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BMW Scooter Tunnel Bag

BMW Scooter Tunnel Bag Review
BMW C 650 GT Center Tunnel Bag
by Rick K. for webBikeWorld.com

More: BMW C 650 GT Blog

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Summary

The BMW scooter tunnel bag is a flawed design that is disappointing in several ways.

Background

I'm going to tell this story mostly in photographs (and a video), which I hope will explain why I can't recommend the BMW scooter tunnel bag.

It's not often that we find a product that doesn't perform to even the most minimal expectations, and even rarer when there's a fatal flaw that gives it a "not recommended" rating.

But the BMW scooter tunnel bag is a serious head-scratcher. How could BMW -- a company known for designing beautifully integrated luggage for (most) two-wheeled products -- have failed with something as simple as a scooter tunnel bag?

Perhaps I'm being too harsh; surely some webBikeWorld readers will think so. But, read on and study the photos and let me know what you think. The bottom line is this: take a pass on the BMW-branded scooter tunnel bag and wait for the aftermarket to develop a better design.

The BMW Scooter Center Tunnel Bag: Details

I'm not sure why they call it a "tunnel bag"; I guess it couldn't be called a "tank bag" because it's not. A "between the legs bag" sounds, well, not very nice. Maybe "scooter accessory luggage"? Who knows...

The 12-liter rated tunnel bag is nicely made, with a semi-hard feel and rubberized bottom that give it structure and some grip on the central "tunnel" of the scooter. It is sold as BMW part number 77 45 8 527 013 for the C 600 Sport and 77 45 8 527 014 for the C 650 GT, as listed in this BMW Scooter accessories .df..

The bag has a maximum carrying capacity of 5 kg (11 lbs.) and measures roughly 30 cm by 25 cm by 27 cm. It has two water-resistant zippers; the top zipper opens a shallow compartment with a mesh zippered pocket in the lid and a couple of cell phone or accessory pockets in the base, along with two pen holder pockets in the center.

The second zipper opens the main compartment, which has a built-in curtain or skirt that can be secured at the top or rolled back and secured at the four corners with built-in shock-cord barrels. The bag has a handle on top and a plastic "D" ring on either side to carry with the included padded shoulder strap.

II believe the list price for the C 650 GT version is $149.00; I don't know for sure, because I purchased a boatload of accessories with the scooter, as the dealership was giving a discount for a limited time to new scooter owners. I'm also unsure of the differences between the C 600 Sport and C 650 GT versions of the tunnel bag.

Here are some photos of the tunnel bag as it is mounted on the BMW C 650 GT (review):

BMW C 650 GT Tunnel Bag Right Side
The BMW tunnel bag mounted on the BMW C 650 GT scooter.
BMW C 650 GT Tunnel Bag Side View
Tunnel bag has a nice "leatherette" outer surface. Bottom 20% or so is rubberized and shaped to fit the scooter.
BMW C 650 GT Tunnel Bag Inside Top Pocket
Inside the shallow top pocket lives a mesh pocket on the lid and two accessory pockets and two pen pockets.
BMW C 650 GT Tunnel Bag Inside Waterproof Liner
Main compartment has a skirted cover that can be cinched closed or secured open with the four shock cords.
BMW C 650 GT Tunnel Bag Liner Details
Skirt opened all the way on the left. Close-up of the center cinch on the right.
BMW C 650 GT Tunnel Bag Top Pocket Tie Backs
Skirt rolled back and secured with the four shock cords.
BMW C 650 GT Tunnel Bag Waterproof Zippers
Close-up showing the texture of the bag and the water-resistant zippers.
Mounting the Tunnel Bag

The BMW tunnel bag comes with two metal brackets, two Torx 40 fasteners and a strap to attach the bag to the scooter.

The actual installation isn't very difficult. The rubber foot pads must be removed from the foot rest on each side of the scooter and the metal plate is removed on the left-hand side.

The metal "L" shaped bracket that comes with the bag is inserted on each side and secured using the Torx fastener that comes with the installation kit. BMW has provided a threaded hole on each side for the tunnel bag bracket.

Next, a small pre-cut section of each rubber foot pad must be removed; I did it with an X-Acto knife. Reinstall everything and you're ready to go.

But, this is where the problems begin:

BMW C 650 GT Tunnel Bag Actual Angle for Stap
The bracket location on the floorboard is behind the bag, resulting in an awkward angle for the mounting strap. Also note the angle of the clip at the top; it is sewn perpendicular to the bottom of the bag but is being pulled towards the rear by the awkwardly-placed strap anchor. The metal strap anchor bracket at the bottom should have been located much further towards the front of the floorboards, or the plastic snap should have been attached and oriented differently.
BMW C 650 GT Tunnel Bag Angle of Strap Attachment
Side view of the bag mounted with the strap and plastic buckle straight. Notice that the bag is not oriented correctly when the strap is straight; gaps appear in the front, rear and bottom of the bag.
BMW C 650 GT Tunnel Bag Correct Angle for Strap
The strap mounting bracket should be located further forward, which would then pull the bag into a better fit in the shape between the seat and fairing. Note that when the bag is placed in this position, the gap at the front and back of the bag is now gone because the bag is correctly oriented.
BMW C 650 GT Tunnel Bag Strap Angle
When the bag is oriented correctly (note that the gaps are now gone), the strap pulls too far towards the rear. Note the angle unnatural of the buckle. Also, note that the strap quickly runs out of adjustment; this is as tight as it can get. The adjuster should have been located down farther on the strap, which would allow it to be pulled tight. As it is, the bag is loose (as you can see in the video) because the adjuster is at its limit.
BMW C 650 GT Tunnel Bag Strap on Floorboard
The strap should have some elastic included to put tension on the bag. There's a small area of hook-and-loop on the end of the strap and it is designed for the loose end to fit on the inside, towards the scooter, which makes it even more difficult to tighten.
Velcro for Strap Attachment
Note that the strap nearly runs out of hook-and-loop when the strap is tightened all the way. This means that the strap doesn't have as much purchase as it should/could, leaving the strap and the bag loose.
Cutting Floorboard Liner
Molded cutout on the rubber foot pad on the left. Cutout removed on the right.
Strap Attachment to Floorboard
Close-up of the metal bracket attached to the left floorboard showing Torx 40 bolt.
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The Fatal Flaw

One of the most useful design features of the BMW C-series scooter is the dual fairing compartments or "cubbies". The compartment on the left locks when the scooter is locked and it also has an accessory charger port at the rear. The compartment on the right is shallower, but still very handy.

But here's the major design flaw with the tunnel bag: it's too wide, so the compartment doors will not open with the bag installed. To me, this is a deal-killer, because I frequently access the front storage compartments when I'm on the scooter, and having to remove the tunnel bag every time I need to access the compartments is a no-go, sorry BMW.

The following photo shows how far the compartment doors will open with the tunnel bag in place:

BMW C 650 GT Tunnel Bag Blocking Storage Compartment
Tunnel bag should have been made narrower to allow the use of the handy fairing compartments.
wBW Video: BMW Scooter Tunnel Bag
Conclusion

My opinion is that the BMW scooter tunnel bag is flawed in several ways:

  1. The bag is too wide, which prevents access to the two fairing compartments.
  2. The adjuster at the top of the strap doesn't have enough travel to tighten the bag properly and securely.
  3. The mounting bracket on the floorboard is located too far towards the rear to seat the bag correctly.
  4. There should be some elastic in the strap to maintain tension on the strap.
  5. There's not enough hook-and-loop at the tips of the strap to hold it securely to the scooter.

My only conclusion is a "not recommended" on the BMW scooter bag. I suggest waiting until it is redesigned, or look for an aftermarket bag instead. Sorry BMW, you get an "F" on this one! If you're reading this, and you want us to evaluate a redesign, feel free to contact me. If any BMW scooter owners have different experiences with their tunnel bag, please contact me also.

More: BMW C 650 GT Blog  |  BMW Scooter Top Case  |  SHAD SC20 Tunnel Bag

Publication Date: January 2013

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Your Comments and Feedback

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Comments are ordered from most recent to oldest.
Not all comments will be published (details).  Comments may be edited for clarity prior to publication.

From "B." (May 2013): "I greatly appreciate the blog about this scooter and read the luggage review with great interest.

I followed your advice and looked for an aftermarket bag rather than the BMW item. The best thing I found did not quite fit, was not waterproof, and cost $10 more than the BMW bag.

I caved in and ordered the bag from BMW. I could not be more pleased, and feel the need to provide a couple of counterpoints to your review which was entirely too negative. I do have a problem with the bag though, but more on that later.

The two major complaints you have about the bag were that the straps donít get tight enough, and that the storage compartment doors donít open with the bag in place. I rode home from the dealer with the bag in place but no straps. The straps arenít necessary; theyíre only there to ensure the bag doesnít fall off the bike (maybe in strong crosswinds or in case of a crash). I see the straps as entirely optional, as the bag fits in place nicely without them and the only way to remove it is to pull straight up.

As far as the storage compartments not opening: Iíve never opened them yet while on the bike. Itís really not a big deal to lift the bag up to get at the compartments. All I keep in there are my disk lock, my tire compressor and repair kit, helmet visor cleaning materials, and spare earplugs. I have a magnetic tank bag on my other bike, and I must report that the gas cap doesnít open with the bag in place either. Is that really a flaw?

The one problem I have with this bag is that it is too wide. It forces me to spread my legs wider than Iíd like to, or puts my knees in an uncomfortable position if I want my feet forward on the floorboards with my toes pointed up rather than out. That is the real problem with the bag, but it may not affect everyone the same way; itís a big deal for me because I use the bike for all-day long-distance riding."

Rick's Reply: I do think it is necessary to have a tunnel bag or tank bag secured to the bike or scooter. So yes, if it's not secured, the BMW bag may stay in place between your legs when riding and you can simply remove it to open the compartments.

But that is not how the bag is designed and the instructions are specific about using the straps to keep it in place. We reviewed the bag (as we do with all gear) based on the manufacturer's recommendations and by following the owner's manual, instructions or guidelines.


From "E.S." (January 2013): "Thanks for this review. I hope the dealer lets you return this. When looking at the accessories brochure, it does not look like the bag would interfere with the cubby doors. But the bag looks much larger in your review.

I think they may have been going for maximum storage for marketing more than anything. Did anyone at BMW actually put one of these on a 650GT?

I also hate that the top panels of the bag fold back on to the seat. Opening toward the dash would be nicer but it's likely they didn't want it closing without being held open I'd almost want the lid opening to one side. Thanks again for the review.

I guess there has been no follow up to the grease leak someone posted a pic of. Or, the stalling problems experienced by some? Right now your blog is about all I can find on these scooters."


From "B.P." (January 2013): "Burgman owners -- of which I was one, for five years -- referred to such storage as both "tunnel bags" and, more often, "hump bags" (because they go over the step-through area, which is similar to the drive-train hump found in older cars, for instance).

Popular among owners, as I recall, are:

One of the ways the T435 attached was via large hook-and-loop lower flap panels on the sides, which in turn fastened to the scooter via sticky tape on the hump side. So, you may want to check out some of these; maybe you can get some on a trial basis to review.

Unfortunately, note that these are more generalized luggage, and so may not precisely take up all of that opening in the C 650 GT the way you would like.

By the way, the Beemer bag's blockage of the fairing compartments reminds me of the passenger grab handles on the K1600GTL. The passenger seat covers a good portion of these handles, as if one design team didn't communicate with another. It looks like this sort of thing happened again with the scooter bag, and BMW may way to nip this sort of thing in the bud, if it wants to hang onto a good reputation."

Suzuki Burgman Tunnel Bag

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