Review by Ken Freund
[This Rapid-Transit Recon/23 Motorcycle Tailbag Review was originally published in the August 2006 issue of Rider magazine]
Rapid Transit is a catchy name for a motorcycle item, but also one we hadn’t heard before. It turns out that the Rapid Transit product line-consisting of a variety of innovative motorcycle luggage items-comes from a new division of the established Joe Rocket Brand. Rapid Transit’s rather new lineup is aimed at the broad streetbike segment of the motorcycle market, with tankbags, seatbags, saddlebags, backpacks and more.
The Recon/23 motorcycle tailbag evaluated here is the mid-size model in Rapid Transit’s seatbag lineup, with an overall length of about 15 inches and a width of just over 10 inches. It employs an unusual fore-and-aft design that is longer than it is wide—the opposite of conventional practice. This longitudinal orientation requires a fairly long passenger seat or tail section and won’t work on some supersport models and other bikes with shorter wheelbases. We tried it on several machines including the Yamaha R6 and Stratoliner, Ducati ST3, Victory Kingpin, Kawasaki Vulcan 900, Moto Guzzi Breva V1100 and Suzuki M109. It fit on the ST3, Vulcan, Breva and Stratoliner, but was too long for the others, so check before you buy.
A parallel-zippered lid flips back to expose the main compartment. Approximate internal dimensions are 13.4 x 10.2 x 10.2 inches, with a rated capacity of 23 liters (or 1,394 cubic inches for the metrically challenged). The cover secures with a plastic buckle on one end that works easily with one hand.
The black-and-gunmetal-gray bag is made of sturdy 1,000-denier nylon construction. Stiffener panels in the sidewalls help the bag keep its shape when it’s not full. Inside there’s enough room for a pair of shoes, a change of clothes and a toiletry kit for those quick overnighters (or when you have to leave town in a hurry).
There are a number of convenient features, including a padded carrying handle on top and a quick-release padded shoulder strap that make carrying it off the bike easier. The roomy zippered end compartment has an opening designed to feed wires through for audio system components. Underneath, the four-cord adjustable bungee-mounting system can be tucked away with hook-and-loop closures (for carrying off the bike) and is covered by Scratchguard rubberized contact fabric to protect the bike’s finish. There’s also a rain cover for those inclement days. Reflective stripes add some conspicuity at night, yet aren’t noticeable by day.
We found the Rapid-Transit Recon/23 Tailbag to be a sturdy, well-constructed piece of motorcycle luggage. The zippers work smoothly and the bag holds its shape well. However, we’d prefer to have more than one external pocket, to allow for the myriad of things we all tend to carry. We’d also like a stronger bungee cord and slightly larger hooks. Still, the Recon/23 offers good value for the low suggested retail price of $69.99, and the bag is covered by a one-year warranty against defects.