Jump to content
Indy Dave

RKA 10 liter MiniX expandable (4 to 10 Liters) Tank Bag

Recommended Posts

Indy Dave

Let's face it, when it comes to accessories for your bike, the options are pretty much endless and the choices are overwhelming. Tank bags are no different. Researching tank bags on The Wide Wide World of Web can lead one into information overload faster than a 'What Oil to use' thread, and the resulting paralysis will no doubt soon be a diagnosable medical condition. One would think that with the Interwebs, choices would be much easier. Comparisons, however, are never as simple as comparing 'apples to apples' (or oils to oils? :wave:) and each potential choice has its unique trade offs that must be considered and evaluated with all of the other choices and trade offs. Add into the mix the factory BMW tank bag rails that Hexhead/Camhead R & RT owners have to contend with, and the tank bag search becomes nearly Sisyphean. The only exception to that is the factory BMW tank bag, so let's look at it to establish a baseline.

 

BMW's Tank Bag designed for the R/RT

 

 

For $369 (internet price) you get a large tank bag that simply snaps into the factory tank rails. Easy! Simple! No Muss, No Fuss! :thumbsup:

 

But even easy and simple has trade offs. The BMW factory bag is Bigly! Its 13 liters expands to 20 liters and it measures 18x11x10. The bag is long and extends toward the rider and ends up intruding into 'rider space' for most riders - interfering when getting on or off the bike. It also gets in the way if you need to stand up on the pegs. More annoyingly, because it intrudes a bit near the rider, there's no leaning forward or kissing of the mirrors. These trade offs may be fine for cross-country riding and long trips where space is at a premium and the pace is a bit more reserved on twisty roads. The factory bag itself is nice enough, but for anything other than a real long haul, the size is simply overkill and it gets in the way. Something less encroaching would be a nice alternative.

 

 

BMW Factory Bag

20170322_233655.jpg

 

Objects may do appear closer . . .From The Camera Eye. This shot is from the sitting position, its value is only in comparing the same shot of the RKA bag - the real view from the seat is different and the bags are not as prominent as they appear to be here.

20170322_182657.jpg

 

Note the special contour narrowing in the front to allow for handlebar clearance.

20170322_233753.jpg

 

Left side full lock - factory bag.

 

20170322_182608.jpg

 

Right side full lock - factory bag.

 

20170322_182629.jpg

 

 

A little body rub when mounting/dismounting for those of us who swing our leg over.

 

20170402_205223.jpg

 

 

20170402_205207.jpg

 

A do-it-yourself job of powering the factory bag:

 

20170404_164125.jpg

 

 

 

BMW bag expanded to 20 liters. Big Mama!

 

20170404_195501.jpg

 

This is the only photo taken from behind the bike, so for perspective, this is a lower angle compared to sitting on the bike.

20170404_195519.jpg

 

 

Inside the factory bag. The rain liner is on the inside of this bag.

 

20170404_163922.jpg

 

 

Zip pocket on the underside of the lid.

 

20170404_164023.jpg

 

When new, the factory bag's material is a bit stiffer and maintains it's shape. After a week on the road, it begins to collapse from its own weight. This has no functional impact. The yellowing of the map cover is a well known issue.

 

20170404_163738.jpg

 

The Factory bag is well made and well thought out. The clip-in base used to secure the bag to the bike is the nicest thing since Mr Rogers moved into the neighborhood. BMW's are touring bikes and this bag is made to meet your needs when you're out on the road for extended periods. The easy mounting and massive storage space are its strong points. I've used this on long trips and been happy to have it!

 

As highlighted, the BMW bag size is also it's greatest liability - it's just too big for tooling around town or a weekend trip. It's difficult - if not impossible - to be a one size fits all solution when it comes to tank bags, so to expect this bag to do that would require a Trolley ride into The Land of Make Believe. I wonder how King Friday is? :wave:

Edited by workin' them angels

Share this post


Link to post
Indy Dave

In my search for a factory tank bag substitute, I was looking for something smaller that wouldn't interfere with the handlebars. Sounds simple, but actually that's a bit of a challenge on the Hex/Cam RT's . Other priorities included unobstructed access to all switch gear/ignition and room to lean forward. Powering the bag was also a requirement, and of course a decent price. :money: There are a lot of choices in general! And prices. It's easy to spend way north of $200 on a med size bag. Filtering for size and price narrowed the field considerably. After a lot of looking, I landed on the RKA 10 Liter bag for $135.00. The tale of the tape: 10x9x3.5 = 4 liter; expanding to 10 liters = 10x9x9.

 

20170325_234546.jpg

 

 

20170325_234614.jpg

 

Removable map pocket.

20170325_234515.jpg

 

20170325_234047.jpg

 

 

Lower compartment (4.5 inches tall):

 

20170322_183342.jpg

 

20170322_183225.jpg

 

20170322_183235.jpg

 

 

Upper compartment (non-expanded)

 

20170322_183628.jpg

 

Upper partial expansion.

 

20170322_183815.jpg

 

Apples to Oranges:

 

RKA bag on top of factory bag.

20170404_163535.jpg

 

20170404_163559.jpg

 

 

The RKA folks are bag bike GEAR GEEKS and they have an exhausting(!) number of options that tailor a bag to every need. Seriously. About the only thing not available with their bags is a deli tray. Check out their website to see what all you can add to a tank bag :dopeslap:

 

I spent a half day (in addition to the causal browsing one does randomly) on the information highway compiling information and reading reviews – and made a spreadsheet with dimensions, prices, etc etc. With crossed and bloodshot eyes, I changed tactics and dialed RKA and had a informative conversation with Richard and similar conversations with other vendors. After sleeping on it, I circled back around to RKA and bought the basic 10 liter tank bag and a rain cover.

 

They shipped it the same day I ordered it.

 

speedy%20delivery.jpg

 

 

BLAH BLAH BLAH! Get To It Already! :bike:

 

The bag attached in no time by looping the 3 provided straps – the front two to the faring frame and the rear strap to the seat height adjuster brace. I did this from above the bike. There are clips on the end of the adjustable straps that snap into the bag to secure it. RKA has printed instructions, pictures and videos illustrating the attachment process, but it's pretty intuitive. The installation video -probably because of the small work area limiting camera angles - makes this look complicated. It isn't - I literally did it one handed due to a wounded wing. One advantage of strap mount systems is that the bag location isn't fixed. This positional flexibility means the bag's position is adjustable vs a fixed mount.

 

Here are the front anchor straps that attach to the front sub frame. The cross strap keeps the straps from dangling down when riding without the bag. I found it just as easy to tuck them just under the tupperware.

 

20170322_234617.jpg

 

 

The rear anchor loops around the front seat bar (not pictured).

 

20170322_234147.jpg

 

 

 

 

Objects may do appear closer . . .From The Camera Eye. This shot is from the sitting position, its value is only in comparing the same shot of the bags - the real view from the seat is different and the bags are not as prominent as they appear to be here.

 

RKA bag:

 

20170322_164757.jpg

 

BMW bag (again)

20170322_182657.jpg

 

 

RKA fully expanded. The expansion area will expand only as much as needed, meaning one could expand it to half or a third of the way - same with the factory bag. The expansion areas are not reinforced on either bag, so the ultimate height of the expansion area will depend on how full you have it.

 

20170325_113118.jpg

 

 

 

The bag doesn't get in the way when mounting/dismounting, leaves clear line of sight. The all important handlebar test shows that the factory radio 'seek' button just touches at full lock. You can also see I've chosen to mount it just slightly off center to the riders right. Not a concern. If you don't have a factory radio – you're good!

 

Plenty of room.

20170402_205304.jpg

 

Full lock to left - radio seek button just touches with how I've positioned the bag.

 

20170322_182608.jpg

 

Full right lock:

 

20170322_182629.jpg

 

I mounted the bag just off center:

 

20170325_114441.jpg

 

20170325_114446.jpg

 

 

 

The bag also has 'ports' in both in the front and rear to allow power wires to pass into the bag. A Small pocket in front perfect for gas card, cash and Susie Chapstick.

 

Wire passes through a vertical slit (held closed with Velcro) and exits near the back of the lower compartment.

 

20170322_183955.jpg

 

The front and rear have identical slits, both tunneling wires to the rear:

 

20170325_234335.jpg

 

 

 

Fueling is simple enough - unsnap the front clips and flip the bag over and onto the seat, or unsnap the rear clip as well and place the bag on the seat if you don't want the contents upside-down.

 

 

20170404_195230.jpg

 

20170404_195307.jpg

 

 

Edited by workin' them angels

Share this post


Link to post
JR356

Nice detailed write up.

Glad you found RKA.

I have been using their bags for years,very well made and Richard and Kathy are nice folks.

They attend a lot of west coast Rally's and will likely be at the MOA National Rally in Salt Lake City in July,if anyone wants to see and buy in person.Check their website for travel schedule.

 

Both my RKA tankbags are at least 5 yrs old,but still look good and function great,no map pocket yellowing.

 

No affiliation,just a satisfied customer.

 

JR356

Share this post


Link to post
Indy Dave

The BMW factory bag does not play well when placed on the seat when fueling, so this is a nice change in that regard. The BMW bag has a contoured base plate and four protruding hooks that snap into the frame rail. The long base and prongs do not allow the bag to rest securely on your seat while fueling.

 

 

20170325_114922_1.jpg

 

20170404_195155.jpg

 

With the exception of perhaps Touratech (and the BMW factory bag) – tank bags are not custom made for each bike model, so tank bags have to work across models and brands. As such, there will always be trade-offs. Gas tank shapes and sizes are all over the chart from model to model and manufacturer to manufacturer, and this impacts how bags will mount.

 

Illustrative of this point, the RTA straps make contact with the angled edge of pained bodywork up front and there's potential for paint wear if the straps aren't tight and they wiggle around.

 

20170324_184531.jpg

 

20170324_184443.jpg

 

 

 

RKA offers rubber sleeves that the straps pass through to address this potential issue. I would recommend these for the RT. Or you could fashion your own sleeves. RKA's Richard says it's not a problem if you have the straps tight – he's never had an issue on his RT. Did I mention I could be a fusspot?

 

One More Thing

 

 

If you're like me, and I know I am, you may be particular enough to be troubled by the Y pads that angle differently from the angle the straps take when anchoring on the RT (illustrated in the photos above). This is a result of bags needing to be somewhat universal in design and work across models and brands. It's just a aesthetic issue, but it bothered me enough that for most photos, you'll notice the wings are tucked under the bag.

 

There are a couple of options here. Leave it and after a few rides, you may not notice it any more.

 

20170322_234550.jpg

 

 

You can also tuck the flaps all the way under the bag,

20170322_234147.jpg

 

 

My long suffering wife has offered (after rolling her eyes) to do a angled partial tuck underneath and then sew it together – so the pad would end up running along the edges of the tank rail.

 

20170324_213343.jpg

 

 

I think you could also remove the pads entirely easy enough – the same material lines the bottom of the tank bag; and remember, the bag is sitting on the tank bag rails. Modifying the bag may void your warranty , don't come running to me if it does! I'll probably just remove mine - whatever I end up doing, I'll post back.

 

20170325_114156.jpg

 

 

SENA Owners Take Note!

 

Here's your reward for sticking around! RKA has a complete library of information and videos to help you solve your Sena/GPS/Phone pairing issues. Want to use your phone to play (lossless or any kind of) music files AND get audio directions from your GPS AND make and receive calls, all through your Sena? I must be joking, right? :rofl: You know this because you've tried to do just that or some other combination and were probably less than satisfied. :dopeslap::dontknow:

 

Here's the decoder ring you've been looking for. RKA has you covered with step by step directions and videos. They cover just about every pairing scenario you can imagine. These folks are serious gear geeks.

 

Sena how to

 

 

 

Finally

 

You have lots to consider when looking for a tank bag. Decide what your needs are and have at it. Several bags now have a hard plastic shell vs conventional materials. The shell may provide better protection for cameras, etc when transporting the bag off the bike. It's also possible the hard shell is less forgiving if you have handlebar interference. Pay attention to measurements, remembering the handlebar interference issue the RT has, especially with radio controls.

 

 

The RKA 10 liter bag is the right size when condensed (4 liters) for most of my needs – from around town and day rides to most longer trips. Expanding to 10 liter for road trips still keeps it out of the way and doesn't interfere with sight lines, standing on the pegs or when getting on and off – all drawbacks of the factory bag. If I'm out for a couple of weeks or more, the larger factory bag will probably be called back into action.

 

There are several good choices available when it comes to tank bags. The 4 liter compact size of the RKA works well for me. That's not to say it's the only choice. I've tried to illustrate how this bag will work on a Hex/Cam RT and I hope you find this helpful as you make you own tank bag evaluation.

 

Good Luck!

 

http://www.rka-luggage.com/A01%20Products/prod.html

Edited by workin' them angels

Share this post


Link to post
bwpsg42

Nice write up. I've had this bag for a couple years now and it covers almost all my needs as well. I've not had a factory bag since the one on my 96 RS. I've been a RKA user since then. I have the larger version of this bag for extended trips but rarely unzip the expansion on either. Ive just become, as you mention, accustomed to the tabs being cockeyed to the angle of the straps on our bikes. It did bother me at first. Richard also turned me onto some food roads when I rode out west last year.

Share this post


Link to post
Jake

I have that same model, so, ditto. (nice Rush reference, BTW)

Share this post


Link to post
poodad

WHy are you cooking it? :-)

Share this post


Link to post
greiffster
WHy are you cooking it? :-)

 

:/

 

Nice right up, Dave.

Share this post


Link to post
Indy Dave
WHy are you cooking it? :-)

 

Mrs. WTA likes to share this story. Before we entered in a the Blissful state of Matrimony, we lived about an hour apart. At some point, she rolled the dice and agreed to let me cook for her. Realizing this was my chance to wow and impress her with gourmet sophistication, I would fire up the grill! I prepared something exotic that required careful culinary monitoring, yet was simple to eat - as I wanted to avoid the possible awkwardness and embarrassment if she didn't know which of the 3 forks to use to eat her entree (being single, I only had 3 forks. Actually I did have more, but how to classify Sporks?).

 

The Hot dogs were cooked to perfection.

 

To be sure she felt she was contributing to the exotic experience, I suggested she could cook some fresh Sweet Corn; and gave her directions to a little farm I know 2 counties away out in the middle of nowhere.

 

Once the grilling had commenced, I supervised her shucking the well-traveled corn. After looking through all of my cabinets once, she started through them again (talk about Nibby!) before she found selected a pan for water. Going to light the front burner she paused - as if she'd never seen a stove before!

 

Mrs. Wta: What Temperature do you set the burner on?

 

The Man of the House: What do you mean - just heat the water till it boils - Duh.

 

MWTA: [sarcastically] You have several setting here . . I can 'Bake' the water and choose a temperature, or I can just 'broil' it!

 

TMOTH: Huh?

 

MWTA: You don't cook much do you?

 

TMOTH: Look at my tummy - there's a twenty-six pack under there somewhere - how could you say that?

 

MWTA: (laughing) You put the oven knob on the burner valve! She looked in the oven and saw an assortment of non cooking items safely stored inside.

 

I was busted. Until just before her visit, the stove was just an extension of the counter space and was covered with various parts for projects still to be completed.

 

All that to illustrate that I come by multitasking the stove surface honestly. Nowadays it's the work bench that's littered with parts and projects in various states of disrepair.

 

For all I know, this stove has the wrong knobs on it too!

Edited by workin' them angels

Share this post


Link to post
Indy Dave

Just a brief follow-up. I've been on weeks long trips with the RKA and it's worked fine and I don't have any complaints or nagging issues that cause me to think "I wish I'd known "this . . . " before I bought this bag because it really bothers me. And that's a sign of a good purchase!

 

I guess if there's one thing - it's that in the pictures, I show the tank bag upside down on my seat when fueling! DUH - OF COURSE THAT'S wrong! :dopeslap::rofl: (Doesn't anyone check the credentials of these product reviewers?!?).

 

Here's the bag placement while fueling.

 

rka%20bag%20fueling.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
RandyShields

Nice write up Dave.

 

Re the yellowing of the clear plastic on top of the BMW tank bags, that started to happen to my 2.5 year old BMW GS tank bag. While cleaning the bike one day, on a whim, I used some Armor All Interior Wipes on both sides of the clear plastic and, Voila!, the yellow was gone and it was like new! I wish I had done a before and after for comparison. Suggest anyone that has that issue give it a try to see if it also works for you. I passed this on to the parts manager at the BMW dealership, and he had not heard of anyone trying that before.

 

Interestingly, I've had an 11 year old Held Tourano tank bag that I now use on my K1600 that has never yellowed. If BMW OEM products are supposed to be made with premium components, not sure why they continue to yellow.

 

http://armorall.com/products/wipes/interior-detailer-wipes

 

Randy

Share this post


Link to post
large-stache

Nice write up.  I was wondering if the RKA with "F" type mounting would work well on an RT? It says the F is made with the 2 buckles straight out the front, for BMW K series bikes.  I've not personally seen a K bike up close to know how they mount a tank bag.

Share this post


Link to post

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...