Back in May, 2022, as I was planning my cross-country Ural expedition, I realized that I needed luggage to carry all my clothes, tools, camping gear, and assorted kit. Problem was, I didn't have any. To fix that little issue, I reached out to GIVI and the company provided me with three bags—a tank bag, a duffel, and a top cargo bag—for the trip fresh from Italy. So, how'd they do? Let's talk about it.
In more than two decades of riding, I never had much need for motorcycle luggage. See, I'm primarily a short- to medium-range rider. I average probably 5,000 miles a year spread across my fleet of runners, but I rack up those miles short-distance burst—grocery runs, taking the kids to school, pleasure rides across town, etc. A long ride for me is the 100-mile round trip out to the Irish Hills and back, or my yearly pilgrimage to Mid Ohio for Vintage Motorcycle Days. I've never needed more than my trusty Velomacci backpack for those runs, so I never really bothered with anything else.
That wasn't going to fly on the Ural trip, though. I knew the backpack would be woefully inadequate for a 3,800-mile, cross-country trip even with the sidecar and its trunk. What I needed was actual luggage—sturdy, weatherproof bags that could stand up to the abuse of three weeks on the road, rain or shine. The thing is, I wasn't sure what all I needed. A tank bag was a given, and a handy duffel bag to keep my clothes, laundry bag, and dopp kit in, but that's all I knew. After spending a few days perusing my options, I reached out to Givi for some help and recommendations.
My entire loadout, including the Givi bags.
Why Givi? Well, I've been Givi fan from afar for a while now. I like the look of the company's bike-specific luggage kits, and we've reviewed smaller Givi bags before so I knew that, in theory, they were good. After some back and forth with Givi, during which I laid out my needs and expectations, I narrowed it down to three bags—the EA130 Magnetic Tank Bag, the EA119BK Cargo Bag, and the UT806 Cargo Top Bag.
I received the bags just before I shipped out for Oregon to pick up the Ural. Over the following months, I tested them on the cross-country Ural trip and numerous smaller trips throughout Michigan and Ohio. While not sold as a comprehensive, bike-specific set like many of Givi's offerings—the company, sadly, does not make luggage sets for Urals, but it should—the three bags together made my life exponentially easier on the road and are a great addition to my gear collection.
EA130 26-liter Magnetic Tank Bag
The EA130 is a highly versatile tank bag and one of the standout pieces of kit on my trip. Made from 600D polyester with internal hard plastic reinforcement, the bag is matte black with fluorescent yellow piping and subdued reflective panels on each side. It features a capacious main compartment with a single, twin-pull zipper, two zippered side pockets, and a zippered map pocket on top with a clear plastic cover. The main 20-liter compartment can be expanded to 26 liters, but I never needed to despite cramming all kinds of things in there—electronics, notebook, cables, knife, earplugs, flashlight, sunscreen, bug spray, bear mace, etc.
To attach it to your bike, the EA130 comes with four small, bottom-mounted feet that pull out from pockets at each corner of the bag. Each little foot has a powerful magnet inside, and the thing clung like a limpet to the Ural's tank. The magnets are very secure, and you need to give the bag a strong tug to get it to come off your bike. For those of you without magnetic tanks, the EA130 comes with handy straps with quick-release buckles to attach it firmly to your ride. The bag also has eight anchor points, two to a side, to strap extra gear to its exterior.
For ease of carrying off the bike, and I removed the bag every time I left the bike alone for any appreciable time, Givi provides various solutions. A sturdy carrying handle is attached to the "top" of the bag, and that's how I lugged it around. There's also an included shoulder strap that doubles as a safety strap for when the bag is attached to a bike, and two adjustable straps that let you wear the bag like a backpack.
While the bag is weather resistant, it's not weatherproof. Especially when you don't zip it up all the way and the rain gets in to ruin your notebook and short out your phone's charging port. It stood up remarkably well to short bursts of rain, but the heavy stuff gets through. To protect your valuables from the weather, the bag comes with a fitted, fluorescent yellow weather cover that slips on and keeps everything nice and dry (and visible).
Honestly, I don't know how I would have made the trip without the EA130. Its handiness and versatility allowed me to keep critical gear ready to go at a moment's notice. The magnets kept it firmly in place on the Ural's tank and I never worried about it sliding or getting blown off in bad weather. The only real troubles I had with it were my fault, user error and the result of not reading the instructions properly—the aforementioned water ingress and the time I set it on the ground and the magnet picked up some debris that scratched my tank.
Overall, it's a phenomenal tank bag and a good buy at $120.00.
EA119BK 60-liter Cargo Bag
Givi's EA119BK is a solid, all-around, weatherproof duffel bag that holds a surprising amount of gear. It's made from welded, ripstop, 500d PVC tarpaulin with an IP65 waterproof rating. It's an extremely simple and rugged bag with a single, massive, 60-liter compartment. It has a velcro-sealed, rolltop closure that fastens with two quick-release buckles on each end, two similar buckles on top, and a center-mounted velcro strap over the top. Once it's all sealed up, the EA119 it completely weatherproof and could probably take a dunking while keeping your gear dry if it didn't stay underwater too long.
For carrying convenience, the bag has two top-mounted handles that connect with a wraparound velcro closure. In addition, it comes with a padded, adjustable strap so you can sling the bag over your shoulder and two elasticized straps to secure it to a saddle or luggage rack.
This thing was a workhorse for me, but it didn't get as much use as the tank bag. I used it to carry my clothes, my dopp kit, and my laundry stuff sack where I kept my dirties. Once it was all sealed up, it fit perfectly on the sidecar's floor between the seat and the nose and that's where it stayed for most of the trip. It did its job so well and is such a simple and easy-to-use piece of kit that it kind of became invisible to me. I didn't have to worry about it and it stood up to everything I threw at it.
The EA119BK goes for a cool $113.00 Yankee Dollars and, like the tank bag, I couldn't recommend it more.
UT806 65-liter Cargo Top Bag
I knew the Ural's trunk wouldn't be big enough to carry my really big, bulky gear and I didn't want it just stacked on the luggage rack secured with ratchet straps, so for extra sidecar storage I went with Givi's UT806. Made to fit on a bike's pillion, the UT806 is built from high-strength polyester and ripstop nylon with a waterproof lining. It has a hard-plastic base with a cutout in the middle, shaped to fit over a bike's saddle and distribute weight better.
For storage, the bag has a cavernous 65-liter main compartment with an additional zippered pouch mounted inside. A second zippered pouch is on the bottom of the bag's top flap, and it has two external pouches, one on each side. These external pouches each contain a stretchy, open-topped, see-through pouch and a couple rows of elasticized textile loops on the inside of the flap to hold smaller gear. Every pouch and flap is sealed by a zipper with a sturdy, large-sized pull tab, and the main compartment has a secondary roll-top cover with a velcro seal and quick-release fasteners. The bag even has what looks for all the world like PALS webbing on the sides and top for attaching accessory pouches.
To secure the bag to your bike, the UT806 comes with four universal mounting straps that run through buckles attached to the bag just above the hard plastic base. The straps have a loop on one side and a tapered cut on the other and are designed to loop around handy, secure, stable points on the back of a bike—suspension mounting points, subframe, rear foot pegs, etc. I attached mine to the luggage rack—to the hinges and the forward guard bar respectively—and once it was all cinched down the bag didn't move even in the worst conditions.
For the times the bag is off your bike, and I took it off when I stayed in hotels or other places I couldn't see the bike or reach it in a few steps, it has sturdy handles on each end just above the external pockets. Like the EA119 duffel, the UT806 also comes with an adjustable, padded strap so you can sling the bag over your shoulder. It's kind of awkward, though, and I rarely used this option unless I absolutely had to.
My UT806 stayed attached to the Ural's luggage rack for about 75% of the trip, and as I said earlier I only took it off for security reasons. It held my camping gear—tent, sleeping pad, stove, fuel, freeze-dried food, coffee, utensils, etc.—plus a load of cleaning supplies, like wet wipes, a roll of paper towels, work gloves, and other things I might need easy access to but didn't make sense in the tank bag. It was constantly exposed to thunderstorms, high winds, blowing sand, snow, seaspray, and 3,800 miles of bugs and suffered it all remarkably well.
It never faded, leaked, or tore, and it kept all my gear—or, well, the gear I borrowed from my friend June because she's a high-speed, low-drag bicycle camper and I don't even own a tent—safe, dry and organized. It's on the higher end of the medium-priced bag cost spectrum at $360.00, but it's worth every penny as far as I'm concerned.
These three Givi bags did everything I asked of them and never failed. I dragged them all over hell's half-acre throughout the summer, on numerous trips, and they stood up to just about every weather condition this country has to offer. For something as simple and quotidian as luggage, these bags made me incredibly happy and made my trips way easier and more comfortable than they would have been otherwise.
Would I recommend them? Absolutely. My only, only complaint is that Givi doesn't make a set of luggage specifically for Urals. Throughout the trip, I kept thinking that, as good as these bags were as a mismatched set, luggage built to actually fit and work with all of Ural's quirks would be phenomenal. So, uh, if you're reading along Givi, call me. I have some ideas.