Launching your company by facing a lawsuit? Not the ideal start for a fledgling organisation! Yet this is what faced Dom Longman and Michael Cottam.
High-end, top quality luggage for motorcyclists wasn’t readily available in 2000. Dom and Michael were working in the Outdoor industry at the time, and decided to transfer their skills into the biker market to fill what they saw as a gap. A new company needs a catchy name. Dom was a fan of Freddy Kruger (the anti-hero of the ‘Nightmare On Elm Street’ series), so they came up with “Krug”. As their first backpacks launched, a letter arrived through the post… from a certain iconic Champagne producer! Krug (that original kit was changing hands for some serious money) quickly changed their name to Kriega.
That name has caused some confusion, as people think the company is German… in fact they’re very much British, based in Deeside, North Wales!
From the beginning, Kriega made it clear they were going to produce high-quality kit… and quality comes at a price. Kriega’s backpacks cost close to double their rivals. But bikers quickly realised the new products were worth the investment.
Over the last 20 years, Kriega has become an international brand (selling in over 40 countries), expanding their range into rider packs, bike packs and accessories.
Innovation has been the key to the company’s success. Back 20 years ago the only option for carrying on a bike were hiking backpacks which were never suited to riding. The cantilever style hip wing for load transfer gets in the way of the petrol tank and a conventional shoulder harness (even with chest strap) tends to cut the circulation off to the rider’s arms.
Kriega developed a 4-point, X-style designed harness named QUADLOC. At the time, it really was a revelation in packs for bikers… no shoulder/neck ache, super stable at speed and easy to get on/off (no strap adjustment each time). The first batch of product was virtually embraced by all of the motorcycle press/magazine riders in the UK, which along with positive word of mouth from the early adopters set Kriega as the benchmark brand for riding packs.
Today the Quadloc Harness is still a key feature on all the range of backpacks including the latest additions for 2020. The MAX28 Urban Backpack, the companies first ‘expandable’ backpack with enough capacity to carry a full-face helmet. And the TRAIL18 and TRAIL9 Adventure Backpacks with waterproof compartments and tough hi-tech construction materials to withstand the abuse of off-road riding.
Kriega’s faith in their products is evident in the 10 Year Guarantee against defects in materials and manufacture that comes with every item.
What does it cost
It is fair to say Kriega’s US-Drypacks are legendary within the biking community. The smallest, US-5 retails at £69.99 up to the phenomenal multi-compartment US-70 at £395.00 The backpacks range from the R15 (£115) to the R35 (£195) – a new adventure range is rapidly growing.
At the more budget end of the scale (and the area we decided to test) are Kriega’s waist packs. The roll-top, 3 litre R3 costs £75 and the twin-compartment, ultra-tough off-road R8 is £125.
Where are they
Kriega is based in Deeside, North Wales. But there is a vast dealer network across the UK and a rapidly growing network of international distributors (https://kriega.com/ukdealers)
The R3 waistpack was a very deliberate choice for a product review: It is a good introduction to the range in terms of price point, plus for me, it dovetailed nicely with my Summer kit. I haul around a fair range of items (wallet, mobile, keys, earplugs at a minimum). Winter kit tends to have lots of pockets. But Summer kit (and a lot of leather jackets) aren’t perhaps so generously equipped. I also have two vertebrae fused together, so I like to keep weight on my back to a minimum.
Key requirements were comfort, ease of fitment, and there had to be a waterproof section that was large enough to hold slightly bulkier items (mobiles and wallets don’t appreciate getting wet). The R3 meets all these needs.
For me, the key to the effectiveness of this pack is Kriega’s cleverly integrating a 3 litre rollbag as the main compartment. Large enough to hold a wallet and your mobile with space to spare, this compartment is so secure; to get to it, you’ll have to undo the top pouch (two bayonet clips, then the pouches own bayonets before unrolling the top. And the rolltop, when done up, doesn’t allow a drop of water to get inside.
The top flap houses a mesh compartment that is great for things you need in a hurry (passport, tickets, payment cards) and there is another zipped pocket that is great for stashing house & bike keys (it’s just about large enough to hold a disc lock).
But perhaps the R3’s neatest trick is the waist adjustment. Expanding out to an impressive 52 inches, the R3 will fit over even bulky jackets, but is easy to adjust to allow you to move it to the front when you need to get items from it (or off the bike to be used as a general pack). Put the pack on loosely, clip up the bayonet. There is a loop on the belt; hold this. On the other side there is an adjuster loop. Pull it towards the centre, the strap tightens. To loosen, again hold the loop, pull the strap away from you. If I’m honest, it took me a couple of goes to get it (there is a reason they get me to test things; if I get it, anyone can), but there are a number of videos on YouTube that demonstrate the technique.
But it’s effective, and demonstrates Kriega’s product development over the last couple of decades.
How to get in touch
Generator NPD Ltd
Unit 5 Deeside Point,
Zone3 Deeside Ind. Park,
Tel: 44(0) 1244 280487
UK sale: email@example.com
General Enquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org
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