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  #1  
Old 9 Dec 2009
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soft luggage requirements survey

I have started researching and am considering starting a small UK business producing a strong, waterproof and high quality soft luggage system. I am in the early stages of design and development and have a number of various materials and design options. The bags design would be fairly simple but with features revolving around the overland market. From the list of options I have below it would be good to get feedback as to what end users may require and I will try to incorporate all reasonable features into the design. Please help me along with your views but remember I will be a small producer. I have listed various features I hope to incorporate into the bags - If you can let me know what you feel is the important stuff by choosing any of the features I have listed in order they appeal to you. Also mention anything you think is not worth the bother -Then add any further comments you feel relevant.

A) roll top, 30 + litre capacity, carry handles
B) Full supporting webbing straps around the complete bag (ie not just stitched onto an anchor point)
C) Cordura exterior material with pvc internal membrane.
D) at extra cost fireproof,waterproof,kevlar anti slash cordura type material military grade stuff (this is expensive material made in UK) but can be an option available)
E) stainless steel fittings and buckles
or
F) plastic fittings and buckles
G) Panniers lockable at buckles and wire loops integrated to facilitate locking bags to bike.
H) Separate support harness to fit to bike
I) two exterior pockets for bottles and a mesh front pocket for stuffing bits and pieces in.
J) Attachments for separate small under-slung removable bag (for tools or waterproofs etc.
H) bags longer and not so deep ie suitcase shape
or
I) more box (standard) pannier shape.
J) extra internal pockets - to keep papers etc seperate or external waterproof pocket (if design allows)
K)some degree of custom design service -ie extra pockets fixing points straps etc etc.(at a cost)
J) What do you feel a reasonable cost would be for this type of Pannier system... be realistic
I am trying to see if this is a viable and profitable business and would hope to be producing market ready panniers early next spring.
Thanks for any feedback
Jake.
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  #2  
Old 10 Dec 2009
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Good plan Jake

If you can come up with something along the lines of the Andy Strapz throw-overs (which are fantastic) but with some decent built-in security so you don't have to faff about with Pac-safes etc, that would do it for me.


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  #3  
Old 10 Dec 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adventure950 View Post
D) at extra cost fireproof,waterproof,kevlar anti slash cordura type material military grade stuff (this is expensive material made in UK) but can be an option available)
That would be great! Not so much for theft prevention, but more for not opening an instant yard sale after the inevitable road spill.
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  #4  
Old 10 Dec 2009
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Hi - not so sure about your version of the ALPHABET


My ideal bag would be:

water/weather proof
secure lockable to bike - maybe a tough wrap-a-round cover with cable
hard wearing/durable in a spill
and dirt cheap

I am prepared to trial one of your products for free if its of any help
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  #5  
Old 10 Dec 2009
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And patchable/repairable to cover abrasions, holes etc to restore some semblance of waterproofness and to prevent tyre levers slipping out of holes!

Good idea Jake. I'll watch - you know my experiences of hard luggage. Hard!
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  #6  
Old 10 Dec 2009
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To me one of the challenges with soft luggage is keeping it securely fastened to the bike. IMHO Velcro provides a great solution.

For instance many soft luggage systems will have two wide fabric straps, connecting the two bags, that go over the seat (or at least one over the seat, and the other semi beneath a top luggage rack. I would think about fastening Velcro to the underside of the more forward of the two wide fabric straps.

And then, supply a wide Velcro strip that goes over the seat and fastens beneath it (like with a staple gun). Adhesive Velcro would help keep it snug on the seat but may leave some gluey residue/discoloration.

So, you have a Velcro lock for the luggage atop the seat. It would be wide and lengthy and you get zero movement left to right / right to left ... and of course it comes right apart with a tug.

I did this as a custom job with my Wolfman soft panniers on a DR650 and it worked great.

Oh yeah I would definitely want waterproof material standard in the product. Few things suck worse than soaked luggage... Good luck with your venture.
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  #7  
Old 11 Dec 2009
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Would it be worth making them fit well with say the touratech pannier brackets to provide a well known good support? Then you don't need to worry about designing that bit as well from the start, and anyone who already has tt panniers and wants the option of soft stuff or doesn't like the ally ones they have can swap to your bags easily? Broadens your market for less cost?

Reflective stuff would be good too?
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  #8  
Old 11 Dec 2009
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Good luck with this

I like metal buckles etc. because they don't fail. I like plastic ones because they can still be undone with cold hands when the straps are soaking. I'd suggest using both plastic and stainless as needs must? Maybe stainless for the luggage to bike and (replacable without cutting them off) plastic to secure rain flaps etc?

Making them a size/shape to fit pannier loops is a good plan. Touratech, Hepco and Becker and Metal Mule loops are so similar it'll make no odds to your design if that helps. You need the bag to bag straps to be long enough to go over a bike with frames fitted, that's where a lot of soft luggage I've tried has failed, they assumed seat width only.

The stuff I've made for myself I like to give straps so they can be used as flight/hotel/backpacking luggage too. I try and avoid extra straps that get in the way, rather I sew on extra fastenings to convert from bike mode to walking mode. No daft little plastic wheels in the bottom though please .

I'd ask that the bottle holders be designed round pop bottle type containers as well as Sigg bottles? Beer and whisky bottles then fit by default

Can we have colour coded buckles or something? I get hacked off when I load the panniers in the tent, place the wrong way round on the bike and spend all day looking in the left side for what's in the right. Green buckles on the right, red on the left?

Can we have the means to secure excess lengths of strap? I hate trailing bits but won't cut them off as the next bike is bound to be wider/taller/fatter somewhere.

Can't wait to see the results.

Andy

Edit to add: IMHO Price is a tough one. I havn't bought anything for years except MOD castoffs. IMHO every single item in the TT catalogue is overpriced full stop, M&P stuff is overpriced for what you get. I'd pay £100 for a really top class pair of panniers with maybe an extra 30 for the bullet proof lining thing. Above this and I'll modify Army bags. Now I don't think I'm your key market, I think you can pitch between M&P and TT prices so long as the quality and design is off the scale. Once that actor or his mate use a pair, then you can charge £500 a set. I think you need to very very carefully pick the right RTW rider and give a pair away where you'll get some positive feedback here, on ADVrider, on GS club etc. Look how Metal Mule took off, five years ago they were undercutting and outperforming TT. Now you pay for what you get (and then some).
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  #9  
Old 11 Dec 2009
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It may have been done...

murchison panniers


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  #10  
Old 14 Dec 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pigford View Post
Hi - not so sure about your version of the ALPHABET


My ideal bag would be:

water/weather proof
secure lockable to bike - maybe a tough wrap-a-round cover with cable
hard wearing/durable in a spill
and dirt cheap

I am prepared to trial one of your products for free if its of any help
It was late at night after a long day and I must be dyslexic ! sorry
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  #11  
Old 14 Dec 2009
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Sounds like interesting kit; are any of the abrasion resistant materials also more or less "knife-proof"? Even if the bags are locked to the bike, I'd be reluctant to use them if someone could just slice them open with a knife and take what they want. Pacsafe and similar are an option but kind of a pain.
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  #12  
Old 14 Dec 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by motoreiter View Post
someone could just slice them open with a knife and take what they want. Pacsafe and similar are an option but kind of a pain.
Might it be possible to incorporate a Pacsafe type mesh within the fabric or lining and also on the mounting loops that attach to frame?

I realise this is all pushing up the cost as well as the bulk of the bags.
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  #13  
Old 14 Dec 2009
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Originally Posted by Tony P View Post
Might it be possible to incorporate a Pacsafe type mesh within the fabric or lining and also on the mounting loops that attach to frame?

I realise this is all pushing up the cost as well as the bulk of the bags.
That would be a cool solution, but have to think it would greatly increase the manufacturing cost, and I wondered if some of the new wonder fabrics (kevlar?) might also be very hard to cut?
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  #14  
Old 14 Dec 2009
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Just to let you know My initial plan was to build in pac safe type of mesh - this is the ideal security solution - but I am finding it very hard to find a supplier of the mesh wire system - but am still looking and if I can find it it will be top of my list to fit. Also I have tried several kevlar materials however I am finding them disappointing in actual tests. Even the best one that has been given rave reviews by the manufacturer (at £45.00 meter) is just not up to the job and has failed some of the high abrasion and cut tests that I would want it to pass for an exterior layer. However still working at getting the right combination of materials so just bare with me and keep your requirements coming in and I will try to pool the ideas into one quality and affordable product.
Many thanks for the feedback so far
jake.
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  #15  
Old 14 Dec 2009
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Incorporating a slash proof layer unseen within layers of material would still result in the tough outer being slashed if someone was going to?! I would think it would have to remain visible to be a deterent, but making how it opened and sealed up again to work with the bags lid perhaps?
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