This is the second of three reviews for Wolfman Luggage. Wolfman Motorcycle Luggage is a long-term major player in the motorcycle industry and for 2020, Wolfman has redesigned their whole line.
Every piece uses heavy duty nylon with TPU laminate and radio frequency (RF) welded for strength and absolute sealing. The new gear is still distinctively Wolfman in look and function, but now even better.
One of my first real pieces of motorcycle luggage was an early Wolfman textile tank bag that had a bit of form and tons of function; that bag probably saw at least 80,000kms of use over a decade or more in travel across Canada, the US and a country or two in Europe – sadly it’s not sitting on my collector shelf.
Early in the new year, we touched base with Lisa at Wolfman Luggage to see about getting some of the new for 2020 WP (waterproof) products and within a short period of time they had agreed to send three products; a set of the Expedition Saddle Bags, a Blackhawk Tank Bag and a Wolf Bottle Holster – a good sampling indeed. wBW has reviews on all three products.
But with COVID-19 dictating the ebb and flow of many things around the world, production of and shipment from their Global Warehouse got delayed and then, early stock was in short supply and needed for the first series of 2020 motorcycle shows.
It was mid-April before the Expedition Saddle Bags arrived at the doorstep, with the Blackhawk Tank Bag and Wolf Bottle Holster arriving via contactless delivery the first week of June.
And before moving on, a few words regarding the review process in this COVID-19 environment. The best approach for evaluating gear, personal or motorcycle mounted, includes overnight trips and multi-day travel events somewhere; but this just has not happened for these pieces, yet.
So, it’s been lots of local riding and trips within current limitations. While confident that the wBW reviews of all three Wolfman products are as detailed and objective as usual, the full scope of activities is still in front of us. Rest assured there will be updates posted to the postings down the road.
“Passionate about motorcycles”, “Family-owned and operated business” and, “Proudly designed and tested in the USA” These statements are displayed front and centre on the ‘Why Wolfman’ page and they are key to the Wolfman luggage story.
Since 1992, Wolfman (Motorcycle) Luggage has been made with quality, passion, and integrity, and since those early years, the business has continued to build highly functional versatile and durable gear used by motorcyclists worldwide.
In 2007 Wolfman introduced the use of tough vinyl fabric for the Expedition Series and in 2010 the waterproof multi-use Rolie Bags were introduced. And now for 2020, Wolfman has gone to a 100% RF-welded and waterproof product line.
The key to a good motorcycle accessory, including soft side (with or without stiffeners) is versatility in fit and function and, adaptability. Some products will indeed be designed for use on certain types of motorcycles, but if they cannot be adapted (safely) for more general use this can be a limitation impacting marketability.
Wolfman states that their products continue to be the most sought-after luggage on the market, with each piece providing versatility so riders can carry what they need in the manner best suited for their use, riding style, and motorcycle. And not just ADV riders either – you’ll see the distinctive Wolf logo sported on motorcycles of all brands and model at rallies and on the road.
Both the Blackhawk Tank Bag and Wolf Holster Bottle arrived in one box, but sealed in their own bags, as expected given the worldwide COVID-19 environment. After cleaning all surfaces and unpacking the pieces which were then given a thorough wipe-down inside and outside, a good first look is provided.
The Blackhawk Tank Bag, like the other two Wolfman for 2020 products, is distinctive in its colouration and of course, markings. It is hard to miss that familiar logo which received a facelift for 2020 and is now reflective as well.
Except for the base mounting pieces, the reinforced tote handle, and the multi-purpose top, lines are clean and smooth, even the waterproof zipper blends in, its presence given away by the bright yellow plastic tipped pull tabs.
On the multi-purpose top, secured to the removable hook-n-loop strips is a mid-sized clear-face roll-top document holder, good for a folded map, route card, or with the document holder pulled away, the bright yellow elastic lacing with friction pull tab comes into full view.
The zipper provides initial resistance, expected for its build and purpose and like the Expedition Saddle Bags, a bright yellow interior awaits, punctuated with dark perimeter pass-throughs that are the pathway for the internal sidewall stiffener.
With the lid opened, a small removable flat tote or waist belt ‘pocket’ is found stuck with hook-n-loop sections to the inside of the lid – it looks suspiciously like the Waist Belt Base for the Tincup Pocket. Regardless, this is a nice useful inclusion with its pass-through ends for holding things and/or slipping a belt through with a flat zippered pouch on the smooth side.
Put the essential things in the zippered flat pocket and bandana/scarf/mask in the pass-through and grab the tote when off the motorcycle. First look and first impressions – all good.
Build & Features
A clean sheet approach when redoing a whole product line can be a risky thing, but much or all the risk can be mitigated when design, features, build, functionality, and durability are provided.
With the new for 2020 Wolfman Luggage products, it would seem the risks were accepted and mitigated, with the highest quality materials used and all seams RF-welded – an approach providing strength, durability, and gear that is absolutely waterproof; all now identified by the ‘WP’ in the product names.
A strong flexible combination of 840D nylon and TPU laminate provides an absolute moisture impermeable layer with all RF-welded sections for a smooth unblemished look with strength and flexibility.
The Wolfman 2020 Blackhawk Tan Bag is slightly taller at the back with a gentle taper-down to the front and contoured to fit many sloped surfaces. Another important part of shaping, especially along the base, is the need to accommodate elevated fuel-cell filler housings
A removable single-piece tapered stiffener is fitted around the inside perimeter of the tank bag providing form and protection for contents without impeding overall flexibility of the tank bag.
The top of the tank bag is multi-purposed with MOLLE style slots, removable hook-n-loop strips for the slots, a yellow lace-pattern bungee (shock) cord, and removable clear-face document pocket.
The bungee or shock cord lacing on top of the tank bag is bright yellow as well and long, with three crossover points on each side, an adjustable friction slider, and sturdy plastic pull tab.
Listed measurements for the Wolfman 2020 Blackhawk Tang Bag are: Length of 28.5cm (11.25in), Width of 21.5cm (8.5in) and Height, Front 18cm (7in), Rear 12cm (4.75). The clear-face document holder is 24.7cm x 12cm (9.75in x 4.75in). Capacity is stated to be 10 litres.
A single double-pull YKK No. 8 waterproof main zipper is used. The zipper has some resistance, typical for most sealing or waterproof zippers, but it runs smoothly and is well sealing. Bright yellow pulls with beefy plastic tabs make finding them to use the zipper easy.
Flat UTX Flex (side squeeze) buckle fasteners (SS-1CG 25mm) are used for the four tank bag mounts and the front/back strap sections. The tank bag mounts use the catch or receiver half of the fasteners while the straps use the hook end half.
The 2.5cm (1.0in) flat strap front or neck strap section is 121cm (47.6in) long with a slightly narrower elastic crossover piece; the two back mounting straps are 57.5cm (22.6in) long with stitched flat pass-throughs for loop strap mounting.
This tank bag should be compatible with many motorcycles given sufficient surface or deck area and safe mounting points. Wolfman states that the Blackhawk uses the same harness as the 2020 Enduro Tank Bag and some user reviews have identified that the older harnesses still work.
One could get really stressed out mounting the Wolfman Blackhawk Tank Bag – not! This tank bag has now been test fitted and used on five different motorcycles, ranging from multi-purpose ADV travel machines to touring beasts – no muss, no fuss. A truly versatile product.
The current and long term approach now has the Blackhawk Tank Bag used between the F 850 GSA and the F 900 XR machines in the home fleet, although with the Mosko Moto Pico V2 and Navigator Cell Phone Pocket typically residing on the GSA, the XR, and rider, has the advantages provided by the larger Blackhawk TB.
About the only differences in installing the Blackhawk Tank Bag on any machine, especially the latter two, regards how much effort is needed to get the neck strap mounted and identifying the optimum layout for the two back strap pieces.
A big advantage of the Wolfman harness and buckle sections is that they are just flat straps with sealed ends to prevent fraying, but not otherwise finished, except for the back straps that have a piece on one end. Anything else can complicate fastener removal and strap routing as needed – this can be a big thing.
Front or Neck Strap
There are some brackets along the lower inside at the front of the F 850 GSA that would make good pass-through points, but they are better for individual side mounts and they can be a bit hard to reach.
Alternatively, and as the neck harness is a single long piece, just slipping it through one side of the open space on the frame (behind the steering column) and back up the other side will do nicely.
But if access and pass-through space is tight, which it is on the F 900 XR (watch out for the plastic guard pieces on the frame), remove the fasteners and cross-over piece and pass the flat strap through from one side to the other, making sure the strap isn’t aggravating (rubbing or pulling) against anything other than a hard fixed surface.
With the ends pulled up to the tank/fuel cell area, slide the elastic cross-over strap over the left and right ends and add the fasteners – properly oriented so the loop and friction pull layout on the slider portion of the fastener works.
What is missing from the Wolfman strap sections are some small elastic strap retainers of some sort. I have some of them here from other products but still, adding them would be a nice touch, like the stowable waist bag/tote is.
Many tank bags use a single long strap, finished or unfinished for the back mount. This approach can and often does work, but the pieces used by Wolfman are preferred. Each back strap has one open end, with a low-profile flat D-ring stitched into the other.
This ability to slip the clean end of the back straps through a small pass-through works perfectly with the F 850 GSA and subsequently for the F 900 XR as well in keep the back mounting points just behind the fuel cell covers for short path run to the back of the tank bag and a clean look.
Alternatively, there are two side frame tubes visible behind and below the fuel cell side panels, either can be used to form a frame loop with the straps that are then run up to the tank bag and with a buckle added, connected, and tightened up.
On the F 900 XR, two routing options are readily apparent – use the straps and incorporated flat D-rings to creates loop mounts thorough pass-through points at the back of the fuel cell and its mounting bracket for a short run up to back tank bag mounting points.
Alternatively, visible frame sections on each side make good loop mount points with the strap and flat D-rings, then run the straps up to the tank bag, add the buckle connector pieces and click them into the back receivers on the tank bag, adjust as needed.
Function & Performance Observations
The Wolfman Blackhawk Tank Bag is a strong lightweight piece that utilizes a familiar proven design with technology-based materials and RF-welded seams for strength, flexibility, and so far, excellent durability.
Its proven simple four-point mounting harness uses flat strapping and lightweight buckles with adjustment sliders that work extremely well and except for the tank bag base buckles that are stitched in, everything else is replaceable. The only thing missing – some form of elastic or adjustable strap retainer.
It takes only a minute or two to move the whole tank bag assembly – bag and harness between motorcycles and even less with a second (or third) harness (around 20.00 USD) in waiting.
The YKK waterproof self-sealing zipper works extremely well and when fully closed, the tank bag is completely sealed, as proven in a short full submersion dunk test. And, neither direct pressure hosing nor wet stuff from our infrequent but heavy late spring/early summer showers had a single drop creep inside.
With that multi-purpose top, tough waterproof zipper, and removable internal stiffener, the Blackhawk provides strength, form, and protection while maintaining good flexibility – unless you have hard-edged pieces stuffed inside, hitting this tank bag with a body part shouldn’t cause any suffering – something to remember when on the pegs and traversing the rough stuff.
And speaking of lids, the Blackhawk Tank Bag goes some extra distance in providing the long heavy-duty yellow bungee shock cord, laced up for use and, the removable clear-face document holder. Note – the holder is not vented and should not be used as a housing for an in-use device generating heat.
With some careful layering, the document holder can be used for a map or route card while the second set of gloves (you do carry a spare set don’t you?), hat, or other soft small pieces are tucked securely under the adjustable bungee shock cord.
For my daily travels, including forays up into the hills, the Blackhawk Tank Bag holds all the necessities – FA kit, rain/wind jacket and pants, extra water, energy bars, and small sundry items tucked under the layered stuff. The tool roll goes on the back set or in the back top-box.
Warranty & Support
Wolfman has a well defined and detailed Returns, Repairs & Warranty page that identifies many situations and issues that customers might experience and provides coverage information along with repair and/or return conditions and instructions. From the information found on the link above it seems that their goal is to make sure customers are taken care of.
I’ve never had to utilize any of their return, repair, or warranty services but in browsing through a number of forums and motorcycle review related sites, Wolfman Motorcycle Luggage has a great track record in looking after customers. This site provides them with a 85.1 Rating Score.
I seldom get tired of trying or testing new kit, including tank bags – another accessory, like side luggage, that seems to generate a lot of pro/con oriented discussion. But for this rider and avid motorcyclist, the chances of me leaving home without a tank bag of some form is almost nil.
And where the Mosko Moto Pico V2 tank bag is indeed small (yes, ‘pico’ means peak in Spanish and also represents a unit prefix in the metric system), the Wolfman Blackhawk fits into the mid to large category based on footprint, overall dimensions, and capacity – being positioned in the middle is often good, no?
In being a tank bag advocate and being pretty demanding about things, the Wolfman Blackhawk WP tank bag looks and works as advertised. It is ‘waterproof’ (see submersion notes above), provides lots of internal storage, and more thanks to its multi-purpose top. The waist belt/shoulder tote is a most useful inclusion.
As mentioned, it has excellent portability thanks to a simple four-point mounting harness and is ‘right-sized’ for so many motorcycle platforms.
The Bottom Line
Formed of the same tough flexible nylon and laminated TPU combination used for other new for 2020 products and with its self-sealing zipper the Wolfman Blackhawk Tank Bag is totally waterproof. Everything inside stays dry and the internal removable stiffener provides form and protection for contents. The multi-purpose top with bungee cord lacing and removable clear-face document pouch adds more versatility and functionality. An excellent new product – highly recommended.
- New for 2020 design, build encompasses proven Wolfman look, feel and features
- Size, footprint, dimensions, mounting layout allows fitment on many motorcycles
- Tough durable combination of 840d nylon with TPU laminate
- Fully waterproof with RF welded seams and YKK waterproof zipper
- Uncluttered full-use interior, bright yellow to facilitate loading and looking
- Internal stiffener provides form and protection but without adding hard lines or edges
- Multi-purpose top with MOLLE layout, hook-n-loop strips, document holder and lace-pattern bungee cord gear holder for the light stuff
- Removable interior stowed waist belt/tote pouch with pass-through and zipper pocket
- Four-point mounting harness uses simple replaceable components
- Some form of stretch or adjustable strap retainer is needed for the mounting harness
- Priced a bit higher than some (but not all) competitive products with similar features
- It keeps getting ‘borrowed’ for one of the other home fleet motorcycles…