Carrying a load - best practice - Kawasaki Vulcan Forum : Vulcan Forums
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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-01-2016, 10:24 PM Thread Starter
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Question Carrying a load - best practice

Looks like I'll be getting a Vulcan S, hopefully sometime soon. I want to use it mainly for commuting to work (about 30 min away in a rural setting to a small town).

I'm a professional photographer and often get called out on small assignments where I need to bring a bit of gear and hoping I can do this on the bike. I have a very good backpack that holds my camera gear - 35-45lbs in total, plus a tripod. The tripod can strap to the backpack if needed.

My question is, am I better off wearing the backpack or strapping it to the bike (rear carrier I'm assuming). I won't be doing this until I'm more comfortable with the bike, but I'm guessing that wearing the pack with 40ish extra lbs might throw off my balance more than strapping it to the bike itself.

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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-02-2016, 10:17 AM
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If it was me I would strap it to the bike. I used to wear a backpack to carry my clothes for work and mu lunch. Now it wasn't 40lbs. It was still bulky. Now I have saddle bags to carry and it feels much better being off my back.
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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-09-2016, 08:10 AM
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You want to secure it to the motorcycle somehow. Riding with a backpack is one of the more uncomfortable experiences, and I can't imagine 40lbs worth of gear on your back.

I ride to and from work sometimes and I've ridden with a backpack and with everything in a top case, and I can tell you the experience/fun factor of not having a backpack is night and day.

Believe me, you want to strap it down or place it in a top case/saddle bag.
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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-09-2016, 11:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Antherage View Post
You want to secure it to the motorcycle somehow. Riding with a backpack is one of the more uncomfortable experiences, and I can't imagine 40lbs worth of gear on your back.

I ride to and from work sometimes and I've ridden with a backpack and with everything in a top case, and I can tell you the experience/fun factor of not having a backpack is night and day.

Believe me, you want to strap it down or place it in a top case/saddle bag.
+1 on the comfort comparison. Consider also that if you were to be in an accident, you (and possibly your equipment) would probably fare much better if the equipment were strapped to the bike.

As to the balance issue, it probably won't make that much difference, once you get used to it. You have to learn to adjust to the load by going slow and easy until you figure out how the load will affect lean, braking, etc.

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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-09-2016, 04:25 PM
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This is probably going to come down to personal preference. Walking around while carrying a 40 pound backpack is drastically different than sitting upright while wearing a 40 pound backpack, with the extra weight pressing down square on your ass. Arguments could be made either way as far as strapping your stuff to the bike vs wearing it and what would happen if you dropped the bike or were in a crash. Either way, you and your stuff and probably screwed. Also, can you try sitting on the bike with your camera bag to see if the back seat would interfere?

As for me, I only wear a backpack when I have to or for short distances. Both bikes have a tail bag/case for carrying stuff. I almost always wear a Camelbak on the XT250, but that's nowhere near 40 pounds. I do wear a backpack sometimes when going to work, but that's just a few miles each way. I'm not a big fan of riding with backpacks but it doesn't seem to bother some people.

Good luck with the new bike.
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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 09-04-2016, 03:11 PM
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Mike, have you already acquired your Vulcan S? You say you get called out for small assignments. Will this be on paved roads most or all the time? I live in a rural area and we have a lot of gravel/dirt roads. I am not sure if the Vulcan S is a good bike for non-paved roads. I know that's not your question but curious.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeG View Post
Looks like I'll be getting a Vulcan S, hopefully sometime soon. I want to use it mainly for commuting to work (about 30 min away in a rural setting to a small town).

I'm a professional photographer and often get called out on small assignments where I need to bring a bit of gear and hoping I can do this on the bike. I have a very good backpack that holds my camera gear - 35-45lbs in total, plus a tripod. The tripod can strap to the backpack if needed.

My question is, am I better off wearing the backpack or strapping it to the bike (rear carrier I'm assuming). I won't be doing this until I'm more comfortable with the bike, but I'm guessing that wearing the pack with 40ish extra lbs might throw off my balance more than strapping it to the bike itself.

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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 09-04-2016, 04:05 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Glenn54 View Post
Mike, have you already acquired your Vulcan S? You say you get called out for small assignments. Will this be on paved roads most or all the time? I live in a rural area and we have a lot of gravel/dirt roads. I am not sure if the Vulcan S is a good bike for non-paved roads. I know that's not your question but curious.


I actually ended up with the Vulcan 900 Classic SE. Still not a "dirt" bike but fortunately most of the roads on my area are paved. There's a few dirt ones but easily avoided.


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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 09-06-2016, 08:58 AM
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Even in the super rural area I grew up in, visiting now, all of the roads are paved (instead of mostly gravel like they were a few years ago). Gravel/dirt roads, except for private roads and driveways, are quickly becoming a thing of the past. Though, they still exist!

My wife doesn't want saddlebags on her bike so she often rides to work with a backpack. But her office is just a few miles away; it's a very short commute. The backpack she's got is actually a 'motorcycle' backpack and has some nice straps on it. On long trips she'll load it and strap it to her fender rack on her bike (it's setup in a solo seat configuration).

On the 900, I think your best bet is probably going to be a sissy bar and a luggage rack. (Too bad you didn't get the Classic LT; you'd be halfway there, plus saddlebags). There are sissy bar bags that are quite large that will have a 'pouch' that slides over the sissy bar, it'll then rest on the luggage rack, and can be secured with straps. Easily on and off the bike and very secure. Alternatively, you can use a number of bags available intended for the passenger seat; some even have a nice backrest for the rider.

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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 09-06-2016, 09:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Romans5.8 View Post
Even in the super rural area I grew up in, visiting now, all of the roads are paved (instead of mostly gravel like they were a few years ago). Gravel/dirt roads, except for private roads and driveways, are quickly becoming a thing of the past. Though, they still exist! ...
I wish deep east Texas would get this memo. While most of the main roads are paved, there are still a significant amount of roads that are a mix of rock and dirt. You have to be careful when you turn off a main road onto another paved road because it may quickly turn into a dirt road. Delivering the mail in the area helped me discover many of these dirt roads.

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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 09-06-2016, 07:49 PM
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Think I'd want the backpack strapped to the back seat. That'll keep the weight low and centered as possible.
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