Nelson-Rigg Tank Bag Review

Review by Jeff Giese
[This Nelson-Rigg Tank Bag Review was originally published in American Rider magazine]

Nelson-Rigg Tank Bag
Nelson-Rigg Tank Bag

The main characteristic that sets the Nelson-Rigg CL-50 Micro Magnetic Tank Bag apart from the crowd is its size. They don’t call it “micro” for nothing. This makes it perfect for the Sportster’s classic peanut tank. In fact it is small enough that it can be mounted rearward on the tank completely aft of the gas cap leaving the cap free for access without having to remove the bag. I preferred to mount it forward, though, as this makes looking at the map much easier.

The bag being small, so is the map holder. I had to fold my map up to display a rather small portion of my route. Maybe there are better-suited maps for such a smallish window. It worked out fine for my purposes, but if I were taking a longer trip and needed to see more map I would likely have a larger tank bag anyway.

My first thought was, “Will this thing scratch my gas tank?” I need not have worried. Though the bag is secured to the gas tank by three powerful magnets, (one on each side inside of small flaps and one at the top of the bag), they are covered in a rubberized fabric that does not harm paint. I was impressed with how powerful the magnets are. Perched atop the Sportster’s tank, the bag had only minimal wind protection courtesy of the Sporty’s lone speedometer. The bag did not budge at 70 mph speeds with headwinds and gusty crosswinds. I was advised not to drag the magnets across the paint by yanking the bag off the bike, which I heeded well and had no problems with scratching.

Having never used one before, initially I wondered what I might put in a tank bag. Then I remembered all of the items I carry in my jacket pockets. Once these necessities, junk, and curiously strong mints were out of my pockets and into the tank bag I must admit I was feeling, and hopefully looking, a tad less bulbous. To this I added a 750ml water bottle, a camera and a cell phone; there was still enough room left to add a couple of energy bars, a tire-pressure gauge, and maybe that aluminum kickstand disc thingy on my next outing.

The Micro is nicely constructed of UV-treated Tri-Max Polyester, a heavy canvas-like fabric similar to the material that my fabric riding jacket is made of, and it has a vinyl-like backing to keep things dry. I did not have occasion to try the bag in the rain so I “laboratory tested” it with the garden hose in my back yard. It comes with a snug-fitting rain cover that has elastic and a drawstring around the bottom. The bag alone looks pretty rain resistant, and with the cover on, I experienced no water incursion at all either at the map window or inside the bag. There is a comfortable rubber-covered strap handle at the top of the bag, which also comes with a detachable shoulder strap. There is also a strip of (very) reflective piping encircling the bag, which also adds to the stylish good looks of the product.

With an MSRP of $47.49, the Nelson-Rigg CL-50 Micro Magnetic Tank Bag is very much to my liking, a useful quality product that serves the otherwise devoid-of-storage Sportster well.

For more information contact Nelson-Rigg, 714-850-1811 or visit on the web at


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