Tank Bag Recommendation - Kawasaki Versys Forum
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post #1 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-25-2019, 08:26 AM Thread Starter
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Tank Bag Recommendation

Hi all. One of the justifications I gave for purchasing this bike was photography; I like to take photos of wildlife. My camera/lens combo is about 14' long, and I'd like to have it at the ready if anything pops up when I'm out and about. I am thinking a tank bag because it would be right in front of me, I could pull over and take photos without dismounting and it would be in a fairly safe location. I passed by some Sand hill cranes that I would have liked to photograph, and I see vultures and raptors flying about. My goal is to have a set-up where I can just pull over and shoot without dismounting the bike. I am not in a very populated area, so it's quite possible to do. If anyone has any suggestions, recommendations or experience, I'd appreciate the feedback......Thanks - Jonny

I have become comfortably numb.....

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post #2 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-25-2019, 08:58 AM
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I use a smart phone with a good camera and either a phone mount or keep it in my pocket. I don't have amazing zoom capabilities, but it works very well for 90% or better if the photo opportunities I have on a ride.
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post #3 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-25-2019, 09:13 AM
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Givi Tanklok tank bags are the bomb. I have the 15 liter verson but I've seen larger ones mounted. That 14" length could be an issue, my Givi shows a length 13.7" but it may work at an angle.

I do have a fairly fresh MaKaw tank bag in like new condition(I didn't like it) and a sun faded one from Cycle Gear, not their Sedici line which I disliked less. Make me an offer... If you do, best be quick, I'm leaving for a 3 month adventure on Tuesday. We could possibly meet up, I'll be in MN for a while. Maybe meet in Sconi somewhere?

The Givi system does really rock. I ain't never going back to "regular" tank bags again.
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And most of Canada too, eh?
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post #4 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-25-2019, 09:31 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by 52Degrees View Post
I use a smart phone with a good camera and either a phone mount or keep it in my pocket. I don't have amazing zoom capabilities, but it works very well for 90% or better if the photo opportunities I have on a ride.
Thanks for the tip, but I am shooting with a camera with interchangeable lenses.
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I have become comfortably numb.....

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post #5 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-25-2019, 09:40 AM Thread Starter
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Givi Tanklok tank bags are the bomb. I have the 15 liter verson but I've seen larger ones mounted. That 14" length could be an issue, my Givi shows a length 13.7" but it may work at an angle.

I do have a fairly fresh MaKaw tank bag in like new condition(I didn't like it) and a sun faded one from Cycle Gear, not their Sedici line which I disliked less. Make me an offer... If you do, best be quick, I'm leaving for a 3 month adventure on Tuesday. We could possibly meet up, I'll be in MN for a while. Maybe meet in Sconi somewhere?

The Givi system does really rock. I ain't never going back to "regular" tank bags again.
Thanks Steve; I'll look into the "tanklok" bags. I know the 14" thing may be an issue, but I think I could probably get it into the 15L bag; I just did a rough measurement this morning. I do appreciate the "Tanklok" tip; I was going to go with a strap style mount.

I have become comfortably numb.....

Jonny
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post #6 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-25-2019, 11:58 AM
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Thanks Steve; I'll look into the "tanklok" bags. I know the 14" thing may be an issue, but I think I could probably get it into the 15L bag; I just did a rough measurement this morning. I do appreciate the "Tanklok" tip; I was going to go with a strap style mount.
I just looked, no way your kit will fit. The 13'7 must be the overall length including a handle and external pocket. Probably ain't gonna happen without a way too big tan bag.
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post #7 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-25-2019, 12:31 PM
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Thanks for the tip, but I am shooting with a camera with interchangeable lenses.
I used to be a pro-photographer using Nikon equipment, which I still have SOME of....

However, I find that gear too bulky/heavy for use w/ my Versys, so I use a digital point & shoot w/ a 50X zoom, and pretty wide at the bottom end, currently a Canon SX530 HS. Every now-and-then I have an "issue", and then buy a NEW camera to replace the wrecked one, but I haven't used the remaining Nikon gear in quite awhile.



So pretty much any pic you see from me on the Forum was shot w/ a point and shoot that's worn around my neck as I ride UNLESS it starts pouring rain.

I also carry a small tripod for the occasional pic w/ me in it.
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post #8 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-25-2019, 12:49 PM
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Originally Posted by fasteddiecopeman View Post
I used to be a pro-photographer using Nikon equipment, which I still have SOME of....

However, I find that gear too bulky/heavy for use w/ my Versys, so I use a digital point & shoot w/ a 50X zoom, and pretty wide at the bottom end, currently a Canon SX530 HS. Every now-and-then I have an "issue", and then buy a NEW camera to replace the wrecked one, but I haven't used the remaining Nikon gear in quite awhile.



So pretty much any pic you see from me on the Forum was shot w/ a point and shoot that's worn around my neck as I ride UNLESS it starts pouring rain.

I also carry a small tripod for the occasional pic w/ me in it.
I wasn't really trying to be a smart Alec.... I like camera gear, and am known by others to have "a good eye" (whatever that really means... I just take pictures).

Like Ed points out here, motorcycles are a tough environment for expensive gear. Lenses are large and heavy, and don't react well to sudden changes in inertia. Tank bags are not the most secure storage solution for a variety of reasons. Theft, accidental loss, impulse shock... Tank bags are horrible for all of them.

Not you mention everything will, at some point, smell like gasoline. Just the nature of the beast.

Those semi-disposable point and shoots are a great idea I often forget about... Because I always have my phone, and it's always well protected.
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post #9 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-25-2019, 02:34 PM Thread Starter
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I shoot an Olympus Em1 MKII. That 14" is a 300mm with a 1.4TC which makes it an 840mm full-frame equivalent. I know it's not the best in low-light, but it's got wicked stabilization and weather sealing. I was going to switch this year, but I couldn't find anything that really rocked my world; so...I got the Versys, and my world is rocked . I shoot lot of wildlife, but I couldn't take a decent landscape shot if my life depended upon it. Oh well - it's all for fun. Once I get a shot of the bike, it will be posted to my photography forum under, "What photography related item did you purchase?" This bike was actually recommended by a guy that's a photographer/bike enthusiast. He already received his thanks... Good to see a lot of us are alike.

I guess I'll just throw the kit in the panniers with towels wrapped around them. I was hoping to have something as easy as the truck to shoot from, but oh well.

I have become comfortably numb.....

Jonny

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post #10 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-25-2019, 08:17 PM
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You might look at some form of messenger bag. Something with only a shoulder strap sorta like a woman's purse, but much more manly . A backpack could work except you'd have to wrestle it off, whereas the messenger bag could sit around your back for riding but then easily slid towards your front to remove the camera equipment.
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post #11 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-26-2019, 07:54 AM
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For protecting delicate and valuable gear, it is difficult to find fault with products like Pelican cases. They make a great top box. A pair would make robust hard saddle bags. They are literally air tight, so riding in the rain is no concern. And they are lockable to discourage theft.

Iíve been using an old and well abused Pelican 1550 as a top case for over 5 years. It had been previously used as an aircraft mechanics flight line tool box, a camera case, and a tackle box before being attached to my previous bike and then my V650. It has kept my laptop and other gear protected from everything Mother Nature has delivered while riding in all seasons and weather, as well as the high pressure hose at a car wash. Also works well when camping or commuting as solid and secure storage. Iíve had ridiculous loads strapped to my case without issue. 2 boat trailer wheels, cases of beer, an insulated bag full of groceries, even a bench top 10 ton hydraulic press that weighed 52kg...

The only difficult part for most people is fabricating a mounting system. But the internet is full of DIY solutions in addition to what the aftermarket suppliers have to offer.
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post #12 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-26-2019, 04:15 PM
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...I’ve had ridiculous loads strapped to my case without issue...cases of beer....
I had an aluminum box I would add to my KLR that held (THREE cases of 30 cans of beer) several times....





You don't want to get thirsty out there, in the AZ desert!



The BIGGEE was used to replace THIS one, as necessary - in AZ....

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post #13 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-26-2019, 08:29 PM
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I've got the Givi XS320 on the way for my Versys and I'm also into photography, I've got a D750 with some lenses and I'll see if the 150-600 fits in the new tank bag. I would just get some pick and pluck foam and fit it inside whatever you choose or use one of the backpack cube cases.

I've also got an EM10 ii and Pentax K3, and Fuji X100s with a bunch of various lenses etc, I'm addicted lol.

If you don't mind having the camera on your chest have a look at a cotton carrier or a Movo Photo MB1000 for a fraction of the price. Those will hold it secure on the bike and at the ready. With the M43 it shouldn't be too heavy.

I'll be bringing my D750 with me to Alaska with a 20mm 1.8 and 50 1.8 and a 70-300. The 150-600 would be nice but it's a beast to bring anywhere.



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post #14 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-27-2019, 06:46 AM
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I have an older Givi Voyager two-tier tankbag. It will accommodate your 14" combo with adjustable pockets for lenses. Magnetic panels plus a good strap to tie around the headstock.

I've had it for at approximately 20 years and it is as good as new. I mostly use the small lower section now, with the top half added for long trips. Both sections have a map pocket and a waterproof cover that actually works. I was a professional photographer (film era) for my whole career and carried lots of gear*. Now retired, I only carry a Canon G11 digital.

If you can find a used Voyager I would highly recommend it.

* on long trips I packed a Nikon F4, Nikon F3, Voigtlander Bessa R, and at least 6 lenses. Still had room for a two dozen rolls of film, lots of filters, sunglasses, lens cleaner etc.
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post #15 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-27-2019, 08:54 AM
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I have an older Givi Voyager two-tier tankbag. It will accommodate your 14" combo with adjustable pockets for lenses. Magnetic panels plus a good strap to tie around the headstock.

I've had it for at approximately 20 years and it is as good as new. I mostly use the small lower section now, with the top half added for long trips. Both sections have a map pocket and a waterproof cover that actually works. I was a professional photographer (film era) for my whole career and carried lots of gear*. Now retired, I only carry a Canon G11 digital.

If you can find a used Voyager I would highly recommend it.

* on long trips I packed a Nikon F4, Nikon F3, Voigtlander Bessa R, and at least 6 lenses. Still had room for a two dozen rolls of film, lots of filters, sunglasses, lens cleaner etc.
Something like that or the large two deck Tourmaster/Cortech, but fitting a jumbo tank bag on a 650 Versys could be a problem.
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post #16 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-27-2019, 10:50 AM
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Something like that or the large two deck Tourmaster/Cortech, but fitting a jumbo tank bag on a 650 Versys could be a problem.
I use the Voyager on my '06 Versys 650. The flaps with magnets grip on the metal tank at the bottom of the flap.

The top part does tend to flop around in the wind a bit, so I plan to glue a rare earth magnet underneath the plastic. The strap around the headstock prevents it from moving. There are also loops that could be used for more straps. When off the bike the bag has an excellent handle. It came with a shoulder strap but I never bothered with it.

If the bag were used fully extended (the top part has a zipper to allow expansion), a short torso rider might have a bit of difficulty seeing the instrument gauges but I have rarely extended it.
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post #17 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-27-2019, 11:56 AM
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I use the Voyager on my '06 Versys 650. The flaps with magnets grip on the metal tank at the bottom of the flap.

The top part does tend to flop around in the wind a bit, so I plan to glue a rare earth magnet underneath the plastic. The strap around the headstock prevents it from moving. There are also loops that could be used for more straps. When off the bike the bag has an excellent handle. It came with a shoulder strap but I never bothered with it.

If the bag were used fully extended (the top part has a zipper to allow expansion), a short torso rider might have a bit of difficulty seeing the instrument gauges but I have rarely extended it.

Good to see it will work from someone that actually has one instead of guessing like I was. Skol!
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post #18 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-28-2019, 07:06 AM
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Good to see it will work from someone that actually has one instead of guessing like I was. Skol!
There's nothing wrong with asking a reasonable question. I wasn't offended, Steve. Cheers!

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The 150-600 would be nice but it's a beast to bring anywhere.
I like the camera strap - probably better than a tank bag for me. I think the tank bag maybe can get in the way. I like the m/43 format for lens size, and it's one of the reasons I've stayed with M/43.

I have become comfortably numb.....

Jonny
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post #20 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-28-2019, 10:01 AM
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I'd be leery to carry a camera on my chest like that while riding. Aside from rocks and bugs hitting the equipment, it might be detrimental to both the rider and the camera gear should the rider be launched off the bike in a collision. YMMV

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