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HendiKaf 23 Feb 2009 22:21

proper loading
I plan a RTW and now that I have the 1150gsa come the question of luggage / loading. the bike came with jesse and they do look good but small , I may look at the OEM luggage, after reading about top case I decided to forget about it and just put a waterproof duflle bag on the back, I plan to get a tank bag with tank sadle and after I reinforce the frame I may plan to built a light contraction in the back in roder to carry spare tires, we will be 2 up and will not do creasy off road( normally).
The question is "does that seems way to much or ......" for the back frame.

Margus 28 Feb 2009 13:32

With heavily loaded 850/1100/1150 GS - the FIRST thing you should do on 1150 is to reinforce the rear subframe (850/1100/1150 have exacly the same subframe). You will thank me when you see a sad traveller with 850/1100/1150 with a cracked frame on the road (I've seen too many already, and thankfully I did this before we left home). 95% of the cases it brokes exacly from one spot on both sides. Reinforcement is an easy job, but the subframe must be removed to do this (or the welder can risk with heating a hole into your airbox or damaging your electrics with bad grounding).

My reinforcement on both sides:


It hasn't cracked on over 30K of South-American abuse (we do lot of offroad 2-up).

Yes, bin the topbox and the waterproof luggage roll is the way to go - much more savvy for the rear (top box vibrates as hell killing the subframe in the end) frame and ridability of the bike (lower and self-suspensioned (soft)).

The rear will already have too much mass on your bike (2 persons, filled panniers + roll) so carry the tires in the front.

I use Touratech VP45 bag - it has the two sidebags that help to keep the weight lower and stabilizes front-rear weight balance a bit, thus also beneficial for the maneuverability of the (heavy) bike - lower Centre-Of-Gravity.

And with those sidebags I can fit two additional tires in the front (bags are placed in the centre of tires):

DO NOT DO hard offroad with 2 tires in the front - it's just too heavy front-end and giving hard instant throttle (normal offroad practice) it doesn't make it light enough to go through deep sand or gravel patches with light front-end. It makes the bike much harder to ride in hard and soft conditions - the font just wants to find it's "own way" and it's slow-(but heavy)reaction. I learned to ride with it, since I was forced to do lot of offroad with heavy front-end due my planning, but I wouldn't recommend it, avoid if possible. Buy/change the tires or type of tire on the right time if possible. Not too often possible in third-word I must add, tho.

2-tires in the front, Penninsula Valdez, Argentina:



PS: you can also carry 4 tires in the front, like we started our RTW trip from Europe, we rode from Estonia to UK like this (no Heidenau K60 (my personal favourite tires) available in Americas), so I took the max possible with me, and everywhere we stopped immediately people looked at the tires and told us - "so you are going round the world!!??" - how easy it's to understand it, eh? :cool4:


On smooth roads you're OK even with 4 tires in the front on the GS that pulls like a tracktor (torque) with all that mass loaded. :thumbup1:

Ride safe, Margus

Warthog 28 Feb 2009 15:52

We didn't reinforce our rear subframe and we were fine, but we did not do so much off-road nd I don't think were as heavily loaded as Margus is (although we were at 450kg, fulltank, luggage and two travellers).

However, if you plan to and don't mind the hassle of removing the sub-frame, I think it worth it for peace of mind. A lot less hassle now to reinforce than fix in the middle of a lost track somewhere!!

Luggage? If the Jesse's are too small, I would recommend Project VND panniers. Huge on inside yet tidy on outside. Volvo sturdniess, with Honda practicality!

HendiKaf 28 Feb 2009 16:39

1150gsa proper loading
Thanks guys , great responses and I even printed the pictures to copy the welded support, to me better safe than sorry so doing it prior need seems the right way to do it and as far as the tires I did use on some other bikes to carry them in the front but I saw a picture somewhere of a guy with two tires set on the back looks like an easy setting but I do agree that carrying them foward seems better. Hey Margus what kind of luggage do you have on yours , look like custom made??

Thanks again

Warthog 28 Feb 2009 18:00


Originally Posted by HendiKaf (Post 231121)
Hey Margus what kind of luggage do you have on yours , look like custom made??

I meant to say this in my post, but forgot. Those are Project VNDs, like the ones I had on my GS (still have mine even though the GS was mashed by a car: can't bring myself to sell them!!!). The last three pictures in the picture gallery are me and mine!

Margus 28 Feb 2009 18:14


Originally Posted by HendiKaf (Post 231121)
Hey Margus what kind of luggage do you have on yours , look like custom made??

Those are Vern WorldBeater panniers as Warthog (Nick) said. Vern makes them in various sizes and they are very sturdy, I reckon among the sturdiest panniers you can find. Especially the frames that have NO weldings at all and the stainless steel is turned by considering very close metal properties - only on critical angles (= considerably less prone to crack compared to welded-frames), no over- or underturns, that makes metal whether weaker (overturn angle, metal starts to crack) or just unefficent (underturn angle - more room and more weight). Using material properties to its max is something that many pannier makers don't consider or haven't done a deeper research on it.

Another thing I really love about thos panniers is the "crashability". The front "falcon-point" wall is exacly tuned to "slide" rather than "hook" with the ground that rectangular (ZEGA, Metal Mule, etc) do the worst. After hard highspeed soft-ground crash with rectangular panniers you end up a pannier shape resembling number "8" (the front 90-deg angle acts as a falcon-point, twisting all the pannier with the excessive weight of all the bike on it). As you see on the pics Vern have done multiple low-angle turns to "smoothen" out the falcon point. Jesses are also well-optimized for crashing. I've met many travellers on the road who just admire the wall-design on Verns - mostly those who've experienced exacly the "8-twist" effect on their alu panniers after a harder fall (rectangular alu panniers are the most common among travellers).

Some pics of Verns on my bike, they are one of the biggest ones he makes, around 50 liters and other around 45 or a bit more (exhaust cut-out side pannier), and with those huge panniers, the width of the bike is less than a meter, 98cm to precise! They stick very close to the bike, which also means less stress and reduced torque-reaction for the support frames:

If interested contact Vern through his web-page. He makes them in various sizes and the frames or he can build ground-up if you have any special needs.

PS. Got a PM about tires. Tires I use are Heidenau K60, the best-bang-for-the-buck 50/50 tire I know of that fit to GS (they are 1-size thinner, but GS spokeless rims allow +/-1 size width variation of tires, so it's still within factory spec). Front lasts around 30Kkm, rear depends highly on your riding style, but mine normally does around 18-25Kkm. Heidi K60s are similar purpose tire as Conti TKC80, but costs almost half less and last longer. So a worthy alternative to TKC80. Ironically I was one of the first who discovered them and spread the word and they've grown so popular now among GS users in Europe and South-Africa (as far as I know Heidenaus are still not available in Americas, who ever starts to import them in US or Canada will become rich quickly :) ), so they seem to be the tire many have waited for in GS tubless size, at affordible price level.

HendiKaf 28 Feb 2009 18:15

proper loading
Nice luggages , how much do they go for ??

Margus 28 Feb 2009 18:40


Originally Posted by HendiKaf (Post 231130)
Nice luggages , how much do they go for ??

Price varies depending what you need and how much work there is needed (fully handmade), but should be around 1200-1300USD-ish if I remember correctly by the time I left (5 months ago), not sure what the UK pound-to-US-dollar state currently is (been on the road for too long now and lost completely the sense of currencies in the economic downfall!!! :blushing:)

If you go for Verns get the lid strap supports as well from him - so you can fix some stuff on the panniers (i.e. I fix tripod on one and water bottle on another, proven very practical for me at least).

Ride safe, Margus

HendiKaf 28 Feb 2009 18:45

proper loading
Not a bad price at all for a custom made product , when compared to others they do look much better , I will test my bike loaded with my actual jesse bag but if not big enough I will seriously consider them.

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