It’s now been two years since Wolfman Luggage made the bold decision to completely revamp their product line with new fully waterproof and rugged soft TPU bag designs that mount onto their highly versatile Unrack base systems. Since then, they have continued to innovate with new products like their Rolie âZip-Râ bags and the basic tank bag system. The idea of ââattaching bags to the sides of a fuel tank is not new and Wolfman has offered tank bags in the past. What is unique is the adaptable base mounting system for the tank that allows you to swap bags of different sizes, in different configurations, to meet the load capacity needs of different styles of rides.
Similar to the Wolfman Unrack system, the tank bag base uses a universal harness that attaches to almost any bike, but is specifically designed to be mounted on a fuel tank. With several different mounting holes and D-rings, the base offers plenty of options for securing different bags like the Rolie or Zip-R (medium or small) in a traditional satchel-style configuration, or a bottle case and even a tin pocket for more specialized needs. Although its attachment points are optimized for Wolfman products, just about any bag that âclipsâ can be attached.
Why not just use a tank bag? On the one hand, you can get up to 24 liters of capacity with a set of Medium Rolie bags or 12 liters with a set of Small Rolie, and that cargo is kept lower on the bike for better weight distribution. Another problem that tank bags solve is giving the rider extra crotch clearance. Many riders experience space issues while standing and choose to avoid tank bags altogether. Tank saddlebags provide a solution to this problem, although you will forgo a bit of legroom when seated.
What is important to keep in mind is that tank bags allow you to add more load capacity while distributing weight more effectively on the machine for better maneuverability compared to just tying up. more weight at the rear. And with the basic Wolfman design, you’re also not locked into a particular capacity, giving you the flexibility to choose what size bags you want to ride.
With these benefits in mind, we were eager to try out the new Wolfman luggage system, and the perfect opportunity presented itself when we set out for the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. With the extremely remote roads in this area, we had to carry extra gas, food, and water knowing we wouldn’t see civilization for several days. We installed the saddlebag base on our Yamaha Tenere 700 with small Zip-R bags attached, which added 10.6 liters of capacity to our standard Wolfman luggage setup.
Hooking up the base was simple and even easier with crash bars providing easy-to-access mounting points. However, the saddlebag base can be installed without crash bars. We also tested them on a KTM 990 Adventure with no crash bars and easily found ways to mount the bags by routing the lower straps around the tank. The adjustment of the mounting straps and the multiple cutouts for strap placement give you a range of different options to secure and position the base where you want it. Remember to double the top tank mounting straps through the buckle or they may start to slip during the ride.
With the base attached, attaching the Zip-R bags only takes a few minutes and they lock into place with very little movement. They can be picked up even faster if you need to make an exchange or want to take your belongings with you to a hotel or tent. Configuring the position of the bag to avoid blocking the tank’s cooling vents was also not an issue on either of the two machines.
How they played
Weight distribution is always a concern when your bike is loaded with extra gear and adding too much height weight can negatively impact handling. While it’s best not to load tank bags with too much weight on any bike, this was of particular concern for the T7 due to its somewhat heavy nature. However, using the tank bags to carry a full roll of tools, including extra bolts and other trackside repair essentials, as well as snacks, a headlight and other nicks, as well as a Wolfman Enduro tank bag packed with a DSLR camera, didn’t cause unwanted handling issues. Since the weight is carried on the sides of the tank, it seems to distribute the load well.
When it comes to space and range of motion on the bike some sacrifices are made, especially if you’re a taller rider like me at 6’2 “. We rode the tank bags as far forward as possible, but there was still a slight knee contact when sitting on the bike in a natural position.On the other hand, with the KTM 990 Adventure, the longer tank design gave me enough space. to sit down without touching my knees.
The smaller the bike and the taller the rider, the more knee contact you can expect. However, on long stretches of highway I was able to back up a bit from my normal seating position on the T7 to avoid contact. In off-road driving this was less of a concern since I’m standing most of the time and there is enough legroom when standing.
Using the Tank Pannier on the KTM 990 Adventure worked particularly well due to its longer tank. And when used without a tank bag, it frees up access to the integrated glove box on top of the tank. There is also no interference with the dual fuel filler caps and it saves weight compared to using a traditional tank bag. We used the tank bag base with a bottle case and Tincup pocket on the 990, which provided the convenience of not having to carry a hydration pack and provided quick access to small items like caps. ear, sunglasses, eyeglass cloth and lip balm.
So far the Pannier Base system has stood up well to rugged off-road use and shows no signs of wear. Originally we thought it would only be used for those trips when you needed to add extra capacity, but it also turned out to be a great tank bag replacement on our KTM 990 Adventure.
Who are they for
Anyone looking to add capacity to their luggage setup and anyone interested in alternatives to tank bags. These bags work best for riders of average height or smaller, and for larger machines where there is sufficient legroom when seated. However, they can also work for taller riders if you don’t mind backing up in your seat a bit to avoid knee contact.
A great luggage extension option for travel when you need to add more capacity to the bike and want to distribute weight more efficiently from front to back. he lowers himself on the bike. The ability to choose different sized bags to attach to the base also adds a new level of versatility to your luggage setup.
Of course, customizing an adventure bike is always a compromise. All of these benefits come with reduced legroom, which may or may not be a problem depending on the rider and the bike. As for the price, at $ 124.99 for the base harness, that seems like pretty good value for the money given that you get a specialized luggage system with the versatility to adjust your carrying capacity for different driving styles.
What we liked
- A unique luggage extension option that effectively distributes weight.
- The straps and materials are very durable for tough offroad travel.
- The basic system offers options to fit different bags for different trips.
What could be improved
- More legroom for taller riders in a seated position.
Features of the base of the tank bags
- Double-sided base with slits for attaching small or medium Rolie / Zip-R bags.
- Central D-rings for attaching bottle cases, Tincup pocket or any auxiliary bag.
- Two adjustable mounting straps on each side with high and low attachments.
- Two adjustable top tank straps to accommodate many different tank widths.
- Universal mounting system for a range of motorcycles of different styles.
- Price: $ 124.99
Photograph by Ely Woody and Rob Dabney