Metal Mule - the extra cost is worth it.
As many HUBBers know, I would recommend Metal Mule over Touratech any day.
The wife and I both have a set on our XT600’s and have done in excess of 20,000 km. Our Metal Mules have been dropped, crashed (two accidents) and bashed (and still maintain there original shape, fixings, etc). A VERY strong design!
They have been subjected to 50C highs and -5C lows. They have been through torrential rain storms and excessively dust environments and are 'way' overloaded on a regular basis – they are as good today as they day they arrived.
Plus points for us are:
1. Easy mounting system.
2. Water and dust proof.
3. Extremely strong frames and panniers.
4. Anodised panniers maintain there looks and don't effect your clothes.
5. The extra handles are really useful on a daily basis - I wouldn't be without them now.
6. Extremely good customer service.
1. Expense - but worth it.
Whilst I don’t want to speak ill of Touratech, I have yet to see a 'square set', just look at what Claudio (long way round and down) managed to do to his panniers on a low speed tumble, (http://www.bbc.co.uk/longwaydown/journal/entry26.shtml)
In addition there is a article in this months ‘Bike’ magazine from the Bike High guys. Who have traveled over 17,000 miles with Metal Mules and love ‘em. They admit to dropping their XT660's on them in excess of 30 times!!!
At the end of the day, "you pay your money and take your choice", but for me the Metal Mule panniers are in a league of their own.