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Kriega are a small British company based in Chester, comprising just 5 members of full time staff. They started back in 1999 when two designers, Dom Longman and Michael Cottam, both with a background in outdoor kit, drew upon their collective fondness for motorcycling to set up a company that would focus on making carrying equipment for bikes. Everything would be designed in-house, with an emphasis on quality and a determination to make life easier for the motorcyclist.
Design director Dom Longman says, "We invest a lot of time in design and testing because we're not a fashion brand. We build things to last and don't release anything until its right." Dom compares this to other manufacturers who see luggage as a simple accessory, buying their range from China, rebranding it as their own and selling it as motorcycle product. Talking specifically about the backpack range, Dom attributes its popularity to the way in which the weight seems to disappear when wearing it. "We worked hard to design a strap system that took all the strain out of the shoulders and neck so that it was comfortable to wear over long distances."
The Kriega range of rucksacks can often be seen being taken in to Infinity as lots of our staff use them and can answer questions about the product from personal experience. There are many rave reviews about the rucksacks from journalists who get the opportunity to try out lots of different products. The very popular Kriega R25 didn’t win the coveted Ride ‘best buy’ tag by being rubbish!
It’s difficult to explain how much better than a normal rucksack a Kriega rucksack is. There’s obvious things like the harness that shifts the weight, avoiding lower back pain, the patented adjustment clips that prevent loose straps flying in the wind, or the sheer quality and feel of everything Kriega make.
What really sets these products apart is the amount of thought that goes into everything, from the grippy mesh on the base of the Kriega US-30 tail pack to the US Hook and its new way of attaching to motorcycles which were never designed with luggage in mind. The intelligence of Kriega's design is not always apparent until you’ve used their motorcycle luggage for little while. Cleverly designed roll tops are used to keep the contents completely dry.
Because the heritage of the company is in enduro racing, Kriega luggage is designed to with stand far more mud, rain, crash and general wear and tear than any road rider will ever dish out, so the build quality far exceeds any products made solely for the road riding market.
One area in which Kriega are beginning to expand is into adventure luggage. New to the market shortly (Jan 2012) will be a range of soft panniers that can fit to popular enduro and adventure bikes, such as the BMW GS. "They're super tough - tougher than anything we've made before," says Dom. They will be much lighter and cheaper than the currently popular heavy metal boxes that can cost up to £1000. "Our system has four minibags rather than two big bags. The principle is based on the way the military packs its kit. We think this offers more flexibility and is more effective in the real world."
Clearly Kriega spends a lot of time contemplating the problem before delivering the solution. Its intention is to be invisible, with Dom keen to point out that the heart of any new product design is compatibility with the old range. "We never design a new product that doesn't work with the old. We always try to design kit that's interchangeable." Dom believes that product is king, saying "We think that if we build a good product then it well sell itself." Dom says the company has hardly any returns, “We test things to destruction, and if we think anything is going to fail then it'll be reinforced to make sure it doesn't happen." At Infinity we can back this claim up as our returns rate to Kriega are probably the lowest of any product. We tend to find that if it ever comes back it will be in the first week due to a genuine manufacturing fault.
With Kriega they guarantee (for ten years!) that you are getting the best possible product. They don't compromise in any way.
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