There are numerous ways to carry luggage on a motorcycle and one of the most convenient is a roll-bag. The name comes partly from the overall shape – generally cylindrical – and partly from the closure method. Usually, roll-bags have a long opening that rolls up and is secured to prevent weather coming in. Pretty straightforward, really.
As with the different types of luggage, there are numerous manufacturers making roll bags and one of the offerings on the market is the Aqua range from British company Oxford Products. There are four models in the range; this 20-litre bag, a 30-litre version, a 50-litre one and a huge 70-litre bag for serious trips away.
The 20-litre is available just in black while the 30l comes in five colours, the 50l in three and the 70-litre, just two. All are made from PVC tarpaulin outer with a rigid-edges roll-top closure that has quick-release buckles at each end to secure the opening.
They also have two straps that pass over the top of the rolled-closed opening to keep it secure. All the seams are welded for full waterproofing and inside, there is a single, large area with a Velcro-closed pouch and a flat section of plastic to provide a flat base for sitting on the bike.
Once closed, there is a useful carry handle on the top and all are supplied with a shoulder strap for carrying hands-free off the bike. They are also supplied with D-rings on the base of the bag and four straps, with double D-rings to secure the bag to the bike. There is also a hefty Velcro-closing strap to fix under the pillion seat pad or a rack if fitted to the bike.
The 20-litre bag is incredibly versatile. It’s big enough as a daily commuter and will just about swallow enough for a weekend away – jeans, hoodie, a couple of T-shirts, some undies, trainers and a basic wash kit. It doesn’t take up too much room on the back of the bike and depending on how you fix it, is really stable.
I must admit to cheating a bit when I use it; instead of securing it with the base-mounted D-rings and the included straps and the pass-under strap, I tend to use a pair of ROK straps passed over the top of the bag instead.
That’s not because the fitting options included with the bag aren’t good – they are, very good. It’s just that they are a bit cumbersome to get the bag on and off; four straps to undo, the pillion seat to release and if you are using say the pillion footpeg mounts as one of the mounting points for the strap, then they can get really mucky in rotten weather.
I’ve found that a pair of ROK straps, fitted high up on the bike’s bodywork or rack and passed over the top of the rollbag, make it much easier and quicker to get on and off. They also mean you can leave the shoulder strap attached and secured under the straps which again makes it easier when you’re off the bike.
Related: Best motorcycle rollbags
This also means that the bag itself is a little more stables than if it is held from the base only. Not a huge thing, as the smaller 20-litre bag is pretty stable in itself but the larger you go, the greater the forces acting on the bag. For the larger bag, I would usually only use it if I could fix it across the seat or the luggage rack and say on top of a pair of panniers to spread the load.
Once loaded, the rollbags are dead easy to close securely and I have never had water enter in use, regardless of how heavy the rain is. I usually tend to pack important stuff (undies, laptops) in bin bags just in case but even then, they have never been necessary – the bags have kept everything out.
There is an external pocket protected with a waterproof zip but it is less effective at keeping the water out. Having said that, it will only generally allow moisture in the heaviest of downpours.
Our sister title RiDE has awarded these bags a Best Buy triangle in multiple tests and with good reason; they work and are great value for money.
Variety of sizes for all occasions
Stylish and easy to carry off the bike
Separate fixing straps make getting on and off much easier