SW-MOTECH Pro Micro tank bag

German accessory manufacturer SW-MOTECH is well known for producing high-quality kit, and their PRO Micro tank bag ($159.95) is no exception. PRO refers to the current iteration of their gas cap ring mount, which was preceded by the ION and EVO versions. Their latest design features embedded magnets that effectively guide the bag into place, where automatic mechanical latches seize it until a firm tug on the bag’s red pull-strap levers them open—a one-handed operation. This setup was developed in collaboration with Fidlock, another German company whose magnetic-mechanical fastening creations have impressed me on other motorcycle gear (e.g. Klim’s F5 helmet chin-strap).

All of SW-MOTECH’s ring mounts fasten to the metal circle surrounding the gas tank’s filler hole by simply replacing some of the OEM bolts with longer ones to accommodate the ring’s thickness. This fiberglass-reinforced plastic ring (really a C-shape, not a complete O) then remains in place and tank bags pop in and out of it without the need for any mounting straps or harnesses. The installed ring is functionally unobtrusive, though some may find it an eyesore when unhidden by a mounted bag. Unfortunately, the three different generations are not cross-compatible; it’s essential to have matching versions of ring mount and luggage. The rings are sold separately, since they are bike-specific ($35.95 to $70+, depending on application), but any tank bag of matching ilk will mount on the installed ring. Hence, you can have an assortment of tank bags for the same bike (only one ring required), or easily transfer one tank bag from bike to bike (multiple rings required).

The bags are completely secure and stable on these mounts, yet R&R effortlessly in literally a second or two. There are no straps or harnesses to fuss with or rub on painted surfaces (even the bag itself hovers several millimeters off the tank), and the system works regardless of tank shape or material. Traditional magnetic bags obviously won’t stick to plastic, and some tanks either offer no purchase for strap hooks, or have edges easily damaged by such. SW-MOTECH isn’t the only manufacturer to use gas cap ring mounts, but theirs are especially well executed. They even make kits to mount their rings on tail racks instead of gas tanks.

This handsome tank bag is aptly named Micro! I already owned tank bags of varying sizes, but wanted something extremely minimal, just large enough to hold a drink, snack, wallet and phone, without significant physical bulk or visual presence in the cockpit. Sure, most of my riding gear features pockets adequate for such items while standing, but they often create pressure points in the riding position. A tail pack relieves these, but even a small one can make swinging a leg over the saddle a bit tricky. At the risk of sounding like the fabled princess and the pea, I sought an utterly unencumbered experience. The sleek PRO Micro delivered this elegantly in a sub-two pound. package.

The SW-MOTECH Pro Micro tank bag in its expanded configuration.

In addition to installing the mounting ring, users will have to position the docking ring on the bag’s bottom. There’s a wide range of fore/aft possibilities for tailoring its ultimate location on the tank—another feature unique to the PRO lineup. A rigid EVA floor maintains the bag’s shape there, and the 1680D ballistic nylon sides and top are quite stiff, too. A circumferential zipper allows expansion of the bag’s capacity from three to five liters. Because of how the floor intrudes into the interior space, the more compact configuration will only hold a phone, wallet, snack bar, and maybe a pair of thin summer gloves. In expanded form, two 20oz. drink bottles can be added. A zippered pocket resides in the top flap, each interior wall sports two elastic straps, and the roof is covered with a MOLLE-style grid for fastening add-ons (e.g. SW-MOTECH’s $32.95 phone case). Examples of fine detail work include reflective stripes and a retaining loop to keep the expansion zipper’s fob from dangling and possibly contacting the tank’s surface. Everywhere you look, production values are impeccable. Although the bag is laminated and quite water resistant, a rain cover is included for extra protection.

If I had to find a nit to pick, it would be the presence of the MOLLE grid instead of a clear vinyl pocket. Rather than having to purchase a separate piece for this already premium-priced bag, I’d prefer a built-in place to keep my phone or a folded map visible. Otherwise, I can’t find anything to criticize. If you want more substantial storage, check out SW-MOTECH’s other PRO ring tank bags, available in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, including some designed specifically for the uniquely shaped tanks on BMW GS bikes. This is expensive gear, but it’s also impressively well designed and built to last.