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Old 06-26-2014, 07:00 AM   #1
Passenger0 OP
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Location: Queretaro, Mexico
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Question Tail, tank or saddle?

I hope I'm not asking something already asked, but after spending ~2 hours looking for a similar thread I wasn't able to find one (please, if anyone knows of it, could you please direct me to it?)

I am looking around for luggage. Mostly commute, (I do some short trips though), I will be carrying the usual: Wallet, gloves, rain cover, small lunch box or gym essentials, a small knife, cellphone, bungee straps and some other minor goodies (a sweater, a buff).

What has been, in your personal opinion, the best way to go? a tank bag, a tail bag or saddle bags?

I have very very short experience with tail bags and saddle bags. I like the fact that the tail bag does not get in the way of my visibility, and since I never ride with company losing the rear seat is not an issue for me. I found some which I could even fit my helmet (a nice to have) but BUT! given that I'm -I'd say- of average height (5'9") getting on the bike is a major pain in the butt. I would have to come up with creative ways to pass my leg above the tail bag (or you know, fix the bag after I'm up. Don’t know, any suggestion is more than welcome).

I like the fact that the saddle bags are not in the way of my leg, but I'm afraid of the heat coming from the exhaust (I know it’s not the same but I just burned the hell out of a nylon backpack). I assume I would have to be very picky on the brand and material picked, another thing I don't know is if I will have to pick a model specific, which represents an issue for me since the bike appears to have none by now (250 Ténéré).

NOT sure on the tank bags, they won't get in the way riding the bike, and the exhaust problem is gone, but is the space enough? and if it is, would it be a huge bulk in front of me which won't allow me to tuck in the windscreen at select occasions or get in the way of the cluster?

Note that I’m leaving the top case out. I looked for it, tried it, and just didn’t work for me.

Thanks for your help in advance.
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Old 06-26-2014, 08:12 AM   #2
Jim K.
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I can only talk about my personal preferences. Everybody has their own priorities. For me, I keep a small, magnetic tank bag on the bike virtually all the time. It carries glove liners, maps, small flashlight, 2 ROK straps, tire gauge, ear plugs, small stuff that is needed often. I also use a Kreiga US10 or US 20 tail bag most days, with rain gear, jacket liner, folding boot covers, etc. The Kreiga gear has a low profile & several attachment options that make it very flexible to attach to any bike. It's also totally waterproof. (it's also pretty expensive!) I'm just your height (5'9") & have no trouble swinging a leg over either Kreiga bag. The saddle bags only get hung on the bike for multi day trips. Saddle bags are, for me, preferable to stacking gear high on the tail. They keep the weight low & more towards the center of the bike. I don't want the tail to wag the dog!.
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Old 06-26-2014, 09:15 AM   #3
Mike Yanagita
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Ogio Tail Bag. Put all my commute stuff in there. Plenty of room for lunch, change of clothes, disc locks, etc. Route the straps under the passenger seat: quick and easy to attach and detach.

For cold/wet days where I need to carry more stuff, I add SW-Motech soft side bags.
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Old 06-26-2014, 10:04 AM   #4
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For every day use I have a 40liter hard side top box that's mostly permanently mounted to my bike (DL650)

For weekend trips I will add a medium sized tank bag.

For week long trips I add hard sided luggage on removable frames.

But the top box is great. and increases the comfort and flexibility of the bike by a large margin.
On vacation for a spell
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Old 06-26-2014, 10:23 AM   #5
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THough not pretty, I have found a TOP BOX is most convienent for commuting for me. I like I can lock things in there and it's waterproof. On my KLR it's mounted far enough back I can still throw a leg over and not hit it. I suppose a tail bag would be ideal, but i've yet to find one that works well for me. They usually aren't water proof, have to damn many straps, etc.

I think Panniers are about the most convineint if you can deal with the added width. Though I don't own them, I'm pretty impressed with the Ortlieb Throwover Panners. They are waterpoof, heavy duty, gobble up plenty of stuff, require no racks and are simple (No zippers or fancy pockets that are always the wrong size etc.). You might need to make a muffler stand off if they lay right on it (Thing Worm Drive Camp and beer can if nothing else).
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Old 06-26-2014, 11:42 AM   #6
NJ Moto
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Another vote for a top-box.

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Old 06-26-2014, 12:02 PM   #7
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I debated that same question for the last month or so. Finally ordered an inexpensive medium sized top box from the'Bay. Should arrive tomorrow and then I've just got to figure out mounting it.

I was mainly attracted to the locking feature, so that I can store my stuff and not worry about it walking away while I'm in the gym or the store.
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Old 06-26-2014, 12:16 PM   #8
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IMO go with what you're gonna get the most use out of me that's a decent tank bag - don't go for a huge one, it'll swiftly becoming annoying and will defeat it's purpose. Go for one that can handle what you need for a simple day's ride. I think mine held (I need to replace it) about 15 or 20l.

After that, if you still need more, think about a seat/tail bag - I used to use a "motorbike" one but now I just strap on a Northface waterproof bag (about 50l). It's soft so packs down to be exactly the size you need it to be and no more.

After that, well, after that, you're in "no washing" territory - Whether it be hard or soft bags, all they'll hold, for the most part, is more clothes - luxury stuff :p
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Old 06-26-2014, 01:39 PM   #9
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For daily use, I prefer a tailbag. I never carry a passenger, so that's not an issue for me. I can fit larger items in it, if I buy something and need to get it home. Even a gallon milk, 12 pack of beer, etc. My tankbag is small, and I never use it. I have sport saddle bags that I put on when I need to take a few days worth of clothes on extended trips. But for daily use, my tailbag gets the most use.

I've never owned a bike that I would be willing to put a "top box" on. I'm too vain I guess, I think they look hideous on 90% of the bikes out there!
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Old 06-26-2014, 01:45 PM   #10
Out of the office.
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Oh I should add
that for years I only used a tank bag and didn't run a top box,

Then I got a bike that had an easy set up for the top box and found that I used it for much the same stuff that I was using the tank bag for, but that it was locked, I didn't have to move it to get gas and for some reason a top box collects less attention vs a tank bag

Also lane sharing is legal where I live so a top box or tank bag doesn't add any width to the bike like saddle bags do.

On a recent weekend trip I put the tank bag back on and it was nice to have that stuff close at hand rather then having to park the bike and get off, go around and open up the box,
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Old 06-26-2014, 04:34 PM   #11
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A tank bag can also be a tail bag.
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Old 06-26-2014, 04:39 PM   #12
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I too have found a top box to be the ugliest, yet most convenient piece of luggage for day-to-day use.
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Old 06-26-2014, 06:35 PM   #13
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I had a tank bag on my old bike. It was Ok, but was kind of a pain when refuelling. On my Tiger 800, I prefer not to use one. I could see going back to one if I was travelling and needed that last extra bit of space, or if there was something that I would have to be able to access while on the bike.

I use a Wolfman tail bag that would probably hold most of what the OP mentioned. Mine usually has my rain liners, a Slime pump, Rox straps, and a few odds and ends. It may work on the OP's bike, and could probably get away with just this one bag for around town and day-long rides, but I do augment it with a couple of Wolfman Hoops that stay on my side racks unless I'm traveling, in which case they get swapped out for Monarch Pass saddle bags and, if needed, my Triumph 50L duffle bag. If I ever go on a really long trip, though, I may get a set of the Rocky Mountain bags, which will give me something like 130L of luggage capacity. I also keep a Rotopax preparedness kit under the tail bag, which holds some tools, tire patches & CO2 inflator, and a small first aid kit.

As far as keeping the weight up on the tail, I don't really worry about it. The 15lbs or so of gear there is much less than a pillion (though it is a bit further back).
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Old 06-26-2014, 08:14 PM   #14
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Tank bag user for years here. But once I got a topbox, I never went back. Yes, they're ugly, but they're also much more secure and waterproof. Assuming you don't load your topbox too much, the only disadvantage is not having a place in front of you to store money and toll tickets (or e-passes). But if you've got a sleeve pocket, it's no problem. These days I only use the tank bag to supplement the top box.
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Old 06-26-2014, 08:42 PM   #15
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Thank you all for your comments. I revisited the idea of the top box, after realizing your points. But now I stumbled upon another issue. I looked through for a rear luggage rack, and all of them for my bike, or similar which might be adapted state "5 Kg max. load". 10 pounds seriously? The case with its plate must weight around a third of it right? Am I missing something?
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