If I’m going to travel — or even go to the grocery store — on the bike, I need baggage, right?
I started with a magnetic tank bag from RoadGear; it has a clear map window on top, and an expansion zipper. The map carrier even unzips from the rest of the bag so you can (for whatever reason) carry the map by a little string strap. I guess that’s so you can slog into a Waffle House when you’re lost and consult the map that got you there. (Below, left — collapsed. Right — fully unzipped and stuffed. Click for larger view.)
It’s held on by prodigious magnets (so if you have a non-metallic tank, it’s no help), and holds plenty.
But going to the store for cat food two cans at a time isn’t practical, and I can’t wad so much as a pair of jeans in the tank bag. That’s where the TourMaster Cortech bags come in. The saddlebags (retail: $129.99) and tailbag (retail: $69.99) are sold separately but made to fit together. (Below, left — collapsed. Right — fully unzipped and stuffed. Click for larger view.)
All the bags are fairly fraught with zippers for storage and expansion, and you can cram a lot of stuff down in the corners, especially when they’re fully expanded. The tailbag has crisscrossed bungee cords with hooks so you can mount it alone, although I’ve found them a bit clunky with the SV650’s mounting points. But there’s also a large, Velcro’d flap that goes under the saddlebags’ cross straps, and that’s much more secure. There are also four very heavy-duty (read: nail-breakers) push-snap connectors to secure the tailbag to the saddlebags.
I can easily fit my 15″ MacBook Pro (in a padded sleeve) in the tailbag, with plenty of room for the power cord and accessories. You do have to do some unhooking to take the tailbag off, but once you do, it has its own strap and makes a perfectly dandy laptop bag (or giant purse).
There are some compromises: the SV has a nice pair of helmet locks under the pillion seat, and you can’t get to that with the bags on. And I’m not tall (5’5″), so I have to grunt and heave a bit to hoist my leg past the tailbag when I mount the bike. But that’s the only shortfall (pun intended). The bags are sturdy, well-made, and full of thoughtful extras, such as key holders, rain covers, carrying straps and handles.