Remember the Soft Luggage comparo we ran earlier this year? Well, the contestants are back for a grudge match.
For this comparo, I was looking for tankbags with similar specs to the soft luggage I tested earlier; it had to be waterproof, and it had to be universal. Thankfully, Kriega, Wolfman and Ortlieb all make bags that fit this description. Here’s how their products fared.
Wolfman Rolie tankbag – Approx $55 for medium bag and $45 for tank bag harness
The idea behind this tankbag is similar to the Wolfman Rolie waterproof saddlebags I tested; take a roll-top waterproof bag, strap it into a harness, and strap that harness to your bike. It’s a very cost-effective and simple way to make tough luggage that keeps dry in all weather conditions.
The Rolie tankbag uses the exact same roll-top bags the saddlebag system uses (a 4.5-liter small, 8.5-liter medium, or 12.5-liter large, available in black and yellow, and sometimes other colours). That’s helpful for users who want to take advantage of the mix-and-match capabilities of Wolfman’s Rolie system.
Like most tankbags, the Rolie’s harness is simple to attach to your motorcycle. Just weave the straps through the front of your frame somewhere, and underneath the tank. Tighten the harness’s buckles, and then strap your bag to the harness. You’re in business!
Since you can pick and choose the size of your tankbag, you aren’t left with a bulky piece of luggage up front that’s half-empty. You can use a large bag if you need the space, or a small bag if you just want to haul along a couple extra shirts and underwear.
Keep in mind, though, the small bags have a relatively narrow opening, making it tricky to fit larger items in the bag. As well, the long, skinny shape of the small bags means if you need items in a hurry, you’d better store them at the top of the bag.
This became particularly apparent when I rode Newfoundland last year on the Honda NC700X. I kept some extra shirts at the top the bag for when I was chilled by that province’s sub-Arctic temperatures in late September.
That helped me get them out quickly roadside, but when it was time for lunch, I had to dump the bag’s contents out to access the food I’d stored at the bottom. This wouldn’t have been as much of a problem with the larger bags, which I should have used, in retrospect.
Since there are no zippers to fail, the Rolie tankbags should stay waterproof and functional for a long time. Plus,if you somehow put a hole in the bag (although I can’t imagine how you’d do that – it’s uber-rugged), it’s simple (and cheap) to get another one.
While the Rolie bag system is known for versatility, not bells and whistles, there is a nice optional mapholder you can install on the tankbag.
As GPS units become more popular, paper maps are used less, but this is still a good add-on. The mapholder is $14.99 for the small bags, $19.99 for medium or large bags.
There are plenty of flashier tankbags on the market, but when it comes to value for your money, it’s very hard to bear the Rolie bags.
They do a great job for very little money, and you can use them in other luggage applications. It’s hard to find a downside.
Check in tomorrow for Part Two of the review. We’ll be looking at the Kriega US-20 tankbag.
Check out all the pics that go with this story! Click on the main sized pic to transition to the next or just press play to show in a slideshow.