Friday, November 7, 2014

Viking Sport Tail Bag Review

Like many other moto-bloggers, I was contacted by a representative of Motorcycle House to review an item from their current catalog. The initial request was for a guest post and that I declined. I was skeptical of followup inquiries since they came from a Gmail account rather than a company email address. But that issue was resolved. The only lingering issue was that there seemed to be quite a few customer service issues in some forums but most of those rants weren't very recent.

I had originally asked about battery powered heated gloves but was told that they were not available for review at that time and was asked to look for something in the Viking bag line. The Viking Sport Tailbag (AXE-23) was one of the few items that would work on the Ural. When I wrote back, I was told that they were out of stock and could I pick something else. I mentioned that there really weren't many things on their site that would fit on a Ural as most of their inventory seems to be targeted at the cruiser market. Now that I received it, I believe that it is the same bag that Doug reviewed in September.

On the airhead, I used a tank bag to haul things back and forth to work every day but over the last seven years it has made a real mess of the tank (lots of scratches in the paint mostly on the sides where the magnets stick). Plus, it was too small to fit a laptop or even an iPad. This bag seemed like it would be large enough to haul what I need on a daily basis, fits the Ural and includes a shoulder strap and a waterproof cover (I won't need that for a while!).

The sides of this tail bag expand an additional couple of inches or so on each side when needed or they can be collapsed with a zipper. The bag easily holds my 11" MacBook Air, Chromebook or Lenovo Helix inside of a protective sleeve, the iPad, winter hat and gloves and still has room for lunch and snacks. I did try an older 15" Macbook Pro and it would only fit without the sleeve. Less than optimal. All seams are covered with bias tape so there are no raw edges showing. This should add to the life of the product. There are side pockets though I'm not sure what I would use them for as there is a stiffener on the outside to help the bag keep it's shape but it makes it difficult to fit anything in them. The zippered pockets on the inside of the top flap would be useful for receipts, pens and such. The only thing that I would add on the inside is some sort of D-ring or clip for keys. Unlike most tank bags, there is no pocket for holding a phone and there is no provision for a power feed. Something that would be easy to add.

The tail bag simply sits on the seat and the built-in bungee cords hold it in place. The passenger grab handles make for an obvious place for the bungee hooks though, for me, the bungee cord mounting is a weak point. Usually, when bungee cords get really cold, they tend to lose their elasticity. I will probably be replacing them with some sort of clip and strap setup in the near future. It only takes a few seconds to mount or dismount the bag from the seat. That could be good or bad depending on your perspective. I don't think I will use it for anything heavier such as camera gear until I can switch out the bungee cords for a more positive strap.

The tail bag isn't as convenient as the top box on the Beemer for throwing junk into but I like it better than the tank bag. It is big enough without being overly large and bulky and has the convenient carrying handle. The Ural does have lockable storage in the sidecar but this is much more convenient for the daily running around that I tend to do especially in the winter. For long trips, I'm thinking that the shape and size may be a good fit for the front of the sidecar. Maybe on top of a front rack that some Ural dealers sell as an accessory.

Overall, I'm satisfied with the construction and utility of the tail bag and I foresee it getting a lot of use. Especially for commuting.

8 comments:

Conchscooter said...

She got quite shirty when I declined the offer to review stuff. I quite enjoyed giving her the anarcho-syndicalist line just to listen to her audible incredulity get more and more starchy. (Whistling L'Internationale off stage)...messing with the dominant paradigm of an afternoon..

SonjaM said...

Looks like a nice bag for commuting or an overnight trip. I have one similar to this.

Learning to Golf said...

I have also passed on allowing them to write a guest post and to review items. In their first contact, and later ones, the quality of writing was underwhelming. While I sometimes make an error in my writing at least it is my error.

RichardM said...

Nothing like that after I turned down the offer for a guest post. But this may be a different person or the same person under an anonymous Gmail account...

RichardM said...

So far for just commuting, it's a great option as opposed to tossing things in the sidecar trunk.Much more convenient.

RichardM said...

I thought that the english used in the email contacts was odd but always very polite. And the offer to review something that I may want to keep and use very generous.

But, I didn't want anything to do with a guest post...

David Masse said...

Nice review. Nothing beats efficient storage.

I would expect the side car provides cavernous storage, like the trunk on a '64 Fleetwood. No?

RichardM said...

Compared to a motorcycle, the sidecar has cavernous storage. It isn't always easy to get to it. The sidecar trunk is nice, lockable storage but this tail bag is easy to fill up indoors then simply take it with me when I reach my destination. Just a few seconds to put on or remove.