10 Top Rated Best Motorcycle Tail Bags Review 2020

This is a detailed buying guide for best motorcycle tail bag review 2020. A quick and easy way of carrying kit for day-trips or night trips, but which is worth strapping on?

There are numerous ways of carrying some of the clutter that makes up modern life on a bike; rucksacks are on and off the bike versatile but aren’t for everyone.

Panniers are useful but can ruin a bike’s looks and make it a bit choppy. Tank bags are easy to fit and remove but can get in the way. A motorcycle rear rack bag, though, can be an excellent method of carrying enough gear for a couple of days away or cart some show purchases home again.

Like all products, there are leather motorcycle tail bag. Some are the traditional design while others follow their own path.

But they should all do fundamentally the same thing; hold your gear, keep it dry and feel safe on the bike. So we assembled a selection of seven motorcycle tail bags. These bags are in different styles and price points to assess which does the best job as well as offering the best value for money.

Best Motorcycle Tail Bag

Here is the list of best waterproof motorcycle tail bag 2020.

  1. Held Iconic Evo Large
  2. Kriega Tail Bag US-30
  3. Kappa RA318BK
  4. Oxford T40R Small Motorcycle Tail Bag
  5. SW-Motech Rear bag
  6. Ryde Large Motorcycle Tail Bag
  7. Givi UT805 Motorcycle Tail Bags Luggage

Ryde Large Motorcycle Tail Bag

The Ryde item was an absolute bargain. Out of the packet, the first reaction was of a fairly low quality though — thin and flimsy material, weak zips and tiny pulls with no tabs to grip with gloved hands.

It has two external pockets and the lid is secured with a non-waterproof zip under a very thin cover. Inside, there’s just a zipped mesh pocket under the lid and it secures to the bike with either a thick, Velcro strap under the pillion pad or a pair of flaps which can be secured under the base, with four D-rings.

We couldn’t use these, as they didn’t fit around the luggage rack. So we fixed it with the strap and with four bungee cords — supplied — from the lid to the bike. It was remarkably solid, since it was held down from the top, both statically and on the ride.

On the move, you barely knew it was there. It also did a surprisingly good job of keeping water out. Both pockets got wet and the main zip allowed some moisture in but less than we expected.

It’s a faff to remove from the bike, as you must remove the straps and the pillion pad every time but at under 50, it’s a reasonable budget option.

Specification
  • Main compartment capacity: 28 litres
  • Expandable: No
  • Number of pockets: 3
  • Carry strap: Yes
  • Waterproof Cover: No

Givi UT805

The UT805 has an instant feel of quality to it. It’s wide and low, with a rigid curved base to fit over seat pads. While that’s perfect for bikes with no racks, our Ducati had an OE rack and it was tricky to find the right position for the bag to sit so it felt ‘right’.

In the end, the best compromise was part on the pillion pad and part on the rack. That said, it has a non-expanding main section which is wide and long but not very deep. With a separate roll-close dry inner/liner to make sure the contents stay dry. Which they did in our test, though the outer did seem to get saturated.

A large tail bag for motorcycle makes a bulky carry bag.

The pockets also leaked, despite waterproof zips but each does have two drain holes. The pack secures with four looped straps on the bike (two joined under the rear sub-frame) and held by friction clamps.

Once the position was sorted, it sat reasonably stable and didn’t seem to affect the feel of the bike. Though its width does mean you occasionally catch a glimpse of it in the mirrors.

It felt cumbersome with the carry strap fitted and you need to be careful carrying it off the bike or opening it if it’s been used in the rain.

Specification
  • Main compartment capacity: 35 litres
  • Expandable: No
  • Number of pockets: 3
  • Carry strap: Yes
  • Waterproof Cover: No

SW-Motech Rear bag

The SW-Motech felt like a quality item out of the storage bag. Made from heavyweight Cordura with rigid sides. It is shaped like a traditional motorcycle tail bag backpack with a soft, sculpted bottom that can shape itself to fit a seat pad or a flat luggage rack.

It fits with four looped straps on the bike two joined under the sub-frame and one on each of the pillion footrest hangers, and secured with toothed, sprung-loaded clamps on the bag.

It’s expandable which it needed to be to get the away kit or the towels for the test ride in, but the lid is also height adjustable. The main compartment is lined with waterproof material and the showerproof lid keeps the worst out.

Doesn’t look too bad when worn over the shoulder.

In our test, the waterproof zips on the external pockets allowed some water in but the main compartment remained dry. It comes with a waterproof liner/inner bag to keep your contents dry too.

On the bike, it was extremely stable, though its height meant the bike was slightly more susceptible to crosswinds. Removing it was easy though you’d also need to remove the straps, which might be dirty or wet in bad weather.

Specification
  • Main compartment capacity: 24-36 litres
  • Expandable: Yes
  • Number of pockets: 3
  • Carry strap: Yes
  • Waterproof Cover: No

Oxford T40R

The Oxford is an impressive piece of kit, as you’d expect from the company’s Lifetime range. It’s teardrop shaped for aerodynamics and features three external pockets, two huge side ones and a key pocket, all with waterproof zips.

Pack unzips from base to reveal rucksack straps.

There’s also a mesh glove pouch on the lid, with an elasticated net over the top and a mesh pocket inside the main compartment. It comes with a removable waterproof inner bag. While the pockets allowed a little water in, the main compartment was dry.

Fits well but comes up tall when fully expanded.

It fits to the bike with a double Velcro strap under the pillion pad and there are also four D-rings on the base, to strap to the bike. The bag itself zips off the base, which remains on the bike, to reveal a pair of rucksack straps to carry it all around.

Mesh pockets and bungee net for light items, like gloves.

In our tests, the pack was very stable when initially fitted but became less so as it was expanded to full height to accommodate the towels for the test ride. it was a bit wobbly in use and for longer trips, we’d use the bungee cords on the lid-mounted metal d-rings for a bit more stability. The base zip is also a bit fiddly but a great idea to use on and off the bike.

Specification
  • Main compartment capacity: 25-34 litres
  • Expandable: Yes
  • Number of pockets: 5
  • Carry strap: Yes
  • Waterproof Cover: No

Kappa RA318BK

The Kappa is shaped more like a small holdall, with a flat bottom in a harder- earning material than the water repellent fabric of the main body.

It opens at the top, making access easy and roll-closes with a pair of over-the-top straps to secure it and pull the load down tight, with quick release buckles.

Y-shaped straps work better over one shoulder.

It fits to the bike with four looped straps — like other similar bags, two joined under the rear seat and one on each pillion footrest and these join to the bag with quick-release buckles.

A different and contentious design but it works.

Two are male and two are female, meaning they join across the pillion seat when the bag is removed, so you can use the bike easily. The carry strap is Y-shaped, with a single buckle at one end and two at the other, forming a crude rucksack.

Quick release buckles make fitting the Kappa easy.

However, I found them too short to wear over a riding jacket but it works fine over one shoulder. It our water test, the interior remained dry though it felt as though the outer was soaked through to the waterproof lining. In the riding test, I barely knew it was there, though I could catch the occasional glimpse of the outside of the roll-top in the mirrors.

Specification
  • Main compartment capacity: 32 litres
  • Expandable: No
  • Number of pockets: 0
  • Carry strap: Yes
  • Waterproof Cover: No

Kriega Tail Bag US-30

This is a versatile sportbike tail bag, the Kriega is another different take on a sportbike tailbag . It’s a top-loading bag that sits flat and is designed to fit to other products in the company’s line-up to expand storage options.

Even off the bike, it’s a good looking and useful bag.

It’s a well-made, high-quality item in Cordura with a waterproof lining and a roll-top closure. It loads like a rucksack, which is a bit of a pain if you need to access your contents when on the bike but the roll-top secures with a quick-release buckle at each end and another strap which goes over the top of the roll closure.

Low profile and super stable once fitted to the bike.

There are two external pockets — one on top, protected with a waterproof zip which kept water out and a zipper mesh pocket on the bottom.

The bag remained completely dry during our test and once filled with the towels and fitted to the bike, was completely secure — you had no idea it was there.

Loops stay on the bike; hooks join to them and the bag.

There are four straps with metal hooks to join to hoops on the bike and a quick release buckle at the other end, to fit to the bag. Each is adjustable to pull it in tight and it’s easy to fit and remove. The carry strap turns it into a messenger-style shoulder bag. Quality, as you’d expect.

Specification
  • Main compartment capacity: 30 litres
  • Expandable: No
  • Number of pockets: 2
  • Carry strap: Yes
  • Waterproof Cover: No

Held Iconic Evo Large

The Held is a traditional motorcycle tail bag in every sense. It has rigid sides and an expandable main section with several storage compartments inside the lid — a small tablet, wallet and pens and elasticated mesh pockets on the sides.

Comes with separate rain cover. Untidy though. Bungee net on the lid can hold gloves or similar items.

It also has a handy elasticated net on the top of the lid. This motorcycle tail bag has a single external pocket and a grab handle but no carry strap. It fits to the bike with two cross-straps under the pillion pad, fitted with quick-release buckles at each end.

The Held is light on features, compared to some of the others but it does what it’s supposed to very well.

This doesn’t sound like it would be particularly stable but the buckles are adjustable and once pulled in tight, the pack didn’t move at all. Even when fully expanded to house the test towels and therefore quite tall, it still didn’t wobble or move around.

A wide base and rigid sides make the Held very stable in use, as well as easy to load and transport off the bike.

It sat fairly forward on the bike, due to where the straps had to sit under the pillion pad and this meant I could feel it and it could interfere with a rucksack.

The Held’s straps cross under the pillion pad and use quick-release buckles. Easy to get on and off and you can use the bike without the pack.

It comes with a separate waterproof cover and we tried it both with and without the cover and it had no effect on the bike. No frills and no gimmicks, just a very capable, stable motorcycle tail bag and excellent value.

Specification
  • Main compartment capacity: 12 – 21 litres
  • Expandable: Yes
  • Number of pockets: 1
  • Carry strap: No
  • Waterproof Cover: Yes

How We Tested Them

Capacity

We created a two-night away kit, comprising a pair of jeans, a hoodie, two t-shirts, two sets of underwear, spare base-layer top and bottoms, a pair of trainers and a washkit. We checked to see whether it all fitted in the motorcycle tail bag, expanding if necessary, to assess the capacity. In the end, all of the packs tested accommodated the full load, though some required expanding to cope and others, not.

Waterproofing

We filled each bag with 4kg of beach towels and fitted it to the back of our test Ducati Multistrada 950 S. We hit each with a pressure washer for a set amount of time, mainly from the front but walking around the pack to test for water ingress to the main compartment and any external pockets.

Ease of Use

We assessed how easy each was to pack and to operate the zips with a gloved hand. Our experts have also looked at how easy each was to fit to the Multistrada, which featured an OE luggage rack and how straightforward it would be to remove to carry into a hotel, for example. We considered whether you could use the bike once the motorcycle tail bag had been removed as well.

Features

A straightforward assessment of each pack’s features; pockets, pouches, expandability and what areas appeared to be weatherproof.

Quality

A visual appraisal of the perceived quality of the item: the material it was constructed from; the quality of the zips; the apparent quality of the construction methods.

Stability

We fitted each pack to the Multistrada and assessed how stable they felt on a stationary bike. We then took each for a fully loaded test ride over various roads to see how they affected the ride quality and overall bike stability and if they interfered with riding at all.

Conclusion

It was interesting to see how motorcycle tail bag varied across the manufacturers. With designs ranging from traditional to holdall-style and rucksack-type packs.

All did the job they were intended to do, in terms of housing our ‘away’ kit and the test pack of towels. However, the design affected the ease of use and to a degree, the stability.

Taking the most points was the Held Iconic Evo, and rightly so. While it doesn’t have as many features or pockets as some of the others. It does what it is supposed to extremely well.

Its capacity in use far outweighs what the numbers say, with its stated capacity half some of the others but it holding just as much. It was extremely stable in use and the waterproof cover meant no water got in at all.

And as one of just two bags with a price less than 100 dollars, it gets a deserved Best Buy triangle. Running the Held a close second was the Kriega US-30.

It too performed well, remaining stable in all conditions and its fitting system allowing it to sit further back on the bike, meaning less likelihood of interfering with a rucksack.

It too was completely dry and versatile but its rucksack style of packing makes it harder to use than the Held. On that basis, it gets a deserved recommended tag.

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