With clear pockets for your cellphone and GPS device and other useful features, here are six tank bags that might be a good fit for your bike.
1. Tank bags come in many sizes, but for day-to-day use, a medium-size bag like the Joe Rocket Manta XL is often the most versatile and easy to use. Made of water-resistant Rock Tex 680 nylon, the magnet-mount Manta XL’s “swept wing” mounting design uses five strong magnets, one in each side wing, two in the base and one in the back wing, to attach the bag to your steel tank. The main pocket is just large enough to carry your lunch, a book, a spare set of gloves and sunglasses. There’s also a handy clear-top pocket for your phone, plus a second top pocket with an audio port. A sewn-in waterproof cover hides inside the bag, and there’s also a detachable shoulder strap for carrying the bag off the bike. Holds 17.2 liters. Price: $84.95.
2. Looking for a tank bag built for touring? The Laguna GPS Tank Bag with Backpack from Firstgear has three mounting options — strap, suction cup or magnet — and a bunch of cool features, including a fold-out pocket that holds your GPS device and positions it at a viewable angle in front of you. When you’re not using your GPS, you just fold it away and out of sight. There’s a second transparent pocket on top to hold your phone or MP3 player, plus two large pockets on the sides, a small change pocket at the rear and a pocket on each inside panel. The bag is vertically expandable by two inches, going from 32 liters to 38 liters, and it features a sewn-in transparent rain cover that deploys from a zippered pocket on the bottom front of the bag. It also unzips from its base to convert to a backpack, and the base has a clear top so it can be used as a road map case. Made from 1680-denier nylon. Price: $169.95.
3. If you’re looking for something longer and with more carrying capacity than the Joe Rocket Manta XL, the Recon 19 magnetic tank bag from Rapid Transit is a good choice. Made of water-resistant 1000-denier nylon, the Recon 19 features a map window and a clear cellphone pocket on top. The double-zipper overlapping top flaps make it easier to carry larger objects, and there are two more waterproof pockets in the liner of the main pocket. An outside pocket runs the length of each side, and the lower lid flap has a pocket with an audio port, plus two zippered pockets for toll cash. A set of clip-on straps turn the bag into a small backpack, and the bag also features a nice built-in rain cover that rolls out from a zipper on the front of the bag. Holds 18.7 liters. Price: $94.99.
4. Constructed from 600-denier nylon and polyester, the Tech Aero Tank Bag from Alpinestars is a nice medium-size tank bag. It features a window on top for a GPS unit or cellphone, or if you want, the entire top panel can be removed and flipped over, revealing a larger clear map pocket. External pockets line both sides of the bag and there’s a mesh pocket and a zippered pocket on the inside of the lid for smaller items. A small pocket at the front holds a high-visibility yellow rain cover. The bag is expandable from 20 liters to 30 liters, and also features a removable base. Zipping off the base reveals a set of adjustable padded shoulder straps so the bag can be used as a backpack. The base features both removable magnets for steel tanks and six connector straps for use on bikes with plastic tanks. Price: $189.95.
5. Maximize your packing options with the Motofizz Multi Tank Bag. Made of heavy-duty nylon and vinyl, it can be used as an expanding tank bag or as a tail pack. The bag features three separate sections that can be used together or in pieces. The base features a large mesh pocket on top and four fold-away magnetic arms that swing out to attach to your tank. The middle section is the largest part of the bag. It can be zipped to the base and used as a tank bag or strapped to the rear seat as a tail pack with the included straps. The middle section has two layers: There’s a compression strap on top, then a top pocket that opens to the left to hold a large fold-out map. The next layer down is the main storage area, which is also expandable. The top section is a clear map pocket. This can be zipped on to the middle section (as shown) or if you’re using the middle section as a tail bag, the top section can be zipped directly to the base, and now you’ve got a perfect map bag. Shoulder strap, tail pack straps and a transparent-top rain cover included. Holds 12-18 liters. Price: $169.
6. Made from 600-denier Carbolex, the Tourmaster Select 14L is a sleek, medium-sized magnetic-mount tank bag. Features include a removable clear-window map pocket that can be attached to the top of the bag via two snaps and a hook-and-loop panel, or left inside if not needed. A trio of pockets — two of them hook and loop — line the inside of the top panel, and there’s a key clip and pen sleeves, as well. External zippered pockets line each side of the bag to hold smaller items like a phone, wallet or sunglasses, and the main pocket has plenty of room for larger items. Another small pocket on the front of the bag holds the included rain cover, and the bag also has an integrated carrying handle for carrying it off the bike. Phosolite reflective material on the side panels makes you more visible at night. Holds 14 liters. Price: $79.99 (strap-mount) or $99.99 (magnetic-mount). MC