Friday, April 13

Interesting Tank bags

I have a nice Nelson-Rigg magnetic tank bag that I adore. It's a workhorse. It's square and compact but expanding it makes it tall and deep--and the blue band along the front and end almost match my bike's blue. The description that comes with it says the magnets that are safely enclosed in thick material won't scratch the paint. Still, I'm careful with taking it on and off the bike. Its expansion feature has come in handy during impromptu stops at the grocery store. I've jammed in frozen vegetables, fresh fruit, bottle water, trail mix and still had room for the tire pressure gauge, mini-Maglite, mobile phone, Moleskine note pad, and a few other odds and ends. Here's the "but..." I've wanted a bag that doesn't require removal when fueling up. That might sound trivial but it can become annoying--and if I'm going to get into distance riding, removing the bag every time I gas up, can be a time robber. So, I've been on a quest for a more distance-friendly bag. Here's what I've found.

Panniers--a unique style:

I'm very impressed with Whitehorse Gear's Afrika Tank Panniers. They hang over the tank, leaving the gas cap exposed for easy access. The panniers are stylish and the bags appear ample enough to carry one's loot. Adjustable bungee cords allow the sides to be adhered to the bike's under belly. Two adjustable Velcro straps drape over the tank, which I assume means they might work on my SV. One only would need to keep the two pouches well-balanced when packing. This set-up sounds ideal. Not bad for $79.95

Big Mak AirBag Stealth SS, H3 Map Case

This is a clever system! The folks at BMA, who offer "unique" accessories for the BMW have come up with the answer to my tank bag woes. The Big Mak AirBag Stealth SS is one bag with an interesting optional companion bag. Before the bag is functional, a rack is bolted to the fuel filler cap. The bottom of the bag is then placed on this hinged mount, allowing one to flip up the tank bag when gas is needed. Imagine the amount of time saved in an Iron Butt, where time matters. The added bonus of this system is that one can attach to the Stealth, a separate and smaller bag, the H3 Map Case. This flatter, square bag is perfect for holding a map in its large clear pocket. This extra bag doesn't have a lot of depth (2.5 inches) but the top bag, The Stealth, is the real tank bag. With the two bags, a good height is created, which can help block the wind and serve as a tower to lean on if necessary. Take a look at BMA's system. The Stealth costs $179.90 and the H3 Map Case, $89.95 I'm open to other ideas.

Decisions, decisions.