Now that I have three dual-sport bikes in the family, I need to have ways to carry some cargo. This article compares three different sized tank bags.
Small – Wolfman Enduro Tank Bag
I have been very impressed with the quality of my Wolfman Luggage rear fender Enduro bag and my front fender bag, so I decided to try their small Enduro tank bag.
The bag really is small – much smaller than I imagined. The advantage of being small is that it really doesn’t get in your way. It is no wider than the seat and doesn’t encroach too far back on the seat. You barely even know it is there.
It has a small map case on top, which you can remove if you wish. Since the bottom is sloped to fit the tank, it really limits how much cargo you can fit in. It is rated at 6 liters.
The bag is fairly easy to install or remove with four plastic buckles. If you plan on removing the bag frequently, it is worth buying the Wolfman X-strap to hold the straps in place while the bag is off the bike.
Medium – Giant Loop Fandango Tank Bag, OBR ADV Gear High Basin Tank Bag, or AltRider Hemisphere Tank Bag
Giant Loop makes a slightly larger tank bag, the Fandango bag, which is rated at holding 8 liters (it was advertised as 10 liters when I bought it, but GL has updated their spec). Giant Loop uses a slightly different mounting system, but it is also easy to install or remove. One advantage of the Fandango bag is that it is designed to sit over the gas cap so you can mount the bag further forward on the bike.
The Fandango bag is just slightly wider than the seat, and it has a slightly larger map case than the Wolfman Enduro bag.
This bag is noticeably larger than the Enduro bag, but it is still pretty small.
I found it just large enough to hold my small rain coat and a few small items.
This bag is about as large as I would like for an aggressive dirt bike ride. I notice the bag is there, but it does not interfere with my riding. The fact that the bag sits further forward than many other bags is a plus – unless it interferes with your steering.
To refuel the bike, you partially undo a zipper around the bottom of the bag and tilt the bag to the side. I found that this got harder to do when the zipper was covered in dirt.
A new company, OBR ADV Gear, based in Boise, Idaho offers an affordable tank bag called the High Basin Tank Bag. I haven’t tried one yet, but it looks like a good value.
AltRider offers a Hemisphere tank bag which I like even better than the Fandango. It is basically the same size as the Fandango, but the front end is a little deeper so it is a little easier to pack larger objects. The map pocket is more waterproof than the Fandango, and there is a waterproof bag inside to keep your gear dry. I was surprised how wet my stuff got in the Fandango bag during a light rain storm.
The AltRider bag also eliminates the zippers that get hard to operate when dirty. The metal snap on the AltRider is really easy to open and close.
Large – Wolfman Explorer Lite Tank Bag
For less aggressive trail riding, it would sometimes be nice to carry more cargo than either of those two bags allow. The Wolfman Explorer Lite tank bag is the largest one that I thought I could mount on my dirt bikes. It is rated at 13 liters, but you can overfill it to 16 liters. It also has a pocket on the front (or rear?) that may be large enough for a pair of goggles.
This bag mounts the same way as the Enduro bag, but it uses larger and stronger buckles. I found that I had to mount it partially on top of the gas cap to provide enough leg room. To refuel the bike you simply undo two buckles and tip the bag out of the way. The disadvantage to this is that you may have to re-tighten the straps after refueling.
The bag is somewhat wider than the seat, so it is noticeable while riding. For easy to moderate trail riding, I think that would be tolerable. For aggressive riding, I think this bag would be noticeably in the way.
The map case is not quite large enough to hold an 8-1/2″ x 11″ sheet of paper, but it is pretty close. You can buy a full-sheet map case as an option. You can also buy an optional Top Pocket for a little more storage capacity.
One thing I like about the Wolfman bags is the small D-rings on each side. I suspect they would be handy for hanging water or fuel bottles – although I don’t know if they would interfere with riding. The Wolfman bags also have larger zippers, which I hope will be less sensitive to dirt.
Neither the Giant Loop nor the Wolfman bags are waterproof. They are both water resistant, but not waterproof. The Giant Loop bag is smooth and therefore easier to keep clean. I also like the Giant Loop map case better than the Wolfman.
Both companies seem to make quality products, so your choice of bag comes down to price, features, and size, not quality. I suspect we will use all three bags, depending on what type of ride we are doing.