Packing the Utili-Duc for Bungee Brent’s Backroad Bash this summer was the final straw for the original Ducati-branded tank bag that came with the bike nearly ten years ago. I lost the second of the four straps making up the elaborate strap-on system that attach the bag to my ‘09 GT1000 (and makes the bike look like it should be wearing handcuffs and choking on a ball gag). By the final 50 miles of the trip, the bag was being held on to the Utili-Duc only by thoughts, prayers, and a charger cord attached to the battery.
Once I recovered from the Wrecking Crew’s annual Long Barn adventure, I started my search for a new tank bag and quickly found my way to RKA, who have been making motorcycle luggage in Windsor, California, since around the time CityBike started killing trees. My kind of place.
I decided on RKA’s SuperSport 19.5 liter expandable tank bag. I’d initially planned on another simple black bag—minus the bondage bits—until I spotted their “premium colors” option, which lets you personalize your bag with specific colors in some predefined areas of the bag.
Never one to back down from a flair challenge, I added my wish for red piping and expansion area fabric. Adding premium colors can add up to 30 days to an order because the bag has to be made to order, but I decided it was worth it, because, red.
Within a week Editor Bag Tease told me my new bag had arrived at World Headquarters. Excited, I asked for photographic proof. After initially claiming he didn’t have a camera on his brick phone, he sent a photo of the cardboard box it had supposedly been shipped in. I can recognize signs that I am missed at the office, so that weekend, I headed to down to The Bay to pry my snazzy new tank bag from Editor I Might Need One of These’s hands—and also to make sure my desk hadn’t been completely repurposed for spare Buell parts storage.
Photos: Angelica Rubalcaba
Just out of the box, the SuperSport is a beautiful piece of luggage, all 19.5 liters of it. Of course, that’s partly due to my excellent choice in premium colors—the red piping around really makes it.
Without even offering it a drink, I began opening every YKK zipper. There’s a small, zippered pocket on the outside, behind the rubberized carry handle, a good size for spark plugs or lip balm. Inside, the walls and floor of the main compartment are lined and padded, which gives the main body some additional shape and structure. The SuperSport comes ready for power: the left wall offers a portal for charging cables, and expanding top compartment, which I chose to surround in glorious red, seen only only when expanded, has a small buttonhole in the base, ready to be cut open if I wish to pull a charging cable up into the top.
Inside the top, there’s a mesh pocket, an elastic strap and a key clip, offering organized storage for gas receipts, a tire pressure gauge, and other moto-journo bits and bobs. The removable map pocket uses a stiff Lexan window which, like the padded walls, adds structure to the bag and provides a convenient place for paper maps—at least for those of us that still know what a map is. It can also be used to display your favorite CityBike Wrecking Crew wheelie photo.
RKA says all of their luggage is constructed from 600 denier, solution-dyed polyester. The grippy sections are “Slip-Not,” a PVC-coated anti-abrasion grip fabric that is waterproof, strong and washable. My black-and-red SuperSport exudes quality, feels sturdy, and the overall design is thoughtful and feature-rich, if a touch conservative.
The bag arrived with some general instructions and an assortment of straps. With the Utili-Duc’s seat removed, I was able to use every included strap to fit the bag within about two minutes. Easy.
The only real shortcoming with my install was the length of the protective flaps: I could use about two more inches of fabric to fully protect the tank from the straps. However, RKA does offer additional “Slip-Not” tubes for installs that need a bit more protection, so this is a small problem, easily solved.
I’ve ridden a few hundred miles on the Utili-Duc with the SuperSport, and the base fabric hasn’t allowed it to slip or slide at all. Gassing up is easy: just unclip the two front straps and flip the bag on to the seat. It doesn’t obstruct my view or movement, and if I get tired on a long haul I can perch on the tank bag and rest my wrists.
The bottom section currently holds my tool kit, tire repair kit, first aid kit, extra Aerostich safety glasses, a bungee net, a second emergency bungee net for a friend, helmet shield cleaning spray, a cotton bandana and my phone (plugged in for charging). If I expand the top, I can add four Two Rivers ciders and four to six artisan burritos, depending on whether I choose regular or grande.
The SuperSport 19.5 starts at $175. Adding personalized, premium colors bumps it up to $205. An optional rain cover, additional straps, and other accessories run $10 to $15, and RKA offers advanced accessories like a pivoting metal “dashboard” that mounts on top of the bag and provides a place for a phone or GPS and other electronics. They also make a variety of other luggage and accessories, from hard luggage liners to saddlebags, tail bags and other smaller bags, in case you plan on hitting the road and your husband thinks because your bike is so awesomely set up that you’ll carry all of his shit too.