Except for the first two years of motorcycling I have had a tankbag as a faithful companion on my motorcycle trips. My first tankbag was a Harro Elefantenboy 416 Z I bought in 1974. Since then I have had three other tankbags, so I have been a sort of faithful to my tankbags. And the oldest one is still with me and in perfect condition.
There were not that many tankbags to choose from in 1974 and the Elefantenboy was legendary already then and a natural choice. The tankbags from Harro was known for its quality of craftmanship and their practicality. I bought the what at the time was a well-equipped version, the 416 Z model. It has a 20-litre volume and a double bottom. It sat perfect on the narrow tank of my Honda CB 350 Four and the double bottom made it easy to refuel as I didn’t need to unbuckle the tankbag to get access to the tank cap. I lived in Tröndelag at the time, an area where it’s raining quite frequently, so a yellow original Harro Elefantenboy rain cover was mandatory.
I used the Honda as a touring bike and in addition to the tankbag I had made a luggage rack and sidebag holders that fitted the bike nicely and was hardly visible when not carrying the sidebags. The sidebags was semihard and worked well with the size of the bike. When I see a CB 350 Four today, I am surprised by how small it is. However – it took med to San Remo and back with the Elefantenboy on the tank.
When I sold the Honda, I kept the Elefantenboy. It rested for three years. Then I bought the Suzuki GS 400 and the Elefantenboy became a practical and faithful companion on short and long trips with the GS 400. The Elefantenboy accompanied me on trips to the North Cape and over the Dolomites. The Suzuki had done 70 000 km in my ownership when I sold it, and most of the time with the Elefantenboy on the tank. At that time, I did som writing for some magazines as well, and the tankbag was my companion on other bikes too.
Thereafter the Elefantenboy was accompanying me on many trips with my Honda CBX 550 F, included a trip to the French Riviera. When I bought the Honda CX 500 Custom the Elefantenboy was a steady companion, and on the Moto Guzzi V65 SP it got to see Rome. Then the Elefantenboy went into retirement before a college of mine borrowed it for some years before it eventually returned home again. The yellow rain cover has been used on the other tankbags I have had, but it is still in good condition. And so is the Elefantenboy. The only thing I have done is replacing the foam rubber bottom and had some silicon on the zippers.
The Elefantenboy works best on retro bikes where you have access so you can route the leather strap under the tank of the bik. When I bought the BMW R 850 R I had to find an other bag and bought an original BMW tankbag. I used this for two years, before I coulc not ignore the fact that the BMW tanbag was to high when full and made some nasty marks ont the tank. I bought a Drive tankbag with magnetic fastners. This bak worked very well on the R 850 R and also on the Yamaha FZS 600 Fazer. The Drive bag was my companion on allmost all the trips I made with the Fazer in the 12 years I had that bike.
When I bought the BMW R 1100 RS, I had to find a new bag to the plastic tank of the R 1100 RS, and I choose the SW-Motech EVO Trial bag with the tank ring fastener. I sits perfect on the bike and works well for my needs, although it is not as roomy as the previous bags I have had, the Elefantenboy included. On the Yamaha SR 500 the Elefantenboy comes into use again. It fits the bike well even if the tank cap on the SR 500 is off centre. I would be a shame to retire the Elefantenboy for good, it still looks like new.
Even if Harro is out of business, are their products alive. You can buy the Elefantenboy from Die Rennweste, and they have some spare parts as well. And the famous Harro Rennweste jackets are available too.