We have always been wary of tail bags, tail packs and anything that attaches to the rear seat with bungee cords, mostly because we've seen and heard of incidents where said bag or pack has come loose and jammed in the rear wheel-with the expected consequences. This Cortech Sport Tail Bag, however, has changed our view. It's a sturdy, inexpensive piece of luggage that attaches quite securely to the rear seat and can hold a surprising amount of gear.
The Cortech bag is constructed of 1680 Denier ballistic nylon and measures 8.5 inches high, 15 inches wide and 13 inches long for a 16-liter capacity. The sides have zip-out extensions, adding an additional two inches on each side for a total of 18 liters. Internal stiffeners in the sides and extensions hold the bag's shape, and the main compartment loads from the top. Additional pockets are found externally on each side and inside the top flap. The bag attaches to the bike via two bungee cords that pass through the bag and have large, sturdy hooks. The cords are short but extend a significant amount, and we easily fit the bag on a number of bikes-although we encountered the usual difficulties with underseat exhausts. A soft, grippy underpad protects plastic bits and stops the bag from moving around, and quick-release buckles are provided to attach it directly to Cortech saddlebags. Everything tucks away for use off the bike, and a handle, shoulder strap and rain cover are provided.
In its nonexpanded size the softly lined interior seems to fill up quickly, because the bag is an odd shape-tall at the front, short at the rear. Some packing strategy is called for to best utilize the space, but there is room for a pair of shoes, a lunch and some papers or even a laptop for the daily trek to the office. Expanding the sides opens up a lot more room than you'd expect for just a couple of inches, with plenty of space available for an overnight trip. The bag never shifted on the seat or gave cause for concern, and our luggage always arrived safe and secure. Even loaded down with binders, CDs, shoes, a jacket and a laptop charger (yes, it all fit), the Cortech bag stayed put, although the extended sides of the bag were sagging a bit under the load.
At $69.99 the Cortech Sport Tail Bag (available in black, blue or red) is a bargain as well as a quality piece of luggage, and with more bikes equipped with plastic tanks or tank covers every year-making magnetic tank bags nonfunctional-our sample is getting a lot of daily use in addition to the occasional trip.