Date reviewed: June 2019 | Tested by: John Milbank | Price: £108.95 (plus £27.95 for tank ring) | www.motohaus.com
Do you remember when bikes had storage under the pillion seat? The old Fireblade had bags of space in the back, but these days you’re lucky if you can squeeze a small disclock into even the most ‘practical’ of motorcycles. I’ve been reviewing this SW Motech EVO Daypack tank bag on my Yamaha MT-10, which has hardly any room; the servo for the exhaust valve takes up most of the space, so I’ve got a disc lock strapped under the seat and a puncture repair kit split into two parts and jammed in where I can.
A tank bag adds practicality and convenience to your bike – this quick-release Daypack offers five to nine litres of space, so is it the best luggage option for your bike?
The EVO Daypack has a very tough construction with 1680D nylon and a solid base; it’s built to last; Yamaha and Suzuki are just two bike manufacturers who have their branded tank bags made by SW Motech.
There’s no curve to the base like some larger tank bags but being so compact it sits on the MT-10’s tank neatly without interfering with my riding position, whether upright or hanging off the side, desperately trying to get my knee down.
A zip runs around the bottom of the bag that allows the Daypack to expand from five litres to nine. It’s more than enough for a day on the bike and could get you by for an overnighter – I couldn’t quite get a pair of shoes in, but jeans, underwear and a T-shirt left plenty of space for my phone, battery pack and a small camera.
The inside left and right sides of the bag have elasticated mesh pockets and mesh straps to help organise your kit. Most useful is the zipped mesh pocket on the underside of the lid; being convex on the top, it’s concave inside so creates a decent space for your phone, wallet and more.
There are no pockets on the outside and no clear area on the top, so if you want to carry a paper map, the Daypack won’t be your best bet – look at some of the larger bags like the SW Motech EVO Trial, reviewed here. I have a TomTom Rider mounted to the bars, so this isn’t an issue for me, but there is an optional smartphone dry bag for £14.95 that can fit over the top of the Daypack.
Being quite small, there’s no issue with the bag blocking the bike’s dash at all.
Like all SW Motech tank bags (and the manufacturer-branded versions), the plate that clips the bag to the ring fitted to your bike’s filler cap (sold separately) isn’t fitted to the bag when you buy it.
The first step is to fit the tank ring that’s designed for your bike – on the MT-10 it costs £27.95, and you’ll need a 4mm Allen key to remove the Yamaha tank bolts, then a 3mm one to fit the new ones, along with a 1.2x6.5mm or similar flat-bladed screwdriver. You should also use some threadlock when fitting; I use Bondloc B222 Screwlock and seal.
The tank ring is solidly made and looks good on the bike, unlike some that can spoil the lines.
With the ring on, you can sit the tank bag on top and find its ideal forward/back position, making sure it won’t interfere with the movement of the bars. Once you’ve got the best position, use the supplied drill bit and plastic template to drill four holes through the base of the bag. Drilling into the bottom of something you’ve just spent a hundred pounds on isn’t an attractive proposition, but read the clear instructions, pop a piece of wood underneath and it’s fine.
Having full flexibility over the position of the bag on your tank is better than being limited to a few spots as on some other brands, and if you did fit it to another bike and had to move the base, the structure of the bag will be fine with another set of holes (and you could easily seal the unused ones if you’re worried about water ingress.
There are eight rivets on the bottom of the bag, so there’s a fair chance you’ll hit one of these when you’re drilling; try to avoid it, as they’re a pain to get through, but they’re not needed as the screws that clamp the base on keep the bag together – I’m not sure why SW Motech used so many.
I’d prefer some form of sliding base that can be locked off, but the small amount of work required does make for a bag that fits the best it possibly can.
The top has two zips that can be positioned anywhere, while the toggles are long, easy to use and coated with soft plastic, so won’t scratch anything. There are some reflective details on the bag, and the front and back has a port for a cable. This port is sealed, so it won’t let water in until you cut the fabric behind the rubbery entrance with a knife.
All of SW Motech’s EVO tank bags are also available with electrical connections built into the base, or you can upgrade your bag at a later date.
The carry handle is chunky and comfortable, and a shoulder strap is supplied (though it takes up too much of the valuable interior space for me to bother using it).
Like the shoulder strap, the supplied waterproof cover takes up a fair bit of space in the bag if you carry it. It sits well over the bag, and keeps it dry – without it, the non-waterproof zips can let in the rain quite quickly (depending on your bike’s weather protection). The bead running around the inner edge helps reduce this, but if your machine doesn’t have a screen, your kit will get wet fairly quickly. The pocket on the underside of the lid keeps its contents fairly well out of the rain, but this is the kind of bag generally used for days out in good weather. It is a shame that a water-resistant zip isn’t used as while it would eventually let some rain in, it’d greatly improve the waterproofing; the zip is the only vulnerability if you haven’t opened up the cable ports.
The waterproof cover has two drawstring straps – the second being for when the bag’s expanded – so there’s no risk of the cover flying off.
Soft luggage is never going to be the most secure way of keeping stuff on your bike, but the advantage of a tank bag with a tank-ring fitting is that it’s quick and easy to fit and remove, so you can just carry it with you.
The zip can be locked closed with a small padlock (not supplied), but then a thief could just take the bag away with them. You can buy a security pin and cable lock for £15.95, but I’ve never been in a situation where I didn’t carry the bag with me. At the petrol station, you’ll have to take it off anyway, and to get to the pin you’ll have to get to the bottom of the bag, under all your kit. However, if you’re parking up at an event, or popping into a café, it’s useful that you could – to some extent – secure the bag and its contents.
I’ve recently been tweaking the suspension on my MT-10, which means many miles and constant fiddling with a 12mm and 13mm T-bar, a 4mm Allen key and a long-reach bar for the buried shock rebound adjuster. Having the SW Motech Evo Daypack has made it easy to carry my tools, and with my phone in the top flap there’s no risk of the tools bouncing into it and cracking the screen. I’ve also got my wallet in there for all the inevitable stops for fuel (MT-10 owners know what I mean).
While the excellent SW Motech EVO Trial easily caters for a day or two away, the Daypack is on the bike almost all the time. It’s got the space and rigidity to carry my 13mm Pragmasis chain and a small shackle disc lock, but the base is rigid and stays slear of the tank, keeping my bike safe.
As you’d expect, the Daypack is very stable – even at speed on a naked bike like the MT-10 – and while it’s at the expensive end of the market, it’s very tough. Importantly to me as well, the tank ring looks a lot better than some others I’ve tried. A great bit of kit that makes any bike that bit more versatile…