Tankbag Comparo, Part 3: Ortlieb Moto/Conclusion

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The Ortlieb Moto tankbag can hold enough clothes and other stuff to keep you on the road for a while. Photo: Zac Kurylyk
The Ortlieb Moto tankbag can hold enough clothes and other stuff to keep you on the road for a while. Photo: Zac Kurylyk
The Ortlieb Moto tankbag can hold enough clothes and other stuff to keep you on the road for a while. Photo: Zac Kurylyk

This week, we’ve been looking at tankbags (click here and here). We’re wrapping things up with a look at an interesting bag from Ortlieb, then the conclusion.

Ortlieb Moto Tank Bag – Approx: $139

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The Ortlieb tank bag is made of the same waterproof material as their fantastic saddlebags. It’s waterproof; they have an IP standard dust proof rating of 6, and a waterproof rating of four. They have the same wide-mouth rolltop closure that Ortlieb used on their Moto saddlebags, which makes them a little easier to use than the Wolfman tankbags.

Like the other tank bags in this comparo, the Ortlieb unit was designed with versatility in mind; the bag itself buckles into a harness that secures it to your gas tank. The harness has powerful magnets (keep your credit card clear, Ortlieb recommends) that do a bang-up job of keeping it anchored on a steel gas tank. If you’re using a non-ferrous gas tank (plastic, aluminum, etc.), they’ve also included straps to keep everything in place.

In my opinion, the magnets do a much better job of stabilizing the bag on your tank than just using the straps, as the harness doesn’t conform well to some gas tank shapes, which makes it hard to tighten the straps.

The magnets hold the bag in place fairly well, but a vicious crosswind combined with a heavy load and some peg-scraping might mean your load could shift a bit. Photo: Zac Kurylyk
The magnets hold the bag in place fairly well, but a vicious crosswind combined with a heavy load and some peg-scraping might mean your load could shift a bit. Photo: Zac Kurylyk

The harness lacks in the cushioning department; Ortlieb recommends users place a soft cloth under the harness to avoid scratching their paint job, while some of the competition has already solved this problem (the Kriega bag is much better).

You can convert the Ortlieb bag into a backpack; it's not a replacement for an expensive hiking pack, but it does the job. Photo: Zac Kurylyk
You can convert the Ortlieb bag into a backpack; it’s not a replacement for an expensive hiking pack, but it does the job. Photo: Zac Kurylyk

The Ortlieb bag can also be unbuckled from the tank bag harness and buckled into a backpack harness.

It’s not going to make you forget your MEC backpack, but it’s serviceable in a pinch. I used the tankbag as a backpack for much of last fall and winter. The harness costs $39.

At approximately 18 litres, the Ortlieb bag doesn’t hold quite as much as the Kriega bag, but it’s still very spacious. Users should be able to stuff a couple shirts, a pair of pants and enough spare socks and underwear to last them for most of a week into the bag.

Like the Wolfman tankbag, the Ortlieb bag comes with a removable see-through pocket for a map. You attach this map to the top of the bag for in-flight navigation.

You can attach a clear map pocket to the top of the Ortlieb bag. It's useful, especially when your GPS conks out. Photo: Zac Kurylyk
You can attach a clear map pocket to the top of the Ortlieb bag. It’s useful, especially when your GPS conks out. Photo: Zac Kurylyk

Another nice feature on the Ortlieb bag is the zipper on the bottom. With the Kriega and Wolfman bags, you’ve got to pack and unpack them from the top; the Ortlieb bag has a waterproof zipper opening on the bottom, which allows more access to the bag’s contents.

Conclusion

The underside of the Ortlieb bag isn't as cushy as some of the competition. Note the pockets for magnets in the corners of the harness. Photo: Zac Kurylyk
The underside of the Ortlieb bag isn’t as cushy as some of the competition. Note the pockets for magnets in the corners of the harness. Photo: Zac Kurylyk

Picking a favourite here is tough. There’s no question the Wolfman bags offer a lot of bang for the buck, just like their saddlebags, and they’re also very versatile. As long as you’re not looking for off-the-bike use, you could save a lot of money with their Rolie tankbag, and have a tough piece of equipment that will work for the long haul.

If I was going to spend more money, though, I’d likely go with the Kriega bag. It has just enough extra options to make it a little better than the Ortlieb bag, in my opinion. That’s not a knock on the Ortlieb bag, but I think the Kriega is just a nicer piece of kit, and works better as an all-around piece of luggage, both off the bike and as a tailbag.


GALLERY

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