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tank-bag vs bag-rack

Discussion in 'Riding Gear and Bike Accessories/Parts' at netrider.net.au started by ibast, Jul 17, 2008.

  1. I’ve been riding a bike with a rack-bag for a number of months now, whereas on my previous bike I used a tank-bag. So I thought I’d bore you with some random ramblings about the two systems.

    Firstly some background. I use my bike for commuting. The truth is with a young family I rarely get out of the house for half a day on the weekend. I never get to go away for a weekend on the bike.



    Notes on the tank bag:
    • They do feel a bit weird when you first sit behind one. In fact many people reject them on this basis, but the reality is it only feels odd for the first couple of rides. After that you not only get used to it, you feel extremely naked if it is not there.
    • On a faired biked they get some whether protection from the screen once you are on the move.
    • On an unfaired bike they provide the rider with a little protection.
    • I have a magnetic tank bag. I never worried about the tank it was on because it was in need of a respray anyway. Despite this, and despite never cleaning the underside of the tankbag, the paint showed no noticeable wear after 2-3 years of use. I wouldn’t hesitate to use one on a good tank, but I would make a habit of cleaning the underside of the bag on a regular basis.
    • It’s really, really handy to have your keys, toll pass, work pass, change, maps, sunnies, mobile, etc right in front of you. This is the thing I probably miss the most.
    • The extra weight is hardly noticed, because it is so centralised.

    Cons of the tank-bag:
    • They can’t hold too much. I have a fair size one (a man walks into a shop and asks the shop keeper for an innuendo. So the shop keeper gave him one), but it still couldn’t fit my laptop. It probably would fit a modern notebook. Also you could extend it up, but then it did become a bit awkward on the bike and if really full would obscure the instruments. It was also prone to movement in this position.
    • You have to take it off to refuel. With a magnetic bag this isn’t a big deal, but if I had to undo clips it’d piss me off.

    Pros of the bag-rack:
    • You can store more volume.
    • The rack provides some security for pillions
    • That’s about it. Sure it’s not in your way whilst riding, and you don’t have to remove it when refuel, but neither of those are very serious problems with the tank-bag.


    Cons of the bag-rack:
    • Most bags are too big for commuting. My load varies from a sandwhich and a couple of bits of fruit, though to a laptop, books, gym gear, change of clothes and boots, etc, etc. This means that if the bag is empty the load is moving around a lot. Not good for the load and not good for the bikes handling.
    • Due to this load variation, I can’t set the bike up for the weight of the bag. Basically a reasonable weight on the rack proper will considerably upset the handling of the bike. Even on the seat a decent weight will make a significant difference to the handling of the bike.
    • In normal slip-on mode, the bag moves around a bit. To stop this I’d have to use oggy nobs, ty-downs etc. That’s alright for touring, but for commuting, it’s just a pain in the arse.
    • You don’t have easy access to your stuff. This means putting it in your jacket. That’s dangerous and inconvenient.
    • The rack looks stupid on a sports bike. So if I do get away for a bit on the weekend, I feel like a knob.

    So in summary:
    • Get a tankbag for commuting and day trips and possibly even overnight.
    • Get a rack-bag for more serious touring, but set you bike up and still only expect it to be good for volume, rather than weight. For touring you’ll want the tank bag anyway.
    • So your first piece of motorcycle luggage should be a tank-bag, rather than a bag-rack.

    Discuss
     
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  2. Got an FZR1000, now that would look stupid with a rack.
    Love the tank bag though, magnetic, grab it and walk away.
     
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  3. Some good points. I commute and use my Ventura bag most of the time. Another Pro is they increase visibility from behind. Something that was a big plus when I was looking around for storage. Sure I wear a high vis vest at night, fog or rain, but the extra strips of reflective material on the bag is a good thing.

    I have a magnetic tank bag and I agree on pretty much all points made by the OP. It is slightly annoying when trying to get full lock on my bike, but I only need that when parking.
     
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  4. I just can't bring myself to put my HDD near a big magnet. I like keeping my data.
     
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  5. Fair point, though it reminds me of another negative of the bag. My mirrors are not great (like many bikes). So sometimes I like to raise my elbow to look under my arms. With a rack bag, all you see is the bag.
     
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  6. I use both (admittedly my tank bag is small) but on long trips a tank bag DOES give you somewhere to rest your left arm :).
     
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  7. For paint protection, Vic suggested uising the $2 shop anti slip drawer lining. Used a glue gun to stick it to the base and worked fantastic

    Had no issues on the naked Beemer, the bag just swivelled around with the handlebars pointed the other way around so could leave the bag clipped on. But yet to try it on the faired Duc

    And on the front strap, make sure it is always on, especially when passing B-Doubles - yes they can lift the magnets off the tank :shock:

    Not a fan of ventura racks for a number of reasons - something rigid not far form your back, plus with any sort of load in them, couldn't be aiding in the handling of your bike with much of the load behind the back axle
     
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  8. i Do not know what just hapened 20 seconds ago as my brain registered this topic as written below...

    my brain registered the topic as "Tea Bag vs Big Rack"



    just wanted to share my experience.
     
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  9. Welcome to the world of lisdexia. my brain does it all the time. "From" and "form" are common ones for me.
     
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  10. I've used a tank bag with every bike I've owned and you're right... they are incredibly handy for commuting.

    But (and it's a big but) *every* bike I've used one on has ended up with a scuffed tank after some amount of time.

    That's something that needs to be considered during the choice of luggage.
     
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  11. All good tips thanks - has anyone got any comments on tailbags vs the above?

    edit: Yep, tailbag = seatbag I think - its a bag that straps on to the pillion seat behind the rider, so no need for a rack.
     
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  12. Tailbag? do you mean a seatbag? If so I've never used one, but would be interested in anyones experiences with these.
     
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  13. I'm not sure what a 'rack bag' is. I'll assume it's like the sports bag that Ventura makes. But I'll comment anyway.

    I have the Ventura rack bag, sports version. It stays on the bike all the time. I use it to store wet weather pants and odds and sods. But when I ride to work I might put my lunch or dinner in it.

    I also have a Ventura seat back. It clips via four clips to a thing that's strapped around the seat where the pillion might sit. It holds heaps. I use that for work mainly and it will have my lunch or dinner in it if the meal won't slop everywhere, my overalls and other stuff that I take or need for work.

    It clips on and off quickly but does move around a bit. But that depends on how secure and tight the straps for the thing that the bag clips to is set.

    I'd consider a tank bag if they didn't have those ugly flaps on each side and if they had normal handles that most bags have (I'm getting a set made for the seat bag so the next time I carry my dinner in it it won't end up at one end of the bag...)
     
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  14. I have a little Joe rocket tank bag for around town and big expandable Rjays version for longer trips. Whe the big one is fully expanded, I can only see the top of the speedo (good excuse to the cops, NOT)

    And IMHO I think ventura racks are bad for the solid steel right behind your back, and the fact that they make you look like an old man!
     
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  15. I have a Ventura rack on my bike, and if you reckon some bikes look weird with a rack and bag - try a big cruiser!.

    I have a 56l bag, which is too big for most of the time, but very handy for all the rest of the times, when you decide to carry something that you had not planned for!.

    I normally face the bag forwards , ie the bag on the pillion seat for day to day stuff. I only reverse it on occasions when I am carrying a pillion, or have light stuff only in it. I can actually use two 56l bags on the rack, which makes a weekend/week away a possibility. Can take the whole house almost then!.
    Ventura do make a smaller bag, a sports bag, 15l, which would suit me on a commuting basis.

    The biggest drawback, is that I reckon they are ugly!.
    BTW, when Eastlink starts tagging bikes, If I face the bag rearwards, I reckon there is a big chance that it will obscure my numberplate from the cameras!.

    My speedo is on the tank face, so a tank bag is out.
     
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  16. I have a Ventura rack on my bike, and if you reckon some bikes look weird with a rack and bag - try a big cruiser!.

    I have a 56l bag, which is too big for most of the time, but very handy for all the rest of the times, when you decide to carry something that you had not planned for!.

    I normally face the bag forwards , ie the bag on the pillion seat for day to day stuff. I only reverse it on occasions when I am carrying a pillion, or have light stuff only in it. I can actually use two 56l bags on the rack, which makes a weekend/week away a possibility. Can take the whole house almost then!.
    Ventura do make a smaller bag, a sports bag, 15l, which would suit me on a commuting basis.

    The biggest drawback, is that I reckon they are ugly!.
    BTW, when Eastlink starts tagging bikes, If I face the bag rearwards, I reckon there is a big chance that it will obscure my numberplate from the cameras!.

    My speedo is on the tank face, so a tank bag is out.
     
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  17. My Oxford tank bag came with the straps to mount it to the pillion, it also
    has back-pack straps, brilliant bit of kit.
    I tried it on the seat but found myself checking it was still there all the time, 'cause it holds all the important stuff (wallet, mobile phone keys etc.).
    I like to ride with empty pockets since many years ago I drove 4 keys into my thigh when I hit the road......ouch.
     
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  18. I went with second hand rack combined with an RJays expandable rack bag on my KLR650. It isn't exactly pretty, but if I was after looks, I probably wouldn't be on a KLR.

    While I don't use the RJays bag all the time, my work backpack also sits nicely on the rack which is good seeing as I don't like having it on my back when it's heavily loaded. Having the ability to carry a reasonable amount of cargo means I can take the bike in preference to the car more often for shopping trips etc. It means you've got more excuse to ride (yep, I know you shouldn't need one) saving fuel etc, so it's worth considering.

    I've even managed to get a whole carton of beer in the RJays expandable rack bag. Let's see you do that with a tank bag! :p
     
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