It was almost 20 years ago when I did my first long motorcycle tour with soft luggage. I was living in Europe at the time and my steed was a Ducati 916, which is not exactly a Goldwing when paired with a set of budget-minded soft panniers. I burned through those bags faster than my first tank of gas, and I’m surprised they survived that long. It seems good soft luggage is still hard to come by with many manufacturers banging on with the same poor designs which have been around for years.
I recently found myself once again in need of a soft luggage system and the Giant Loop Coyote Bag came with a chorus of glowing recommendations. The U-shaped Coyote is described by many as a passenger without a head, torso, arms, lower legs, feet…okay, it is not at all like a passenger, but it does occupy that space on the bike, and in doing so is a very stable carry. The primary attachment straps connect the Coyote to the passenger pegs with a secondary set of straps at the center keeping it from sliding fore and aft. Installation takes no time at all and once in place, the bag doesn’t budge, not even a slight wiggle. It also balances the weight beautifully, something that becomes critical as the terrain degrades.
Constructed of 22 ounce vinyl coated polyester reinforced with ballistic nylon, the body of the Coyote bag is built to endure years of hard use. The oversized YKK zipper, military-spec fasteners, reflective accents, and general construction are proof that Giant Loop is in the business of making gear without compromise. While the fabric itself is waterproof, pieces with this level of complexity are hard to make impervious to water, so Giant Loop offers a set of dry bags carefully sculpted to fit the unique shape of the Coyote. Having ridden through hours of heavy rain, I can attest to the waterproof claims of the dry bags. They work perfectly and make packing the Coyote an easy process.
To augment the 30 liter Coyote, I also use Giant Loop’s new Rogue Dry Bag. Made of the same beefy materials as the Coyote, the Rogue is a simple dual-ended bag with waterproof closures and full strength daisy chain lashing points. Tucked behind the Coyote bag it is a waterproof vault for all of those things I really have to keep bone dry. When not in use, it rolls into a tight bundle and easily slips inside the Coyote. Holding the Rogue in place are two of Giant Loop’s newest products, their Pronghorn straps. I realize how crazy this sounds given we’re talking about simple straps worth a few bucks, but Pronghorn straps are easily one of my favorite products of the year. Get some. You can thank me later.
The final piece, and maybe the crown jewel in the system, is the Fandango Tank Bag. I have a love-hate relationship with tank bags, and I suspect it’s because I’ve never found one I really liked, until now. The Fandango mounts with a simple yet highly adjustable mounting harness. The bag is then attached to that harness with a heavy YKK zipper. We’ve paired the Fandango to a variety of motorcycles and it seems to fit most of them exceptionally well. Inside, a padded divider keeps fragile things like cell phones and cameras sequestered from the rest of the bag’s contents. The clear map pocket on the lid is handy for phones, GPS units or other things you like to keep visible. In an era of over complicated tank bags, the Fandango is all you need and nothing more.
Individually, each piece has more than exceeded my expectations. Combined, they’re a tour de force of design and construction. In these reviews, I often double back on my impressions to see if there’s anything I could file under the heading of nit-picks and niggles. Not this time around. They’re even made in Oregon.