by Brandon Jackson for webBikeWorld.com
A tank bag that eliminates the biggest problem with tank bags: touching the tank.
It's a beautiful sunny day and you're about to head out for your Sunday afternoon ride.
The bike is clean, she's topped up with fuel, and you've got your music player loaded with your favorite playlist.
Time to throw on your gear and take off. Did you forget anything?
Well let's see, it's warm out and you might want to take a bottle of water along.
Also, there's not much shoulder to the road where you're riding so you might want to take your kickstand plate.
And -- oh yeah -- a cloth and a small bottle of cleaner to remove the remains of that large bug that's going to inevitably find your helmet visor as soon as you get two miles from home.
Seems like we need to carry lots of little things to make our relaxing (or exciting, depending on your style) ride complete. I for one, hate carrying stuff in my pockets when I ride. By the time I put on my gear, I feel like I've got enough encumbrances without adding a wallet, cell phone, and the rest.
It's also safer not to be carrying small, sharp or stiff items -- such as keys -- in the event of a spill. What we really need is a glovebox. Something easy to access without, say, having to remove the seat, which may yield little to no useful storage anyway. This sounds like a job for a tank bag!
I've always liked using a tank bags for the convenience. Magnetic tank bags in particular are easy to remove when it's time to fuel up or to for use as luggage.
The problem with most tank bags though is that they sit directly on the fuel tank, and that usually means rubbing on the painted surface. Bags-Connection tank bags however, solve this problem with a unique mounting system, called the Quick-Lock.
The Daypack is part of a series of tank bags made by Bags-Connection that use the Quick-Lock mount, which attaches to the aircraft-style fuel tank caps common on most modern motorcycles.
This mount raises the tank bag off the painted surface of while maintaining a secure and easy-to-detach connection. Since the tank bag doesn't rely on magnets or straps to hold it to the fuel tank, the Quick-Lock system is also ideal for motorcycles with plastic (non-magnetic) fuel tanks.
Here's how it works: You choose the bag you want -- the Bags-Connection Daypack for example -- and then select the correct Quick-Lock mounting kit for your motorcycle. The kit has all of the hardware necessary to attach to the Quick-Lock ring, which surrounds the fuel filler opening on the motorcycle's fuel tank.
Once the Quick-Lock has been installed, the quick release plate that came with the tank bag is attached to the bottom of the bag itself. There's enough room under the bag to allow the plate to be mounted so the bag can be positioned forward or back in the desired location -- a nice touch. This is described in more detail in my Bags-Connection Daypack installation article.
With the Quick-Lock ring installed on the fuel tank and the matching plate on the bottom of the tank bag, it's easy to attach the bag to the bike. Just tilt the front of the bag, hook the back onto the tank ring, and then push down on the front for it to latch into place.
You can see this in action in the animation below. Bags-Connection supplies a lanyard that connects to the locking pin underneath that holds the bag to the Quick-Lock, which allows the bag to be quickly removed. The lanyard itself has a small tab with a snap on it that attaches to the top of the bag. Just pull on the lanyard and lift on the front of the bag to release it from the mount.
1. Here you can see how the Bags-Connection Daypack connects and disconnects from the tank ring. 2. Catch the bag on the back of the tank ring, then push it down in front to lock it into place. 3. Once connected, pull on the lanyard to release the bag from the quick-Lock mount.
Once the tank ring portion of the Bags-Connection Quick-Lock system has been installed, you are "plugged in" to a system that includes additional accessories like a wiring harness that provides electric power to the Bags-Connection tank bag. This can power up or recharge electronics stored inside the bag.
Other types of mounts are available from Bags-Connection that connect to the tank ring base; these allow the fuel tank Quick-Lock system to mount a GPS, video camera or other devices securely to the motorcycle.
The Bags-Connection Daypack is made with what Bags-Connection calls "a highly water resistant thermo-molded EVA nylon material".
This material is backed with a stiff foam-like material with a soft (well not too soft) feel to it on the inside. The backing forms the shell of the Bags-Connection Daypack and allows the bag to maintain its shape while still being flexible. This would seem to be necessary to make sure the bag does indeed stay off the tank surface when loaded.
The Bags-Connection Daypack has a hook-and-loop fastener strip on the outside for mounting accessories such as a map holder, perhaps in conjunction with the snap towards the front of the bag. This snap currently is being used to hold the included lanyard that connects to the quick release system.
At the front is a carry handle for convenience when the bag is not on the bike, and the handle is also useful for hanging the bag on the motorcycle's hand grips during fueling. There are also two plastic D-rings for a carry strap, although a strap is not included with the bag.
The five-liter main compartment is accessed using two zippers with nice large rubber pulls that are easy to grasp when wearing gloves.
The zipper itself is made by Gore and is waterproof, similar to the type found on waterproof riding apparel. The placement of the zippers is well thought out too; they're located so they won't slap against the fuel tank when the bike is moving. Other tank bags I've had missed this little detail.
The Bags-Connection Daypack also includes a strip of reflective material above and below the zippers for added night-time visibility.
A zippered nylon pocket large enough for a wallet or cell phone (or both) is located on top of the bag and it's a pretty good size. It has the Bags-Connection logo embroidered in red and has the same type of large zipper pull as the other zips on the bag. This zipper is not waterproof; thus it is a fair-weather pocket unless the included rain cover is installed.
The rain cover has a clear top for use with the optional map holder mentioned earlier. It attaches over the back using a drawstring to tighten. And since there is a space under the tank bag when it's mounted on the special plate, the rain cover can tighten very securely around and underneath the Bags-Connection Daypack.
Opening the Bags-Connection Daypack involves running the dual zippers toward the front on their respective sides of the bag.
The bag itself opens clamshell style revealing the interior which shows what I feel is the only major flaw in the design. The inside of the bag has a "raised floor" so to speak, which is expected considering the location of the Quick-Lock plate underneath. The issue with this "floor" is the plastic plate and the exposed metal screw heads.
Certain items such as sunglasses and mobile phones might become scratched too easily if they come in contact with the screw heads or even the plastic plate itself. This can certainly be remedied with some fleece, felt, or other soft material. It would be necessary to attach this material to plate after the mechanism underneath is installed though, and it would have been nice if Bags-Connection included some padding with the bag.
Since the bag is larger than the plate, a 1 to 2 inch (2.5 to 5 cm) channel remains around the center of the compartment. This is a good place to store a pen or pencil, tire gauge, or even a small flashlight so they don't "travel" around the compartment.
A pair of elastic straps are located on the left side of the bag opening, and these can be used for holding small items requiring easy access. For example, this is the perfect place to store a tiny bottle of Plexus perfectly.
In the normal configuration, the Bags-Connection Daypack can store up to 5 liters in capacity. In real-world terms I can get a bottle of water, keys, wallet, kickstand plate and various other small items (see the photos) in there without much trouble.
When you need to carry a bit more, the expansion zipper can be released, which increases the capacity to 7 liters. This may not sound like much, but the 2 inch (5 cm) increase in height makes noticeable difference. There should be enough room to fit a sandwich, chips (crisps for the British chaps) and a power bar along with the bottle of water.
Inside of the lid portion of the Bags-Connection Daypack is another hook-and-loop strip that doesn't seem to have a specific purpose. This could be for an internal organizer accessory for pens and cards or something, but I haven't been able to find any such accessory listed at this time. Perhaps we'll see something available in the future.
The Bags-Connection Daypack is an excellent companion for commuters and day trips (which was the inspiration for the Daypack name, I'm guessing).
The design works well and it is only let down by the interior plate and its potential for damaging delicate items. The bag is easy to attach and remove and the mounting system helps to prevent the bag from coming in contact with the painted surface of the fuel tank.
But is it a good value? It depends. The bag itself is $79.99 USD, not including the motorcycle-specific mount. That may seem a bit steep when, considering that something like the Joe Rocket Manta tank bag (reviewed by fellow wBW contributor S.G.) can be purchased for $49.00.
The value in my mind though is the greatly reduced chance of damaging my motorcycle's paint. So the Daypack costs a bit more, but in the end it was worth every penny. If you are like minded (OK -- fussy) about your motorcycle and like the idea of the non-contact tank bag then I think you will agree.
From "I.V." (May 2012): "I owned one of these bags for almost a year before selling it with my Ninja 650r. The $100 or so that I paid for this bag and the tank ring was one of the best investments I made on my bike. If you use your bike as a commuter machine, it is incredibly useful.
For riding to work, I could keep my badge, keys, phone, wallet, lunch, and water bottle in the bag just by unzipping the expander zipper. When I would go on weekend camping trips, it was awesome to have everything you would need immediately (maps, food, water, etc) right in front of you.
Also, I kept my iPod in there with a small hole drilled into the baseplate so I could run USB and headphone cabling. If my DR650 had a gas cap ring that supported this bag, I wouldn't have ever sold it.
If you don't like having to carry your personal effects on you while you ride, or you just don't want to have to take your saddlebags or backpack to work, this won't let you down. As for the cost, you'll find out why it's worth it the first time you take it off to refuel or retire for the day."
From "S.Z." (August 2011): "I've been using a Givi model T409 on multiple bikes for years. It's basic, but large enough for a lot of quick access necessities.
It comes with a removable 3 compartment divider (which I don't use) and a strap to secure it to the bike (again, I don't use it either).
The bottom of the T409 is a rubberized material that also covers the three magnets on the base. I have never had issue with tank scratches at all with this unit. I have owned it for about 10 years now. It simply stays in place without the need to use the secure strap, which makes taking it off the bike as easy as reaching for its carry handle.
Now I know that you'll say "That's all well and good but what about bikes with plastic tank covers?" Well, step up to the better Givi models that use their patented "Tanklock" system. similar to the Bags Connection version but you simply push on a tab on the ring that's mounted to the underside of the bag and it pops right off.
You have a less obtrusive looking ring mount that secures to the gas cap cover than that of the Bags Connection model. The Givi mounting system also uses the entire circumference of the mounting ring area to secure the bag (Editor's Note: Here's a YouTube video from Givi).
The Bags Connection model only has that one small contact area at the front, a pin, to hold the bag in place. A lot cleaner and secure mount from Givi, in my opinion
The Givi system also has 5 fore and aft positions you can choose from for the ideal placement of the bag. They also have multiple styles and sizes of bags that fit this same "Tanklock" system. And the interiors of the Givi tank bags are soft. No items will be scratched.
As a testament to Givi quality, I again point out to you that I have had my T409 for 10 years. No issues with construction whatsoever. It's faded over the years, but it works flawlessly."
Editor's Note: These tank bag fuel filler attachment systems are made for a limited number of motorcycles unfortunately, because the bike must have a certain type of fuel filler assembly. Also, the Givi Tanklock isn't currently available for Ducati, while the Bags Connection Quick Lock is available for some Ducati motorcycles.
From "P.S." (11/09): "Thanks for an excellent review. I am one of those who never wanted a tank bag anywhere close to my bike Ė for all the reasons you mentioned. But, the Daypack bag overcame all of my objections and I donít leave home without it now.
I have a Honda ST1300 and there are no tank bags that I know of that wonít be in the way of the bars on lock to lock turns (parking lots, etc.) but the Daypack is small enough and soft enough that being hit by the grips during those infrequent maneuvers isnít an issue. The bag just ďgives a bitĒ and all is well.
I like being able to quickly release the bag from the very well designed mount, grab it by the attached handle and carry it into a gas stop rest room, restaurant, hotel lobby, etc., with me whenever I leave the bike, even if Iíll only be out of sight of the bike for a minute or less. It mounts back onto the plate in a second or two and Iím ready to go again. True, It isnít a fanny pack, but thatís a good thing in my mind, and it doesnít have a strap or a belt, but it is definitely easy to carry around.
Itís an excellent and highly functional convenience item. I have had no problems or issues with it. It does what it is designed to do and does it really well."
From "M.G." (11/09): "I have been using one of these for a couple years now on my Triumph Speed Triple and BMW R1200R, I absolutely love it. The fact that I can use the bag on multiple bikes and is easy to put on and remove without damaging the paint job makes it invaluable to me.
I have also put one of their mounting rings on to the bottom of a small pelican case which is a much cheaper alternative if you want to save a hundred or so dollars and don't mind the look of a pelican case (not mention it is very tough and water proof)."