This review includes three parts -
Tank Bag |
Oxford Sport Tail Bag
The Oxford Sport Tail Bag, or Tail Pack, provides an
additional 42 liters of carrying capacity (vs. 28 liters
for the Humpback version) and can be
fitted to a variety of motorcycle seats (see caveats
below). The Sport
Tail Bag is rectangular in shape, at 350mm (14") wide
and about 400mm (~16") long (including the width of the
front/rear and two side pockets).
I'm always a little
nervous about carrying something behind me where I can't
see it, but the Tail Bag mounting system seems like it
has enough redundant safety features to keep
it securely in place. The mounting system consists of a piece of 40mm (1.5") wide nylon
webbed strap that is split in the middle. The Tail
Bag is installed by locating it on the back of the seat
and placing the strap underneath the seat.
The straps use Velcro (the "hook" on one
side and the "loop" on the other) to join them
together and hold the Tail Bag
in place. The Velcro is very dense, and it
provides a strong bond, so once the
seat is locked back in place it would be pretty hard for the bag to
somehow come loose.
Oxford recommends at
least 150mm (~6") of overlap on the Velcro.
Subtracting this from the total strap length leaves a
total of about 400mm (15-3/4"), so the seat has to be
thin and narrow for the Tail Bag to fit on top of the
seat while the strap is wrapped around underneath.
150mm of overlap on the Velcro may be overdoing it, and I'll
guess that about half that should be fine, which would
provide some extra length, but
it's important to follow Oxford's instructions and not
Tail Bag fits the Suzuki, because the Bandit's seat
narrows towards the rear (about 11" wide) and is rather
thin at 3.5", but we only got about half the recommended
Velcro overlap. We couldn't quite get the Tail Bag to
fit the stock seat on a Triumph Thunderbird Sport, which
is 12" wide at the rear 5.5" thick.
I'm not sure
why the straps aren't longer, or perhaps an additional
section of strapping with Velcro could be provided to
add a splice in the middle so that the Tail Bag would fit
more seat shapes.
You may want to measure the
circumference around the rear of your seat and if it's
more than about 64cm (about 25-3/4") then you may have
problems fitting the Tail Bag to your bike. This
may not be a problem with sport bikes, due to their
thin, narrow seats, but it's a good idea to check first.
There are also two
semi-permanently attached bungee cords in the shape of
an "X" located underneath the bag. The bungee
cords are designed to be threaded through the large
external D-rings on each of the two flaps on the Tail
Bag (two D-rings on each flap)
and secured to the bike's luggage hooks, foot rest,
frame other other appropriate area. This provides
an extra margin of safety to keep the Tail Bag in place.
Oxford also includes four
extra 325mm (~14") bungee cords with the Tail Bag,
and these are meant to be used
as an additional attachment to hold the bag to the motorcycle.
There are four D-rings at the top of the bag to attach
the bungee cords, and the other end of the bungees
should also be attached to a mounting point on the bike.
We needed a selection of various sized bungee cords to
correctly mount the Tail Bag, because the mounting
points on the Bandit were a long reach, but bungees
are cheap and motorcyclists usually have a spare drawer
full of them. One more tip: we also found
that it was much easier to mount the Tail Bag before
mounting the saddlebags.
The Sport Tail Bag's 42
liter capacity is greater than the largest size tank bags. It sits about
180mm (~7") high when unexpanded, and about 300mm (12")
tall when the expansion panel is engaged.
Sport Tail Bag, top
Tail Bag, bottom view showing
under-seat strap and four bungee
cover opens from the rear to expose a useful chamber
that can hold a full-face helmet (when expanded) or a
variety of clothing. I can slide my Compaq
Presario 2500 laptop computer in on its edge and still
have plenty of room for other goodies.
The cover of the Tail Bag has
two zippers, one on each side, and a length of Velcro at
the rear. I assume that the reason Oxford didn't
use a full-length zipper was to help ensure that the
Velcro at the rear of the bag would hold the cover shut in case the zippers
became loose in the turbulence behind the rider.
This is one place I wish Oxford would have used the long
fabric zipper pulls rather than the rings, because the
side zippers are recessed under the lid, hiding about
half of the metal pull.
D-rings are sewn on to both sides of the bag above the pockets, so
there are many different ways to mount the Tail Bag
securely to the bike.
Oxford provides an
instruction manual with each piece of luggage that clearly describes the mounting procedures,
and the manual should be carefully studied prior to
installing and using
the bags. A CD-ROM is also included, which has a
nice video with stereo sound and it does a good job of
showing off the Oxford luggage line while also
describing tips for mounting the different items.
The Sport Tail Bag has four
external pockets. The front pocket is about 220mm
(8-3/4") wide by 180mm (7-1/8") high by 40mm (1-1/2")
deep, but most of this pocket is taken up by the padded
shoulder straps that can be used to convert the Tail Bag
into a rucksack. There are two tapered side
pockets, each about 230mm (9") long by 125mm (5") high
by about 40mm (1-1/2") deep. These have top
opening zippers using the metal ring pull, and they have
a fabric pattern that matches the Oxford Compact Tank
pocket is about 230mm (9") wide by 140mm (5-1/2") high
by 60mm (2-3/8") deep. This pocket can be zipped
off and used as a "bum bag", or belt pocket. A
fabric channel is sewn to the back of the pocket, and a
belt is provided so that the bag can be carried around
the waist or over the shoulder.
Inside the Tail Bag are a
cell phone pocket, a small 100mm x 130mm (4"x5") pocket
with a flap (Velcro closure) and a small mesh pocket for
How to choose between the Tail Bag and the Tank Bag? Both are
very useful, easy to install, very well made and have a
ton of usable storage space. One of the advantages of the Tail Bag
is that it doesn't interfere with refueling the bike.
Also, once the Tail Bag is mounted and the seat is
locked, it would be difficult, if not impossible, for
someone to make off with it without cutting the webbed
strap that fits under the seat. The Tail Bag
offers a huge amount of usable storage space, and when
used in addition to the Compact Tank Bag and the Sport
Saddlebags, it should be more than enough room for any
type of voyage imaginable.
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Sport Tail Bag
From: Castle Sales
is the U.S.A. Distributor
| Also visit the Oxford Products
Suggested Retail Price: Tank
Bag $104.95; Tail Bag $124.95; Saddlebags $194.95
Red, Blue. Also special Silver coating ($5.00 extra)
Product Comments: Soft motorcycle luggage that fits a
variety of makes and models, including sportbikes.
Mix and match components to obtain touring bike storage capacity. Rugged design and good looks.
Sport and Humpback lines of soft luggage carry lifetime
guarantee against manufacturer defects. Made from waterproof PVC-backed
1500 Denier polyester. 3M Scotchguard treated and 3M Scotchlite
reflective accents. Rain covers and padded shoulder
straps are included for each item. Tank bag includes
separate rubberized mesh blanket for protecting fuel tank
finish. Nice strong zippers with big pull tabs that
can be gripped when wearing gloves. Sport models shown
here are designed for maximum capacity; also available in
the "Humpback" series, which are slightly smaller and more
aerodynamic. Oxford also offers the "1st Time" range
of soft luggage at a lower price point. The 1st Time
line carries a 1 year warranty against manufacturer defects.
owners on Oxford luggage review home page