Despite possessing a fair amount of motorcycle touring experience, I’ve never been particularly good at packing light. It’s not entirely an obsession with bringing lots of creature comforts–I also wear size 13 shoes, one pair of which can wipe out a small saddlebag if I have to bring more than the boots on my feet.
When I do need more space I usually break out some soft luggage. The easiest type of bag to add to any luggage ensemble or use on its own is the good ol’ seat bag or tail bag. Important features to look for include a simple but safe and reliable mounting system; the ability to expand when you need to bring back more than you left with; and at least a little bit of style to complement your bike. Fly Racing’s 20.5-liter Tail Bag offers all of this and more at an affordable price, including a red-lined interior that makes finding stuff inside easier, and internal stiffeners with flaps that flip up to support it when the bag is expanded to its full 27-liter capacity.
At 15 inches long, 9 inches wide and 8.5 inches high unexpanded, the Fly Racing Tail Bag is intended to be mounted lengthwise on a passenger seat/luggage rack, and its unique but simple mounting system makes it easy to do so if you have the space. Instead of bungees or straps with quick-release buckles, there are four nylon web straps with loops at one end and swivel clips at the other, with a simple strap retainer in between that is used to adjust the length. It takes a bit of fiddling to get them all properly adjusted and the bag clipped to the bike, but once you do it’s not going anywhere. And you don’t have to undo the straps to remove the bag and take it with you, because it unzips from its base.
The strap clips snap onto plastic loops on the bottom corners of the base, which have flaps underneath to keep them from scratching paint. Four additional loops can be used to strap stuff to the top of the bag, and there’s a key keeper inside. Two zippered pockets on the sides of the bag and organizer pockets inside the lid are great for small items, and the piping and logos on the black bag are reflective. In addition to the sewn-on carry handle the bag comes with a shoulder strap and a rain cover. Unexpanded the bag holds my big ol’ tennis shoes, toilet kit, first aid kit, MotoPump, flat kit and tire irons, and I can cram in a jacket liner by expanding it.
The zippers for the base and lid seem on the light-duty side for this application, but I haven’t had any problems with them so far, and Fly Racing offers a 2-year warranty for workmanship and materials. At an MSRP of $89.95 the Fly Racing Tail Bag is economical in addition to versatile, capacious and secure. Also available are Saddle Bags ($119.95) with similar features that integrate with the Tail Bag as well as several nice tank bags.
For more information, see your dealer or visit flyracing.com.