The Wolfman E-12 Saddlebags are incredibly well made and rugged, and being held close to the bike’s centre of gravity is a good thing. While riding you don’t notice they are there and they don’t move around from their intended location, and have a good capacity. They do need a better quick release system.
The E-12 Saddlebags are made to withstand the toughest of conditions and are well up to the job. The ballistic material will put up with being scraped along the floor if you drop the bike, and through the undergrowth if you are going into the unknown. The zips stay closed too. They will damage your plastics when mud gets in between but hell – it’s a dirt bike, get over it.
At $175 or around £125 the Wolfman E-12 luggage is not cheap, but as with our review of the Kreiga Hydro 3 backpack, if you want quality, you have to be prepared to stump up the greenbacks. And these are quality bags.
We’re not sure you could ever say a set of soft panniers was 5 star beautiful, but these are attractively designed in a rufty-tufty sort of way. The black material soon takes on the colour of the surrounding mud but washes off well and there are even reflective tapes for visibility at night.
Taking luggage on dirt bikes is a pain. Road bike stuff is never strong enough and when you peer into your selection of old rucksacks and tired sports bags in the cupboard under the stairs you just know that none of it is going to last more than a mile strapped to the saddle of your scoot when the going starts getting rutty.
The answer has to be to invest in proper dirt bike luggage, made by a company that understands just how much pounding goes on during your average day on the trails. Enter the Wolfman E-12 Saddlebag – man even the name sounds tough! Ride Expeditions Toby Jacobs loves these bags and never leaves on a tour without them.
So to be technical this is the E-12 saddlebag, an upgrade to the smaller and more compact E -10. We’ll take a wild guess and assume that the numbers refer to litres of capacity in each bag but don’t quote us on that – the main thing you need to know it that the E-12 is bigger than the E-10. As if anyone knows how many litres of space their toolkit takes up …
If you read the finely crafted blurb on the website, the bag is said to “strike a balance between capacity, rider mobility and convenience”. Translated into normal language, the Wolfman bags should be big enough to not get in the way but still hold a fair bit, And indeed they do – you can get in some spare kit, waterproofs, first aid supplies tools, gimp mask – anything you need without too much bother. One gripe would be the odd triangular shape but that’s the design that gives space for your legs and keep the bags away from the spinny bits. It really does fit in snugly and just as they’d promised, does not inconvenience the rider.
One major attribute that off-road luggage needs is to secure down tightly as any movement will shake the bag free, but thanks to the V compression strap the bags can be strapped in tighter than a Burlesque dancer’s corset. The straps are designed for just about all dirt and enduro bikes from the skinny 250s to the lumpy adventure bikes, but really come into their own on smaller trail bikes.
The bags are finished in ballistic grade fabric that shrugs off scuffs and scrapes well, and the side that sits against the bike’s side panels or number boards is suitably soft to avoid scratching. The zip is a heavy duty YKK item that keeps out the snotty stuff for all but total immersion, so your kit should stay clean if not dry. We’d recommend using an internal dry bag and maybe coating the fabric with waterproofing spray. On the top of the bag there are loops to allow you to attach additional baggage, such as the Wolfman duffel bag.
One major grip is that Wolfman’s claimed quick and easy on /off system is neither quick or easy compared to their Enduro Tank Bag as you have to unfeed the straps each and every time. This isn’t good if you are in areas where keeping stuff with you is essential. Adding quick release straps would be relatively easy, but the point is that the manufacturer should be doing that, not us!
All in all, the Wolfman Saddlebags are a good quality luggage system that is up to the job of staying on the bike in the harshest of goings. They are not massive but with soft systems, you can’t go too big and the E-12s are ideal for everything from a two-day trail ride to Ride Expeditions tours of Cambodia and beyond. Take less kit and more cash …
WOLFMAN E-12 SADDLEBAG RATING:
These bags are just about as good as you get for dirtbike friendly luggage – we rate them really highly. Visit the Wolfman website for more info on their luggage. Or, if you’d like to find out about the motorcycle expeditions we offer around the world, visit our Ride Calendar to see what’s on and when.
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