Tank bags: Bagster cover with Alpha bag

Last Updated on by Mark Embury

Bagster/Baglux luggage system

bagsterAfter a disastrous experiment with an Oxford Humpback universal tank bag, I realised I had to take the plunge on something a bit better. The Futura’s plastic tank limits choice, and the French made Bagster tank bag system seemed a good idea.

The system is in two parts: a cover for the tank (PVC coated) and a range of bags that attach with two clasps at the front and two clips at the back.

This allows bagster to make a huge range of bags of all sizes, from map pockets to a 45 litre monster. I chose the 30 litre Alpha bag.

Price

Current prices at 2011 are:

  • Cover (3 colours available Red, silver, blue) £109
  • Bags: £30-£150 – Alpha bag £94

The cover

The cover attaches with a strap around the headstock and two further ones looping around the subframe under the seat. To fit the cover you need to loosen the fairing bolts to fit the edges under the fairing. There’s also another strap on each side which you make a hole in then pass one of the fairing bolts through.

It has to be said that a new cover needs to be stretched and settle in. Here are the fitting instructions from the manufacturer’s website:

Installation advice

Remove the saddle and clean the tank.  Start by passing the strap around the steering column, avoiding pinching the cables.  Stretch the front and back under the saddle by adjusting the fuel tank cap, then on each side progressively, so that the tank protector exactly matches the shape of the fuel tank.  If needed, work the material from the top towards the bottom.  Check the tension in the straps regularly.

Care advice

PVC coated material: only use soapy water with a soft brush and sponge.  Keep away from sources of heat. Not recommended : detergents and abrasive products. Regularly spray the seams with waterproofing products.

The Alpha bag

The Alpha bag zips out to 30 litres – big enough to hold a full face helmet – and comes with straps to turn it into a rucksack when off the bike, and a transparent rain cover.

The bag is made of the same PVC coated material with a transparent map pocket in the top flap and a zip up pocket on each side, handy for change.

It’s pretty tough and will resist a pretty strong shower, but if you’re going to ride in steady rain you’ll need the elasticated cover, which hooks securely through the clasps at the front of the bag and fits snugly when the bag is extended. It does, however, have a tendency to balloon up at high speed on motorways, which can be a little distracting until you get used to it.

They beauty of the system – that you can easily take the bag on and off – is also, for some people, its downfall. While it’s easy to get the bag on and off, the cover is a different matter. It’s quick enough to remove, but can take up to half an hour to fit and make the adjustments needed to get it to sit right.

With practice, you can do it in less time, but the reality is you tend to leave the cover on the bike, which some owners find unsightly.

I can’t say it bothers me and after five years I’m more than happy with my Bagster kit. It’s great for touring and distance work, and means I don’t have to use my panniers for the daily commute.

Bagster in the UK is available form Baglux.co.uk

The manufacturer’s site is Bagster.com

Have you got this tankbag? Add your thoughts below. Fancy doing a review of your own? Get in touch.