Product review: Rynox Hawk tailbag
The Rynox Hawk is a tail bag. That means it lives to occupy the pillion seat on a motorcycle. It's in essence a rectangular box that's the main compartment with two side pockets at each end of the longer side and some mounting equipment. The main compartment is 38 litres but a zippered expansion gusset will take the capacity to 53 litres. This new capacity also includes the expansion of the side pockets, mind you. There is the final outer pocket which spans the length of the long side that does not expand.
Rynox has a bare minimum of retro reflective piping on three sides of the Hawk, one tail strap and two looped straps for fastening. They throw in a set of bungee cords as an additional stabiliser. The zippers are YKK, a shoulder strap and a waterproof storm cover are included.
Mounting the Hawk is pretty straightforward. Rynox's mounting video suggests you first use the included bungee straps to mount the bag for 'initial stability.' Then you take the tail strap and from here it gets really fiddly. First you have to run the strap under the bike somehow. If your bike has split grab rails or a smooth tail end like the KTM Duke, then you've to run the thing under the tail where in theory the tyre has the opportunity to touch and abrade the strap. The side release buckle at either end of the strap has to be threaded through its own D-ring before being clipped into the female end of the buckle mounted on top of the bag. Next, the loop straps are used to make a girth hitch of sorts around a footpeg hanger or the trellis frame. Then these straps have to be threaded through their own D-rings before being clipped into the other two female buckles right on top of the bag. Cinch all the straps down and then spend another few minutes fiddling with the non-elastic strap keepers and you're ready to ride.
The cavernous central compartment is easy to pack. However, Rynox only offers a thin mesh pocket on the bottom side of the roof panel for you to organise your packing with. That said, the shoulder strap works and carrying the Hawk to the bike and off it is not trouble. Fiddly process aside, the Hawk mounts fairly securely but a heavy dense load (like a laptop), placed badly (like around the top for easy access) can easily defeat the main mounting straps ability to hold its tension. Which means you'll be re-cinching straps at every other stop in some but not all situations.
Rynox's Hawk is a strange mix of materials. The YKK zippers and the outer polyester material, for example, are really good quality. They sit oddly next to the lack of retroreflectives, the cheap feeling inner lining material, the cheap webbing and the bargain basement plastics. We didn't experience any failures but it makes the Hawk feel built to a very low price. Next, I'm not a fan of the mounting system you end up unmounting the bag entirely from the bike if you have to access the main compartment as the top-mounted buckles block the zipper and it is the only way to get inside the bag.
It is a very decent tail bag on its own. Its simple shape allows the user to use almost all of its capacity and even with a full load, the bag is quite securely mounted as well. However, the mounting system is needlessly fiddly and the rain cover lacks reflectivity and occupies significant volume when not in use.
The Rynox Hawk, despite its excellent price, wouldn't be my first choice. I'd probably pay `850 more for the Dirtsack Frogman. ViaTerra's Claw and Dirtsack's Gypsy are both excellent, less fiddly options.
Available at rynoxgears.com
Price Rs 2,999
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