What is the best tank bag for my RT?

I got the BMW Multivario tank bag because it could be financed with the bike, and because I thought I had no other options. Not so. Many manufactuers make bags for the RT, and each has its positive and negative points.

Jerry Cook <jcook@capcity.com> says about the BMW Tank Bag – " I had one for a brief period of time. Let me explain the BAD NEWS first. Unless BMW has re-designed the front of the R11RT bag it is just a question of time before it will scratch the plastic and grind into the paint. If that is not a problem for you Press On! I got pissed and ordered a Bagster for my RT. They even came color coordinated for the Green or Red or Blue RT.

While I was waiting for the bagster to arrive I pulled the BMW bag out of the woodpile and looked at it. there was foam to protect the plastic bodywork on the sides and on the rear but not on the front. when you load the bag the front lowers and will eventually contact the plastic. the hard rubber on the front edge of the bag will rub back and forth and grind into the paint. I found a piece of foam and glued it to the front of the BMW bag and this seemed to keep the bag off of the plastic.

I found that removing the bag for gas was easiest if I unzipped the zipper that is in the rear of the bag. when you do this it is sort of natural for the bag to slide forward and backward. this means more grinding. I started using the two hooks (harder) and lifter the bag directly up.

Anyway, the front of the bag is the real problem.

The sides seem to be something like cardboard. I did not use the BMW bag in heavy rain. I thought i remembered a post about that.

Good NEWS?? The BMW bag has stiff sides. this is important to some riders to help keep the bag and its contents from shifting when cornering. The reversible map case is a great idea, when expanded it holds a lot of stuff. It has a BMW LOGO on it, It costs $300

My Bagster was $300 for both pieces. Bra thingy and bag. the sides are soft and the bag can shift contents(not a problem for me- I don’t do corners (:-)....) there are about 20 different bags that will attach to the same Bagster mount (bra) there is one "bag" that is a map case. just a plastic pouch that hooks to the same Mount(bra) there is even an animal carrier (small animals)

I’m happy with it, I clean the BRA Mount about every 2 weeks or more if dirt and dust are bad. after one year I have not noticed any damage to the body.

Your dealer can order Bagster products from the importer or you can call BMW of new york (yuk) and they will sell to you"

Bill Pollack <bill@billanddot.com> strongly recommends RevPack. He says "I recently returned from an Edelweiss tour o’ Europe, and all the bikes—RTs, GSs, K12s, Rs, and RSs—were equipped with RevPack’s "Jr. Tank Pack" ($74.95 + shp.). I thought so highly of it that after I got back, I bought one. The Jr. is large enough to be useful without being overwhelming, IMHO. I’ve carried an 8 x 14" atlas (flat), a pair of sneakers, and a hat at the same time in there, plus a see-through map holder—that sort of size. The straps are thick and flexible, and the plastic buckle thingees are large enough (as opposed to, say, a Sargent tank-strap-system thingee I had, with real tiny plastic buckles—one of which I broke—and a silly screw-through-strap-based mounting system at one end). Anyway, the RevPack worked flawlessly at (legal) triple-digit speeds, in a full day of moderate rain, and so forth (and hence I would not recommend the optional rain cover). If you want to go bigger, they have the non-Jr. model for $89.95; see http://revpack.com/, or (800)766-2461."

Jim Wilson <jimwilson@iname.com> agrees about the RevPack: " I’ve also had good luck, in my case with the larger model. The one minor thing is that when turning the handlebars significantly (eg in a parking lot) the bag hits the windshield switch. This usually happens when I’m backing up—the first time it occurred I wondered when I had put the windshield down. I also agree with the comment about the rain cover—not needed. The larger tank bag also has a larger map holder, which holds two folds of a regulation size map. RevPack told me the smaller one didn’t quite"

Karl R. <krrace@tir.com> says "Save yourself a lot of money $200 or more and buy a RKA they are really good bags and they only cost $120 to $160 or something like that and have a rain cover that you can put the map pocket on top of. They make several different sizes. I like mine very much and it seem to be holding up really well."

Steve Burford <burf@iquest.net >Likes his BMW Bag: :The BMW tank bag is generally a well constructed and thought out piece of soft luggage for their motorcycles. The new design of this tank bag is better than the K bike bag we had, and uses a unique attachment system to hold the tank bag onto the top of the motorcycle. While it is expensive ($325) compared to the standard Eclipse ($120) units I have used for years, the ease of attachment makes it almost worth it."

"The only complaint I have ever had with the Eclipse was that it tends to rub the surface of the panels or gas tanks where it is attached to. There is an easy solution for this by laying some cloth between the attachment straps of the tank bag and the painted portion of the tank. Irmi got out the sewing machine and made some slip on covers that included a gather. This gather would keep the straps together when the tank bag was removed from the bike. The straps would just hang by themselves around the front post or the frame tube in the back when not in use."

"The new bag uses two steel clips that are attached to the front section of the gas tank to hold the front unit in place. These clips have a corresponding elastic banded clip coming off the base for the tank bag from each side that simply fits over the steel clips. The rear uses a self-stick pad of velcro that fits into a depressed section of the gas tank cover panel that the attachment panel for the tank bag attaches to. There is a nicely designed soft inner panel that contacts the surface of the gas tank cover. "

"The new tank bag is easy to expand also. Just add more "stuff". There are no smaller sections that are zippered together to expand the storage section of the bag like all the other BMW tank bags we have ever had. The top of the bag is held in check by an elastic strap that is adjustable and goes between the map holder and the top of the bag itself. The downside to this design is that there is no pocket that is easily accessible to hold the small stuff that you always wind up putting in a tank bag. Include any small stuff to the packed material and it winds up in the bottom of the bag. A small pocket held on to the riders end of the bag by snaps or whatever would be ideal."

Bruce <BAnder6125@aol.com> offers a suggestion for protecting your RT from the BMW bag: "something you can use that works is that rubberized non slip shelf material between the tankbag and the bike - no scratching and NO slipping.

Jeff Dean <jeff.dean@worldnet.att.net> uses the BMW tank bag on his R1100RTs, and writes "If you don’t do something under the front of the tank bag," he says, "it will scratch and damage the paint on the top of the tank. I went to J. C. Penney’s and bought cotton hand towels that match  the paint of the bike pretty well. Then I folded them in thirds and placed them between the tank bag and the tank. That eliminated scratching. Plus, it makes sure you have a towel with you on trips! A friend added additional foam under the front of the tank bag because he didn’t like the towel idea. Do what you want, but do something or your paint will be scratched in time"

"Other than this, I am very happy with the BMW bag. To gas up, simply pull forward on the front straps to release them and flip the tank bag backward onto the driver’s seat. That exposes the gas cap". "I have not tried other tank bags, so cannot comment on them. BMW’s surely are expensive, as others have noted herein. But they work well"

Hillary M. Russak <hrussak@SLAC.Stanford.EDU> says "I’ve got a small Marsee tank-bag and it looks like the webbing straps that hold it down will eventually rub into the paint……"

There is a new bag on the market called the BMA AirBag from Big Mak Accesories <http://www.bigmakaccess.com>.  G. McCurdy <g.mccurdy@worldnet.att.net> is pretty happy with his: "I installed the newest version (Cordura) of the AirBag on my RT. The bag's mounting rack is painted to match the gas cap. The top of it is a textured ABS plastic to match the dash. To mount it you remove the front four Torx screws, install BMA's nylon spacers, AirBag mount, and the four allen head button screws supplied by BMA. The bag is very nice - better than any I have seen or owned. It may seem small, but it is well padded (won't look limp), and is insulated (it kept my water bottle cool for quite a while). 

It also has nice large pull-strap Nylon zippers around the perimeter. Putting it on the mount is fast; faster than it takes to read this sentence! Velcro flap secures it from the front. You can remove it just as quick and carry it via the handle at the front or use the long strap that comes with it. Internal compartments have elastic for holding rolls of film or batteries, a compartment on both sides (internal), and under the top cover (for a cell phone). I also got the rain cover (an additional $20 or so). It has a clear top for reading a map beneath. I planned on using it to hold a GPS unit (a Garmin eMap). The plastic, although thick, is still pliable enough to work the eMap's control buttons. However, and better yet, BMA enclosed a Map Case which is clear plastic and has a snap hook at the front and a bungee cord to attach it at the back of the bag. Inside this I could place a folded map, the GPS, and a Nokia 6162 cell phone. The e-Map buttons were operational through the clear plastic as well. At a fill up is where the unit really shines. Just tilt it forward and open the tank's cap - nothing to unsnap or unbuckle. And best of all, it is raised and won't scratch that expensive BMW plastic. Suggested carrying weight is up to 10 pounds. For the $220 (including the rain cover), it was one of the better investments I have made - - - next to the Russell Day-Long seat! And their accessories to it is growing.

Dirk Jesinghaus <Jesinghaus@t-online.de > of Germany prefers to not use a tank bag, but likes to have a map on the tank. He offers a solution: "Now there is a special map holder on the market which uses the same mounting points as the original BMW tank bag. So it really fits. (Wunderlich, part No 2350041, http://www.Wunderlich.de )

Where Can I get my BMW Tank Bag Repaired?

John Van Deren <R11rider@aol.com> says "I just got back from the RA rally. There was a guy there who advertises Multivario tank bag repair:

    Bob Weis, 1 W. King St., Orlando, FL 32804 (407) 895-6216.

Bob now has a website. Visit: http://www.earplugco.com/services.htm