Just about everyone needs a way to carry a few things––gloves, a sweater, a phone––when they ride more than a few miles. For years, tankbags filled that role, but the time is long past when you could just toss all your stuff in a big open compartment and rummage around for items when you needed them. These days you need fast access to some things, like your phone, and a way to carry a GPS would be nice, too. Nelson-Rigg’s CL-2020 tank bag has both, in addition to features that make it handy even if you’re not a gadget freak.
Start with the gizmo accommodations. The CL-2020 has a zippered, multi-position pocket on the lid that fits most GPS units up to 6.5 x 4.25 x 1.25 inches. A hook-and-loop flap behind the pocket lets you angle the screen for better visibility or less glare. Below that pocket is another one for a smartphone up to 5.5 x 3 inches. The clear plastic over both pockets is touchscreen friendly. There are pass-throughs in the back of the GPS pocket and in the bag lid right under it for a power cord; the phone pocket doesn’t have cord access.
The bag is made out of Tri-Max ballistic nylon with Fibertech accents and a couple of strips of reflective piping on the sides. A large pass-through for a hydration tube is sewn into the left rear of the bag; on the right side is a smaller one for a power cord. Internal stiffeners help the bag keep its shape when empty, and a couple of external side pockets give easy access to small things. Included is an adjustable shoulder strap that doubles as backpack straps. The main compartment measures 15 x 9.5 x 9 inches; undo the zipper around the base and it expands to 11.5 inches high, big enough to fit most full-coverage helmets. A raincover with a clear top comes standard.
There are two mounting systems available, either magnets or straps (but not both on one bag; they’re two separate models). I tried both kinds, and while the strap mount is secure the magnetic mount became my go-to model. It clings to the tank like a barnacle and peels off easily for gas stops.
The adjustable GPS pocket was handy on sunny days when glare obscured the screen; a few degrees up or down usually solved the problem. If you had a smart phone (mine is pretty stupid) you could see the screen through the transparent cover on the lower pouch. You can keep your wallet in there, too, or your E-Z Pass, or (as I did) your garage-door opener.
The CL-2020 has an MSRP of $129.95 and comes with Nelson-Rigg’s lifetime “No Hassle” warranty. It’s a well-made and feature-rich tankbag that’s even more versatile with the optional 2-liter CL-HYDRO hydration bladder (there’s already a clip on the side of the tankbag to hold the tube), which sells for $19.95.
For more information: Call (714) 850-1811 or visit nelsonrigg.com.
(This Gearlab review was published in the March 2015 issue of Rider magazine.)