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 my guesses.
The 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.
Sport Tail Bag, bottom view showing under-seat strap and four bungee cord hold-downs.
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.
The 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.
Two extra 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 Bag.
The rear 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 incidentals.
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.
Suggested Retail Price: Tank Bag $104.95; Tail Bag $124.95; Saddlebags $194.95
Colors: Black, Red, Blue. Also special Silver coating ($5.00 extra)
Made in: Indonesia
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.