While I was in Torrey, I got a message from Fasterpill, letting me know that Mark Kackley (Big Mak) had recently passed away. We had weak internet, so I waited until I returned home to post this. Here is the link to his obituary: Big Mak
Mark Kackley was a mountain of a man. Yet he was as gentle as falling snow. He had a creative streak in him a mile wide, with a long history in the graphic arts. And anyone who ever called him to talk about the specialized and revolutionary tank bags he made, also got an earful of all of his other motorcycle product ideas.
He developed the flip-up tank bag (the Big Mak AirBag) that made refueling so much easier. And while others may have followed up his invention with their own easy-detach tankbags featuring twist-lock rings or snap-in mounts, you still had to find a place for that tank bag while you refueled. With a Big Mak tank bag you pulled up, flipped up and fueled up
(yeah, I gave him that line, though he never used it), all while seated on your bike. If you ride distances like I do, you know what a blessing that can be. No getting off the bike. No disconnecting your intercom. No disconnecting your heat. No disconnecting anything. It is beyond easy. And because it floated above the tank on that sturdy hinged bracket, it never touched or scratched the tank.
With hands as large as a heavyweight prizefighter's, Mark sewed each bag himself, with the precision, delicacy and detail reserved for fine automotive leather. He would even customize his bags based on your needs, mine being a mid-size bag (don't recall the model name) with a few personalized features and a map case on top. Perfect for me as I was able to install my Autocom, my V1 and my XM Roady2 in the bag, have room for my 70-oz Camelbak bladder while still being able to look over
the bag to see not only my instruments, but idiot lights as well (important, in my case). I have had that bag on two RT's an FJR and a 650 V-strom. I won't ride without it.
The last time I saw Mark, was at Gleno's memorial over a decade ago. He had decided to shelve the tank bag business and, IIRC, accept an offer from his wife's family to enter their equine business. I have a friend from CA who moved to Jefferson, OR, and I visited him a couple of times, the last being 4 years ago. I never made the connection to Big Mak's same-town address, because he'd faded from the board and had taken down his website. I was within a half a mile from stopping by to say Hello, and I didn't know it. I so wish I had done so. So all I can say now is Good-Bye, Mark. You ride with me every time I swing a leg over my RT, every time I hook up my electronics, and every time I refuel.
Thank you from me, from all those who met you as part of this BMWST family, and from every rider in the world who has enjoyed and/or still enjoys the Best tank bag ever made.
Godspeed fellow traveler.