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Gear: Givi tank bag

For more than a decade I had a bag by Eclipse which was terrific. I kept it (almost 12 years!) until the manufacturer no longer made the replaceable neoprene pad that went between the tank the the bag. Two years ago I picked up a Chase Harper tank bag at a dealership because I needed one and that was about as good as the choices got. I hadn't been happy with it. At the Motorcycle show at Javits Convention Center last January I picked up a new tank bag, one that I hope will be a good replacement. The bag is a Givi model T475, part of their xStream line of bags. Today I tried it on my bikes but haven't yet given it a road test.

Construction quality seems good. Particularly nice is that a number of the zippers have a waterproofed flap covering the teeth and it doesn't seem to inhibit zipper use. It has a nice sized map pouch on top and a couple of small exterior pockets on the side. No interior pockets, other than access to the map pouch. The main cargo area does expand about three inches in height, which is always a nice feature.

The bag came with a few extras: a waterproof cover, a waterproof inner bag, 4 tension mounting straps for bikes with plastic tanks, and a shoulder carrying strap. The latter has come with every tank bag I've owned and I have used it perhaps twice in 18 years. I was hoping that this bag would have some good waterproofing on it, but the inclusion of a waterproof inner bag gives me doubts. I'll find out this summer.

Givi tank bag top

Givi tank bag side

Givi tank bag open
Givi tank bag front
Givi tank bag extras

There are a few things I am not so thrilled with.

First being the mounting straps. Granted, this bag's main mounting mechanism is a series of 4 magnets, but the secondary should be well though out none the less. The secondary mounting is a strap that goes around the steering post or otherwise through sturdy body work of your bike. This is pretty common -- both of my other tank bags and goldings695's have had this. Where it's a bit off is in arrangement of the straps.

When on the FZ6, there is sufficient strap, but the length and position put the side release buckle in an award to reach position between the cowling, tank and clamp ons. It took me a few tries to find the right spot for the strap so that it didn't interfere with the steering post, and it requires maneuvering the buckle through some tight spaces. Again, true of this kind of mount with other bags, but in this bag you don't just release the buckles and leave the straps behind on the bike when you take the bag off.

On the Hawk there wasn't enough strap to reach around the frame components and buckle the strap. I needed to add an extension of several inches. This wasn't a difficult or time consuming fix, just a bit of a peeve for such an expensive bag. But here again, I needed to weave the buckle between lines and hoses to make certain that pressure was against the frame, not something fragile. Not a quick on and off, if I have to do that each time.

Givi tank bag base zipper
Givi tank bag base & backpack straps

Another element of the bag I am not pleased with is Givi's rather over engineered and under thought answer to the ease of getting the mounting straps on and off. The whole bottom of the bag zips off as a wholly separate section that is the base against the tank, the flaps with the magnets, and the attachments of the straps. Sounds easy, but it is not a good solution. You need to align the two ends of the zipper into the pull's retainer box, just as you would a jacket. The two parts of the zipper align just fine if 1) the bag is empty and 2) if you can tip the bag on end so you can fiddle with lining up the the zipper into the pull. When the bag is on the bike it's not easy and it will be less easy with gloves or cold hands.

To add to picture of "can we build it" not "should we build it" are two more features. Once the top of the Enterprise has separated from the core, you'll find that there are built in back pack and hip straps but no where to tuck them in,thus if you just carry the bag by it's handle the straps drag on the ground. I may just cut these off with a scissor. A previous Chase Harper bag had these and I never once used them and goldings695 has a bag with them as well and he doesn't use them. At least on both those other bags, they gave the backpack straps a hideaway pocket.

There is an additional clear vinyl map pouch on the base, that's revealed when you take the main bag off. While not a terrible feature, its just extraneous. I'd have preferred a slightly less expensive bag than have the extra map and back-pack bits.