How to Make A Motorcycle Tank Bag

Written by robyn nelson
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A motorcycle tank bag is a must for any trip, short or long. Buying a tank bag from a manufacturer will cost £65 or more. By making your own, you will sacrifice style points for practicality. A tank bag is the catch-all place for items that are necessary when travelling by motorcycle, including wallets, caps, water bottles, snacks, combs and lotions. By making a tank bag, you will have quick access to those items, making your trip more enjoyable.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Adhesive Velcro
  • 14" x 18" soft, non abrasive material (fleece, chamois cloth, felt)
  • 14" x 18" nylon cloth (ripstop nylon, cordura nylon, nylon pack cloth)
  • 60" of 3/4" binding tape
  • 4 H buckles
  • 72" of 1/2 nylon webbing
  • Small duffel bag
  • Tape measure
  • Sewing Machine
  • Straight Pins

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  1. 1

    Place the wrong side of the soft, non-abrasive material together with the wrong side of the nylon cloth. The right side of both materials should be facing out. Pin together with straight pins.

  2. 2

    Cut the corners of the rectangle so they are rounded.

  3. 3

    Insert the pad into the folded binding tape. Sew on top of the binding tape, making sure to catch the top of the tape, the two layers of the pad and the bottom layer of tape. Begin sewing in the middle of one of the short ends of the pad. The corners will gather as you round them.

  4. 4

    Cut two strips of the adhesive Velcro the width of the pad. Peel apart the hook and loop. Secure the hook side by pressing the adhesive side to the pad. Stitch the edges of the hook with the sewing machine to keep it from pulling free.

  5. 5

    Cut four 6" lengths of the 1/2" nylon webbing. Burn ends of webbing with a match or on the stove to seal the webbing so it does not unravel. Form loops from the webbing and stitch to the pad, two on each of the short sides. The loops should hang over the edge of the pad by 1 1/2 inches.

  1. 1

    Shop for a small, enexpensive duffel bag. It should be no longer than 18" but 15" would be preferable. It should be no wider than 12". eBay or some of the discount box stores would be a good place to find this size bag. Smaller bags can be used as well. Adjust the pad to fit the size of the bag.

  2. 2

    Measure the distance from inside edge to inside edge of the sewn Velcro on the tank bag pad.

  3. 3

    Place the two loop portions of the Velcro on the purchased duffel bag, centring the strips on the bag the same distance apart as on the pad. If access is available to the bottom of the duffel bag, stitch this Velcro in place. If not, make sure the adhesive side is pressed securely in place and simply stitch the ends.

  1. 1

    Cut two 30" straps from the nylon webbing. Burn the ends to keep from unravelling.

  2. 2

    Place the H buckles on both ends of each 30" strap.

  3. 3

    Place the tank bag pad on the tank. Thread the 30" strap through the first sewn loop. Feed the end of the strap back through the H buckle to secure. Thread the opposite end of the strap around the steering column and back through the second sewn loop. Feed the end of the strap back through the H buckle and snug the strap tightly to secure the front end of the pad.

  4. 4

    Repeat step 3, only thread the 30" strap around the frame of the motorcycle under the seat. The seat may have to be removed to accomplish this. Secure the straps as in Step 3, snugging the straps so the pad is securely attached to the tank.

  5. 5

    Place the motorcycle tank bag on the pad, matching the hook and loop Velcro, and pressing securely. For additional security, a small bungi cord may be looped over the bag and hooked on the edges of the tank, if a cowling isn't present.

Tips and warnings

  • Make sure the pad's non-abrasive material will not rub the paint.
  • Tie duffel bag handles together when riding so they don't flop around.
  • The length of the harness strap might need to be lengthened depending on the motorcycle.
  • If an extra bungi is used, place something under the hook so the motorcycle tank paint is not scratched.

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