The perfect traveling companion for any sport tourer is a versatile tankbag and a set of saddlebags liners. The former sits on the tank and holds extra gloves, a snack, energy drink and your map—or increasingly, a GPS unit and much more. The liner bags fit snugly inside your saddlebags, utilizing much of the interior space and holding your luggage so you don’t have to schlep the individual items—or the dirty removable hard bags themselves—into your motel room.
RKA’s Shiloh Road Tank Bag fits any fuel tank that’s humped at the front and slopes rearward, and I was impressed with its size, utility and versatility. Likewise, I was impressed with RKA’s liner bags for BMW R1100/R1150-series saddlebags. These luggage items are made of black 600-denier polyester vinyl laminated with PVC and accented with white piping. All zippers are YKK and they’re manufactured in the USA.
I tested a strap-on version of the tankbag (magnetic versions of RKA bags are also available) that provided two anchor points at the front and a single at the rear, and incorporated an expansion pleat in the top section. The tankbag’s straps loop around any likely protrusions toward the front of the tank, and hook to the bag with quick-release buckles.
The large map holder is made of clear Lexan and, at 8.25 x 10 inches, offers plenty of map-viewing area. The main compartment measures 12 inches long x 9.25 wide, slopes from 4 to 7 inches deep and is nicely padded. Granted, a map holder may sound oh-so last century, so the tankbag also features a portal on its left side to accommodate wires and cables. A piece of hook-and-loop is sewn inside the main compartment for the optional control box, and a dashboard and base plate are also optional to accommodate mounting a GPS and other such devices atop the tankbag.
For separating your gear, there’s a 10-inch-long zippered pocket along each side, and an 8-inch at the rear, backed by a handle; a shoulder strap is also included. Finally, the top section of the bag has an expansion pleat that adds another 5.5 inches to its height for when you need additional capacity. Everything worked well, and I found the bag convenient to use and cleverly designed. The Shiloh Road Tank Bag is $185, or you may order it in custom colors for $215. The optional rain cover sells for $17.50.
The saddlebag liners are not only configured to fit snugly into the BMW hard bags, but on the back of each is a special compartment designed to fit into the indentations of the individual saddlebag so hardly any space is wasted. One such compartment is removable and intended as a convenient toiletries bag; the other is sewn in and fits nicely into the hard bag. The bag liners are capacious, clever, fit snugly and include an adjustable carrying strap. The set retails for $120, or $150 in custom colors.
For more information, call RKA at (800) 349-1RKA or visit rka-luggage.com.
(This Gear Lab review was published in the September 2013 issue of Rider magazine.)