Have you ever purchased a piece of gear that looked
great on the shelf or in the catalog, only to find
that it seemed to have been designed by someone who
had never seen a motorcycle?
The Wolfman Explorer
tank bag neatly disposes of such nonsense with smart
features and excellent build quality, not to mention
a reasonable price, which make it a pleasure to use.
Designed primarily for dual-purpose
bikes such as the KLR650 and the BMW GS series, the
26-liter bag has a sloping bottom intended for tall
and steeply angled tanks.
Rave reviews from the KLR
community prompted me to try the bag in the first
place – Wolfman supplies it with a mounting harness
specific to the KLR – but it also looked right at
home on the tank of my Speed Triple.
A call to the
factory produced a “universal” harness consisting of
four straps with buckles that should serve to secure
the bag to any tank that’s mounted upon a remotely
Handy, as the Triumph has a
distinctly non-conventional plastic tank, ruling out
most other bags on the market.
The universal mounting harness lived
up to its name and installed in less than five
minutes, most of which were spent removing the seat
and front tank cowl to access the frame.
place, it’s a simple matter of fastening the four
buckles at the corners of the bag to the frame
harness, positioning the bag on the tank, and
cinching down the straps.
The soft, grippy rubber
coating on the bottom of the bag stays put and
extends onto flaps beneath the buckles to help
protect the paint.
The whole works holds its shape
when empty thanks to foam and plastic stiffening
panels, which can be removed from inside the bag.
Even at supra-legal velocities, the bag didn’t move
an inch – no flopping, no buffeting, just rock
I found that the Explorer can be
mounted forward or backward on the Triple’s tank
with no problems – the conventional forward mounting
gives a flat viewing angle to the map pocket, or the
bag can be turned around for a more angled view. Neither position presented a problem with the
mounting straps, nor did the bag interfere with any
controls or the view of the dash panel.
Besides being easy to install and
looking sharp, the Explorer is packed full of really
useful features. Atop the bag is a clear map pocket
sized to accommodate two unfolded panels of a
standard-sized map. Inside the pocket is a divider
for storing additional maps, and the whole works can
be easily removed by ripping it from its Velcro
Two additional strips of Velcro hold the
pocket closed and prevent the front edge from
lifting in the wind. A small loop provides a place
for mounting a map light or pen right where it’s
Wolfman also offers a slightly larger map
pocket designed to hold a sheet of computer paper
for those who like to make their own maps, and
standard replacement pockets are available should
yours become damaged, or if you’re a map geek.
The outside edges of the bag are
covered in pockets, the large end incorporating a
sewn-on “crescent” zippered pocket big enough to
hold all the necessities – wallet, phone, earplugs,
Powerbar, iPod, and then some – while the other
three sides mount removable pockets which secure
solidly with Velcro panels, straps, and loops. Each
is large enough to hold a 12-oz. can of soda.
reflective nylon strap forms a handle around the
large pocket and is repeated on the side pockets for
enhanced visibility after dark. If you find yourself
running out of room, an optional set of larger side
pockets is available.
The main compartment of the Explorer
is secured with a huge YKK #10 zipper that looks and
feels like it will last longer than your bike. Every
zipper on the bag has a pull cord, making all
compartments usable while wearing gloves, and all
zippers operate smoothly and easily.
Grab tabs on
the outer pockets assist opening and closing. Just
beneath the main zipper is the expansion panel
zipper, which lets the top panel hinge at the
forward part of the bag for an extra 3.5” of storage
The expansion panel material is rubber
coated inside for extra waterproofing, a nice touch. Fold the top open and nothing impedes access to the
cavernous interior, which features a key clip and a
zippered mesh pouch for documents, as well as access
to the foam and plastic stiffeners.
As if these features weren’t enough,
Wolfman also offer a rain cover, an insulated
hydration reservoir, and a set of straps that fasten
to the mounting clips and D-rings and turn the
Explorer into a practical and comfortable backpack –
perfect for wandering around with your gear when you
reach your destination. Now I just need to find a
place to stash my riding suit...
What’s not to like? This might be
the perfect tank bag – capacious without being
overly large, nicely styled, well built and priced
right – and despite lacking the convenience of
magnetic mounting, the strap system is so fast and
simple that I don’t miss my old bag.
capacity for a short weekend or overnight trip. The
only problem I’ve yet to overcome is what to do with
the loose ends of the straps if I’m not using the
bag, as they are difficult to remove without taking
off the seat and tank. I suppose the best solution
is just to keep the bag on the bike at all times – I
can’t see any reason to leave it at home!
Review: Wolfman Explorer Tank
Retail Price: $154.99
|Product Comments: Large
capacity. Uses big YKK zipper on main compartment. Includes
a key holder, internal mesh pocket with zipper and a pen pocket.
Also has reflective trim and foam stiffeners in sides. 26-liter
Dimensions: Width: 8-3/4” front and 10-3/4”
rear. Height: 10” front (13-1/2” expanded) and 6-3/4” rear.
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From "J" (2/09): "The Wolfman Luggage, Explorer Tank Bag
was recently replaced with the Rainier model. I purchased (February
’09) the new Rainier at www.sporttour.com that combines features from both
the Explorer and Denali models. I agree with most of the information
provided in the webBikeWorld review concerning the Wolfman tank bag with the
The rainfly ($15-20) is not of the same quality in
design as the Rainier tank bag. While the Gortex material is
indeed water resistant and effective on tents, or in some instances on a
jacket, it loses its effectiveness when not kept taunt and vertical.
Water will saturate the water resistant material, especially in puddles,
folds, wrinkles or when it comes into contact with another object (such
as the included map envelope). Worse, seams that form the cover
are not taped creating a condition whereby water will be drawn into the
cover here as well.
The price for the Rainier seems fair enough considering
the thoughtful design of the tank bag itself and because the bag is
custom fitted to specific motorcycle models with unique tank designs.
Wolfman could also sweeten the purchase experience by
offering step-by-step installation instructions with illustrations that
depict how the bag should be properly installed. The poorly
photocopied instructions I received appear to be duplicated from a binder
insert shipped to an authorized dealer.
I had difficulty because the images were overexposed with
too much contrast. I could find no other references to the
installation at (Wolfman Luggage) or elsewhere online. A .pdf
download available at the Wolfman website that covers the essentials of an
effective installation would be classy and further the industry standard.
Fortunately, I was able to figure out a way to secure the
rear leads to my bike by wedging the D-rings (sewn into the straps) between
the tank and the body where the two overlap.
Thank you for the informative review."