Marsee 15-Liter Expandable T-O-S Bag

Here's a tank, or seat bag (hence the T/O/S moniker) that will serve the needs of both commuter and long-distance tourist. The Marsee tank/seat bag unzips to a 15 liter capacity, extending skyward another four inches -- a 50 percent increase in storage capacity. Expandable bags aren't new, but Marsee has done their best to make sure this one is chock full of features.

The bag is sewn from coated Cordura nylon and incorporates a wide reflective strip around the top. A clear map pocket rides on top, accessible via the inside of the top flap--no worries about maps and notes flying out en route with this system. Sandwiched inside the base of the bag is a packing foam type pad to keep you from stupidly denting your tank by using the drop-in method of packing. The bag sits on its own quarter-inch thick closed cell foam pad for extra insurance.

The foam is easy to brush off, but that doesn't mean it's smart to set it in the dirt. Usually it is best to sit the tank bag on its end if you are just taking it off to get it out of the way. The Marsee bag attaches to the foam via hook-and-loop, so you can dunk the foam to clean it if it becomes too gritty. A four-point nylon webbing system attaches the bag to the bike. An easy loop around the steering head puts two Fastex style buckles at the ready up front. Attaching the rear loop was more work on the CBR600 F2 because it required seat removal. The whole job lasted less than ten minutes, though, and we didn't swear once! Fore/aft positioning is as easy as loosening one set of buckles and tightening the other. The only problem with this system is that the buckles flop around when the bag is not attached. With a smaller tank, there would have been less webbing extended and flopping would be less of a problem.

The attachment is strong and secure, but the bag wobbles back and forth a bit on its somewhat narrow mounts. No cause for concern though, because there are no side pockets to bang into your tank, but it was a bit surprising at first. The bag stays put on the bike even when you tug and pull on it while riding.

Converting from tank bag to seat bag just means fishing out the four nylon bungee hooks supplied with the bag, adjusting the bungee cord that's woven through brass grommets in the base, and finding something on your bike to hook it to. Lash points that will prevent the bag from sliding around are scarce on the F2, but we managed to get a reasonably safe attachment. It would probably be wise to slip another bungee over the top if you were going very far. Extracting your gear from the rear wheel is one of life's less-than-pleasant moments.

Marsee paid close attention to the details and not only provided large zipper tabs on its big-toothed nylon YKK zippers, but added splashy red nylon cord pulls as well. The zippers were a little stubborn, but more use will likely loosen them up. The bag also has a grab handle and comes with a removable shoulder strap that gives it nearly unlimited versatility. As a bonus, it comes with a nifty red ditty bag that holds the bungee hooks and shoulder strap. The T/O/S bag, catalog number RM-3045, is available in black, red/black, or purple/black color combinations to match your tastes.

 At a suggested retail price of $100.00, this bag is a contender for disposable income aimed at value and functionality. It is well-made with strong stitching and taped seams. The only thing we wish it had was an outside pocket for wallet, ear plugs, and pocket change. We give it four stars, plus an honorable mention in the label category. Believe it or not, the only logos displayed on the bag are the American flag on the "Made in USA" tag, and a subtle "Marsee" on the handle. Now that's class.

For more info, contact Marsee at PO Box 2588, Temecula, CA 92590. Their order number is 1-800-293-2400.

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