Motorcycle tank bags are the best thing since sliced bread.
However, some riders hate them and I can understand why. Adventure riders reckon they get in the way when they are standing, some riders say they block your view of the instruments, others are concerned about them flopping around, some fear they will scratch their tank and the superficial among us say it spoils the look of a bike.
All valid concerns, but I still say a tank bag is one of the most practical accessories you can add to a bike. Besides, there are tank bag options that avoid some of the concerns. One of those is the French-made Bagster range of tank bags. These feature a PVC cloth tank cover with four snap-clasps to easily click a tank bag securely in place or remove it in just seconds.
The cover protects the tank from scratches, holds the bag securely in place and looks smart even when the tank bag is removed as it is designed to be exactly the same shape and colours as the tank. It has a soft, foam-lined underside and covers the fuel tank completely to protect the paintwork from stone chips, belt scratches and fuel nozzles.
Some tank bags are a nuisance at the service station where you have to take them off to fuel the bike. With the Bagster, just undo two clasps and hinge the tank bag back as there is an opening in the tank protector that allows you to fuel the bike without removing the protector.
Another advantage is that you can buy the Bagster with a couple of different sized bags, using the small bag for commuting or adventure riding when you want to stand up and not have it in the way, then replace it for a larger bag for long trips. Tank bags are not only very practical, but offer peace of mind that your valuables haven’t fallen off the back of the bike as happened to me twice – once when I hadn’t secured a pannier properly and on another occasion when a to box fell off on a bumpy road. They are a great place to store valuables such as a wallet, camera and phone. You can also get one of those Powerlet Universal luggage electrics chargers from Adventure Moto so you can charge your laptop, tablet, phone or camera while it’s in the tank bag.
Like most tank bags, the Bagster tank bags have a see-through map holder on the top which is very convenient. Even if you have a GPS, it’s always advisable to cross-reference with a paper map, especially on little-known tracks. A tank bag is also a convenient place to put water, sunscreen, medication, gloves and other things you may want to access quickly without having to dismount to open rear luggage.
One problem with modern bikes is that many have plastic tanks so you can’t fit a universal magnetic bag. The Bagster cover is designed to specifically fit a bike model, regardless of the tank material. When it comes time to sell your bike and buy something different, you don’t need to sell the tank bags as well, just the model-specific cover, as the tank bags will fit on any of the Bagster tank covers.
Bagster covers cost $249 and tank bags range in price from $179 to $219, depending on size and features. Bagster celebrates its 30th anniversary this year.