Nelson-Rigg has been making soft touring luggage for more than 30 years, so it pretty much has the art of making tankbags, seatbags, saddlebags, etc., figured out. Including ease of use.
Take its CL-1025 Sport Tank Bag. It is about a foot long and 9 inches wide, with an average height of 6 inches, for a big space inside holding some 10.6 liters. Made of 100-percent Tri-Max ballistic nylon, the cover has a full three-sided zipper, so access is great, and the map pouch runs 13 x 6.5 inches, which will hold even the biggest of maps. On the underside of the cover is a mesh pocket/pen holder for carrying smaller items you do not want in the mix of the bag itself. A carrying handle and two plastic D-rings for hooking on the included carrying strap/tether are on the front.
Both magnetic and strap-on versions are available. On the base of the magnetic bag I tried, four super-strong magnets are built in, and three small flaps hold three more. Best not to carry sensitive electronics unless there is something inside covering the magnets in the base. You’re going to have to be in some pretty windy weather before they let go, but, if needed, the carrying strap can also be used as a tether. You never know when that sideways blast will come, and after chasing one bag across a highway many years ago, I always use a tether.
You can put enough gear for an overnighter in the tankbag, but should your journey be a little longer, Nelson-Rigg’s CL-1040-TP Expandable Sport Tail Pack can hold a whole lot more. The inside of the pack is roughly 12 x 12 inches, and averages 8 inches deep (29 liters). Unzip the expandable section around the base, and you get an extra 3 inches, for what amounts to 38 liters of carrying space. And that is a heckuva lot of room, right on your rear seat where weight is best carried. Like the tankbag, there is a mesh lining underneath the cover, good for stashing little things, as well as two mesh pockets over to one side. And outside are two expandable pockets.
For attachment, four straps come with the bag that are almost 2 feet long, with a loop at one end, a small hook at the other. Use the loop to attach one end of the strap to some reasonable hardware, like a passenger-peg bracket at the front. At the back it’s often a little more problematic; if there aren’t fender stays, passenger grab rails or other appropriate hardware, there is always the under-the-license-plate solution, as we have done on this Suzuki GSX1100G.
At the base of the bag are four plastic D-rings, and the hooks go in there. Tighten the straps and Bob’s your uncle. If you want to protect paint, two flaps are folded under the bag and can be brought out, and each of those has two D-rings…as well as a small hidden pocket, should anyone need to conceal cash and microfilm when crossing the border.
Nelson-Rigg luggage makes for easy and inexpensive traveling, and the company offers a catalog for those who want to see the entire range of product. The Sport Tank Bag (CL-1025) goes for $84.95* for the magnetic version (shown) and $74.95 for the strap mount. The Expandable Sport Tail Pack (CL-1040-TP) lists for $129.95; rain covers are included as well as a lifetime warranty.
For more information, call (714) 850-1811 or visit nelsonrigg.com.
(This Gearlab review was published in the April 2014 issue of Rider magazine. Note that the Sport Tank Bag pricing is incorrect in the printed version.)