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Old 06-20-2010, 01:52 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default BMW Tank & Tail Bags

Hey Guys, Happy Father's Day.

There have been a number of threads about the BMW tail and tank bags and even more questions from those who don't have them and want pictures of them. So that is what this is about.

I've got both. This next week my local BMW dealer (Ride West) has a multiple day ride planned to Lolo Pass on the Idaho/Montana border, and I'm taking "Phlegm". It's a terrific ride I've done a couple of time before on bigger bikes, but a 120-140 mile gas tank is cutting it scary close on fuel for this pass. By my calculation, is it's 148 miles between gas stations , and I don't plan on riding it for good gas milage. All in all my brother and I will be on the road 4 days and roughly 1,200 miles, riding from Seattle to Pendleton, OR. Then Pendelton to Clarkston, WA via Hell's Canyon. We'll meet up with the RW group of 37 at Clarkston, then ride the pass to Missoula, MT and back Saturday, then ride back home Sunday. So that's my excuse for for adding tank and tail bags - multi-day trips like this.

I've had the tail bag for some time, but haven't used it yet really for fear of scratching the tail all up. I've been waiting for some 3M Paint Protection film to put on the tail pieces like others have warned about. I'll use the duct tape and painter's tape until my order comes in.

Here are a couple of left and right side views of the tank and tail bags on "Phlegm".





The tank bag comes with the metal plate shown below. It also comes with a friking 40-page manual in every language under the sun, two spacers to put under the rear screws, and a nylon strap with click lock for the front of the bag. It also comes with some velcro to keep the front strap from flying around when the bag isn't mounted (like in the picture below.

The two spacers work OK to keep the metal bracket off the paint in the rear, but I had to go to the hardware store to pick up some nylon washers to keep the tops of those screws from digging into the bracket. The front mount comes with some protective film on the back of the vertical piece, but I don't like how close it is. I will probably but more tape up there as well. The manual says to put two washers between the nylon strap in front, but they didn't include those, so I had to pick up some SS washers at the hardware store as well. Why couldn't they have included those?



Anyway, here is the bottom of the tank bag. Compare it to the picture above and you can see that there are two metal hooks that slip into the elongated rectangular holes in the plate, and there are three rubber buttoms in the front that fit into the holes in the brackets. You clip the strap in the front and it is very stable.

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Old 06-20-2010, 01:53 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default BMW Tank & Tail Bags - Part 2

Here is the tank bag on the bike and the top open. You can see the waterproof liner. The top of the liner can be rolled down as in this picture, or it can be unrolled to surround the top with a cord and nylon cord keeper. You can also see the zipper in the lid that gives you access to the GPS/cell phone cradle.



Here is the top closed so you can see the electronics tray and/or map/speeding ticket holder. Not bad. Easy to attach and put on. Doesn't get in the way when riding for the most part, and can hold a few items (GPS, camera, radar, glasses, wallet, lens cleaner, gloves, etc.).



Here are a couple of up-close pictures of the tail bag. The bottom is the same rubberized material as the tank bag above, and same liner system. The outer side pockets are surprisingly large. There are two zippers on each. One to get into the pocket, and another to expand it. I've expanded the left side pocket so you can see these alone can hold some stuff. I'll me putting my extra MSD fuel bottle down one of the inner sides, or find a friend with extra space to carry it for me. Otherwise, it's "Hello BMW Roadside Assistance, I'm 60 miles west of Missoula, MT. I need some gas".



Last one. Here is with the top closed. Notice there is another zippered compartment in the lid for thin things.

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Last edited by Rainman; 06-20-2010 at 02:00 PM.
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Old 06-20-2010, 05:34 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I think BMW did a great job with these two bags.

On your Lolo Pass trip, Kooskia to Lolo is about 130 miles and I recall there might be a gas station 30 or so miles E of Kooskia, although don't depend on this. It's heavily patrolled, so this is not a road where you can go super-high speed without taking huge risks with your license and they set speed traps with instant-on so running a RD isn't the complete solution. So given moderate speeds, you should be fine on gas - just make sure you get it completely full before you start down US12.

As a cruiser road, Lolo is great, but as a sportbike road, I think it is perhaps the most overrated road in the country, as it never gets very tight/technical, has a fair amount of traffic, has a low speed limit, and is VERY heavily patrolled. And you are taking your life in your own hands if you do this road at dawn, dusk, or night with the deer/elk problem. The sign at the beginning saying there are 77 miles of twisties gets way more attention than it deserves. But it certainly is pleasant and scenic. Like I said, a great cruiser road.

As an W-E road in this area of Idaho, I vastly prefer NF50 from St. Maries to St. Regis which is remote, very technical, and has no little or no Johnny Law. The hump over the pass is snowed in until around June 1, but I just came through there and it was wide open and nice. There is about 15 miles of (very smooth and wide) gravel from the ID-MT border at the pass down to I-90 and St. Regis. On the S, you'd have to be willing to endure a few minor stone chips to make this work.

I assume you're doing Halfway to Joseph and then up to Clarkston on your Oregon portion of the trip. Halfway to Joseph is one of my all-time favorite roads (it was still snowed in a week or so ago, but should be opening any day now) and Rattlesnake grade coming out of the Grand Ronde river canyon is almost Alps-like.

Have fun!

- Mark

Last edited by markjenn; 06-20-2010 at 07:12 PM.
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Old 06-20-2010, 09:45 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Lolo Trip.

Mark, thanks for the tips. Where you from man?

I was thinking of getting to Enterprise from Pendleton via Elgin by taking Hwy 11, then 204, then 82. But your suggestion of continuing down I-84 to Baker City, then 86 to Halfway and then back up to Enterprise via the Imnaha Hiway looks awesome. We'll do that for sure.

My Navteq GPS maps don't show any gas in Kooskia. It shows the last gas heading east is a Conoco in Kamiah (about 8 miles west of Kooskia).

Another optional day ride that was suggested was Clarkston to Elk City and back via Kooskia on US-12 on the way up and US-95 back down from Grangeville to Clarkston. How's that for Johnny and road conditions?

This trip is with a number of various bikes (38 people) though not riding together but in small groups. I probably will take it easy and as it will be a Saturday, more traffic and law than usual I would suspect.

I have a story about a Montana trooper I shared a leak with at the top of Lolo pass heading west one morning. He was friendly and warned me to be careful in Idaho as well.
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Old 06-20-2010, 11:53 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I hope you have a good trip. I have next week off and was giving the Lolo some thought as a long way to visit family. My S1000 is still on the boat however so I'll be on my 999R. We did the pass for 3 days last year and saw only a few constables so maybe we were lucky. Missoula is about 6 hours from where I live in BC.
Love the bag photos. I was checking out the tail bag at the WSBK in SLC and figure that's the way I'll go. I don't know how to feel about the perch mounted tank bag. I'm just hoping my Tech Mount fits on the BMW so I can transfer my Solo.
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Old 06-21-2010, 12:45 AM   #6 (permalink)
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As mentioned, watch out for that rear bag and its rear strap, especially the buckle. Mine moved forward after about 100 miles and I thought I had a backrest courtesy of BMW. Only then did I discover the nylon buckle on the rear strap did a number on the right fender.

I suspect the rear seat compresses after a while and the whole thing slides forward...eventually. Cycle Gear has some clear-stick film you can cut and wrap around the fender. You need a piece about 6 inches long and maybe an inch and a half wide for each side. Mine was a little on the short side and I placed more of it to the back thinking the bag would slide backwards which it doesn't.

I also sewed up a 20 inch long laminated fleece tube to go over the whole rear strap and that damn nylon buckle. Hard nylon buckles and BMW's soft paint and plastic just don't mix.

Have fun otherwise.


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Old 06-21-2010, 01:21 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rainman View Post
Mark, thanks for the tips. Where you from man?
Just down the road in Bellevue.

Quote:
I was thinking of getting to Enterprise from Pendleton via Elgin by taking Hwy 11, then 204, then 82. But your suggestion of continuing down I-84 to Baker City, then 86 to Halfway and then back up to Enterprise via the Imnaha Hiway looks awesome. We'll do that for sure.
82 is pretty hohum and 204 isn't that good either. If you can afford the time, work your way down to Baker, then do 86 to Halfway and 39 to Joseph (although you might want to confirm that Halfway to Joseph is finally open this season). If you have even more time, skip most of I-84 and take 244 and 51 to Granite, then turn W on 52 to Ukiah, N on 395 to near Ritter, then SE to Austin, 26 down to Unity, and 245 over Dooley Mt. to 7 and then into Baker. This entire area of OR is excellent; I've done perhaps twenty tours - we trailer to Goldendale and then ride a 3- or 4-day weekend. I know this area and central Idaho pretty well, so feel free to ask for any other suggestions.

Quote:
My Navteq GPS maps don't show any gas in Kooskia. It shows the last gas heading east is a Conoco in Kamiah (about 8 miles west of Kooskia).
You may be right, I don't recall. In any event, you should have enough gas.

Quote:
Another optional day ride that was suggested was Clarkston to Elk City and back via Kooskia on US-12 on the way up and US-95 back down from Grangeville to Clarkston. How's that for Johnny and road conditions?
There's a nice little road from Kendrick to Riverside via Cavendish (215 and P1). 13 S of Kooskia is pretty good and the run out to Elk City is great - you can extend it further on 222 to the S, but you eventually have to backtrack as there is no paved loop. (I'm doing the Macgruder Corridor from Elk City all the way over to Montana in Sept, but that's a dual-sport ride.) 95 is pretty mundane.

Stay off the US highways and major state ID roads and you're Okay, but they patrol 95 and 12 heavily. One problem with Idaho cops is that they generally write you up no matter what the circumstances, as compared to Montana or Oregon where they'll flash their lights or pull you over with a warning if you're out in the middle of nowhere. I have heard informally that in the areas outside of towns in NE Oregon, they're Okay with up to 15 over, but don't send your ticket to me.

Quote:
This trip is with a number of various bikes (38 people) though not riding together but in small groups. I probably will take it easy and as it will be a Saturday, more traffic and law than usual I would suspect.
Yikes. Hard to have much fun when the group size gets bigger than four or five I've found.

Have fun.

- Mark
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Old 06-21-2010, 01:37 AM   #8 (permalink)
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The forward movement of the bag is due to the rear strap slowly getting longer as you ride. Once you've got the strap at the correct length put a few stitches into the material to stop it sliding through the buckle. This only takes a few minutes solves the problem completely and permanently.
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Old 06-24-2010, 05:05 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I got myself a Ventura rack system for a recent trip to Le Mans and have to say it was fantastic. It took about 5 minutes to fit and the 51 litre bag swallowed all my gear with ease. Very stable even at speed and once at the hotel you unclip 2 fasteners and take the bag off, very easy.

Here's my writeup for another London based forum Can Luggage Stay On The S1000RR? Yes When It's Ventura
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Old 06-26-2010, 12:30 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lfoggy View Post
The forward movement of the bag is due to the rear strap slowly getting longer as you ride. Once you've got the strap at the correct length put a few stitches into the material to stop it sliding through the buckle. This only takes a few minutes solves the problem completely and permanently.
I will try this. Good suggestion. I had been padding the tail section to avoid the scratching of the belt buckle.

If, as you say, this is complete and permanent, one might ask why BMW did not supply a correctly sized strap from the beginning. Maybe the nylon stretches over time and needs to be constantly readjusted.
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