The Ixon X Pand Tank Bag is a low-frills magnetically-attached bag. In its smallest configuration it’s one step up from a map holder, but it expands to provide loads of space.
The X Pand easily converts to a backpack, and comes with a rain cover.
Editor’s Note: Ixon manufactures and sells a variety of unique and interesting motorcycle clothing, luggage and accessories. Their products are popular in the UK and in Europe, Australia and New Zealand, but relatively unknown in North and South America.
Ixon headquarters are located in Mâcon, France and the company has been expanding their product line and worldwide distribution network.
The French make some very innovative and high-quality motorcycle products, and webBikeWorld visitors are familiar with our articles covering products such as the unique ROOF Boxer V and the Furygan Fighter jacket. Furygan products are now available in the U.S., and perhaps a North American distributor will pick up the Ixon line also.
The Ixon X Pand tank bag is illustrative of the interesting motorcycle accessories made by Ixon. Kevin G., who lives in Canada and who recently wrote the webBikeWorld review of the Rapid Transit Recon 23 tail bag, brings us this report.
Access Equip Moto France (AEMF) was started in 1996 by 24-year-old motorcycle rider and clothing maker Thierry Maniguet. A decade later AEMF has become one of the most profitable small businesses in France, solely on the strength of its Ixon clothing and luggage brand.
The company is doing so well that in 2004 AEMF was recognized as the number three small-to-medium sized business in la république, and in 2007 was awarded an Ambition Prize by the Banque Palatine.
A few dozen employees in Mâcon, France handle design, research and development while manufacturing takes place at a 500-employee factory in China. Quality control is reportedly top-notch, and a sizeable number of endurance racers in France wear Ixon gear. Ixon is also a sponsor of the Bol d’Or and Moto Tour endurance rallies in France (which take place in September and October).
Ixon produces a number of tank bags, backpacks and saddlebags, ranging from the tiny, 6 Litre X Port to the 40 Litre X Ceed backpack. The 26 Litre X Pand is the only expandable bag Ixon makes, although there are several bags and backpacks with completely detachable sections.
In its most compact form, the X Pand is mostly rectangular, made from Noxilen (that’s rugged polyester to you and me), and resembles a small backpack. The part of the bag that rests on a motorcycle’s gas tank is dead flat, but the top has a graceful curve.
It’s about 12 cm or 5 inches high in this form, with two expansion zippers running around the base of the bag. Undo the zips and pull up the bag to its largest capacity, and the X Pand is about 30 cm or 12 inches tall, and holds roughly 26 litres.
That’s pretty tall. At its largest, I find the X Pand blocks my speedometer and tach, and there is no way I can tell how fast I’m going. But close one, or both expansions, and it’s easy to read the speed. Those taking long trips will want to be aware of this, but people taking long trips may choose another bag anyway.
A nylon zipper with two zips runs three quarters of the way around the top of the bag, giving easy access to the contents. The top flap is also a map pocket, with a small Velcro closure on the inside of the bag. It easily holds a 9″ x 12″ map book, or a sheet of directions printed from MapQuest. That’s it for this bag: no side pockets or inner organizers, just one big open space.
Like all magnetically-attached tank bags, installation is a piece of cake. Rubberized flaps come out from underneath either side of the bottom of the bag, each containing two 5 cm or 2-inch magnets, which securely fasten to a tank.
A fifth magnet (possibly a spare) can be found in another pouch at the front end of the bag, making three magnets across the front and two at the back, along with a short adjustable cord that hooks around the triple tree for added security. Each magnet can be removed from its small pouch. The bag is rated for what feels like an overly-cautious 12 pounds, and while the top of the bag may slosh around a tad, the magnets never move until pried off.
The pocket also hides wide straps that can be pulled out and attached to the bottom, converting the tank bag into a backpack. Alternatively, the bag can be lugged around with the solidly-woven briefcase-style handle at one end.
Included with the X Pand, although not installed, are two hard plastic side stiffeners. Unlike some other bags (such as the recently-reviewed Recon 23 Tail Bag), the X Pand has no internal padding to help it maintain its shape.
Without the inserts, the bag flops and sags, especially if all three sections are open. And the way the bag is designed, the largest side support must be removed before collapsing the two lower sections.
Fortunately, the inserts aren’t terribly difficult to install or remove. There are two attachment sleeves at one end of the X Pand, and another sleeve at the midway point. The trick is to roll the stiffener and put it through the middle sleeve first, before sliding the ends into place.
I find I always leave the smallest stiffener in place, and I carry the larger, two-section insert around just in case. However, I do wish the small insert were glued into place, and I’ll likely do that in the near future.
Having removable hard liners does reduce shipping costs, and the liners are perfectly sized, but I wish they stayed right in the lips around the bottom of the bag and underneath the zipper. It would give the X Pand a slightly more finished feel.
The other catch is that the large stiffener can only be installed with the two expansions unzipped. Open two out of three sections, and one of those sections won’t have stiff sides. It’s not the end of the world, but it feels a bit odd to have a loose bottom half of the bag, and it’s a problem that vanishes when the bag is fully expanded and the large side support is tucked into place.
The X Pand appears to be aimed at riders who want something larger than a map holder, but don’t want to spend money on a large piece of luggage that won’t see much use. The expandable construction does the trick, and provides a lot of flexibility.
It’s easy to throw the bag in its smallest form on a motorcycle, then just unzip and go from lean and mean to oversized. With practice it takes about a minute to install the largest side stiffener in the bottom section, and since it rolls up to about the size of a water bottle, it’s not difficult to remember to leave it in the bag.
On the other hand, I wonder if a bag that had a stable base, but expanded from the top up instead of the bottom down, would be a better option.
The X Pand comes with a clear rain cover that easily fits over the bag in its fully expanded form. The cover attaches underneath the bag with a pair of Velcro strips, although it is easiest to install while the X Pand is on the ground instead of on the tank.
I’ve been storing the rain cover in the same pouch as the backpack straps, and this may prevent the fifth, central magnet from sticking to the tank. But since the other four magnets are so securely attached, it’s not really a concern.
One added touch that I appreciate is that another carrying handle appears once the middle expansion is unzipped. This means that off the bike, carrying the expanded bag like a piece of hand luggage isn’t ridiculously overbalanced.
Overall the X Pand is a simple but effective tank bag. It does not have all the extra pockets that other bags do, but when treated as a small inexpensive bag with room to grow, it meets expectations. This bag is best for a rider who likes to be lean and mean, but still have room on their bike just in case.
When taken off the motorcycle, the flaps can be tucked back under a pocket that runs the length of the bag (one from each side will also connect to that fifth magnet).