Date reviewed: September 2021 | Tested by: John Milbank | RRP: £122 (bag), £27-£36 (fitting kit) | sw-motech.co.uk
A couple of years back I reviewed the SW Motech Evo Daypack, which at the time cost £108.95 plus the same £27-£36 for the fitting kit, depending on the bike you have. I loved it, and went on to buy tank rings to fit all my bikes.
Now, the new Pro range of tank bags have been released, so on review here is the new SW Motech Pro Daypack, an expandable, quick-release pack that addresses some of the (minor) grumbles of the previous version, while also incorporating a new fitting kit.
I’ve tried it on my 2019 BMW S1000XR, 1999 Kawasaki ZX-6R and my long-term test Yamaha Tracer 9GT for the past few months to find out if it’s worth buying (or upgrading)…
The SW Motech Daypack expands to nine litres, with the zip toggle stored neatly out of the way
While SW Motech bags are relatively costly, there’s no denying that they’re extremely well made. Like the Evo Daypack that I’ve been using regularly for the past two years, the new Pro is made of 1680D ‘ballistic nylon’, which has proven extremely durable. Besides some bugs and dirt, the Evo looks as good as it did when I first got it, and the Pro Daypack shows no signs of being any different.
Weighing 1.3kg, compared to 854g for the older model, the extra mass is in the new ring clamp on the bottom, but more on that later…
Claimed to hold six litres with the expanding zip closed and nine litres with it open, in reality I mainly use it to carry my keys, wallet, phone, a bottle of water and perhaps a GoPro, and rarely ever open it up to its full height (which adds about 4.5cm).
With the Pro expanded, I can comfortably fit a pair of jeans, a tee shirt, boxer shorts and socks in, still leaving space for wallet, keys and phone.
The lid has a zipped compartment on the underside, which is handy for slimmer items (like your phone and wallet); my only disappointment is that the elasticated mesh poskets on either side are gone from the Evo. This was where I kept a neck tube and charging cables, so the new elastic straps, of which there are three on either side, aren’t as useful to me.
The top of the Pro Daypack has MoLLE loops (Modular Lightweight Load-carrying Equipment) that allows you to fit the optional 1 litre accessory bag (£40), tablet drybag (£27) or smartphone drybag (£23). Of course, this is a standardised fitting system as used on military kit, so you could equally put pretty much any MoLLE accessories on – as long as it only requires two straps – like the zipped pouch I fitted to test it.
MoLLE isn’t quick to fit or remove, but the idea here is that you can build on the system if you need more. Realistically, few owners of the Daypack will want more than the smartphone drybag, and while it might make financial sense for SW Motech to have it as an option, I’d have preferred to have a clear touch-screen-compatible pocket on the top for my phone than the ability to strap on a grenade pouch.
Fitting to the Tracer 9GT took about five minutes
The Pro Daypack is part of a range of tankbags available from SW Motech, going right up to a 16/18 litre bag, but they all share the same fitting system – a ‘Tank Ring’.
Available for a huge range of bikes (including my 22-year-old ZX-6R), fitting one is a simple task of removing some of the existing screws around the filler cap, then popping on the ring with its own fixings.
On the Tracer 9 GT (yes, even the latest bikes are supported), I needed a 4mm Allen key to remove the existing fasteners, then a 3mm one to fit the new. The Tracer is one of the more expensive tank rings as it also comes with a raising plate to get the bag up and clear from the plastic surround on the front of the bike’s tank. The instructions recommend the use of light threadlock, so it’s a shame a small sachet isn’t included.
This new tank ring includes two powerful magnets that help locate your tank bag, but do note that it’s not compatible with the older Evo bags, so if – like me – you had a larger tank bag too (like the excellent Evo Trial), you won’t be able to use it once the new tank ring is on your bike.
The bottom of the Daypack has a ribbed plastic plate to which you screw the ring adaptor. Don’t try this on the bike before fitting the bag and the release strap – the magnets really are very powerful and make it a right fiddle to remove!
Those magnets seem to be one the main selling points of new system, and they do snap the pack down with ease, but I never had a problem with the old one. What is much more valuable however is that ribbed fixing plate, which allows you to set the ring adaptor at any position along the length of the bag simply by loosening four 3mm hex-head set-screws, then sliding it along. In the Evo you had to choose the position that best suited all your bikes, then drill four holes and permanently set it!
I’ve found one position that suits my BMW, Kawasaki and Yamaha, but it’s great to know that this bag is so easy to adjust for any bikes I get in the future.
The SW Motech locking system looks great, and allows me to quickly fit and remove the bag to any of my motorcycles
In use, simply drop the bag onto the tank ring and it snaps securely into place, with no movement even in high speed winds and over rough roads.
When it comes to removing it, just pull the red strap at the front and lift it clear – very quick and easy whether you’ve finished your ride or you’re filling up with fuel.
What’s truly brilliant about SW Motech’s system is that it looks neat and tidy when there’s no bag fitted, and it keeps the luggage completely clear of your paintwork – there’s no chance of causing any damage here. Remember the days of magnetic tank bags with a tea-towel to stop it scratching the bike? And you had to run another strap around the headstock to be sure it wouldn’t fly off at speed. There’s none of that here – just quick, simple and safe storage.
The MoLLE system allows attachment of the company’s own accessories, or any two-strap MoLLE kit like this pouch I had kicking around
Beside the MoLLE loops and the internal pocket, there are openings at the front and rear to pass cables if you want to charge something inside (or outside, with a powerbank or even the outstanding Omnicharge 20+ in the Daypack). You’ll also find small reflective panels at the sides, and a clip on the rear (nearest your body as you sit on the bike) for other accessories.
A waterproof cover is supplied, and it’s got a clear window in case you have the tablet or smartphone pouch fitted. It’ll accommodate the bag at either height and is a quality design, with drawstrings and toggles to properly secure it.
The problem is that this takes up a fair bit of space in the bag, so I don’t tend to carry it.
Fortunately, the Pro Daypack offers fairly good water-resistance. Sure, water can blow into the cable opening, despite it being overlapped, but this is unlikely on most bikes as the clocks and fairing protect it. The other point of entry is along the zips and between the two toggles. You can reduce this by bringing the two toggles together closest to your body, rather than facing the direction of travel, and in most cases the bike’s screen offers a fair amount of protection. The ridge of fabric behind the zips helps reduce water ingress to some extent (and is an improvement over the Evo), but in severe weather without the cover, water will get in, pool in the lip then run inside.
I’d have liked to have seen water-resistant zips fitted to the SW Motech, to give it that extra protection in showers, but in reality this is a piece of luggage that’s most likely to be used on sunny pleasure rides, not long tours in unpredictable weather.
If you do want a day-bag that’s completely waterproof without a cover, consider the SW Motech Pro Yukon WP, which has a six-litre capacity and costs £135.
The cable entry points are easy to use, but also overlapped, so water will only get in if it’s able to blast directly at them
The two zips have loops to pass a small lock, but there’s nothing to stop somebody just taking the bag and cutting it open at their leisure. You can buy a security pack for it, but you’ll need to drill a hole through the bag in order to fit the pin that stops the ring being released. And then you’re stuck with one position for the bag mounting.
I can’t see why you’d leave this on the bike, so security isn’t really an issue.
The days of magnets, straps and tea-towels are behind us (though you can still get a traditional tank bag if they work for you), but SW Motech isn’t the only company offering quick-release luggage options; here are just three:
The SW Motech Daypack’s design means it clips on and off easily, but is kept clear of your motorcycle’s paintwork
SW Motech’s tank bags are very well made, though with the premium price I would have liked to see waterproof zips and an integrated phone holder. But having said that, this is a bag I tend to use on my pleasure rides (and I rarely choose to go out in the rain); the water resistance is enough for showers when the bag’s behind a fairing or screen. If full waterproofing is really important to you, and you don’t want to carry the cover, check out the Pro Yukon WP.
A combination of the Daypack’s appealing design, and the unobtrusive fitting kit that’s always on your bike means this really is something I use a lot and would recommend.
If you have the existing Evo luggage, and you’ve found a mounting position that suits all your bikes then there’s little reason to upgrade. But if you’re in the market for well-made, paintwork-safe quick-release luggage, the SW Motech Pro system is well worth considering.