Everyone has luggage, and most of us have motorcycle luggage—tankbags, tailbags, etc.—to carry essentials while on the road. Gear bags are designed to carry a helmet, gloves, textile or leather apparel, boots, back protector, you name it. They’re popular among dirt bikers to secure all of their moto kit in the back of their pickup truck during the journey from home to track or trail, and they’re also used by road racers, snowboarders and motojournalists. Editors of every motorcycle magazine use gear bags to haul their riding gear to the airport, overseas, to the press launch and back home again. When I got my first gear bag, an Ogio 9800, after starting at Rider in 2008, I felt bona fide! But after dozens and dozens of domestic and international trips for the magazine, being crammed full and tossed around by baggage handlers repeatedly, it finally blew out.
Since retiring my previous gear bag, the Alpinestar XL Transition Gear Bag has served me well in recent months. Made of ballistic nylon with a rigid internal base, external slide rails and hard rubber bumpers at each corner, the XL Transition measures 38 x 18 x 18 inches, has 88 liters of capacity and weighs 13.5 pounds. Since most airlines impose a 50-pound limit on each piece of baggage, you can haul up to 36.5 pounds of gear. With the XL Transition filled with road race boots, full leathers, back protector, helmet, gloves and a few miscellaneous items, I was able to stay under the 50-pound limit, but I had to pack my clothes and toiletries in a separate bag.
The inside of the XL Transition is lined with bright yellow 600 denier polyester, which makes it easy to find what you are looking for deep inside. At one end is a zippered boot compartment, which includes a separate waterproof mud bag to keep boots in so the inside of the gear bag stays clean. The large main compartment is separated from a smaller compartment by a zippered divider that can be removed to create a single, cavernous compartment. All of the compartments have perforated tarpaulin panels for ventilation—especially good after a hot, sweaty day of riding. A wide side pocket, large enough to hold a full-size reticulated back protector, also has three small mesh pockets (one zips closed) that are perfect for holding ear plugs, cash, keys, etc. Also included with the bag is a soft-lined helmet bag and a tarpaulin that rolls up inside a small pocket and connects to the gear bag with hook-and-loop. The tarp helps keep your feet and gear clean while you change in and out of riding gear outside at a motocross track or elsewhere.
Packing the Alpinestars XL Transition Gear Bag is straightforward: just stuff everything in the appropriate compartment and, if you’re traveling by air, staying mindful of the baggage weight limit. Toting the XL Transition around is made easy with large duffel-style carry straps with a soft handle, heavy-duty haul handles at each end of the bag and a telescoping double-post handle and smooth-roll wheels that you find on roll-aboard luggage. There are also a couple of D-rings for bungeeing the gear bag in the back of a pickup truck.
So far, I’m really happy with the XL Transition. It has enough space to haul essential gear, is rugged enough to take a beating on the road, and is light enough to allow a decent amount of gear to be carried and stay under the 50-pound baggage limit. The real test will be how the bag holds up over time, especially the zippers which get heavily used and abused.
The Alpinestars XL Transition Gear Bag comes in black only and its MSRP is $219.95—a good price for a large, well-made, purpose-built bag. For more information, visit www.alpinestars.com.