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Reviewed! Rynox Hawk Tailbag

I was looking for a big capacity tailbag that could literally be strapped onto my KTM Duke 390’s rear seat, forever. Apart from touring, I use the motorcycle for city commute sometimes, hence I’m asked to bring home fruit jam, milk, clothes from the dry clean etc when returning from the office but I hate carrying a backpack. So I basically needed a tailbag that was able to carry Diwali sweet boxes or my touring luggage, but most importantly, I preferred a tailbag that wasn’t designed keeping in mind a beautiful lady else it would be prone to being stolen! Thanks to Rynox gears, I received their tailbag called Rynox Hawk and immediately put it to use!

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Hawk on the Duke!

First impression:
When I first saw the Rynox Hawk tailbag in pictures, it looked like a small black ugly doll stuck to the rear seat of some motorcycle but it actually appealed to me when I received it . The bag is like one of those hot hatches that isn’t photogenic on posters but looks nice when you see it for real . I can’t believe I just spoke about cars there. I felt that the guys at Rynox  have kept a low profile in terms of appearance, but have focused well on 3 P’s- purpose, practicality and price. I was worried about the tailbag’s mounting mechanism after watching their mounting video which involved the use of its straps and 2 bungee cords that are provided separately but I soon figured an easier way of strapping it.
P.S. I hate ‘strappy’ bags!
The tailbag can be expanded and comes with 2 expandable compartments on either sides along with one non-expandable compartment in the front. What I liked even more was the inside of the tailbag. Let me put it this way, if I was a baby, I would’ve liked sleeping inside it! The tailbag is also water resistant but you still get a waterproof cover with the bag.

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The inside seems comfortable!

Overview:
Ok, so Rynox claims that the Hawk Tailbag’s capacity is 38 litres but when the bag is expanded, they say it is able to create a volume of 53 litres! That is humongous capacity for a tailbag that costs 3 grand (INR)! Why did they name it after a bird and not humongousaur tailbag?

I know a lot of riders including me who expect a minimum amount of ‘quality‘ in motorcycle luggage regardless of  how much they pay and frankly speaking, why shouldn’t they? I feel the Rynox Hawk isn’t a bag that one would complain about if you speak of its quality. From the locks, smooth zip movements, strap thickness to the overall finish of the bag, it checks all the qualitative criteria.

The tailbag’s strapping system demands too much work to be done in order to fasten it perfectly. As a result, I figured an easier way out to strap and fasten the tailbag whilst making sure it doesn’t move about. I’m not sure if this method would work on all motorcycles because I utilized the pannier brackets on my KTM.
The Hawk wouldn’t bother your back much unless it is bulging with luggage and unless  you’re carrying a hydration pack filled with 2 litres of water. Creating space for yourself in such an eventuality could lead to water being sprayed on your face, inside the helmet! This could prove to be a safety feature though if you ever feel sleepy on a long ride. 🙂

What I liked most about the tailbag is that it doesn’t block the tail light or the the indicators in any way. You just need to make sure the bag is strapped on tightly. There’s some motorcycle luggage coming into the market that ignores these little points. Also, the waterproof cover is big enough to cover the bag completely unlike many other tail/saddle bags that I’ve seen which get covered from the top only!

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Here are some popular answers to Rynox hawk FAQs! 🙂

  1. Does it slide about on the seat?
    If the bag was a human, it would be a fat little kid but that doesn’t mean it slides to and fro, it remains planted at all times.

2. Do I use it everyday?
Yes I do! I carry stuff like charger, wrist support band, tiffin etc to the office and sometimes take some more things back home. What I don’t like is when my friends say there’s a hawk up my duke’s tail.

 3. Is it ugly?
In pictures, yes! In reality, no. In other words, it’s either not very photogenic or we’ve just become used to seeing bags that have bodily features.

 4. Do the zips on the tailbag sound like you’re opening a budget shaving kit?
No, these are really smooth zippers you could play around with all day in case you were jobless and they still wouldn’t snap off.

 5. Does it look like a hawk?
Nope, not at all!

 6. Does it look like a rhino?
Definitely not!

 7. What’s the biggest thing you can store in it?
Of course, an 18 month old toddler! You’ll still have place for its nappies and milk bottle (Don’t try that at home or anywhere else!).

 8. Can it be used for non- motorcycle travel?
Yes, it definitely can be used as a shoulder bag/sling bag since you get a sling with it. In my opinion though, it would do well as a backpack than a sling bag because the tailbag is too broad for an ideal sling bag.

 9. How useful are the side pouches?
They are extremely useful to carry things like shaving kits, air compressor, tool kit etc.

 10. Would I prefer a sleek tail bag or this?
Erm.. This!! In my case, this is like a small car’s big ugly boot, you don’t utilize all its capacity everyday but there are days when unplanned things happen and you load everything into the boot and then feel happy for buying a small car with a big ugly boot. If it was sleek, it wouldn’t have had so much space in it! 🙂

 11. What if I just changed my motorcycle’s tyre and still wanted the old tyre back?
You can carry old tyre with the Hawk tailbag mounted at the back. In fact, it’s the perfect way to carry a tyre on a motorcycle!

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For once, I didn’t have to tie that tyre!

 12. Can I help transport a rescued snake using the tailbag?
Without any harm! I helped a snake wrangler friend of mine transport a cat snake to a remote area so that it could be released into the wild. The snake was in a box that went into the Hawk tailbag and by looking at snake’s behavior after it was let out, I could say it wasn’t stressed. I bet you’ve never seen a snake being so safe inside a hawk 🙂

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Isn’t it cute?!

 13. How stable is the tailbag when you’re on a slushy, sandy, rocky trail?
Well, there’s hardly any difference if you’re riding off-road or on tarmac. The bag doesn’t move about or shake abruptly regardless of whether it’s full or empty, neither was it a hindrance to my bum when I stood up while trail riding. Another reason to reduce weight in case you have a big butt!

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 14. Can the tailbag be improved further ?
Well firstly, a mechanism could be created where you could eliminate the straps and use only bungee cords to fasten the tailbag onto the rear seat. More bungee cords could be needed in the process but the tailbag could become a complete ‘convenience luggage’ for touring! I’m not a theoretical guy at all, but if you still wanted the definition of convenience luggage, then “it is kind of luggage that doesn’t require a rider to say things like “Oh shit! Where do I begin from?” when it comes to planting the luggage on the motorcycle, taking it off the motorcycle or extracting things from the luggage, when it’s on the motorcycle!
– A second improvement that could be implemented is that a liner can be inserted into the tailbag to make it more convenient so all that the rider has to do is remove the liner containing the luggage at the end of a ‘rideful’ day while the tail bag remains strapped onto the rear seat!
– Thirdly (I think I’m just quibbling) the zip strap lock (not sure if its the correct terminology) could be replaced with another metal so that it doesn’t rust.

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Nitpicking leads to finding some rust, not much though.

15. What if, all of a sudden, you meet a nice looking female friend of yours who wants a drop home but you’ve got the tailbag on the saddle?
I think this is the only instance when a rider would hate carrying motorcycle luggage on the rear seat. But in my case, I used my convincing skills and dropped her home with the Rynox Hawk on her lap. She didn’t have a good time but I’d blame the Duke’s acceleration for that. She agreed to having ice cream though when I met her without the tailbag on another day 😉

So to end it all, I can say that the Hawk tailbag is most ideal for weekend tours or rides that last 4 to 5 days. For rides lasting more than a week, this would still be ideal luggage, provided it is partnered with saddle bags or panniers. If you’re a motorcycle tourer or an everyday rider looking for a lot of storage, practicality, convenience and are mainly wanting to get a lot of bang for the buck you pay, the Rynox Hawk could be a tailbag to consider!

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Just pack, head out and Delve into nature

What do you think?