Which new tailbag to satisfy long distance touring needs?

I don’t prefer saddle bags because I don’t ride with pillion and with saddle bags, I always have this anxiety of those touching the exhaust.

BHPian sidhant recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

Hey guys, I need some help in buying a new tail bag to complete my touring setup for long rides.

A little background: I already own a Viaterra Claw (bought in 2016 – one of the initial versions of the bag) and did several long tours (600+ km days) on it when I had the CBR. The fit on CBR was quite good and it felt like the Claw was made for that bike. Recently, I did a 10-day ride around Uttarakhand on my 390 ADV with the Claw as the only tailbag.

Honestly, I wasn’t very pleased with the setup. Sure, the bag didn’t move much laterally but because of the wide grab rails on the 390 ADV, the mounting at the back which is supposed to prevent the bag from sliding forward in the seat didn’t work as expected. It takes some careful planning to ensure proper weight distribution on both sides. Unfortunately, the bag also made some black smudge marks on the rear side panelย  and when I encountered heavy rains on the way from Haldwani to Almora, the stuff at the bottom of the bag got damp since the bottom portion isn’t covered by the rain cover. Also, in Almora, I had booked a homestay where I had to climb down 3 sets of stairs and it became a task to carry the Claw (around 18-20 kgs) on one shoulder, helmet and gloves in the other hand while wearing approximately 6-7 kgs of riding gear.

Options: I already own a Dirtsack Max 30 which I bought for short/medium rides, so I am considering the following.

I don’t prefer saddle bags because I don’t ride with pillion and with saddle bags, I always have this anxiety of those touching the exhaust. Let me know which of these 3 sounds the best for touring or if there is a better idea.

Here’s what BHPian aviator1101 had to say on the matter:

IMO Option 2 is the best option for the following reasons :-

  • It will provide maximum storage capacity of 70L
  • Not pile up one on top of another, hence more stable arrangement
  • Balanced set up, ie two 20s on either side of a 30

Here’s what BHPian RedLiner had to say on the matter:

70 litres that high up hanging off your side of your bike is definitely not how I would like to ride to difficult places.

Keep your existing dirt sack as a tail bag. A 30 litre tail bag is just enough weight to sit on your tail rack. I usually strap tools and food into a little 22 litre with water on the rear seat. Easier to swing a leg on as well.

Try and look for bags that sit lower on the sides like a saddle bag but bring the Center of gravity to the lower part of the bike.

Here’s what BHPian Biker_Ajax had to say on the matter:

This is something i would avoid

Three tied side by side, with all that weight & stress on straps! The bumpy Indian roads will pull the side bags down in jerks & High stress on straps. Kind of how wings will flex under turbulence. Chances of side bags falling off or one side load shifting down once any strap breaks is high.

Luggage Setup Failure in a nowhere place is painful. As such you will be in areas with nothing around Tezpur. Take it like every load is secured inside an helicopter before takeoff. Cant risk straps breaking under turbulence.

The high CG! Such weight at one spot exactly on rear seat is too high! We tend to justify thinking, even a pillon weighs more so this luggage set up on rear seat will Feel the same. We compare dynamics of both which are completely different. I was guilty of this comparison as well. Then, weight mismatch on both bags attached to sides will be felt all ride long.

For this amount of weighted luggage- saddle bags+ a tail bag will be more secure, safer method to carry & less chances of strap breaking (less, not zero). It will lower the CG to safer limit. Extremely important!

Aluminium Panniers & top box? By far the safest way (and cleanest). But its a heavy setup & riding dynamics cant be learnt over night!!!! Give it few rides.

Last but not the least- possible to reduce the stuff to get in two bags? Strap two top of each other? Some items are absolute necessary for emergency even if they are never used for years. Some pure useless & fancy or carried due inexperience.

Carrying common equipment between fellow riders? or clothes washing end of day to reduce items & nothing fancy to wear!

The way i think is- am i going on a luxury tour with different fancy clothes for everyday selfies to get more Likes! Or is it an Adventure Tour.

If only this luggage setup is available- suggest take the car. Period.

~30-35kg weight of luggage in this specific set up= take the car..

Not worth risking life carrying load in this manner dangling on straps sitting high up on CG.

Or change the setup to panniers / saddle bags.

When it comes to luggage on bikes in rough terrain-

Only the Less is Blessed!

Read BHPian comments for more insights and information.

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