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I have used both soft and hard luggage on my various travel bikes over the years. However time and experience have pushed me more towards soft luggage but have always found quality or storage issues with many of the systems available. I even dabelled with making my own luggage system to overcome all the requirements I had - but the reality of the competition in the market place along with costs and production became overwhelming and that slid into the dark recesses of the past.
I however have found a very good set of panniers for the job.Imported and supplied by Zen Overland in the Uk - These are the Swiss designed Enduristan monsoon (as the name suggests 100% waterproof). They are similar in some ways to the more basic Ortlieb bags but are far better quality, finish and fit with some interesting and inventive features. The Bags have a roll top allowing the volume to adjust between 15 and 30 lts per side, the bags are double skinned with a strong cordura exterior and an waterproof pvc type liner, in between the two is a semi hard shell (removable giving the bags a strong protective shell and shape) so even a fall damaging the exterior would leave the interior waterproof - it also means the exterior can be repaired anywhere along the way without compromising the waterproofing of the bag. On the bag back is a semi hard padded rubbing area to prevent wear. When rolled shut the bags have three securing straps with excellent buckles along with a number of tie on points for fixing roll bags tents etc to the top along with carry handles making them easy to move off the bike.. - excellent stuff. Internally the bags have an easy clean interior which has fold away compartment dividers, making it easy to separate your luggage internally into three compartments without additional bags, when folded out the way these allow full use of the internal space.
The bags can adjusted and fitted wherever you like them - they do not need racks in most cases depending on your bike and are easily mounted well forward to centralise the weight and avoid hot exhaust pipes or way back if you need to carry a passenger and when fitted are very secure and do not move or flap about nor do they stick out like a huge pair of suitcases causing wind sapping drag and wallow nor do they make the bike massively wider so sides of cars or bushes along the way are no longer a major problem along with the huge weight saving - these bags weigh about 3 kgs total).
The securing straps system consists of two over the saddle straps with velcro - more about that later and then lower front and mid rear tension strap to hold everything secure - this is clever as the front strap has a strong plastic clip buckle that on the strap carries right through to the rear part of the bag from the front lower where it attaches to the rear strap and come out the back so all the main tension on the strap (which happens to be elasticated rock strap)is transfered not soley to a velcro loop attachment point on the bag where it could break away in the event of catching on something very solid saving the bag as it moves away - but also to the bike attachment points on the bike along the strap itself at the rear behind seat or rack. The straps are very easy to fit and undo when wet or with cold hands. Once fitted the bags are very secure. The seat straps were the only area of complaint I had - they were to long for my bike and had to be cut down to fit (this meant re stitching the velcro) Also the straps are attached one to each bag then fit the other bag through a metal buckle of very good quality. I would have preferred separate straps altogether which would have made them easier to adjust to length and should it be required much easier to replace. I spoke to Enduristan directly about this - they were very open to this point and are in fact going to feature separate straps and two buckles per bag in the future design. Its a little point but one worth bringing up. All in all knowing what is involved in making luggage and having tried these Bags I would rate then very highly in the soft luggage world. Away from custom built products made exactly to your own requirements (expensive) means at only £215 you get a fantastic pannier system with excellent Build quality and features along with usability I give them 10 out of 10.
Looks interesting. I am torn between them and Giant Loop at the moment. However, on the demo vid on Adventure-Spec, the guy refers to the Giant Loop as being "virtually waterproof". As my previous experience of soft luggage has resulted in wet gear. "virtually" ain't good enough! I will probably go for something cheaper altogether in the end, but I do like the look of those Enduristan Monsoon paniers. Thanks for the review.
I don't suppose these would fit on a KLR??? I looked at their site and they didn't say anything about them being compatible with a KLR, but I can't imagine that they wouldn't work given that they just hang on either side of the bike.
Any thoughts or comments from someone with experience?
I too really like the look for these panniers. Thanks loads for posting this review, very helpful.... do you think there would be any significant limitations in how much weight these could carry? Basically, do you think they feel tough and strong enough for a 18 month RTW trip?!!
Great review Jake. I just used a pair on a 4000 mile trip to Morocco.Short version:
• The velcro straps were too short for my bike (650GS twin). I had to lengthen them. I agree separate straps or just plain buckle would be much better but mine - sent in Feb - were like yours, attached one to each bag.
• The actual bags were annoyingly wide. My bike had a rack and though they never shifted in miles of rough riding, without that rack they would have bounced all over I reckon, or been under much more strain. Throwovers dont suit all bikes.
• Roll top is never 100% waterproof (I found), but it's sure better than zips.
Having used Orlieb pans for cycling in the Hims, I would not say that the Monsoons are that much better made. Both are much better than a lot of stuff out there, but separating the outer abrasion from inner waterproofing is a good idea. You also get the feeling Enduristan are small and new enough to listen to feedback which Ortlieb certainly aren't (in my experience).
For the full review and several pics see my website.
As it is, I think I will carry on with my plan and make my own. I actually don't think it would be that expensive to get exactly what you want, something really heavy duty and durable.
Hi Chris good review, thing is with the Enduristan it is like you say easy to add extra fabric / leather / kevlar to the exterior to suit your needs or narrow the plastic inner to narrow the bag - but they may not suit everyone. On my bike they sit well into the bike and are not wide but I do not need racks and they are very secure but every bike is different. With regards making panniers to suit your own needs can be a little more difficult than you may think when you want to use heavy fabric and build in very strong seams and straps. You need the correct types/weight of thread for the fabric, the correct amount of stitch per inch for that particular fabric (or you end up weakening the material) then making them rot and waterpoof, resistant to heat, cold, wear etc actually demands quite a dynamic fabric. I tested over a hundred fabrics and came up with two which were pretty good for the pannier systems but both were expensive ( £ 50 /70 per meter) I also found a tremendous strong durable mesh fabric that if lined with Kevlar rubber was pretty much ideal as a face fabric or for making pockets / bottle carriers etc. If you need any help or contact details on some of these materials drop me a line and I could (a send you a sample) B give you the address of the suppliers. Problem is - materials are often only available to the trade not direct sale to the public so you need to be able to give a trade order ( this is quite strict with 2 of the suppliers). Jake.
As I am located in Serbia and haw no luxury of purchasing goods abroad I made my soft luggage from material that is used for sowing trailer cowers which is waterproof,very strong durable and flexible.
Heat gun is used to weld seams and wooden template is made in order to achieve bottom form. In all respect to Adventure950 ...searching for out of space material is not necessary at all as we are not going to the mun with this type of luggage so most likely for the time that you spend researching for that wright material I made this bags it took me a whole 5 hours to make them,alu brakets also for my existing hard alu panniers.
Safe ride Kawazoki.Some photos https://picasaweb.google.com/1122250...eat=directlink
Hi Jake, 60/70 quid a metre does sound a lot.
Was looking at Cordura on ebay for a lot less than that - but I get the feeling the 'C' word is bandied about a bit for any woven nylon.
1000D (as on Monsoons) is not thickness/weight is it, it's thread density?
Whatever, I'd want twice as thick as on the Monsoons.
I won't be making them myself - that would be a right mess. May have a mate who is handy with sewing to do that.
Nice job Kawa. Each to his own need and specs.
So do I take it you can just press 2 bits of vinyl together, pass over with a heat gun and there will be a permanent weld?
Difference among us are permitted Yeas ,you overlay material and use spacial heat gun nozzle ( flat ) in between
and fallow behind with roller to press them,it is good to practice on side to get in to the rhythm.You tube is great video library I use
a lot...great help. Thanks.
Hi Kawozaki I fully understand where you are coming from and making panniers for yourself in the way you describe is great. I was however looking into making a small buisness making panniers for the off road / overlanding market and took into account the views and requirements of the many riders and potential customers - which I had researched over a previous year along with my own travel experience. I agree to stitch and weld heavy duty curtain side fabric works well - to a degree but has limitations as well. I was trying to find a different lighter and stronger material to work with for a new type of pannier system that was sellable as and end user product. As it happens there are now so many good panniers on the market it would be very difficult to be competitive for a new small buisness. Cheers Jake.
Chris there are better and just as cheap materials available as cordura for your pannier project - But if you want Cordura top quality stuff is availble mainly from one of the top German producers _ I think I have there details somewhere. If i get a chance I will look some samples up for you. Jake.
Hi Jake, thanks for the offer of materials. It may come to that (but see below). Welding PVC looks like something I could manage too - thanks for the tip, K.
Actually I would say there is still not a soft pannier that's suited to the minority pursuit and rigours of genuine overlanding. Something that has not been produced to please most of the people most of the time.
I think a side bag should be big volume to keep the mass of the weight low, but not wide for all the obvious reasons. As we know a roll top can adapt its volume to suit varying needs, day by day.
The less on the back (over the tail light) the better. It wants to be as easily mounted/removed on that rack as an Ortlieb QL2, but be more secure and crash-durable. It seems difficult to find both those features on a soft bag. Most, like Wolfman, go for an OTT mounting system that would survive a desert rally, forgetting you want to get into/remove the bags easily too (+ WM side bags are way too small to be useful, IMO).
As you know I was considering Hypalon raft fabric and mocked up a bag, but I now see the value of Enduristan's idea in a crash/wear durable outer envelope (not intended to be totally waterproof) encasing an inner waterproof liner. Only I'd make both twice as thick and have the inner waterproof liner removable, so you can whip it out and leave the grubby outer on the bike when if walk into a hotel or someone's yurt. Even something like a sawn-off 30-litre water canister would be a good 'shaping' liner.
Following his Siberian rides using Steel Pony Gascoynes, I now see Walter C has cooked up some 'Magadan Bags' which may tick the boxes (thread here, and mentioned somewhere on the HUBB too). Good volume (35L but just 22cm wide), tough fabric, outside pockets but best rack mounted. He also mentioned some sort of slash-proof fabric liner and other ways of dealing with theft. I don't believe the weight and expense of a rack is wasted for overlanding with soft panniers and Walter seems to have come to the same conclusion.
AFAIK it's only a prototype for Adventure Spec to consider and I don't know how it mounts on a rack, but I suspect it will hang off the usual 18mm loop (like a metal box), rather than sit on a platform (my pref for a big bag that can get heavy). Hopefully it will also have some back up throwover ability, should rack mounts fail.
PS: Apparently Adv Spec are already selling them: see this.
how much total carrying capacity is needed for RTW?
already got wolfman expedition bags, super solid mount/construction.
wish they were 50% larger. combined with a rear 40 litre waterproof tote. that's 80 litre + large wolfman tank bag and rear pancake bag.
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