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Thread: "organizing" a system case to avoid using a tank bag

  1. #1

    Question "organizing" a system case to avoid using a tank bag

    fellow compartmentalization enthusiasts,

    no, i'm not talking about the ability to disociate oneself from multiple and possibly contradictory emotional situations, i'm looking for a way to keep loose things from rattling around in my system cases when im just zipping around town (not on trips.) i want to take one half of one of them and use it to store smaller items that i might take on a ride in a tank bag. the goal is not to use the space with maximum efficiency, instead it's to just get the stuff secure and neatly packed. the other goal is to not use the tank bag around town.

    the simplest thing to do, which i currently do, is to just use the tank bag and then stick it in the system case when i get somewhere and dont want to carry it around. but i want to try to complicate it a bit.

    what i'm picturing is pretty much a piece of foam with little notches and cavities cut out of it for all my 'always carry' items. you know, tire gauge, misc tools, spare tank bag, bowling ball collection, that sort of thing. (see the 'whats in your tank bag thread' for a fun read.) anyway, im pretty sure i can make one myself by going to the craft store, buying a bunch of foam, and cutting it the way i like. but as a red-blooded 'merican i always like to see if i can't stimulate the economy a little more robustly by purchasing overpriced items manufactured in china. so have any of you seen something that will nicely fit into a bmw case and it has little compartments to put stuff in?

    the other option i have is to carry so much stuff that it's all tightly packed in there and can't rattle. im sure i'll get there eventually...


  2. #2
    leave my monkey alone LORAZEPAM's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    West Salem, OH
    I would go to a flea market or surplus store and purchase a canvas tool bag. They come in many sizes, are easy to carry and store, and I am sure they will fit the bill without going so far as to make little foam slots for everything.
    Gale Smith
    2009 Versys
    1999 R1100RT

  3. #3
    hi again,
    no, i haven't seen what you're asking for but there are many small bags (L.L..Bean or REI as an example)
    or why don't you get a tool roll pouch? Sears and many bike accessory companies have them.
    have you checked out Helen Two Wheels stuff? she may have something.

    might be just me, but i'd want something to secure that small stuff but allow me to pack it in different places on the bike, pending on how much other stuff i had,
    example: going for 2 weeks versus around town riding.

  4. #4
    Focused kbasa's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Marin By God County, California
    I've been using an Aerostich Courier bag for years. It'll hold a ton of stuff if you need it to. I think the new ones have a couple of pockets inside too. I really don't carry tire pressure gauges or anything when I'm just putting around town. The courier bag will carry all my work crap: shoes, planner and motomags, but allows enough room to carry other stuff I pick up on the way home.

    Here in California, we can lane split, so most folks don't use saddlebags unless they're going camping or something. I've found that a courier bag works perfectly for daily use.

    I think my bag is about a decade old and it still works beautifully.
    Dave Swider
    Marin County, CA

    Some bikes. Some with motors, some without.

  5. #5
    Has the GS-Lust The_Veg's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Atlanta 'burbs
    I usually only mount the hard bags if I need them, and use the tankbag in town much more often. The bike handles noticeably better and feels lighter that way. Seems like many beemerphiles always have bags on, like they're the honour-badge of sport-tourers or something. I'm not knocking that; it's just not my style.

    But back to your question, if you want something custom-fitted in foam do this. Look in your yellow pages and see if you have a local shop that deals in cases for various professions and activities. If you know any engineering consultants or film studios or audio support companies they may be able to steer you in the right direction, as these guys would be likely clients of the shop you need. If you don't have one in Austin there is one up here in Dallas that I can refer you to. Anyway, these shops stock great slabs of that polyethylene foam for lining tool/instrument cases and such and they can cut it anyway you like or just sell you a slab and let you be creative if you're so inclined. They also may be able to suggest the best way to set up your foam. Best of all, regardless of where the foam is made, you'll be supporting a local business.
    2012 R1200GS

    "If you can't fix it with a hammer, it's electrical." -somebody's dad

  6. #6

    Thumbs up brilliant

    EXCELLENT suggestion, i think i'll go after it that way. amazingly, the wisest thing might be to keep the tank bag in the cases. seems goofy, but if im at work with the bike, i get a call...."and a gallon of milk, and celery and a big bag of cat food. they have me cornered, hurry!" so having the cases allows me to make those spontaneous purchases. im going to look into the courier bag idea too.

    as a new rider im still developing my 'kit' of what i carry which times. based on my bicycling exeprience, it usually starts out with too much stuff, then as i get a better feel for what situations i can handle myself and which i need help for, i'll wittle (whittle?) it down. (to a cell phone, a credit card, and my insurance cards. )

    thanks for the replies. (does the moderator have to get the last word in?!)

  7. #7
    Registered User jgr451's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Left Coast Canada
    Username from Austin,I am afraid that it is now an open secret that the ahem moderator who shall remain nameless for now,can have the last word anytime he wants.Actually,anyone can.I have actually never seen anyone have a last word here,these threads seem to go on and on and on and so on,forever,amen;and just when you think it 's finally over,someone will say and another thing...

    mind you the moderator did once sternly send a thread to a don't go there place called the doghouse...

  8. #8

    Talking hmmm

    jgr, are you trying to get the last word in this thread?

  9. #9
    Slowpoke & Proud of It! BRADFORDBENN's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    State of Confusion

    Pick and place foam

    There are various companies that sell sheets of pick and place foam that one can use to design their own compartments. Often camera cases have them as well as Pelican cases. ([

    I have a high tech toolbox that I use with pick and place foam for work that carries lots of stuff very well and as we buy new gear we either move the foam around or buy a new foam sheet cause we had a foam war in the office with the leftovers.

    Another trick I use for my guitar stuff is a toiletry case. Where the shampoo should go is the polish, in the razor holder is the string winder... well you get the idea. Looking at the toiletry case I currently have spread out all over the hotel bathroom I could easily see using it for tools and stuff perfectly.

    It isn't what you ride, it is if you ride

  10. #10

    Your choice

    Eagle Creek Travel Gear and similar products found at REI or a Sportsman/Ski House Outdoor store - lots of choices, mix and match, shapes, sizes, snaps, zips, buckles, foam camera compartments, with myriad outer pockets and flaps. Of course, some of these look a little like a purse...

    I use a large padded manila envelope to hold the tire gauge, padlock, cargo net bungee, cleaning rag, etc. Just drop it in the side bag, push it aside when loading even more stuff, squish it when it sticks up. But then, I'm notoriously cheap.

  11. #11
    Registered User R100RS's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    North Florida
    I use a monster sized fanny pack made by Patagonia. I bought this when I was using a buddy's bike and I didn't want to buy a tankbag for someone else's bike. It's large enough to hold a rainsuit, plus all of the little odds and ends. I used to just toss the pack in one of the sidecases, and I could squish it around when I stopped to fit my helmet in as well.

    However, since I bought my dedicated riding jacket, I haven't used the fanny pack. I carry everything (except for a jacket, of course!) I used to carry in the fanny pack in the jacket (including my waterproof pants).

    It's also nice, cause when I'm traveling I can throw a camera and other junk in there and look like a geeky tourist.

    '02 R1150R
    '88 R100RS

  12. #12
    Rally Rat
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Port St. Lucie, FL
    Simple solution that works for me: I have the R1150R with the mini-sized left bag. Got Helen Two Wheels bag liners. Cut the tops off two gallon size plastic water jugs, put the stuff in the plastic base, put the jugs in the H2W bag, and I am on my way.

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