Top 5 Best Tank Bags For Your Motorycle

motorcycle bags
Image via touratech

I personally couldn’t live without my motorcycle tank bag.

It holds all of the little things I need frequently, and spares me the hassle of having to open my top box (or saddle bags on long rides) and sorting through all of the random things which inevitably end up there (yeah, I should clean it out more often).

That said, I get why some people aren’t fans of tank bags for motorcycles.

There are so many different types of motorcycle luggage. You simply might find another luggage type more useful.

If you haven’t tried out a tank bag yet though, consider these pros and cons.

Tank Bag Pros

 

Extra luggage space

Don’t have to worry about items flying out of your pockets while riding

GPS and map pockets make navigation less of a hassle

Keeps important items easily accessible

Can double as a backpack

Tank Bag Cons

 

May get in the way of fuelling and riding

Bag or straps could rub against your thighs or stomach

Large bags could interfere with steering

Not suitable for bikes with tank-top instruments as the bag will block the speedometer and warning lights

May interfere if you stand up when you ride


I’m obviously a big fan of tank bags and think that the pros outweigh the cons. However, it is really important that you pay attention to these cons because tank bag problems can be avoided by choosing the right bag for your bike.

Even if you think you hate tank bags, you might love them once you switch to a different style of bag.

Our Choice Best All Round Tank Bag

Givi ST602 

givi tank bag

The size is right for general, everyday use.

Well designed and functional with numerous pockets and compartments.

Very handy quick release system and handles allow for hassle free removal.

What to Put in Your Motorcycle Tank Bag?

There are some really massive motorcycle tank bags out there, so they can be used for all types of gear. In general though, tank bags are used for carrying small items that you need quick access to.

Here are some of the things you could find in my tank bag:

  • GPS
  • Paper maps (nothing beats old-school maps!)
  • Water bottle
  • Motorcycle gloves – see our guides to winter and summer gloves
  • Visor cloths
  • Headlamp
  • Pens and small notebook
  • Earplugs
  • Pocket knife
  • Phone, wallet, keys, loose change 
  • Impulse purchases

When I first started going on longer rides, I found this article about how to pack a motorcycle really helpful. It covers all aspects of motorcycle luggage, including balancing load and safety considerations.


How to Choose a Tank Bag

I’m convinced that the riders who don’t like tank bags just have the wrong bag. The wrong choice of bag could cause all sorts of problems – including some serious safety issues – so it is important that you take the choice seriously.

There’s three main things you need to look at when choosing a tank bag: attachment method, capacity, and material.

1. Attachment Method

The first thing to look at when choosing a tank bag for your motorcycle is the attachment method. A tank bag might not even be compatible with your bike depending on how it mounts.

Magnets 

These tank bags have 4-6 strong magnets. It is incredibly easy to mount the tank bag and then remove it. You’ll find tons of options for magnetic tank bags. Just be warned that the cheap magnetic tank bags are likely to blow away when riding off-road or when loaded up with gear.

Pros

 

Easiest and fastest attachment method.

Can be quickly removed: Perfect for dodgy areas where you want to take your tank bag and its contents with you, and for fuelling

Affordable

Lots of tank bag options and variety

Cons

 

Magnets are heavy: When you are already carrying your tank bag with contents, jacket, and helmet, you don’t want the extra weight of magnets!

Weak magnets are unreliable: Cheap tank bags use small, weak magnets which could cause your bag to blow away. You’ll want to use tethering straps just in case

Might scratch your tank: If the magnets get dirty, scratching the finish is almost inevitable

Easy removal = easy to steal

Doesn’t work on aluminium, plastic, or fiberglass tanks


Strap 

Tank bags which mount with straps are very secure without being pricy. The only thing that is annoying is when they don’t have a quick release. Then you have to take every valuable item out of the bag and put it into your pockets when making a pit stop.

Pros

 

More secure than magnets

Less likely to scratch your tank

Takes a bit more time to steal

Cons

 

Not all bags have a quick-release option.


Fuel Ring 

This is hands-down the best way to mount a tank bag. You get a special fuel ring for your tank and then attach the tank bag to this. The issue with them is that they are only compatible with certain tank bags. Plus, they are pricier because you have to buy the bag plus the tank ring. If you are new to tank bags, I’d recommend starting with a more affordable option and seeing how you like it.

Pros

 

Very secure.

Won’t scratch your tank.

Quick-release makes it very convenient.

Cons

 

Only works with specific models of motorcycles and bags.

Not all brands have anti-theft devices for the bags.

Are expensive.


In the video below, you can see how easy it is to mount a tank bag using the fuel ring method.

 

2. Capacity

There are two camps when it comes to tank bag capacity. One is adamant that only small tank bags are worthwhile because large tank bags can get in the way. They think that you shouldn’t use a tank bag for anything but small essential items.

The others will say that large tank bags are the way to go because of the extra storage space needs. These tend to be people who tour a lot or need the extra space for a pillion.

One solution to this dilemma is to just get an expandable tank bag. Those tank bags are small enough to remain unobtrusive but have flex room in case you ever need to shove a 4 pack of beer inside.

Whatever size tank bag you get, measure first to make sure it will not obstruct your handlebars. Safety first!


3. Material

Motorcycle tank bags usually come in three types of materials: leather, canvas, or rigid materials.

  • Leather: Awesome for its durability and natural waterproofness. Not so good when large leather tank bags soften and start to droop.
  • Canvas/Nylon: Great because of its cheap price and because they usually have lots of pockets. Not so good against water.
  • Rigid Materials: These are usually used with fuel ring adapters. They are great for staying in place, waterproofness, and against theft. Downsides are their higher price and because they usually aren’t expandable.

Note about Tank Bag Waterproofness:

Even the best motorcycle tank bag isn’t going to be 100% waterproof. If not the material itself, the zips are likely to leak. So always put your vulnerable items in plastic bags or get your waterproof cover on ASAP when it starts to rain.

As for rain covers, be warned that wind always seems to get under the rain cover. It will flap around annoyingly until it blows away or you take it off.


4. Other Tank Bag Features

Here are some other extra things to look for when choosing a tank bag for your motorcycle:

  • Can be used as a rucksack
  • GPS or map pockets
  • Reflective strips for enhanced visibility
  • Inner pockets (speaking from experience, opening your tank bag and having all the contents spill out onto the road is not a good look!)
  • Light colour interior for finding contents easier
  • Cable ports for charging devices while you ride
  • Removable device pockets

Top 5 Motorcycle Tank Bags Reviewed

Again, there is no one “best” motorcycle tank bag. I’ve tried to include tank bags of various styles/functionality. One of these is sure to suit your riding style and needs.

 

Givi Tank Rucksack Set XS308


Quality

Price

Our rating


This tank bag mounts on your fuel ring, so is incredibly secure but is easy to remove with quick-release.

All parts are included but you’ll need to buy the mounting plate separately – and check which plate is compatible with your bike.

My favourite feature of this tank bag is that part of it converts to a bum bag so you can easily take valuables with you during pit stops.

Pros

 

Givi mounting system is very reliable

Removable side pockets convert into bum bag

Expandable capacity to 20l

Water resistant cover works well

Lots of extra features like tablet holder, GPS holder, reflective strips, and shoulder straps

Cons

 

No anti-theft system

Non-rigid material causes some sagging when bag is fully loaded

Have to buy mounting plate separately


 

Givi ST602 Sport Touring Tanklock Bag


Quality

Price

Our rating


The Givi ST602 is listed as a semi-rigid tank bag. It actually performs more like a rigid tank bag. The difference is that it has a slight give when you push on it (hence why it is “semi” rigid). This helps prevent cracking.

The 4 litre size seems to be just right to get in all of your essentials plus a few impulse buys.

Like with the Givi tank lock rucksack bag above, you’ll need to buy the mounting plate separately.

Pros

 

Givi mounting system is very reliable

GPS holder

Nice pockets and compartments inside

Has handle plus removable carrying straps

Quick release removal

Cons

 

No anti-theft system

Not very waterproof (comes with a cover though)

Have to buy mounting plate separately

Not expandable

A bit pricy


 

Lions Magnetic Tank Bag


Quality

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Price

Our rating


If you are looking for a cheap motorcycle tank bag, this is probably your best choice.

Despite its low price, the Lions tank bag is well made out of a 600 denier synthetic. The material even holds up well in light showers (though you’ll still want to use the rain cover or keep vulnerable items in bags).

The dimensions of the bag are 29x16x10cm. That would put it at approximately 4.5 litres, but I find it only really holds about 2.5 litres because of how it is shaped.

Pros

 

Very affordable

Converts to shoulder or leg bag

Comes with waterproof cover

Small size won’t get in the way of handlebars

Lots of pockets for small items, including exterior phone pocket

Cons

 

It’s a cheap bag and this is reflected in the overall quality

Won’t fit some larger phone


Check Prices

  On Amazon

 

Bagster Stunt Tank Bag

bagster stunt tank bag


Quality

Price

Our rating


The Bagster Stunt is the largest of the motorcycle tank bags reviewed here. 21 litres is really big for a tank bag, but would be great for long-distance touring when you need a lot of space.

Because the Bagster Stunt converts into a rucksack, I can also imagine using this tank bag for everyday use if you don’t want to bother with a top box. It can even fit your helmet in it!

The Bagster Stunt can be secured in place with a tank ring. Alternatively, you can mount it using the “Easy Road Harness” strapping system also made by Bagster which is universal for all bikes.

Pros

 

Expandable from 21 to 32 liters

Converts into a rucksack

Rain cover included

Organize items with pockets and interior elastic straps

Mount with tank ring or straps

Cons

 

A bit heavy at 3.9 lbs

When fully expanded it could restrict steering

No exterior GPS/phone pocket


 

Oxford M4R Tank N Tailer Magnetic Bag


Quality

Price

Our rating


Oxford is a very well-known and respected name for motorcycle luggage.

What’s great about their M4R bag is that it can be used as a tank or a tail bag, which gives you some more flexibility on how to use it.

As a tank bag, the design is really clever – like how it has a visor over the large map/GPS pocket and electrical outlets for use with your device. This model is 4 litres.

Pros

 

Can be used as tank or tail bag

Anti-glare visor over map pocket

Touchscreen friendly

Lightweight but sturdy

Good water resistance

Cons

 

Doesn’t double as a rucksack

Not expandable


 

The Winner?

My favourite of these best tank bags is the Givi ST602. The size is right for everyday use and it is designed really well so it doesn’t interfere with riding.

For longer trips though, I’d use the Givi Tank Rucksack because of the expandable storage and how it converts into bum bag.

The choice of best tank bag really depends on your style of riding though and how it fits your bike.