First Look: RKA 8.5 liter 3-point “MiniX” Tankbag

With all the luggage capacity on the R1200ST, people often ask why I need a tankbag too. My tankbag holds only items that need to be quickly and easily accessible: wallet, phone, camera, and face-shield cleaner. It’s kind of like a woman’s purse, in that it holds essentials, but inevitably gets cluttered. Stuff “expands” to fill the space allowed, so I prefer to keep my tankbag small and unobtrusive.

I’ve been getting more and more frustrated with my current tankbag. It’s a cheap Chase Harper mini strap-mount bag. I’ve been mostly satisfied, but it’s bigger than I’d like and the attachment system sucks (my tank is plastic, so I have to use strap-mount bags). Sometimes I think that tankbag does more sliding around on my bike than I do.

A few months ago I saw another R1200ST at Ming’s Café. This one had a RKA tankbag that utilized some built-in attachment points that I hadn’t even known existed. It was rigidly mounted and perfectly sized, but at $80 I hesitated and continued my research. Two weeks ago, with some extra money available and my summer riding trips fast approaching, I finally ordered one.

RKA is a small California-based motorcycle luggage company that’s been around for a long time. Being a small but very successful outfit, they have a great reputation for quality and service. A few hours after I placed my order on RKA’s website, I received an email from Richard, the “R” in RKA, letting me know that they were backordered and there would be a two week delay in shipping. With my next trip several weeks away, I was fine with that. We bantered briefly in email over the weirdness of a California phone area code and Texas address. I was left with an impression of friendliness and good customer service. If I ever need spare parts (buckles?) or bag repair, I would feel confident contacting the RKA in ways that I never would when dealing with a larger company.

And now back to the actual bag, which arrived yesterday…

From the description on RKA’s website:
7.0″W x 10.0″L x 2.5″H / 7.5″H. Main compartment, Expansion, total 525 ci. Lifetime-limited warranty. Raincovers are optional, Map holder is thick 20th Lexan material and is removable. Inside usable dimensions are 6.0″ x 8.0. Attachment system and shoulder strap included, Beautiful rubberized handle, Orgabizer and key chain holder in the lid, PVC coated polyester Slip-Not bottoms and backs to all luggage. Slip Not is an anti-abrasion grip fabric, waterproof, strong and washable. All luggage is made out of a 600 Denier solution dyed Polyester urethane coated and/or 600/300 denier vinyl laminated PVC, diamond embossed material. All zippers are YKK and inserts are 60th ABS (Plastic) or polystyrene in areas where needed. All luggage is finished and lined in main compartments and major areas. a 3/8 inch foam combined onto a 200 denier coated nylon for the inside lining.

Pictures of the bag mounted on Richard’s R1200ST (from RKA’s website):

I was impressed last night when I unpacked the bag. It appears to be solidly constructed, with attractive black material and lots of reflective piping. The zipper pulls are nicely sized for use with gloved hands. The expansion zipper is neat, spiraling around in a way I haven’t seen on other tank bags. I don’t foresee using the expansion chamber very often, but it might be useful for stowing a jacket liner or other bulky item for short periods of time.

Even in the heaviest downpour, I’ve never used the included rain cover on my Chase Harper tank bag, so I chose not to order RKA’s optional rain cover ($10). RKA advertises their bags as completely lined and finished inside: “The most water-resistant product on the market today.”

I haven’t mounted it on the R1200ST yet, but you can be sure that the bag will get thoroughly tested this coming weekend on my ride to New Mexico for the Sport-Touring.Net Region 2 Meet.

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