Givi 3D603 Tanklock Tank Bag: good value, quality, and functionality
In the past I swore by magnetic type tank bags of varying sizes. It was nice to have my wallet, glasses, etc. all available in an easy-to-transport carrier. Backpack? Forget it: not my thing. After getting into more of a sport/adventure touring mode with my Ducati Multistrada, I simply stopped using a tank bag for a while. I made do with the other luggage and the pockets on my jacket. But while planning a 5-day trip through Arizona and Utah I started thinking about the practicality of a tank bag. I'd be stopping to take pictures during some of the scenic portions, and a camera accessible while seated on the bike would be nice. I did my research, and boiled down my preferences to either a small competitors' tank lock bag, or the small, Givi bag. After having read and digested every review I could find, I bought the Givi. Here are my reasons for choosing the Givi:
1. Slightly better tank lock system. The bag uses a lever system to release it from its lock, rather than a pull cable.
2. Thermoformed construction. Unlike ballistic nylon bags, the Givi is thermoformed, allowing it to retain its shape. This permits a bit more protection than a softer tankbag.
3. Size. The bag is small but can hold a wallet, keys, a cell phone, a camera, some protein bars, and perhaps a small water bottle. it has a nice little area for your sunglasses too, and a mesh upper pouch to hold the included rain cover. Nice touch, Givi.
4. Phone window. the phone window at the top will hold a phone as big as a Galaxy S5, although that's about its limit. A nice feature if you want to see who's calling you or if you use your phone as a GPS device. The bag also comes with a fabric cover for the window if you don't want to use it.
5. Value. Givi makes its own luggage, as well as the luggage for manufacturers like Honda and Ducati. Despite this pedigree, the price of the bag was cheaper than the other tank lock brand out there.
6. Function. The bag is much lighter and easier to use than a strapped bag or magnetic bag. The magnetic bags are heavy and cumbersome. The magnets can attract bits of metal that can scratch your tank. The strapped bags require you to unclip the bag from several mounting points every time you need gas. The Givi system lets you take the bag with a single motion and it locks back on with a nice firm "click." Super easy. I won't go back.
7. Build Quality. The build of the bag is an interesting tradeoff. While the thermoform construction will likely provide more protection against light pressure, knocks, and drops, I can't say it would be the best application for hard abuse. I suspect you would crush it if you stepped on it or applied more than moderate force. That said, I like the idea of the moderate protection the thermoform provides against normal daily bumps and knocks, I can see getting several years of use out of the bag without tear or abrasion. That said, the material is not as rugged as high denier nylon. If you are a true adventure rider, a regular fire road user, or are simply rough with luggage, this bag will probably not be durable enough for you.
How Does it Sit on the Bike? Its pretty good, even on a bike with a high tank/low seat. It does not sit too high, although the tank lock system "perches" the bag on the tank a bit higher than a strapped or magnetic mounted bag. That said, the bag doesn't hide the gauges from me, and I'm not very tall. I plan on mounting a GPS unit on my triple clamp, and I think I'll be able to see the GPS with the bag in place. Interesting observation: in photos the bag appears bigger than it is when mounted, so don't be alarmed.
Overall impressions: The bag is best used for commuting or sport touring. It is very easy to remove from bike. Solid, well-designed mounting. Good, functional pockets. Easy, quick access to camera, phone, and wallet. Light and easy to transport. If you want rough and tumble, tear proof fabric, and aren't concerned with a refined look, you might want to go with another choice without thermoform and more rugged nylon. If you spend your time commuting, sport touring, or simply want something a bit more refined looking, with a bit more "crush" protection for daily use, this Givi is the way to go.