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-   -   Aluminium versus durable plastic panniers? MZ baghira (http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hubb/equipment-reviews/aluminium-versus-durable-plastic-panniers-31258)

ozzee 28 Nov 2007 14:55

Aluminium versus durable plastic panniers? MZ baghira
2 Attachment(s)
I am planning to fit a couple of panniers to my MUZ baghira 660cc. The frame for the panniers i am gonna have welded and fitted to the bike by a welder friend of mine. the panniers i am still not sure what to do i have two choices:

A) 2 heavy duty plastic ammo boxes (dimensions: outside 50x27x30cm and from inside 42x22x29cm) they are not very big but not too small either. (picture attached)


B) 2 home made aluminium boxes.

The ammo boxes will be cheaper and less time consuming to fit and definetly water proof. But they are not too spacious inside . On the other hand the aluminium homemade boxes will be more time consuming to manufacture, but they could be made to measure and to what size i want.

I will probably go for the aluminum ones. i am still not sure though what grade of aluminium to use and what tickness?? and also if to use welding to attach the four walls of the box together or just rivets and silicone (to be waterproof)

I also have to keep in mind the exhaust of the baghira, since it comes up high as shown in the picture of the bike attached.

any thoughts about my little project would be appreciated:clap:

Cheers !

Martynbiker 28 Nov 2007 17:52

ammo boxes
My preference would be the ammo boxes, with an ally heatshield to keep the heat from the exhaust from melting the plastic. They look pretty tough!

keep us posted with pics on your progress, Nice to see someone using a "Baggi" they were not very popular in the UK, I think I was the only person who went into the local dealers that actually LIKED the style of them, but couldnt afford one at the time........lol


ozzee 28 Nov 2007 18:15

cheers martynbiker,

that was a response i was not quite excpecting, infact i was excpecting to find that the aluminium panniers would be the definite winner ! :) Yes they are quite havy duty being ex army ammo boxes, they have double walls and very durable and light too. the only down side is that they are not that deep inside, that is less space. one ammo box i calculated has a capacity of approximately 27 litres. (if i figured out well the internet conversion table)
Having two ammo boxes will make it 54 litres and having 3 ammo boxes makes it 81 litres total luggage space.

keep on riding .... I dream...

Martynbiker 28 Nov 2007 19:03

81 litres!
plus say a sleeping bag, stuffsack for clothes and a tent and bedroll......... maybe a front rack for bedroll and tent?
how long did you say you were going away for?????????? roflmao!

here are some pics of Lois Pryces XT225 Serow kitted out for trans america trip. looks like she was keen on ammo boxes too. the front rack was a smart idea too.http://i235.photobucket.com/albums/e...acked_zoom.jpg

schiannini 29 Nov 2007 10:44

For what it's worth here are my thoughts (and I cheated and bought some Metal Mules - so what do I know? :D)

If you go down the aluminium box route I'd suggest a thickness of around 2mm which is what the pro manufacturers seem to use.

There are pro's and con's with rivets vs welding. Rivets would be easier to make and will give your box a 'failsafe' in the event of an off. On the downside you will end up with more bits sticking out on the inside of the box, unless you have access to a blind riveting machine.

Welding aluminium is not easy to do. You need to get it right if you want the boxes to be waterproof - but it would give you an uncluttered box inner (depending on how you plan to mount them).

You might want to consider something like an Ortlieb bag as a waterproof liner - I've used these for years to keep dirty and clean clothes separate and they work very well.

The metal boxes would have the advantage of being whatever shape/size you decide you need but the downside of being more time consuming to make and probably quite a bit more expensive.

The ammo boxes look like a quicker and cheaper option with the disadvantage of being the size that they are and, from the sounds of it, wasting valuable space with a double lining you don't really need.

But I think you already knew all of that...


ozzee 1 Dec 2007 17:47

If you re going for 1 week or 2 months you still have to take a tent and sleeping bag and all..
we were thinking of thicker aluminium sheets at first but the thicker it is the more expensive and the more wieght you put on the bike.
We were going to rivet the walls together, apart from the lid which will probably has to be welded to a shape like that of a shoe box lid. ?? I do not mind having the rivets poking from the inside, i ll use a liner or something. have been looking up ideas on the net and found some other threads as well which are interesting i found one in particular but in unfortunately it is in German.

ozzee 4 Dec 2007 08:13

Now we ditched the ammo boxes idea... we re going for the allu boxes to have more storage space... today going for some quotes for alluminium sheets casue on our side of the world aluminium sheets come with a price of around 100Euros per bloody sheet!!! so we re still trying to find the cheapest quote !!! :eek3:

probably going for 2mm sheets, kept together with angle iron, rivets and sikaflex. Most of our ideas came from the site below which is very helpfull:

rtw.xtz660 - Home made aluminium boxes

will keep you guys posted on our progress.. if we we have progress that is !

RizzoTheRat 10 Dec 2007 13:17

If you look at the Metal Mule/Touratech/etc boxes you'll find the corners are all bevelled rather than right angled. Apparently this is to stop them digging in when you fall off, reducing the risk off bending the pannier or ripping them off the mounts.

If you do go for angle iron with flat sheet attatched you probably don't need the sheet to be anwhere near as strong as the strength is all in the angle iron frame in you build it properly, though this will be heavier than the angle aluminum and rivets approach in your link. In fact if you mounted the sheeting on the inside of the frame you might even get away without needing rivets, just silicon seal it in to the frame. would make it a lot easier to repair as you're more likely to find someone who can weld steel than aluminum, and the sheets would just need beating flat.

alexpezzi 10 Dec 2007 14:58


Originally Posted by ozzee (Post 161895)
Now we ditched the ammo boxes idea... we re going for the allu boxes to have more storage space... today going for some quotes for alluminium sheets casue on our side of the world aluminium sheets come with a price of around 100Euros per bloody sheet!!! so we re still trying to find the cheapest quote !!! :eek3:

probably going for 2mm sheets, kept together with angle iron, rivets and sikaflex. Most of our ideas came from the site below which is very helpfull:

rtw.xtz660 - Home made aluminium boxes

will keep you guys posted on our progress.. if we we have progress that is !

Hi Ozzee,
I have uploaded some more pictures on the Home Made Aluminium Boxes webpage, I will try to complete the page soon, if you are still interested in making yourself some boxes we can exchange info if you like.
Feel free to contact me.

Of course, anybody interested in making their own alu boxes can get in touch.

Neil Bogle 10 Dec 2007 15:37

Baghira Boxes
I'm interested in what you're doing as I have the very similar Mastiff - although I've uprated the engine to 690 cc and approx 70 bhp - and hope one day to do some lengthy rough-road touring with it. Are you planning to retain the wheels and tyres - or go for a trailie set-up?


Dodger 11 Dec 2007 01:22

Hi ozzie ,
Making your own panniers is the best way to get what you want .
Alexpazzi has shown a great way to make panniers by the rivet method and with great attention to detail .
But [and I speak as a welder here ] .
If your friend has the facilities and can weld aluminium then that would be the best way to go .You can find aluminium at scrap yards , road signs are a great source of material to make panniers, --- improvise ,scrounge !
Try to get rid of sharp edges by bevelling the corners , study Jesse , Happy Trails and Metal Mule .Pick out the features that you like about their panniers and build them into yours .
When you've made them ,lay them down and jump on them , they should be strong enough to hold your weight ,or the weight of a bike . If not then they are too weak and you might as well have soft bags .
These are some that I made out of 1/8" aluminium .I've modified them slightly and powder coated them since the photo was taken .


ozzee 11 Dec 2007 14:51

Rizzo.. we re using angle aluminium not iron its my fault i was mistaken there .. angle iron would be a bit heavy i think yes...

Alex yes thats a great page you uploaded i found it very informative and inspiring ! infact we started our little project.. we bought the 2mm sheets (2 sheets cause we are building 2 sets of panniers) and also cut them out ... the dimensions are 42x26x35cm side boxes and 70x30x30cm for the top box
Now we are looking for aluminium angles and the rest of the accessoriers particularly the latches and the corner balls, i still havent found what i am looking for .... what material where the rivets alex alu??

I am leaving for OZ / Thai on the 26th Dec for 3 months (not with my bike) so i guess i will have to finish the boxes when i get back (i was thinking a bit in advance here wasnt I ?? for the next trip with the bike :) LOL)

Rizzo we re gonna try and round up the corners like alex did with the round corner covers but as yet i have not found the corner covers ....

Neil about the wheels/tyres i have not decided yet.. I am own a black panther baghira so it has motard wheels which are crap off the road but good on it..... have not made up my mind yet sorry..
have u ever travelled long distance two up with your mastiff? I am concerned about the rear shock taking up the load of two people plus panniers plus kit and also the general comfyness of the bike particulary the not so comfortable seat....

alexpezzi 11 Dec 2007 15:10


Originally Posted by ozzee (Post 163002)
.... what material where the rivets alex alu??


-yes, aluminium rivets 4x8 or 4x10 mm, you can use steel rivets for crucial points like handles or latches (plus a little washer on the inside to add strenght).

-alu angles: try where they make aluminium windows, you just need scrap 40cm long max, sometimes they throw these short bits away as too short for them to use.

-corner balls: try where they repair trunks or where they make those stage cases.

-also as suggested before: road signs and advertising signs are a good source of alu sheets but I didnt say this...:innocent:

Neil Bogle 11 Dec 2007 15:43

MZ Baghira
I've never carried a pillion on mine and would be nervous of doing so. The front end of the Mastiff is different from your Baghira - the fork legs are shorter and the rake angle is less. I agree with what you say about the wheels and tyres. The Mastiff does not handle brilliantly, probably rather worse than yours, and if I were to load it up for a trip I might convert to enduro configuration and in any event would aim to allocate a reasonable amount of the weight to the front wheel to balance it up. Otherwise I'm impressed with the bike. The general build quality is pretty good and of course the Yamaha single is a very strong unit. I binned the agricultural standard muffler and replaced it with a much lighter and freer-flowing one that my bike shop built for me. Awfully noisy - but I like it. Diod you know it is also possible to fit a kick-start?


ozzee 12 Dec 2007 11:36

yes alex good thoughts there... and thats where i want to search next for the alu angles good place might get them for free too :thumbup1:....... i will let you know how it all goes.. but as i said it will probably be some times till i finish them..

I would like to talk to someone that actually thought of or did travel long distances two up on these types of bikes.. putting some of the load towards the front was something on my mind as you said to balance as much as possible the weight, which is not that easy anyway !

I am quite happy with mine, it proved to be a sturdy bike .. the only draw back i found is that since it is of german make and i do not speak german i find it hard to find accessories for it on the net, since most of the internet sites are in german !

I changed the original exhaust to a scorpion, its much lighter and less bulky.. even though it is noiser as well.. but i like it a bit noisy to be honest. that way cars hear you coming when you are surpasing them (makes it safer for you) especially in the city...

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