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Zega panniers - bad experience on the road - advice needed
So, on the road in Turkey, 2 weeks into a 6-month trip, I forget to lock the panniers just one time and ride for about half an hour before I notice that one pannier cover is missing. By the time I backtrack and find it, a couple of trucks seem to have driven over it, and it's as flat as a pizza base.
Apparently what happened is that vibration made the locking mechanisms that keep the cover on the pannier come loose, so the hinges opened and the cover flew off while the bike was going at 100km/h on a tarmac road.
I'm very glad
(a) nobody was hurt when this thing flew off the bike (I imagine getting hit by a piece of aluminium at 100km/h will not be pleasant)
(b) no bike/car had an accident as a result of a chunk of metal being on the tarmac for about 10'
(c) none of the stuff that I had in the pannier flew out (in fact it was very lightly loaded)
(d) I didn't have the Ortlieb drybag on the cover when it flew off, because it would have gone with it
I am not glad at all that this even happened and am wondering what my alternatives are.
You can see from the first pics that the cover did not seem to fit perfectly - it looks loose when the drybag was on the pannier, which is a defect per se, but having the damn thing come loose on its own and fly off is simply unacceptable.
I've had the panniers for more than 2 years but they've been falling apart like this only recently, because I've been doing more travelling recently.
Chances for a replacement from Touratech? If so, how? Anyone got contacts I could try with the German HQ, since I know for sure the Greek reseller I bought this from (MAKAN) will be unable to deal with this case in a timely fashion and I am on the road with 33% of my luggage capacity wiped out for now...
Sorry to hear of your problem, I usually lock my pannier lids with small padlocks when travelling, I did have one lid come off due to me not latching it properly, but I tie the lids together with a length of paracord and so I heard it clanging on the rear of the bike before I got too far, As far as I know Touratech do supply the lids on their own, I suggest hammering the remains of your lid into some kind of shape until you can get a replacement.
I think the problem comes if the hook part of the catch becomes bent and allows any movement, especially with a load on top of the pannier, I have gently hammered the hook part of one of my lids when it became loose, just enough to make the catch lock tightly.
This is more of a get-you-out-of-a-situation piece of advice, rather than how to get a new lid.
I've had a look at the photo of the lid, and it doesn't actually look that bad. I would suggest that you take it along to an automotive bodyshop, the guys there should be able to get it back into shape. You might need to buy some new loops for the top, and I would think the waterproof ability would go, but it would save you all the time and effort waiting for TT.
The new Zega Pros have a failsave lock, so even if it opens (which it can't really as there is a small locking pin in there) it still won't leave go, then if it does by some chance let go, there is a wire lanyard that holds the lid to the box. It looks like someone has thought your problem through and made some improvements to the new generation of boxes.
As somebody said .....See if you can't find a body shop. Then slap some country strickers all over it. Every bang and dent tells a story. You could tell some young girl how you fought off highway men with it.
Reguarding TT panniers falling apart....I would much rather have the panniers and their frames bend and break than the bikes sub frame. But thats easy to say setting in a chair reading all about the fun your having.
Here's what I do for my lids...just a little peice of string.
Here in the US....I think a replacement lid is something like $150 bucks.
I've talked with MAKAN - Touratech Greece (where I originally bought the set from) and they've been very helpful and dispatched another lid, which should be getting here (Van) by the end of the week. So should be OK then, making do with "fixed" lid held with bungee cords for now.
Regarding the extent of damage, I didn't take a picture of the inside that really shows how devastated the lid was... anyway gave it to a exhaust pipe shop in Ankara to fix and paid v.good money for a very questionable result. They banged it, drilled it, torched it, and it's still so bad it has to be held in place with the cords.
@dlh62c, fair comment about the panniers/base bending vs the subframe, hadn't thought of it that way :-) But to be fair, this kit is a bit too sensitive - dropping the bike from the stand on soft grass should not result in everything getting bent.
Anyway, should be all sorted by end of week. As long as it's not raining a lot (first day of rain today, but luckily the heavy downpour started after I had parked the bike and protected the pannier with plastic bags), it'll be fine.
Glad to hear a replacement is on the way. I would have to agree. I had to straighten mine after the center sand kicked up on me a couple of times and over she went. It was in the garage and not some far away location. IMO it also depends what your frustation level is at the time and if you happen to have a BFH to make the repairs.
TT does sell some stiffers that mount inside on the top two frame attachment points. I installed a pair...but haven't tested them yet.
I too have had a lid fly off and helplessly watched it get munched by trucks in the rear view mirror. I banged it back into shape, and it was sort of functional, or perhaps barely functional. Replaced it with a new one for
$150 is pretty steep, so I have since made a couple of short straps out of nylon webbing, each strap has 2 parts connected by one of those nylon snap buckles you can find in a sporting goods store among the backpacking gear. One end is connected via the screw going into one of the footman loops on the lid, the other I attached on the inside of the case with a screw going through the side.
Now, if the lid comes lose it will just flail around in the wind and I can pull over to fix it, but if I want to remove it completely I only need to unsnap the buckle.
Merhaba....apapadop, sorry to hear of your flying lid. But, with the able assistance of your fellow hubbers and your own good sense sounds like your panniers will recover.
While you wait for your lid, you might want to ride out and visit George C Marshall High School, it is a school for the kids of military and diplomatic types stationed in Ankara and offers a bording school for the sons and daughters of military etc. stationed remotely throughout the middle east.
I graduated from George C Marshall High School many years ago when it was only a converted apt building in downtown Ankara.
Perhaps you could give a talk/slide show to the students there, I am sure they would enjoy hearing of your adventure travels. All who attend the school speak English.
A report of the experiences of an adventure motorcyclist would have been very welcome many years ago, when I was a graduating senior at George C Marshall.
The school might even have a little money to pay for your lecture services.
On our recent trip we had nothing but problems with the lid locking mechanisms on the zega panniers vibrating loose. We had to lock them (with padlocks) on the desert stretches in mongolia to stop them constantly opening. We also had the mounting bolts that connect through the back plastic moulded bits sheer off twice rendering the pannier unable to stay on and fall off.. narrowly being missed by a car.
Luckily we easily fixed them several times over but i wouldn't buy their products again... For the next trip I will buy some metal mules or something similar.. people we met on the trip had no issues at all.. although they are significantly more expensive.
our lid was in a similar condition. With a good metal hammer you can bash it back into shape. it probably wont be water proof though (it fit "perfectly" in our case but leaked still)
I have always put a strap around my panniers to avoid this situation occuring, of on one occasion I put the strap too close to the exhaust and lost it, a couple of days later I failed to lock the strapless pannier properly and lost the lid, so it did make a difference.
As a post-mortem addendum (the trip has ended) I'd like to add that after dropping the bike on the panniers 2 times from the central stand (due to soft soil) and one road accident which saw both of them snapped off the bike frame (after being hit from the left and skidding on the bike's right side), I *am* impressed by how easy & cheap it is to fix these panniers anywhere in the world (well, outside Europe and the US).
Having said that, I've had to glue a 3mm (potential overkill, 2mm would have been fine) aluminium plate on the inside wall of both of them, on the side where the frame connectors screw on, because after all this bashing the original aluminium had little structural integrity and was shaking like butter even on smooth tarmac... :-)
Again, cheap & easy remedy if you're in the right part of the world.
Overall I ended up being quite happy with these panniers. Once you know what to look out for, they're fine.
Sorry to hear that - the locking mechanism should actually stay fixed all the time
I've been travelling for nearly 70k kms with my Zegas on many a dirt road through southern Africa, OZ, Balkans, eastern Europe and never ever had any lid come off. No padlocks or anything.
I always fit a strap horizontally around Zegas and rack, just in case the rack lock breaks out of the pannier on rough dirt roads. But this strap doesn't cover the lid lock.
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