddenly, there was. I was over halfway through the curve, with a fair, but not too aggressive lean on the Dyna, when all of a sudden, a relatively thin (maybe 18” wide) swath of gravel appeared directly in front of me. It was laid out in the road, perfectly matching the exact line that I was in. I knew that going into the gravel would surely put me into the asphalt and high side me into the oncoming lane (I’ve seen enough crashes like this to know how that would play out- and the outcome of those were all bad), so I tried my best to apply enough brakes to get off the line I was on, which was heading toward my certain demise. 

I was able to successfully apply enough brake to stand the Dyna up and miss the majority of the gravel, but unfortunately for me, in doing so, it put me going across the center line and into the oncoming lane. By the grace of God, there was no one coming, so with everything I had, I tried to keep the Dyna off the shoulder, but the stock, single disc front brake on the 2011 FXDB simply wasn’t slowing me down enough and I inadvertently pushed a little too much on my rear pedal. Big mistake. The rear tire started to lock and before I could release and reapply the rear brake, I ran out of room on the road surface and the back of the bike started to slide sideways. The scoot first went down on the high side (that's the right side for those that don't know), sliding into the grass shoulder. Once in the grass, it slid a few feet before catching and high-siding, ejecting me off a few feet from my downed machine. I had enough wits about me to tuck my head in anticipation of the impact, and I landed hard on my back with my helmet barely tapping the hard, dry, grass covered, red clay ground. 

Body and bike

I stayed down for a second doing a mental assessment: wiggle my toes- check; move my fingers- check- breathing clear, in and out- check. I slowly stood up, checking myself for injuries and was feeling pretty good about my condition, until I got upright and could feel a warm wetness flushing down my back. I reached back and felt it- yep, it was wet. When I pulled my hand back, I could see it was covered in blood. Evidently, when I landed, I slid across something sharp that was embedded in the dirt and grass, because, as I would learn later, my back had a gash that was about 6-8 inches long running across at an angle with all of the other superficial scratches from the rocks in the dirt. 

The MotoWriter Dyna didn’t get out quite so lucky; the bars were bent, the fairing and clutch perch destroyed and there was fresh oil on the low side fork tube. Aside from that, the tank had some scratches on the low side and the H-D logo was ripped off. After manipulating the clutch lever back in place, I was able to start it, though. It fired up and ran fine. A Good Samaritan saw the aftermath of my self-induced mess and offered to help. Being a stubborn-ass man, I initially refused, but after he insisted that I wasn’t putting him out, I reluctantly agreed and he left to go get his truck.

I love the South

As I was waiting for him to come back, I was able to get the bike picked up and moved a little further down the ditch (I was trying to get it back on the road, but couldn’t). I called my wife, then the local sheriff’s department, to report the crash. A few other folks came by and checked on me, but I told them that I had some help coming, so they went on their way. A few minutes later, my new friend, who for the sake of his anonymity, I will call Mr. L, came back with a truck and trailer. 

South Mississippians are the best people I’ve ever met. This guy, who only knew me from the second that he saw my dumb self standing in the ditch with my busted motorcycle, generously offered to help me. Not only that, but once he got there with his truck and trailer, he offered to let me take the whole rig, so I could get the bike back home. Being that my back was as bloody as a horror film crime scene though, I respectfully declined and told him that I would ride with my wife in our car so I didn’t stain his seats with my ripped up back. Initially, Mr. L. offered to bring my bike back to his place until I could come get it because one of the tires on his trailer was in bad shape, but once my wife and the deputy got there, he could see that the pain was starting to set in, and offered to risk the tire and bring it all the way to my house, so I could rest and heal without having to worry about going out again to get the bike. To recap- this man was on his way home from work when he saw some random stranger, crashed into a ditch on his motorcycle. He offered… no, he insisted, to help the stranger, then he offered to let this complete stranger take his truck and trailer without knowing if it would ever be returned. Can you imagine what our world would be like, if everyone was as kind, generous and trusting as Mr. L.? 

No good deed

They say that no good deed goes unpunished, and about a mile away from my house, that rang true for Mr. L. The damn tire on his trailer blew out and completely came off the rim. Mr. L. was undeterred, though. I got out of my wife’s car to see what we needed to do, and he just waved me on and said he was going to run it on the rim until we got there; and run it on the rim, he did. We pulled the whole sad looking contraption, consisting of a busted up Harley-Davidson strapped to a trailer with one tire, into the driveway and Mr. L. helped me unload the MotoWriter Dyna off the trailer. I offered to replace the wheels on his trailer, but he adamantly refused, telling me that he had two new tires for the trailer at home, but he just had not put them on yet. I’m not sure if he was fibbing or not, but I told him that he could leave the trailer at my house and drop the tires off later, and I would get it all fixed back up for him. After all, it was, literally, the very least I could do. He reluctantly agreed, would only allow me to give him a sports drink for all his trouble, and then, after some polite conversation, he headed back home to his family and I went inside to let Mrs. MotoWriter get me fixed up.

Stubborn ass man

I mentioned before that I am stubborn. Well, as you can imagine, that means I opted not to go spend my evening at an emergency room. It turned out that, while it was pretty long, fairly deep, splayed open sort of wide and full of grass, dirt and debris, it was still just a cut across my back. While my wife was gathering up all of the necessary supplies, I checked my own vitals: breathing- still clear and full; blood pressure- understandably high; heart rate- a little elevated, but good; blood oxygen- 100%; and after going pee, I saw that I wasn’t passing any blood. For my limited medical knowledge gained from being a father of two rambunctious sons- I determined that the likelihood of my having any significant internal injuries was somewhat low. 

Mrs. MotoWriter did a great job, even if she did almost pass out twice. She got it cleaned up, closed up and bandaged, thanks to the advice and guidance from my youngest son, who just happens to be an EMT. I took some ibuprofen to help quell the pain, since it felt like Mike Tyson kidney punched me with all of his strength, and then I went to bed. I actually slept pretty decent, considering the circumstances. The next morning, however, my plans of getting up and going to work were dashed when I tried getting out of bed. I felt okay, but I was moving like Frankenstein’s monster. Everything hurt, so I messaged the boss and went back to bed. I had been trying to catch up on my writing, but alas, the bike wasn’t the only thing broken (I’m blaming everything on the Blue Super Moon)… my home internet also went out. We cancelled our satellite TV service when we got the fiber optic internet, so no internet meant no TV… which meant that I was given plenty of time to write, but I just couldn't upload it, so this story will be a few days old by the first time you get to read it.

Cuts heal and chicks dig scars

As I’ve learned so many times in the past, cuts heal and chicks dig scars; what is dented, can be fixed, what is broken, can be replaced. The most important takeaway here is the lesson learned. 

I was on a road that, from my own experience, has a dangerous curve and the most dangerous part of that curve for a motorcyclist is the ever present gravel that sits patiently on the blacktop, waiting for it’s next two-wheeled victim. I knew it was there… because it’s always there. Out of the dozens of times I’ve ridden this road, I can only remember once, maybe twice, where the surface was clear. That is on me. As a certified motorcycle operator and motorcycle instructor, I know that when the rear brake starts to lock, I’m supposed to release to rolling friction until I regain control. In this particular situation, mid curve with inadequate braking ability and very little real estate to operate in, I was unfortunately doomed to my fate, because I simply ran out of room. The best I could hope to accomplish, with what I had to work with, was to mitigate the damage as best as possible, which I did. This crash could have been much, much worse. But, this crash could have also been avoided altogether.

I’m not as young as I used to be, so I know that I’m going to be feeling this one for a while, even after the cut heals and Tyson’s bruising goes away. I’m just thankful that I was able to use the training that I have to minimize the overall damage… to the bike, but mostly to me. Mrs. MotoWriter would never forgive me if I went for a ride and didn’t come back. I’m also thankful for good, truly good, samaritans like Mr. L. I’m grateful for his help and generosity and I’m proud to say that I know him- he’s a good man. People like Mr. L. really help restore a person's faith in humanity.

My biggest regret in this whole situation is that I failed to use my own experience to avoid this whole damn situation. I knew the dangers and ignored them. The best I can hope for going forward is, that I learn from this hard lesson and, maybe you can learn something from my mistake, too. 

Until next time, MotoReaders, please ride safe.

It's not as bad as it could be, but it's going to be down for repairs for a little while.

The bars, forks and my newly installed (and recently painted to match) fairing are all shot.

I'm alive, I'm in one piece and I'm in good spirits.
Thanks to the awesome folks at Go Fast Don't Die for such a great shirt, and thanks to all of my loyal MotoReaders for reading my stories.

Want your own collection of cool, Go Fast Don't Die apparel? Check them out by clicking here. Tell 'em that The MotoWriter sent ya!