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Old 29th January 2013, 09:50   #1
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Default The Saddle & Tail Bag Review Thread

Disclaimer - Like every other review of mine, this is 100% unbiased review that has been written at free will.

This review is divided into 10 sections...
  1. My experience with Cramster Colt saddle bag
  2. My experience with Nelsonrigg Spirit 30 tail bag
  3. Viaterra Claw first impressions
  4. Pseduo testing the Claw
  5. Semi testing the Claw
  6. Stuffing the Claw
  7. Loading on to the motorcycle
  8. Test ride experience with Viaterra Claw
  9. Post riding observations
  10. Summary

The Saddle & Tail Bag Review Thread-1472741.jpg


During Sep 2011, I made an super dooper, unplanned, disorganized & hurried solo trip to RJ. I didn't know (or rather have) much options to buy a motorcycle luggage & I had to settle for Cramster Colt. At that point, no one knew whether Cramster Colt fits perfect to CBR 250R or would touch the exhaust. So I went ahead & made the purchase after a quick check. For Rs 2400, the bag accommodated 12 days clothing, chain lube & cleaner, some waste cloths, toiletries, bike docos, Canon S5IS, slippers, additional pair of gloves, 2 water bottles, 2 screw drivers, 2 pliers & insulation tape To carry mobile, laptop & charger, I used my Swiss gear backpack tied down to the rear seat using 2 bungee chord. Half the time I had to mount the Colt between the front & rear split seats to make sure always that Colt's underneath was saved from exhaust. Needless to say that entire trip was pain in the A

After experiencing with 3 other motorcycle luggage, it's quite interesting to look back & see what I got for what I paid

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So after 12 days on road, finally when coming to Chennai, the COLT bag started touching the exhaust which happened without my knowledge & made a burn hole in the bottom of the COLT. Thankfully nothing else happened nor I lost anything. My Wife gave a nice smile & took away the bag to dump old cloths. I'm quite happy on that part because she didn't ask me the cost of the saddle bag
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Thus my COLT was short lived & I'd enough with the saddle bags & started for hunting for no more Indian makes & a tail bag combo

Last edited by GTO : 31st January 2013 at 08:56. Reason: No need for the opening line
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Old 29th January 2013, 09:55   #2
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Default Nelsonrigg Spirit 30 Experience...

Nelson-Rigg.

With a little experience I'd with saddle bag, I was determined to buy a tail bag where I'm absolutely sure there will be no issues with bag getting burnt. So I settled for NelsonRigg Spirit 30 that provides 30 litres of storage space. I did several trips & it is one of the good tail bag (why not excellent, will explain in short while), say about 4 long trips before it almost gave up. I still love it barring for one reason that it doesn't have pockets or zippers outside. This tail bag also taught me few valuable lessons... - How to compress & pack large quantities - How to carry less & carry sufficient things That made me to realize that I really don't need to carry my entire world & now I'm little confident that even for a 15-20 day road trip, I don't need more than 35 liter of space Let the pics flow...

Nelsonrigg was simple straight forward tailbag; simple box where you could dump stuff. Sometimes simplicity is best

The Saddle & Tail Bag Review Thread-1472851.jpg

The Saddle & Tail Bag Review Thread-147286.jpg

Had a strong velcro in addition to two strong YKK zippers

The Saddle & Tail Bag Review Thread-147287.jpg

A good handle to carry around & doesn't look like a motorcycle tail bag

The Saddle & Tail Bag Review Thread-147288.jpg

The underneath was built with very friction material to bind to seat strong; what didn't impress me much was that, it has 4 straps to bind to the motorcycle. This wasn't so comfortable as it was shown in Youtube videos, may be on my CBR 250R. I also had to buy extra straps for $29.99 which I conveniently didn't.

The Saddle & Tail Bag Review Thread-147289.jpg

Sturdy construction & retains the shape no matter what...

The Saddle & Tail Bag Review Thread-147290.jpg

Finally I did a great Indian juggad by fitting plastic D-clips & that was way too convenient. This bag helped me to carry out several trips with just 2 flip side... 1. The stitches weren't strong enough for the bag to be stuffed. After about 3-4 trips, the stitch gave up once & I'd to fix it with a cobbler at Mumbai 2. 30 liters wasn't just sufficient for a week's trip. I realized I need about 40 liters & may be it was sufficient was 2-3 days trip All the more, the extra length of strap that I tied gave up while returning back & the tire just wore up the strap & one of the Dclip gave up.

That is when I started looking for another bag; I was preparing myself to buy one from Dirtsack or Rynox; but both of them were saddlebags & not tail bags. I was very well aware about RJay's tail bag, but then, it was way too expensive. I was even contemplating to get one imported as well, that was the time Viaterra was showcasing their Claw or what I like to call a Taddle bag all over & thought why not give a try, plus, their 15 day return policy sounded quite interesting as well.

Last edited by n_aditya : 31st January 2013 at 09:42. Reason: Added header
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Old 29th January 2013, 12:44   #3
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Default Viaterra Experience...

ViaTerra.

I'd ordered a bag on 19-Jan & it left the warehouse on the same day; there're very few online stores that accept CC payments in this country & Viaterra is one of them, consider me lucky. Both I & Viaterra kept tracking the shipment everyday; we found the package reached my locality on 21-Jan, the lazy bumbs at DTDC delivered to me only on 24-Jan. Absolutely great packing - 5/5

The Saddle & Tail Bag Review Thread-147291.jpg


Comes with a free rain cover that is seamless construction - 5/5
The Saddle & Tail Bag Review Thread-147292.jpg


This is what I found on the interior pocket, but then on one open & close, no apprehension, things are fine. And mind you, this was with just only one zipper, all others were intact - 4/5


This is the inner pocket, likewise there's another pocket at the exterior, just behind this one as big as this one, probably to place bike documents etc
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The front side, or the side that rider rests upon, when mounted
The Saddle & Tail Bag Review Thread-147294.jpg


The rear side, or the side that is visible to others, when mounted. Notice the long strap that comes like the one in any duffle bag, that allows us easy to carry anywhere without having to look like a motorcycle tail bag
The Saddle & Tail Bag Review Thread-147295.jpg


Underneath, that sits on the rear seat
The Saddle & Tail Bag Review Thread-147296.jpg


Material quality, I'd say it's same or better than Nelsonrigg & would be insulting to compare with Colt
The Saddle & Tail Bag Review Thread-147297.jpg


Comes with a YKK zipper
The Saddle & Tail Bag Review Thread-147298.jpg


I believe it's way too easy to load; though Colt is widthy, but need to get used up to loading. I think this one is damn easy as Nelsonrigg; one thing to notice is that the stitches inside are invisible + the stitches on straps are made invisible. I think Viaterra has two layers of construction for the main compartment, because the one you see below is very spongy. Now this means, I can probably have my camera lens unscratched if the lens cover opens up. The stitches at the bottom (where the straps should be stitched for mounting) are totally invisible. Even Nelsonrigg has them visible. This means, the length of the Colt is the width of Claw; this is just for the folks who have used Colt to help them understand the size of Claw.
The Saddle & Tail Bag Review Thread-img_1811.jpg


This was another defect in addition to the above zipper on both the sides of the strap that is tied to rear footrest (we'll get to that shortly); but I suppose this hardly matters because, this is the velco part that help the additional length of strap from hanging or tying up else where. Since there isn't any weight associated, I think I can live with it
The Saddle & Tail Bag Review Thread-147300.jpg


Also notice the slight difference in the sides marked 1 & 2; this is the side that comes right behind the rider. Again, I think it hardly matters
The Saddle & Tail Bag Review Thread-147301.jpg


And this is the outside that will be visible to others; notice how reflective the materials are
The Saddle & Tail Bag Review Thread-147302.jpg


Though this is a tail bag, there're 2 clips, just like the clips provided on saddle bag like Colt. This also comes in handy if the zipper is broken or when things are too much to accommodate (for people who like to carry their house hehe) to simply pack tight & not using the zipper.
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This is one of the best part where the corner of the CLAW has plastic support; TWO thumbs up!!!
The Saddle & Tail Bag Review Thread-147304.jpg


Marked below 1 to 6 are the places where the plastic tube shown above appears including the other side making it totally 12 of them. A & B (also appears the other side) are two additional loops, which I don't know for what they're provided. May be for fastening with a bungee chord...if at all the straps give up...MAY BE???
The Saddle & Tail Bag Review Thread-147305.jpg

Last edited by n_aditya : 31st January 2013 at 09:42. Reason: added header
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Old 29th January 2013, 14:10   #4
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Default Viaterra Claw some pseudo testing...

The best are these... Left side is 1.5 liter bottle & right side is 1 liter bottle. I'm more than confident it can hold 2 X 2 liter bottles comfortably, that too on both sides. This means, I can actually carry 4 X 2 liters of water on both sides!!! That is 8 liters of water!!!
The Saddle & Tail Bag Review Thread-147306.jpg


So I thought of testing something else...especially with this...
The Saddle & Tail Bag Review Thread-147307.jpg

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Along with this bag, I never got instruction as how to mount the bag; however, Viaterra provided me a LIVE SUPPORT through phone as how the bag is to be mounted on my CBR 250R - 5/5

So let me share as how... This is the side that is right behind the rider that has two straps each one to be fastened to the rear footpeg & tightened through the DClips. 1 goes to right side rear foot peg & 2 to the left. Now that secures the bag from moving from left & right
The Saddle & Tail Bag Review Thread-147309.jpg


The best part is this one; this is the part visible to the others, and has only one strap instead of 2 (in Nelsonrigg). Here the strap from 2 has to be fastened to the tail of the bike & to be fastened to the DClip as provided at #1. I was skeptical as how the bag would hold & boom!!! What an idea Sirjee??? The bag simply didn't move a MILLIMETER!!! Now, I've only tested with an empty bag & just pulled the bike from side stand just by pulling the CLAW & there was absolutely no issues or whatsoever. I think this is far better than Nelsonrigg's 4 mount strap system
The Saddle & Tail Bag Review Thread-147310.jpg


So, how long does it take to mount the bag? This is what I found; I remember it takes nearly the same time or little more to mount my Nelsonrigg with that Indian juggad
The Saddle & Tail Bag Review Thread-img_1771.jpg


and to unmount, easy piece of work...
The Saddle & Tail Bag Review Thread-img_1770.jpg

Last edited by aargee : 30th January 2013 at 11:03.
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Old 29th January 2013, 20:15   #5
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Default Semi testing Claw...

Was free for sometime on 29-Jan evening, thought why not test Claw with things that I would carry for a 7 day road trip?

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Will Viaterra Claw hold all these? Even if it did, will it hold it as one? Even if it held as one, will the straps stay strong? Even if it stayed strong, will it be mounted on the motorcycle as it has to? Will the strap stay in one place? Will the Claw keep moving with all these weight?

Last edited by aargee : 30th January 2013 at 11:03.
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Old 30th January 2013, 08:50   #6
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Default Stuffing the Claw

So, when it comes to fitting, no doubt, the 55 liters accommodated things quite easily; the 15" laptop including it's charger & a mouse was simply fantastic

The Saddle & Tail Bag Review Thread-147312.jpg


But here comes the biggest surprise & I think we're about to break the myth of carrying water; I had 2 X 1.5 liter bottle and 2 X 1 liter bottle making it totally 5 liters. I initially thought CLAW could easily accommodate 4 X 1.5 liter = 6 liters or even 4 X 2 liter = 8 liters. But most things reveal only upon actual testing. This is what I found...
The Saddle & Tail Bag Review Thread-147313.jpg


This means...
The Saddle & Tail Bag Review Thread-147314.jpg


So Claw, when loaded (not to brim) might accommodate about 4 X 1 liter or lesser bottles. Anyway, I didn't have 4 X 1 liters of bottle to test; so I continued by using only one 1.5 liter bottle..
The Saddle & Tail Bag Review Thread-147315.jpg


But the 2 X 1 liter bottle side held very well
The Saddle & Tail Bag Review Thread-img_1834_zpse0e70550.jpg


Again, I'm not saying Claw cannot accommodate 1.5 liter bottles when fully loaded, but, for sure some rearrangements or careful packing needs to be done. As for me, I was only testing & hence didn't pay much attention to detail when it came to packing & loading things. I believe, I can dump things & just ride away

Some ground realities on the shape of the bag after loading...
The Saddle & Tail Bag Review Thread-147316.jpg

The Saddle & Tail Bag Review Thread-147317.jpg

The Saddle & Tail Bag Review Thread-147318.jpg

However, let's continue the test by loading on to the motorcycle...

Last edited by aargee : 30th January 2013 at 11:05.
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Old 30th January 2013, 08:55   #7
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Default Loading on to the motorcycle...

The right side
The Saddle & Tail Bag Review Thread-147319.jpg


The left side
The Saddle & Tail Bag Review Thread-147320.jpg


The rear side...
The Saddle & Tail Bag Review Thread-147321.jpg

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Let's see how much time did we take to load the taddle bag & fasten it...
The Saddle & Tail Bag Review Thread-147323.jpg
Good timing


Let's put the rain cover...
The Saddle & Tail Bag Review Thread-147324.jpg

The Saddle & Tail Bag Review Thread-147325.jpg


and how much time did we take for the rain cover?
The Saddle & Tail Bag Review Thread-147326.jpg


Now let's see some measurements... Here the scale is mounted on to the rider's seat; the scale is down by few inches than the taddle bag
The Saddle & Tail Bag Review Thread-147327.jpg


Here the scale is mounted to the rear seat; the scale & the taddle bag are on the same level
The Saddle & Tail Bag Review Thread-147328.jpg

Last edited by aargee : 30th January 2013 at 11:08.
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Old 30th January 2013, 08:57   #8
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Default Test ride experience with Viaterra Claw

The test isn't completed without a ride; I rode through some real bad roads (and semi trail roads) swiftly (sometimes by standing on foot pegs too) & some good roads for over 1.8 + 1.9 = 3.7 Km precise & here're my observations...
  • Both ends of the Claw are visible on either of the RVM, but, don't intent to say they'r wider I think the bag fits wide enough yet remain under the control/comfort zone of the rider; just doesn't stick out I guess
  • In all probability, the bag may be slightly wider than the handlebars I guess, but I forgot to test that front
  • The rain cover, though fits perfectly, doesn't cover the bottom potion of the bag. This is little critical because the water splashed during the rain from the rear wheel is to be certainly splashed at the bottom of the bag. Again, I forgot to take the picture. But again, this is only a compromise because if those parts are to be covered, covering up the bag becomes cumbersome, unnecessary engineering to the rain cover adds up the cost
  • May be the bottom part of Claw can be made rain proof, just a suggestion though
  • The bag can be moved back & front as per the convenience of the rider by adjusting the third mount in the rear which is way too good feature
  • However the right side became a little loose & I'd to change the way the strap was wound (will be shown shortly in the pic) despite changing, it once again became loose. Something I need to learn probably as how to fasten properly. Despite these hitches, the bag didn't move a millimeter, which is a good sign

Last edited by aargee : 30th January 2013 at 09:21.
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Old 30th January 2013, 08:59   #9
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Default Post riding observations...

Here's the way I changed the strap & see how loose it got on the right side...
The Saddle & Tail Bag Review Thread-147329.jpg


The left side was intact
The Saddle & Tail Bag Review Thread-147330.jpg


Let's see how long it takes to unmount the taddle bag from the bike...
The Saddle & Tail Bag Review Thread-147331.jpg


Let's see how the 1.5 liter bottle accommodated after the ride...
The Saddle & Tail Bag Review Thread-147332.jpg


And how did the 2 X 1 liter bottles keep up?
The Saddle & Tail Bag Review Thread-147333.jpg

Last edited by aargee : 30th January 2013 at 11:10.
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Old 30th January 2013, 09:16   #10
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Default Summary

What could have been better
  • Minor manufacturing defect on velcro & zipper; I hope it doesn't interfere with the functionality in long terms
  • Having learnt the art of squeezing things & practicing to carry light, I find this bag huge. If there's another bag that is available between 35/40/45 liters of storage in future, I wouldn't mind to exchange
  • Instruction sheet or a Youtube video explaining how to mount Claw (I hope this will be easily taken care) were missing
  • I know they're just starting up, but I really prefer more colors; since I've a RED CBR 250R, I would've preferred as RED or BLACK color instead of Orange border. I hope with increase in demand & sales, Viaterra brings this option
  • Steel DClips instead of plastic DClips
  • Viaterra told me they did a torture test (not just stress test) on the bag & found the straps held good; but in real time, things are little different. Even Nelsonrigg gave up during my 4th trip, I wish the straps could've been a few mm wider. Let's wait & see how it holds.
  • The underneath of the taddle bag could have been supported with water proof material as it's quite a trade of between practical & engineering for the rain cover to wrap the bag completely. I'm sure the water from rear wheels will drench the bottom of Claw
  • Ofcourse, Viaterra doesn't have full control, but, the courier service could've done a better job instead of causing the unnecessary delay


What impressed me
  • 15 days return policy - Purchase can be made through credit card & NEFT
  • ONE FULL YEAR OF WARRANTY on the workmanship & material
  • Life time repairs; this is one frigging thing that I love it. I know I might get it done at much lesser price (shipping + cost of fixing at Viaterra) at local bag repair shop, but, I'm looking at PERFECTION & a very long life. So I guess I don't mind the additional cost. Something that Viaterra OWNS responsibility for it
  • Absolutely great quality of work & material used; the raw materials are excellent quality; Claw exceeds in quality in the standards of Indian product
  • The inside of Claw, like I said is made up of little soft material for a motorcycle luggage which is really good
  • The D Clips that helps to fasten & unfasten way too quick
  • Free rain cover (seamless construction). That too it's easy to cover & takes only few seconds
  • Long shoulder strap to carry around
  • 2 big pockets on either side on outside are great welcome; I can probably carry additional fuel & save time on refueling
  • Outside & inside big zippered pockets are welcome
  • Though I'm yet to test real time, I believe, the mount system holds good on long journey; good engineering
  • Gives the best of the world between saddle & tail bag (that's why I call this TADDLE bag ) & can be sure that exhaust will not burn the bag
  • After the little test, I'm pretty confident that this 55 liter Claw is all I need even for a 30 day road trip

Last edited by aargee : 30th January 2013 at 09:25.
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Old 31st January 2013, 08:58   #11
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Default re: The Saddle & Tail Bag Review Thread

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to the Motorbikes Section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 31st January 2013, 09:56   #12
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Default re: The Saddle & Tail Bag Review Thread

Excellent thread Ganesh. Very detailed review and covers the small but significant details such as stitch quality, etc. very well.

This will serve as a guide to bikers who want a well tested and reviewed product before buying.
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Old 31st January 2013, 10:13   #13
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Default re: The Saddle & Tail Bag Review Thread

Thanks for the great and detailed review!

Just one thing, aren't there different Cramster sattle bags for bikes with straight exhausts and up-swept exhausts? I'm not sure any saddle bag (Indian or foreign) would last very long if it constantly rubs up against a hot exhaust.

I'm sure the other 2 saddle bags you reviewed are of significantly better quality, but just want to mention that I've used the Cramster Colts for 6 years now, it's been on my Bullet to places like Ladakh and Kutch and several other destinations in between and it's done ok. (Not boosting Cramster or anything, I am in no way affiliated with them.)

Just thought I'd mention my own personal experience for the benefit of those like me, with more limited budgets for saddle bags.
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Old 31st January 2013, 10:23   #14
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Default re: The Saddle & Tail Bag Review Thread

Ganesh,
Very good thread on the motorcycle luggage. With the Viaterra does it become cumbersome to get onboard the bike and get it off as it measures a good 20 CM tall and add on the elevation of rear seat compared to the front seat
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Old 31st January 2013, 10:37   #15
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Default re: The Saddle & Tail Bag Review Thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by am1m View Post
aren't there different Cramster sattle bags for bikes with straight exhausts and up-swept exhausts?
Yes Stallion; I bought for my Rx & the exhaust burnt Stallion's saddle bag & the plastic under the saddlebag when returning from Tristate G2G held at Munnar during Mar 2011. Probably, if I'm little careful enough to pack (not like stuffing things & packing) then crapster...sorry...cramster might hold. Unfortunately that doesn't work with me, especially when I'm returning from any trip. I'm 10 times cautious when starting a trip, but the last day I'm all excited to return home & dump things & that probably might be the reason.

All said...I've moved away from saddlebags for good; after using a tail bag & learnt to travel light, I'm all in love with tail bags & tail bags only.

Quote:
Originally Posted by am1m View Post
I'm not sure any saddle bag (Indian or foreign) would last very long if it constantly rubs up against a hot exhaust
May be...
http://www.dirtsack.in/index.php/dir...product_view/4
http://www.rjays.com.au/home/product...-panniers.html

Quote:
Originally Posted by am1m View Post
I'm sure the other 2 saddle bags...those like me, with more limited budgets for saddle bags.
Ofcourse, like you've used 6 years, this is my experience in last 3 years; as a matter of fact, Crapster's MX3 gloves lasted less than 6 months, while DSG Revive has lasted close to 41000 on my CBR & another 6K on my Rx & it's going to be close to 2 years now. Except their products, all other products worked well for me. This is MY experience

Quote:
Originally Posted by ku69rd View Post
With the Viaterra does it become cumbersome to get onboard the bike and get it off as it measures a good 20 CM tall and add on the elevation of rear seat compared to the front seat
Personally to me NO; for other's I'm not the best person to comment. Someone asked me the same question before & that prompted me to measure & add it up as part of the review. Nelsonrigg was even taller & I used alternate ways to get on the motorcycle. So, I really don't care much about the height of Claw, I put up the measurement with a scale just to help out guys to get an idea.
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