Is there such a thing as the perfect tank bag? Man, there are a lot of options out there and they all do about the same thing. There are big ones and small ones, there are short ones and tall ones, there are magnetic ones and strap ones, Oh My!! When you consider different motorcycles, different needs, and different uses, tanks bags sound a lot like running shoes. They are highly specific to each user. That is why runners vary rarely try different shoes. When one works well they don’t want to mess with it.
I recently found myself with a Viking Dirtman Enduro Tank bag to try out. Well, it is the middle of winter here in Minnesota so unfortunately, trying it out isn’t going to happen anytime soon. But it is a new toy, so off to the garage I went. Here are my thoughts about this bag in hopes that if you are interested in it, you have a bit more information to make a decision.
Of note: This bag is labeled as Enduro, which means it was designed around enduro bikes. I am mounting this on my 2014 Suzuki VStrom DL1000. This is important to note as I did run into some fitting issues on my plus size adventure bike.
When you order the Viking Dirtman Enduro, it comes with the bag, and enough parts for a front and a rear harness. Each harness is made up of a strap or two, elastic keeper, and buckles. Simple enough in theory. Wrap the front strap around the front of the moto install the elastic keeper and buckle it to the bag. Rear straps get mounted to a point on each side of the frame and get clipped to each buckle. Install the elastic keeper to hold the straps in place when you unbuckle the bag from the straps.
You can get the specific specs and many of the features via the Viking Bags website. See the link below.
Overall, I was pretty impressed with the quality. The cordura, zippers, buckles and straps felt high quality. The design seemed to fit all the buckets. Protect your moto, your gear, easily accessible, Map pocket, easy on easy off. Increased visibility through reflective material. Water resistant. A few pockets both in and out of the bag. A map holder.
There were a couple of things that stood out for me that I was impressed with for a tank bag that was this inexpensive.
The Map holder: The bag had a small flap that would overlap the front of the map holder to keep it secure. This is a cool little feature that will help to keep your map holder flat in the wind and more secure overall. I also like the side entry of the map holder. It just makes it easier to open the bag, and insert or remove what ever you decide to put in there.
The elastic keeper: Such a simple but effective design. When removing the bag from your moto to get gas or to take with you, with the elastic keeper installed, the straps stay right where they need to be when you go to reinstall the tank bag.
The rain gutter: Inside the bag just south of the zipper was a small channel that appears was designed to keep water away from the inner contents of the bag. The zipper, which is covered by a large flap, is not waterproof. If water does work it’s way in the zipper, and I expect it will, that rain gutter should help keep your stuff relatively dry.
Installation: For my porky adv bike, the straps were too short to install the rear harness. I didn’t have exposed frame tubes that would have allowed me get the buckles to clip. I had to improvise and install the rear harness in the same way you install the front harness, straight back and under the seat. Even though you could get the straps tight, the bag wanted to slip around from side to side. On a proper enduro bike or if I had longer straps that would have allowed me to pull the straps back to a 45 degree on both sides, I am certain the bag would be very stable for all types of riding
Speaking of zipper: That flap protecting the zipper made it pretty hard to open and close the lid. To make this easier, I would need to lift the zipper flap up and away to allow the zipper to move.
Weather Resistant: I would expect it to do an okay job keeping water out, but I would recommend putting anything that you wanted to keep dry in an actual dry sack. Camera, paperwork, headlamps, would certainly appreciate it.
Final Conclusion: For an inexpensive tank bag designed around Enduro motorcycles, I would recommend the Viking Dirtman Enduro bag. It was feature rich, well made, and installed relatively easily considering my moto wasn’t the type of moto this was designed for.
One question: What is your idea of the perfect tank bag? Tell me what you think in the comment section.
Handsome Chap Brian