Ah, another review of motorcycle luggage and one of many that I hope wBW will ask me to do for 2021, even though many of us are not (yet) getting to implement either the near or long term or distance-based travel we have and are planning for; patience and understanding are, real virtues in our pandemic world.
With spring well underway, some of the wet stuff is abating and the temperatures seem to be creeping up in a relatively linear manner (although the highs and lows have been very noticeable) – patience with the weather is also a virtue.
Since reviewing the Wolfman Luggage Expedition Saddle Bags, the Blackhawk Motorcycle Tank Bag, and the Wolf Bottle Holster, as from their new for 2020 WP lineup, there has been considerable chomping at the bit in anticipation of getting more of the WP products.
With some coordination, last fall and an anxious wait, another package from Wolfman Luggage was received mid-February this year and this box contained a B-Base and two large Rolie Bag along with some new stuff-saks for the Saddle Bags reviewed last year.
But, as is usual for this part of the world, winter continued to intercede, and then as spring started to get a better grip and some short riding stints were possible, local pandemic restrictions put a serious crimp into many things for a while.
But we are (all) slowly working our way through it all and spring riding, at least locally, is something that can and is done as a socially distanced and non-grouped activity, even though many dirt and off-road activities are off-limits due to ground conditions.
And speaking of dirt and off-road activities, the topic of this review is indeed a product that is, or could be seen to be specifically oriented for off-road riders. But hold on…we shouldn’t be too hasty here and treating these products as ideal solutions for ADV-oriented riding, including off-road activities is a better and more encompassing expression.
Even that definition might be a bit too restrictive; many motorcyclists see opportunities in almost anything and adaptation truly is or can be a good thing, if done properly and safely; to wit, the now-departed F900XR looked and worked just fine in wearing the Mosko Moto Reckless 80 (v3) kit, and it would be equally at home in wearing the Wolfman Luggage B-Base.
Wolfman Luggage introduced rack-less motorcycle saddlebags way back in 2010 and a decade later the E-Base and B-Base products were fully rethought and transformed into new offerings. This then is our entry point.
The Wolfman Luggage B-Base ‘Unrack’ System
Wolfman Luggage has three ‘Base’ WP (welded process) products – the E-Base designed for enduro and (smaller) dual-sport machines, the B-Base for the big ADV and larger dual-sport motos, and the Tank Pannier Base that reflects E and B-Base design but goes its own way regarding versatility and modularity.
But until a smaller lighter off-road-focused moto is added to the home fleet that might be better served with the smaller E-Base or Tank Pannier Base products, it is the B-Base, along with two Large Rolie Bags WP that helps satisfy the craving for more Wolfman Luggage pieces that can address virtually any soft-sided packing requirement.
In addition to the F 850 GS Adventure and R 1250 GS (HP) occupying garage space, the B-Base and Rolie Bag solution is well-suited for bigger KTM singles and twins, Husky Nordon (on my shortlist) along with any old or new KLR650 models, Honda AT in all variants, the venerable but valued Honda XR650L, Yamaha T7, and Suzuki DR650 or V-Strom editions…you get the picture.
In other words, there isn’t much the Wolfman Luggage B-Base can’t be used on. Its simplistic conforming shape and minimalist but effective three-strap approach to keeping the piece securely in place on the motorcycle works.
And when it’s time for some (or more) end-of-day recreational exploration on two wheels or if laying over for a spell and living under something with a roof, the B-Base and secured packed pieces can be removed in seconds and carried off in one fell swoop.
B-Base Construction Details
Two layers of durable 840d TPU with a middle plastic insert form a strong material sandwich giving the Wolfman Luggage B-Base strength, durability, and stability while providing (very) good shape performance for mounting purposes; eliminating the need for side racks or other supports – as intended, although an exhaust heat shield might still be prudent.
Three simple, easy-to-use, and replaceable mounting straps, one at the back and one at the front on each side provide the motorcycle attachment solution. With the B-Base secured in place the strategically placed precisely formed laser-cut slots facilitate the use of the included flat straps for mounting up the Wolfman Luggage Rolie Bags or any other desired luggage pieces.
Long 50cm (2in) wide flat compression or cinch straps with slide adjusters and large buckle connectors are positioned vertically so they can run over and down the length of the side bags and once their two sections are connected, provide even more security in mounting the side bags while enhancing the overall stability of the system.
More high-stress and strong versatile attachment points in the form of six 50cm or two-inch D-rings along with surface-mounted pass-through sliders for narrower 2.5cm or 1in strapping and additional slide fasteners are found on the top section or deck of the B-Base.
The large D-rings, two on each side and two in the center are ideal for mounting and securing large drybags, duffels, or whatever across or along the seat and back section (or rack combination) or, multiple pieces side by side, like two small or medium Rolie bags with the center D-rings as the shared anchor points for both pieces…imagine the possibilities – just keep it all safe.
As with virtually everything Wolfman Luggage produces, all the base or ‘unrack’ mounting straps and assembly components are replaceable; there is a lot of versatility, flexibility, and survivability in this approach that is hard to beat.
System solutions are easy if small, medium, or large Rolie Bags are used, along with other Wolfman Luggage pieces like the Expedition Duffels WP, the large Zippered Expedition Duffel WP, the new Zip-R Bags, or other brand packing gear.
Smaller connectable containers or carriers, like the Wolf Bottle Holster, a Pitkin Pole Bag for tent poles, or a Tincup Pocket are also easily mounted to the B-Base or the Rolie Bags.
Rolie Bag Construction Details
These three Rolie Bags utilize the same durable 840d TPU WP (Welded Product) build as all the new Wolfman Luggage pieces for a 100% waterproof shell. They use a simple roll-top design and loop fastener (not a pull-down, side-strap approach).
Non-skid non-scratch pad and inside plastic protect contents and the motorcycle from abrasion. The flat mounting straps are easy to use and easy to replace. These original-style Rolie bags come in three sizes providing 6L, 12L, and 20L of capacity – one style of bag, lots of functionality, and versatility.
Features & Specifications
B-Base Features & Specs
- Single piece shaped layout construction, no side racks or pieces needed
- B-Base WP (Welded Product) is the foundation or base piece
- Two-layer 840d TPU fabric with plastic middle – durability, shaping and stability
- Laser-cut webbing slots for increased bag stability and versatility
- Multiple 5cm (2in) D-rings for attachment points laid out on B-Base surface
- 5cm (2in) wide webbing for stability and strength
- All high-stress areas are reinforced
- Design in the USA and made with Wolfman legendary care and quality
- Dimensions: fitment width, 23cm to 46cm (9 to 18in)
- Weight: 1.6kg (3.4lbs)
- Colour: Black
Rolie Bag Features & Specs
- 100 waterproof, radio frequency welded seams (WP)
- Ultra-tough 840x TPU fabric construction
- Black outside and bright yellow for interior
- Simple roll-top and fastener design
- Laser-cut flat strap slots for mounting versatility and strength
- Non-skid non-scratch pad and inside plastic to protect contents and motorcycle
- Mounting straps easy to easy, easy to replace
- Distinctive reflective Wolf logo
- Small Rolie = 6L or 366 cu in, 15cm x 38cm (6in x 15in), Front to back 10cm (4in)
- Medium Rolie = 12L, 20cm x 38cm (8in x 15in), Front to back 15cm (6in)
- Large Rolie = 20L or 1220 cu in, 25.5cm x 38cm (10in x 15in) , Front to back 20cm (8in)
- Designed in the USA
B-Base & Rolie Bag Mounting
The B-Base’s multi-layer construct makes for a tough, shaped piece that is stiff and supportive but still conforming when fitted over the seat, back section, fender, or on a rack and pulled down along the sides.
Once laid out so the needed support points for attaching luggage pieces, like the Rolie bags, to the side arms or the top section is made easy and, but without compromising its basic layout shape so it does not or cannot get mixed up with any motorcycle components or moving parts.
The single back strap is 89 cm or 35 in long and mounts to the friction adjusters on the left and right back edge of the base. The front mounting straps are the same length, but once looped and mounted to the flat D-ring assembly there is about 84 cm or 33 in of usable length. The CAM buckle and strap layout can be changed on the D-ring piece as needed – total versatility.
B-Base on 2020 R 1250 GS HP
With the OE plastic luggage grid piece removed, the back of the newest member of the home fleet now sports a well used Alt Rider Rear Luggage plate that provides a large, strong rear deck good for many uses – one being to host the SHAD aluminum top case plate needed to use the TERRA aluminum TR37 and TR48 top cases.
The SHAD aluminum plate or its front top case engagement pieces are easy to use as needed for deck layout purposes, but after trying a couple of different layouts with the B-Base, the optimal positioning has the back of the base piece pushed up against the front of the Alt Rider piece and the back mounting strap runs through back or side cut-outs on the Alt Rider plate.
And when wanting to use the TERRA top cases for some lockable luggage, the back mounting strap runs to the side underneath the Alt Rider plate, around the back mounting points, and over and back up to the other slide adjuster; this also works for the F 850GS Adv layout.
The front mounting straps pull forward and slightly downwards (as desired) to loop around the passenger footpeg assemblies and then back to the CAM buckle for connection and adjustment. With the passenger footpeg pieces now removed, subsequent installation of the B-Base will see the lower guard pieces above and slightly behind the footpegs used.
B-Base on 2020 F850GS Adventure
The first layout of the B-Base on the 2020 F850GS Adventure was undertaken late winter as soon as the Wolfman Luggage piece was removed from its plastic bag. This first fit assessment didn’t reveal any immediate or insurmountable issues, so it was put aside for photos, etc., allowing other ongoing winter cabin fever abatement strategy work to continue…
With late winter/early spring efforts seeing (most) of the other (current) accessory work completed, the B-Base is again positioned over the back seat just slightly ahead of another Alt Rider and SHAD aluminum plate combination like the configuration on the R1250GS.
With the SHAD plate removed the Alt Rider piece provides a long deck that can host a smaller plastic top box for day and/or off-road excursions and when removed clears the deck for mounting larger soft luggage pieces, in combination with the B-Base, for when a completely soft-sided luggage configuration is required or desired.
The Alt Rider plate on the F 850 GSA sits just above the rear section of the motorcycle, a positioning that serves to reduce the height and load impact of installed pieces especially the top cases when loaded. As such, the B-Base back mounting strap passes through side slots of the Alt Rider plate and across the back underside behind the mounting hardware.
All cutouts and edges on the Alt Rider luggage plates are rounded and smoothly finished, so there are minimal concerns over the strap being prematurely worn. But if preparing for long-term mounting use the strap will be treated to short pieces of heat shrink slipped over the strap for edge protection; the same approach taken for the lower or front straps.
The front straps are pulled forward and downwards to the side kick guard pieces mounted on the frame just above and behind the rider footpegs and then looped back to the awaiting CAM buckle for securing and adjustment. This pathing works well, and the straps are out of the way.
When loaded with the large Rolie Bags and everything pulled tight, there is about 5.0cm or just under 2.0in of clearance between the lower edge of the B-Base and the muffler on the right side.
Some early rides in traffic and at slow speeds which has heat building up on surfaces and day trips have not revealed any visual heat impact or damage – the TPU is pretty tough stuff, but better safe than sorry, so an original small exhaust shield from another supplier is being installed and a larger one on the near-term procurement list.
Mounting the Rolie Bags
Initial preparation of the Large Rolie Bags is done in a somewhat leisurely dismounted approach with a folding table brought into play as it truly does make some of the work much easier, especially with the first use.
Each Rolie Bag comes with four long flat straps measuring 25.4cm or 1.0in wide by 113cm or 44.5in long with heat-cut ends to minimize material separation and make running the straps through, around, and over things an easier activity.
With these long sealed-end flat straps laid out on a table, lay the Large Rolie bags face (logo) side down to reveal the pass-through reinforcement section welded onto the backs of the bags. Typically, the outer two slots (of three) are used for routing the long straps.
This initial work can be done with the bags empty and relatively flat or, it can be done with some shape in the bags (lightly packed or just rolled with the air capture inside for pressure) a condition that can make follow-on activities a bit easier; the choice is yours.
Most instructions, including related videos, identify or show a long flat screwdriver or narrow ruler used to push the straps through the 15cm (5.9in) length of the strap pass-through which are somewhat constrictive (close tolerances). Once the straps are pushed through, pull the ends even; the bags are ready for mounting to the B-Base.
At this point, it is or can be a good idea to position the bags in the desired layout on the left and right sides with the roll-top oriented up or for center mounting, in the desired position. The B-Base can be fitted, or it can be laid out on a flat surface. In either case, this visualization exercise works.
Hold the Rolie Bags against the sides of the B-Base and run the top and bottom ends of each strap through the front or facing side of the top and bottom slots and then around the back edge towards the bag itself forming an unsecured but visual loop.
Take each of the four ends, top and bottom, and thread them through the outer two rows (of three) MOLLE style slots located on the frontal perimeter of the bag (six slots per row on the Large Rolie bags).
I usually push the strap in at the slot closest to the back and exit at the third; again, the choice is yours for load layout and security. This Wolfman Luggage video link is a good one to watch as a reference no matter how the Rolie Bags are going to be used.
Route each of the straps through the desired slots, pull their ends up to the respective slide fastener positioned on the front face of the bags. Don’t forget to add the elastic loop retainers if desired (recommended), then loop the strap into the (front slot) and back through the (back slot) that provides the resistance (friction) hold, now pull some excess strap through.
Another approach used is to leave about 4 to 5 inches of excess strap on the bottom connection points and pull the remaining excess through to the outer or upper side mounting points as it is (often) easier to access these points for adjustment and to secure any excess – unless the straps are cut to a specific minimum length.
If the elastic retainers are used, the excess strap is rolled or wrapped tightly and secured under the retainers. Although with use and from experience, when wet or worn, the elastic-based pieces tend to expand and become less functional over time – keep an eye on them.
Replacement straps, typically short narrow hook-n-loop wrap pieces are widely available as multi-piece or in rolls – economically priced and (very) effective over the long term.
A small roll of them (grey and black) are kept in a sealed plastic bag and stashed in some handy but not-to-be-forgotten spot on all the home fleet motorcycles, along with some electrical and Gorilla tape.
On the Road
Right off the top, it needs to be said that the Wolfman Luggage B-Base and Large Rolie Bag configuration has not (yet) seen the prolonged ADV travel that would include some long overdue off-road forays to better evaluate function and performance.
Between spring weather and ongoing lockdowns with related limitations, the plans are seeing some severe crimping of things; but we are all in this together and we must all work together, so we can indeed get back in the saddle and the two wheels turning for more than just local riding.
Regardless of the above limitations, the B-Base and Rolie bags are being put through their paces to the extent possible and they aren’t getting any pampering.
Assessed functionality of and performance from the B-Base and the two large Rolie Bags has the combination given an excellent bordering on outstanding rating…leaving a bit of scoring room for future use is prudent, right?
The B-Base by itself is the obvious result of thoughtful design based on knowledge and experience and it is one of the easiest-to-use, soft-sided luggage platforms seen; the newer WP-based products, first seen and used last year, are outstanding pieces of gear.
While not limited to using pieces like the Wolfman Luggage Rolie Bags, they are indeed the most complimentary options, as could be expected with the two large bags being just right for a balanced load with the capacity to carry all the personal clothing and lightweight gear needed for extended travels.
Another drybag, similar in size to the large Rolie bag, is typically used in the center, although a larger hi-viz drybag that has roughly the same dimensions as the large Expedition Duffel WP can be fitted lengthwise between the two Rolie pieces. It would’ve been nice to have a full suite of the WP bags, but this mixed brand combination works extremely well.
Based on what can be packed into this older and well-used hi-viz drybag, either the large Expedition Duffel WP or the Zippered Expedition Duffel WP would be able to carry all of your essential camping gear. As things start reopening, there will be opportunities to use the outdoors overnight stuff.
A roll-top sealing solution is still the best way to keep your stuff dry…based on the premise that the overall shell integrity of the drybag is maintained along with the proper (three-roll minimum) of the roll-top and secure fastening!
But on the other hand, there are some large and small drybags here that use a waterproof zipper and they have never leaked, even in some heavy downpours. As such, the Wolfman Luggage Zip-R Bags (WP) look like good riding options for wet weather.
Accessing the interior of narrow top or even full-width roll-top bags is not hard but zippered access is faster and should be easier…hopefully, we will get a chance to try the new pieces soon.
From a security and stability perspective, the Wolfman Luggage B-Base and Large Rolies, and anything else fitted, is very secure and very stable; the minimalist mounting strap layout is deceiving while being extremely effective and easy to use.
It takes a minute (more or less) to install a loaded B-Base and just seconds to remove it; and it probably weighs less than a couple of hard fully-packed side panniers that may or may not have lift handles, although internal tote bags are great equalizers…
And here we are again, another ADV luggage product review and virtually no long-distance travel crud accumulated on the items. But we do our best locally and between the (fast) disappearing road-salt buildup, spring gravel, dirt track mud, and other grime accumulations, most of the travel look is created.
Not that any of this ever seems to bother the Wolfman Luggage WP gear – wash it or wipe it off and presto, like new again. Minimal maintenance outside and none of the elements allowed inside; this is good. Very good.
Less the motorcycle, or rider, deciding to take a nap or having an accident of some kind that could put undue stress on the luggage, there isn’t much to worry about with the Wolfman Luggage WP gear.
The continued use of cheap and readily-available flat strap makes maintenance and/or replacement of essential pieces easy. Another very good thing.
As identified above, Wolfman Luggage has added Zip-R Bags to their product line of dry bags for 2021. These new pieces use a YKK AquaGuard Water Repellent Zipper for the openings and pockets, for quick and easy opening and closing of the bag. It certainly adds convenience, although perhaps at the expense of the overall waterproof integrity, and the hassle of zipper maintenance.
Getting some of these new Zip-R Bags to add to the B-Base layout would be most excellent and if we can get some, they will help make the longer-term use update to this review even more interesting; my fingers are crossed.
The Wolfman Luggage B-Base and Rolie Bag combination is one sweet luggage solution that is or can be a simple, cost-effective gradual build-up of pieces to form a complete soft-sided luggage solution that’s good for almost any type of use and travel. The B-Base itself should fit securely and safely on many, many, motorcycles, and this same universality is provided with the specific Wolfman Luggage Rolie Bag products or similar products, along with all sorts of smaller but very functional and very essential add-ons. Based on having done multiple reviews of WP-based products, everything used is assessed as excellent to outstanding; simple durable and very functional and, highly recommended.
- B-Base is a heavy-duty multi-layered lightweight but conforming mounting platform
- Usable on a wide range of motorcycles, not just pure ADV or off-road machines
- Super easy to layout and mount securely
- MOLLE style layouts and mounting sections facilitate the fitting of Rolie Bags
- Rolie Bags are absolutely 100% waterproof and very durable
- Wolfman Luggage Accessories are easily attached
- Compatible luggage pieces can be used
- B-Base can be removed in seconds and lifted away without disturbing the load
- Lightweight, easy to handle, and store
- Cost-effective regarding quality, function, and performance
- Long straps and fasteners work, but quick-release buckles would be a good option
- Roll-top Rolie bags are top-access, packing/layering needs to be considered
- Elastic strap retainers are small, easily lost, stretch when wet, and wear quickly
- Basic exhaust heat shield piece should be included – clearances with high-exhaust pipes will or could be an issue for many motorcycles
- Manufacture: Wolfman Luggage
- Price when tested: $390.00 USD (B-Base and two Large Rolie Bags)
- Designed in: USA
- Made in: (China)
- Warranty: Depends on the product, see this Returns, Repairs & Warranty link
- Review Period: March to May 2021
- Review Submission Date: 12 May 2021