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The Sincerest Form of Flattery...
Aerostich has a decades-long history with these. We had to buy them at first directly from their German manufacturer, as they were not available otherwise.
They were so superior to all of the other waterproof bags available at that time. Innovative. Pioneering. Better down to the last detail, of and made of such superior materials you could feel the difference at a touch. Assembled so perfectly you could not find a mistake anywhere. After you bought one, you discovered it worked so well you actually bought another one, and then also told your friends.
The smallest details mattered. For example, the reinforced PVC material used is stronger, more durable, nicer-feeling and wears better than the reinforced PVC used in lesser waterproof bags. After a season or two it didn’t get smudgy and dirty looking like those. Road dust and mud wiped off easier also. And the ultrasonic seam welding everywhere is impeccable. Sewing too. Same for all the side-release buckles and webbing. All-around 1000% first-class. Flawless.
These soon became the world-wide go-to waterproof bags for the most demanding and experienced riders. You can predict what happened next. Motorcycle parts and accessory companies made close copies elsewhere (in both USA and Asia)…but still none were quite as nice. And unless you looked pretty close, or used them for a while in some challenging situations, you’d miss the real superiority.
Bags a lot like these are mainstream now, and many cycle accessory retailers offer near-exact copies at low prices, except theirs are made of cheaper PVC (which even feels bad in your hand, so say nothing of UV resistance, tear strength and stuff like that), have lower-quality webbing, weaker side-release buckles and crummy sewing. Nothing wrong with all this, but such junk doesn’t last as half as long, looking half as good. And those cheaper side-release buckles are about sixteen times more likely to break in the middle of a trip, when you need them most, too.
I own four Ortlieb bags. All now over twenty years old, and they still look great and work perfectly. They are used often, and hard, and for a lot more than motorcycling. One’s been carrying my stuff on countless airplane and car trips. Two were strapped to the back of a motorcycle for a three-month 1996 trip from Minnesota to Mongolia via Alaska, Siberia, China and Japan. (…and even worked well a couple of times as an improvised ‘washing machine’ for dirty gear + hot soapy water, then closed and stamped on for agitation. Result: clean clothing in-the-absolute-middle-of-nowhere.) Since then those bags have been on dozens and dozens of other multi-day motorcycle trips. Still perfect.
There is a difference in drybags. These are the best. A pleasure to use. And the originals. These, you rely on. They are worth it. – Mr. Subjective, 5-15