Nelson-Rigg CL-135 Tankbag with Mounting Options Review

[This Nelson-Rigg CL-135 Tankbag with Mounting Options gear review was originally published in the April 2011 issue of Rider magazine]

Nelson-Rigg CL-135 TankbagI’m always carrying stuff on a motorcycle, whether it is the daily shopping or on a long trip. The easiest way to store smallish stuff, like a chicken and a bottle of wine for dinner, or a camera, maps and extra gloves on a trip, is in a tankbag. These tank-top containers come in all sizes, from small to humongous, and the choice is up to the user. I favor a middling to large size, and appreciate a bag like this Nelson-Rigg CL-135 that can be extended in size, just in case the grocery store is having a special on asparagus.

The bag’s dimensions are roughly 10 x 15 inches, with a height of 7 inches, which gives it a 17-liter capacity. This is expandable to 27 liters by undoing a zipper around the base, which means the bag can hold a lot of apples. Zippered pockets on both sides can carry incidentals, like bottles of water or a snub-nosed .38 if you plan on journeying through some place like Afghanistan.

Material is a strong ballistic nylon, reasonably water resistant, with the zipper being the weak point; a proper rain cover is provided should you anticipate riding in India during monsoon season. The top opening uses a three-quarter zipper, giving lots of access to what’s inside. On the underside of the flap is a net to carry spare maps, and a cell phone pocket, so you don’t have to root around in the bag to find that blessed phone. On top of the flap a map pouch with a 7- by 11-inch clear plastic window attaches with hook-and-loop, and is backed by four snaps; this pouch is not going to blow off.

The bag has stiff sides, so it retains its structure even when empty. The base is made of some sort of nonslip polyvinyl chloride (PVC), feeling like a soft rubberized nylon, which Nelson-Rigg claims will not mar even the most delicate paint job. Two carrying straps come with the bag, so you can put it over your shoulder or use it as a backpack.

There is no mystery as to how a tankbag works, only in how it attaches. And here the Nelson-Rigg people have been creative. The bag comes with the standard, very secure strap-attachment system, with one strap looping around the steering head, the other going under the front of the saddle, the male snaps fitting into the female buckles on each corner of the bag.

The Triple Threat offers three further attachment options. First, there is the magnetic MAG-MT-10 system, as seen in the photo, with four 11⁄4-inch magnets that secure the bag to a steel gas tank and are perfectly happy on my Bonnie. Should there be plastic or fiberglass in place of ferrous metal, optional system #2, SUC-MT-50, could take care of that problem, using suction cups. Both these systems work best on a faired or windscreened motorcycle, but with either magnets or suction cups I would also use a tether at the front of the bag, tying the bag to the handlebars, just in case a ferocious wind comes up and tries to dislodge the attachments. You don’t want that to happen during rush hour on a New York freeway, because a tetherless bag will be lost forever. A third option turns the CL-135 into a seatbag using the TLPK-MT-20 system, with four hooks that will attach under the saddle or to some other stable places at the back of the bike. The CL-135 is a big tankbag, with the price being a modest $80, a very good deal. The magnetic kit is $15, and the suction cups or seatbag hooks, $13.

For more information: Contact Nelson-Rigg at (714) 850-1811



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