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Motorcycles, Review

Touring on a Sport Bike: Nelson-Rigg CL-1060-S Tail Bag Review

Dear Reader, I am faced with a dilemma. On one hand I love riding sport bikes, more so than sport tourers or any other style of bike. On the other hand I want to be able to carry a few items with me when I ride, whether it’s a change of clothes, groceries, or homemade borscht from mom’s house. A sport bike makes this a difficult task as there’s inherently little to no storage space on the machine itself. A backpack is less than ideal because it really sucks to carry a lot of weight on your shoulders for any amount of time greater than 30 minutes. Even my Ogio Mach 5 – a bag purpose built for motorcycles – becomes a burden on longer rides even if it contains just a single water bottle. Then I found the Nelson-Rigg CL-1060-S tail bag and solved many of my problems.

Front view of the Nelson-Rigg CL-1060-S

The Nelson-Rigg CL-1060-S

When I began looking for luggage I realized that sport bikes have a severely limited number of options. Logically, this makes perfect sense… these bikes are fast and lightweight. Why would anyone want to convert a greyhound into a mule? Faced with this adversity I refused to back down. Thus grew my perverted desire to outfit my supersport with enough bags to make it a viable grocery getter and, eventually, an unstoppable touring machine.

The first item I purchased to make my dream a reality was the Nelson-Rigg CL-1060-S tail bag. A tail bag sits on the passenger seat and acts as your very own trunk! The model I bought is the little brother to the larger CL-1060-ST but manages to accommodate a respectable amount of stuff in order to hold its own.

Appearance

I was very pleased with the way the bag looked when I got it. Not just “this is pretty good for a tail bag” but “this is nice, period”. The pictures should do most of the talking. The bag is made from nylon and has pretty carbon-fibre-looking accents on the sides. There is reflective piping on the top that goes around the entire bag and the Nelson-Rigg logo on the handle is also reflective for added nighttime visibility. The main external zipper can accommodate a small lock.

The bag is not too big and I think that’s a good thing when it’s going onto a sport bike. A zipper allows you to expand the internal capacity to a claimed 22 litres (compared to 16 L when collapsed). The material is actually semi-rigid and will maintain its shape if you need the extra space – you don’t have to rely on the contents of the bag to push the sides up. Inside is the main compartment and a separate mesh net on the lid for separating items.

Expanded view of the Nelson-Rigg CL-1060-S

The bag once expanded.

It doesn’t look out of place when mounted on the bike, either. Nobody will think of it as a stock option or even a factory accessory but it blends in so well that it can elicit a second glance or, at the very least, an eyebrow raise.

The Nelson-Rigg CL-1060-S on a Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R

What Can It Fit?

I outlined two scenarios in the opening paragraph: a day trip, and carrying food back to home base. Let’s see how the CL-1060-S handles each.

I first stuffed my jeans in the bottom and was surprised at how much space they took up. On top of that I placed my Adidas sneakers (size 11.5 US), socks, and a pair of boxers.

Clothes packed into the Nelson-Rigg CL-1060-S

I then added a windbreaker on top of everything. There was not much room left at this point… but then I remembered about the mesh section that’s on the lid! I managed to fit another sweater into there. That area is deceivingly large due to the dome shape of the bag.

Clothes packed into the Nelson-Rigg CL-1060-S

And that was it! With some careful organization I was able to pack a full change of clothes for when I arrive at my destination and want to put on more comfortable attire. I could’ve saved a bit of space by stuffing my socks and boxers into the shoes, or simply by taking a less bulky pair. Personally, I want to be able to squeeze a few more items into the bag but after all is said and done I have enough for an overnight trip.

Regarding the transport of food: the results were not as gleaming. Due to the curved shape of the bag it is difficult to cram in more than a couple of plastic or glass containers. There is enough room to fit lunch for two or three days but do not expect to go home with all the leftovers from Thanksgiving dinner. However, the situation is a bit better when dealing with groceries. Loose produce such as apples can fill in otherwise wasted space around larger items.

Performance

Attaching the bag to the bike is very easy. Remove the rear seat and thread the included straps through the loopholes on one side of the bag, under the seat, and clip the straps to the loopholes on the other side. This mounting method virtually eliminates any indication that the bag is secured to the bike which results in a very clean look which is, in my opinion, way better than having straps or bungee cords tied down to hooks or passenger foot pegs. This method also prevents anyone from removing the bag from the bike unless they cut the straps. There is a small amount of play after the bag is attached but weighing it down with items helps minimize any movement. Nelson-Rigg does include a total of 4 straps so you can secure each corner to a part of your bike if you wish.

The CL-1060-S also comes with a rain cover. I encountered a medium amount of rain on first ride with the bag but everything remained dry even without the cover. In more perilous conditions you will want to make use of this accessory as water can seep in if there’s enough of it.

Interior view of the Nelson-Rigg CL-1060-S

A rain cover, divider, and mounting instructions come included.

By now the bag has travelled with me for more than 8,000 km although you’ll never tell by looking at it. Within the city it has delivered many meals and also housed vital supplies for day trips through the countryside, where it endured high-speed testing and passed with flying colours. The very narrow rear seat on my ZX-6R meant that the bag had a tendency to slide downwards (towards the front of the bike) which resulted in a portion of it hanging off. My solution was to scootch back in the rider’s seat and push the bag back into position with my butt. A load would help to weigh it down and minimize movement. The situation is improved on my Daytona 675 because the rear seat is wider, equating to more grip and less play.

Value

The CL-1060-S is one of the cheapest options for a tail bag and as a result I think it’s well worth the money. It looks great on its own, and looks great on the back of your bike.

Closeup of the Nelson-Rigg CL-1060-S on a Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R

What competition does the bag really have? If you look at the full selection of tail bags carried by your favourite e-tailer you will see many, but only a fraction will work on the narrow seat of a sport bike. I found just a few options from Cortech, Ogio, and Oxford. I’m sure there are more but know that you will not make a mistake with the CL-1060-S.

In fact, I think the biggest rival to this bag is its big brother: the CL-1060-ST. It holds about 25 L in its normal guise and 33 L when expanded; that’s enough to fit a full-size helmet! While an impressive feat the decision regarding which bag is more suitable should be made depending on your typical use-case. I would  hesitate to load the ST to its volumetric capacity as the bag becomes very tall when fully expanded. However, if you will be going on longer trips and need to carry more clothes with you it might be the better option.

At the time of writing I checked an online retailer and both models were on sale with only $40 separating the two. In this case the argument for the ST is very strong, even if you leave it collapsed 90% of the time.

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Seeking refuge in a car wash bay and drying out wet clothes.

2 Comments

  1. The tour guide

    Valsidalv,

    I noticed that you only put Adidas items in the bag. Can you comment on whether or not Nike products will also fit?

    – The Tour Guide

    • valsidalv

      I’m not able to actually test that out myself as I don’t own any Nike products. I imagine it would work but probably not as well as with the superior Adidas items.

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