Like most touring motorcyclists, I’ve dabbled with tank bags in the past. In fact, I bought a 7-litre tank bag around 8 years ago. And I still use it to this day – albeit as a tail pack rather than a tank bag.
So why did I stop using it as a tank bag, then?
Well, mainly it was because I didn’t need one anymore. Having ridden Africa Twin’s (with top boxes) for the last five or six years, I simply didn’t need a tank bag.
Additionally, the tank bag I have is magnetic, and I didn’t want to risk shitting up the paintwork! So it’s spent much of its time strapped to the pillion seat where it works perfectly well.
New Bike, New Setup
As of this year, I decided not to renew my bike with Honda. There were many reasons why, but we’ll save that rant for another day.
So I moved over to Kawasaki and bought myself a brand new Ninja 1000 SX, which I absolutely love. And by that, I mean I really, really love it!
But with a new bike comes a new setup. And with no native place to mount a sat nav and no location for a phone mount (that I liked), I had to think of alternatives.
Add to this the fact that I needed to carry things like toll passes and ferry tags for our upcoming trip to Norway, and it seemed like a tank bag was the better option for both problems.
But tank bags aren’t without their problems!
The Problems With Tank Bags
As far as I’m concerned, tank bags should be used as an accessory to your primary luggage system – not instead of it.
The problems start when people substitute roll bags or top boxes for 30-litre tank bags.
Big tank bags are fine if you’re embarking on a round-the-world trip on a trailie and need the extra luggage space.
But if you’re on a regular-sized bike with full luggage, you shouldn’t really require an outrageously large tank bag. A small, dinky set-up to save you carrying essentials in your pocket should suffice.
Obstructing & Obstructions
The main problem is that large tank bags hinder your view of the dash. You often can’t see the dials, and you have to peer over (or around) your tank bag.
Secondly, large tank bags can mess with your riding position. If you’re forced to adjust your riding position to accommodate your tank bag, it’s not ideal.
Speaking of inconvenience, there is also the problem of never being able to get to the key every time you want to turn the bike on or off!
And finally, if you have a magnetic tank bag, there’s the risk of it damaging your paintwork or sliding off during a bend (although unlikely.)
My Tank Bag Criteria
So with the problems listed above, these were my criteria for a tank bag:
- It had to act as an accessory to my luggage
- The size was paramount – it needed to be small enough to accommodate ONLY a few essentials
- It shouldn’t obstruct my view
- I didn’t want it to affect my riding position
- It needed to be safe and secure without damaging the paintwork
- After the initial installation, fitting and removing it each day shouldn’t be a faff!
With these criteria in place, it became clear that I needed a smaller tank bag in the 3-5 litre range.
And a tank lock fitting bag would ensure security, ease of use, and prevent damage to the paintwork.
So, I concluded after looking at the options that the E-04P PIN system tank bag would be the best choice.
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Shad E-04P PIN System Tank Bag: Overview
This semi-rigid tank bag from Shad has a transparent smartphone holder and two inner mesh pockets. That’s it!
It mounts to your motorcycle fuel cap via three or four screws (depending on your bike) and has a quick-release strap for easy removal.
The transparent phone holder is touch-screen friendly, and the padded handle makes for comfortable transport when off the bike.
It’s a tiny, secure tank bag designed to hold the bare essentials, such as a phone, glasses, keys, wallet, toll pass, etc.
Shad E-04P PIN System Tank Bag: Technical Specs
- Constructed from Polyester 600D fabric
- Total 3-litre capacity
- Features thermos-sealed zippers
- Reflective graphics for improved visibility
- Maintains its shape (and protects the contents) via the semi-rigid structure
- Minimally designed to complement the aesthetics of the bike
- Smartphone holder with touch screen (up to 5.5″) with charger outlet
- 2 mesh pockets on the inside
- Padded handle
- Optional Shad X1SL01 E04 / E04P Tank Bag Rain Cover (sold separately)
- 30cm L x 21cm W x 11cm H (11.8″ L x 8.3″ W x 4.3″ H)
- The PIN lock system must be bought separately, and is around £18-£28 depending on the bike
Shad E-04P PIN System Tank Bag: Installation
It would appear that most people find the installation of this bag to be quick and simple. Although that wasn’t the case for me!
Personally, I found the included instructions complicated. It was only when I laid the contents out (and disregarded the instructions) that I figured it out through common sense.
Step 1: Screw Removal
The first step is to remove the screws of your fuel cap using the appropriate allen key.
For some bikes (such as BMWs or Yamaha’s), that’s all you need to do. Simply replace the original screws with the new ones in the installation kit, and you’re done.
(Note: the new screws are hex keys, NOT allen keys.)
Step 2 (If Required): Fuel Cap Replacement
For some bikes (such as my Kawasaki), you also have to remove the original fuel cap and replace it with the new one in the kit.
This looks complicated in the instructions. But doing a like-for-like swap using your eyes is the easiest way to do it.
Screw the new fuel cap onto the bike (remember, you’ll need a hex key, not an allen key), and you’re finished.
Step 3: Fitting The Tank Bag
The final step is to screw the metal base plate to the underside of the tank bag.
Once fitted, simply line up the screws in the fuel tank with the holes in the base plate on the bag. Push down whilst pulling back, and you’ll hear the bag click into place.
For removal, pull the quick-release strap whilst pushing the bag away from you (towards the handlebars), and the bag slides out.
Why We Like It
First and foremost, the Shad E-04P PIN system tank bag is small, sleek, unobtrusive, and of high quality.
The materials are hard-wearing, strong, and robust. And due to the semi-rigid nature of the bag, it’s resilient, protective, and low maintenance.
We’re particularly impressed with the PIN system – which has proven incredibly secure and evokes confidence. The quick-release system is a doddle to use and is hassle-free.
Finally, whilst the transparent smartphone holder is a tight fit (you won’t fit in a larger phone such as an iPhone Pro Max), the pocket is touch-screen compatible.
Speaking of smartphones, I plan to power mine with a power bank, which will be stored in the tank bag with the phone.
But the tank bag occupies a charger outlet if you plan to power yours via your bike.
What We Don’t Like
There isn’t much to dislike about the Shad E-04P PIN system tank bag. For many people, it will be too small. But if you’re happy with this size (like me), there isn’t much to hate.
I paid around £65 for the bag – which I think is reasonable. However, I didn’t like that I had to pay another £30 for the installation kit. When put together, £100 for a 3-litre tank bag seems excessive.
The other thing I don’t like is that the cheaper non-PIN version of this tank bag comes with a rain cover included. But the more expensive PIN version doesn’t.
So not only do you have to pay £30 for the fitting kit, but you then need to spend another £10 on a rain cover.
Shad E-04P PIN System Tank Bag: Conclusion
The E-04P PIN system tank bag is a great setup that oozes quality.
Of particular note are the aesthetics, the secure fitment, and the fact that there is no contact between the bike and the bag – hence no cosmetic damage.
All-in-all, it’s a quality piece of kit – albeit expensive when you consider that the bag, fittings, and rain cover total £110.
But if you want an unobtrusive setup that looks good, holds your essentials and doesn’t get in the way of your riding, the Shad E-04P PIN system tank bag is an excellent choice.
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