Motorcyclists have ridden off-road as long as they have pointed their wheels down paved roads. The term road should be used loosely to describe the rutted and muddy mess that riders took the early Harley Davidson and Indian motorcycles down. Despite this long history of on- and off-road riding, very few motorcycle accessories are equally at home on your bike in the dirt and at speed on the road.
No matter the terrain, carrying capacity is always in demand aboard our two-wheeled machines. Luckily, my Suzuki V-Strom come stock with cargo rack. Tying small items such as wallet, keys and camera to that rack is senseless. These items can stow in a pocket, but sometimes that option isn’t comfortable or pockets are in short order.
That’s where a tank bag comes into play. Tank bags come in many shapes and functionality. Some have so many pockets that you lose items in them simply because you can’t remember which pocket they are in. The shear number of pockets makes it difficult to get those small items quickly when you need them. For example, it should be easy to locate and pull out your wallet to fill the gas tank without getting off the motorcycle.
The accessories that get used day after day on my bike are simple, functional and water tight. A product that does all of these things well is few and far between.
The Giant Loop Fandango tank bag is a rare combination of simplicity and functionality that is equally at home on the road or on the trail. The Fandango has one large compartment that is accessible via a sealed zipper. The bag simple design of the bag makes it down right cavernous with a single Velcro divider for organizing contents. I keep the divider all the way to the back of the pocket. This is just wide enough to hold my cell phone, wallet and a small camera where I can get them quickly.
A clear plastic map pocket tops off the Fandango tank bag package. The pocket holds a folded map. Again a simple waterproof zipper protects the contents against the elements (see critiques below).
A third zipper runs along the bottom perimeter of the bag to attach it to the base. This simple design allows quick removal of the bag when needed. Upon removal of the bag, a cutout allows easy access to the fuel cap to keep the adventure going.
The base attaches to the bike with three straps. A single strap goes around the frame, under the triple clamp. The remaining two straps attach to the frame or other solid point on either side of the bike. I found the perfect attach points around the GIVI crash bars on my Suzuki V-Strom. In all, it takes a couple minutes to solidly attach the Fandango Tank Bag to the bike.
The Fandango was originally designed for use on dirt bikes. This means that when attached, the bag isn’t going anywhere. When I first attached the bag to my V-Strom, the triple clamp strap was a bit short. It worked, but left me nervous with the lack of remaining strap.
I ran into Harold Olaf Cecil from Giant Loop at the Vancouver Motorcycle show. Upon sharing my critique, he walked out to the bike to actually check it out. Apparently, their design evolved to fit larger bikes and I had one of the original (more dirt bike-oriented) straps. He was nice enough to pull the base off of a bike at the show and swap it out. Great customer service goes a long way with me. Giant Loop won me over in this area.
The other critique that I have is that water can find its way inside the bag. The “truckers tarp” material and waterproof zippers are 100 percent watertight. The seams between the zippers and fabric allow the slightest amount of moisture to get through. The map pocket is especially susceptible to moisture and a wet map is a useless map. Giant Loop does provide seam sealer with the product and I highly suggest it be used. A couple minutes applying the sealer makes moisture a non-issue.
Giant Loop is a fairly new player in the motorcycle luggage field. This small company based in Oregon is definitely worth looking into. Their customer service has been quite impressive and the product is solid. They are passionate about their product and it shows.
The Giant Loop Fandango tank bag is available in three colors: black, orange and yellow. It sells for $149.00 at www.giantloopmoto.com. You can also find it through their dealer network.