Summary: Simple expandable
waterproof tail bag that may be slightly too
large to fit on some motorcycles.
I'm giving this nice Hepco &
Becker "SportStar" tail bag the "Quick Look"
treatment because, unfortunately, I couldn't
quite get it to fit either the GT1000 or the Multistrada, so there's not much I can say other
than to provide a basic description.
I'm kind of disappointed,
because I thought this would be the solution I
was searching for; a small tail bag to hold a
bottle of water and a couple of other small
items that would work on both the GT1000 and the
I'm not sure who's fault this is
actually -- I guess I should have paid closer attention
to the dimensions before I purchased it -- that is, if there were
any dimensions listed.
like length, width and height didn't (and still
don't, as far as I can tell) appear on the Hepco
& Becker website, nor are the dimensions listed
on several of the retailers' websites that I've
Actually, providing this type of
detailed information is just what
webBikeWorld is all about -- it's amazing to me
that, with an incremental cost of zero, the
manufacturers or retailers generally don't
provide the kind of basic information necessary
for customers to make a purchasing decision.
So, in effect, we take the hit and do the grunt
work for you, and I hope you benefit by our hard
work and expensive mistakes!
So just for the record, here are the dimensions
of the Hepco & Becker SportStar (the official
name, not "Sport Star" as it is listed on many
Becker SportStar Tail Bag Dimensions
(Front to Rear)
Length (4 Straps)
As you can see from the photos
below, the SportStar does fit right to the edges of the rear
portion of the seat on the GT1000, but it
doesn't leave much room for the rider to move
around in the small area in front of the bag. I could not get the SportStar
bag to fit on the Multistrada 620, which has a
narrower seat that has a...well, shall we say
an "interesting" shape?
It's too bad actually, because
the SportStar pushes all the right buttons
otherwise. Hepco & Becker claim that the
waterproof, and indeed the Cordura used for the exterior
does appear to have some type of vinyl-like backing, so I'll take
their word for it, although the zippers seem
utilitarian and they don't appear to be waterproof.
The bag has your basic
run-of-the-mill rubbery bottom coating to help
it stay in place and protect against untoward
paint scratching. The SportStar includes 4 straps,
each about 107 cm (~42") long. These
are permanently attached to the base of the bag,
which is interesting, because a few of the
motorcycle tail bags I've tried have removable
The downside is that the
permanently mounted straps
can get in the way and the extra length will
have to be folded up and secured underneath the
seat to prevent it from flapping around in the
The upside is that you don't have to worry about
losing the straps...
The straps are oriented more or
less in a front-to-back ("fore and aft")
layout, which I find curious -- don't most tail bags
usually have side-to-side straps that are
supposed to slip
under one side of the seat and up and around the
The straps on the SportStar can be used that way with a bit of
fussing, but the bag doesn't seem quite as
secure as I'd like when mounted on the back of
the GT1000. Perhaps H&B were trying to
accommodate as many mounting situations as
The front, or wide end of the
bag, also includes those plastic or nylon
springy quick release strap attachment thingies.
There are no connectors at the rear, so the rear straps
do indeed seem to be designed to run
front-to-back, where they are threaded into one
half of the plastic quick release and cinched up
to hold by friction.
The SportStar mounting system probably
all sounds confusing
and believe me, it's not easy to describe, but
the bottom line is that the mounting mounting
functionality of the straps just doesn't seem to
be as flexible or accommodating as it could.
only reason I can think of as to why Hepco &
Becker would design tail bag mounting straps in
the fore-and-aft orientation is to use the bag
as a backpack -- which they do advertise as a
feature -- but who really uses these things as a
backpack anyway? And even if they do, the straps are nowhere
close to the type of comfortable strap
arrangement you'd find on a backpack anyway.
The SportStar does have an array
of plastic D-rings sewn along the perimeter: four on the front
(two top; two bottom); two on each side along
the top; and one in the rear. There are
also two more plastic friction strap retainers
in the rear; I'm not sure how or why these would
I don't know -- maybe I'm a tail
bag rookie or something and I'll admit I'm
cranky and fussy when it comes to motorcycle
gear, but it should not be
this hard, n'est-ce pas?
The bag includes a
hefty and rubbery-feeling handle on the big end (the
front) and a zipper covered pocket on the
outside of the bag top that measures about 28 x
25 cm (11" by 10"). This pocket isn't
expandable, so other than maybe some papers and
a thin pair of gloves, it's a bit difficult to
stuff anything else in there.
Inside the bag, under the lid,
there's a slipper pocket that I guess can hold
more papers or something thin. Do H&B
owners carry lots of papers or something?
Maybe passports and travel documents...
The main compartment of the
SportStar is one large cavity, measuring about
33 cm at the large end (13") by 23 cm at the
small end (9") and 14 cm deep (5.5") unexpanded.
A full-length zipper can be let loose to
the the top open to about 23 cm (9") tall. Hepco
& Becker claims the SportStar holds 18 liters unexpanded and
28 liters when expanded.
The bag has some reflective
piping along the top, and the sides are
That's about all I can say; it
really doesn't fit on either the GT1000 or the
Multistrada 620, so I sort of gave up on it and
although the bag seems very nicely constructed and can hold
a lot for a tail bag, it just doesn't work for
me. I wish it were maybe about 1/3
I'm sure it works for some riders on
certain types of motorcycles, so perhaps you can
tell from the photos and my description whether
or not it will work for you.
If so, and you want it, check
out the webBikeWorld Sale Page -- that's where
Bottom of the Hepco & Becker SportStar tail bag.
Review: Hepco &
Becker SportStar Motorcycle Tail Bag
Suggested Retail Price: $130.00 USD
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From "J.W.": "I just read your review of the
tail bag. I think you may be missing something....
From the way the straps are mounted at the
rounded corners of the bag, it would seem to me that they should
be mounted in an "X" pattern running underneath the seat rather
than a "II" pattern along the sides of the motorcycle.
From the tail bags I've used and looked at, a "X" pattern is
pretty common for straps, bungees, etc.
Looking at the pictures, I'd be happy with the
fit on the GT1000, but you're you and I'm me. Just thought
I'd throw in my 2 cents."
Editor's Reply: I responded
to J.W.: "I'm not sure how I'd tighten it with the "X"
pattern so that the straps wouldn't just slide together in the
J.W.'s Response: "Well, if
you were going to mount the bag where the straps ran underneath
the seat, you won't need to cinch the straps down super tight.
Once you set the seat back on the frame and latch it into place
(being sure that the straps don't interfere with your latch
mechanism) the seat will provide some pressure to keep the
straps and bag in place and sitting on the seat would provide
even more pressure.
I'm sure if you look closely at the picture of
the tail bag on the 999 (below) you won't see any straps as they
are probably routed underneath the passenger seat.
These should show the x-pattern arrangement the
other guy was trying to describe. It hold my bag tightly enough
to my pillion pad that the side strap isn't really necessary:
From "J.D.": "You might want to check out
Touratech catalogue. It has several tail bags in
varying sizes (and everything you'd ever want in the way of
luggage for a BMW). I bought (this one, photo below) for
my 999 and continue to be pleased with it. Since the
picture was taken, I figured out that I could use the side
buckles by leading the strap in the opposite directions than it
was intended, although it's probably unnecessary and redundant.
(Also) unlike the lack of dimensions provided by
other manufacturers/sellers that you complained about, the
Touratech catalogue does provide the dimensions of their
products, which enabled me to know beforehand how my bag would
fit on my pillion pad."