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Equipping the Bike - what's the best gear? Anything to do with the bikes equipment, saddlebags, etc. Questions on repairs and maintenance of the bike itself belong in the Brand Specific Tech Forums.
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Giant Loop Motorcycle Saddlebags & Motorcycle Tank Bags: Panniers, Soft Luggage for Adventure & Sport Touring

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  #1  
Old 5 Jan 2010
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Question Aluminium panniers,best ones,opinions please

Hi,I have a K7 DL650 which has Suzuki panniers & top box,while these are great for "hostel hopping" I find their shape too restrictive for a longer trip which will involve camping gear. I plan to replace the top box with a rack so I can strap a decent sized Ortileb/Wolfman/similar bag to it as I have found that gives me more flexibility packingwise.
I have done some research on here & the web about Alu panniers (not interested in soft luggage for this,been there,done that) but still confused as to best option
I often have a pillion so need a reasonable capacity to cope with two peoples equipment,Tesch seem good but worried about the rack fitting my bike(silencer on one side only so wasted space on the other side);Metal Mule seem well made but very pricey & am not keen on a hinged lid;Touratech Pro would fit to bike well but have read some negative comments.
Any helpful comments gratefully received
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  #2  
Old 5 Jan 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by holodragon View Post
Touratech Pro would fit to bike well but have read some negative comments.
I've got a set of these on my XT660Z, and I couldn't agree with any negativity on these. The original Zega panniers yes, they had some issues - especialy with the locks but the new stuff is pretty indestructable I would say. I didn't bother with the anodised ones, didn't see the need for spending an extra £100 and besides I quite like the 'used' look of the plain alloy ones, after a couple of days on the road. The Pro's come with multi safety catches on the locks, and a lanyard between the lid and the box, you can also 'hing' them on one of the locks so you don't need to remove the whole lid to get into them (like anything though, if a thief wants in, they will get in). The top loops are mounted flush with the lid, so you can still use them as a reasonable table / seat combo, and they will take the weight of a Tenere, not sure about the Strom though.

There are other options available, from modified ammo boxes that cost buttons (you then have to make them fit , paint them etc) but are a bit on the heavy side - not a problem if you're bike can take the extra weight. to the MM stuff, which I think is a bit over priced (but then so is TT, IMHO).

There is a post on here that has instructions on how to build your own panniers, so this would give you exactly what you want.

There's Allit Panniers that come it at 200 Euros

Klaus Grützner - Gepäcksysteme - Online Shop

And some others I've seen that are around £80 each - but for the life of me I can't remember who made them....
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  #3  
Old 5 Jan 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by holodragon View Post
Tesch seem good but worried about the rack fitting my bike(silencer on one side only so wasted space on the other side)
I have and like the Tesch boxes with the hinge-less lids. Can you fit a flatter silencer?
Mine are on an R100GS and look "balanced"

Another thing about the Tesch boxes, with a nice flat mounting surface, you mount them as far forward as you can for solo use. Then when you have a pillion, you mount them on the opposite sides and it gives extra room for your passenger

John
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  #4  
Old 6 Jan 2010
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These Alpos cases seem to be pretty good,and not badly priced.
Bykebitz Motorcycle Accessories Ltd ALPOS CASES AND FITTING KITS

Andy
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  #5  
Old 7 Jan 2010
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I can not say best as that is up to you but good boxes that may work for you are

The Zera TT Suzuki V-Strom Parts and Accessories from Touratech-USA

The Jesse system Xplorermoto: Jesse Luggage Odyssey II Bags

The Metal Mules Bikes | Metal Mule

The Happy trails V Strom DL650 - KLR650 & Adventure Touring Motorcycle Luggage and Aluminum Panniers

All seem to to the job all have problems and all have failed, so do all boxes just the way of things.

At one time people said that the DL650 had some problem with the pipe and the subframe Jesse, TT, and Givi all had problems. Givi went so far as to say there was no way to make a rack fit the DL650 like there rack for the DL1000. A few years latter they made it, it works.

Most compensate for the one pipe with the rack or a bigger box the same way they did for the old BMW F650. So it not that big of deal. My system on my DL650 is a happy trail rack with boxes off my F650 so the bike looks a bit off when you look at it but rides fine. The rack compensate for the pipe so do the boxes. one thing about that rack is shield on the pipe is in the way of the rack so you will need to cut it or gust take it off.
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  #6  
Old 14 Jan 2010
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daerr boxes

We use daerr boxes with Hepco&Becker racks on our 600 Tenere´s. See DÄRR - Trefferliste
They are very cheap in comparison to the other makes mentioned, and for us have proven to be good: 30 000 km from Holland to Cape Town and 40 000 km from Canada to Ushuaia (same boxes, same racks, minor welding needed).
If you fix the boxes with ratchet straps to the rack you can take them off the bike in under 1 minute.

Auke
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  #7  
Old 14 Jan 2010
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They are all very expensive for what they are..

They are all very heavy.

They all require a very heavy frame to carry them.

They all bend out of shape from even minor falls.

They are all a pain to fix (metal mules especially).

They all made your bike as wide as a small car.


I practically ejaculated when I ordered and fitted my metal mule boxes.. I thought I was the "real deal"... Then I realised just how wide and heavy they made the bike.

Then, after a practically walking speed tumble in sand, one ripped off and bent all the rediculously complicated (but easy to use) fanstening system..

After hammering my £1000 luggage back to usable condition (sick feeling, trust me) I set off again and then in a much faster crash they ripped off completely turning themselfs into junk... Very hard to straighten, especially with your limited tool kit.

Now, if you are never going to drop or crash your bike, sure they are great for security and almost make you look as cool as Ewan Mcgreggor but a good set of sturdy soft bags make soo much more sense for overland travel.

Cheaper, dead easy to fix, take alot of abuse and just squash rather than break, MUCH lighter, require only a simple frame (if at all), much narrower, much easier to carry etc.

I'm a total soft luggage convert for any proper travelling.. Security is taken care of with packsafes if you're paranoid.

And, if you do damage them.... All they take is a large needle and thick thread to fix them. Pefect !

If you are certain that you want hard luggage PLASTIC Givi luggage is way better in my opinion.

It's also secure and hardwearing, much lighter and these tend to deform in tumble or crash and go back to their original shape. They are usually a fair bit cheaper too.. I paid £200 for a full set of plastic luggage for my Africa Twin of ebay and I love them.

If you do crack them, you can plastic weld them with melted coat hangers and a soldering or blowtorch.
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  #8  
Old 14 Jan 2010
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Metal Fool

Quote:
Originally Posted by tedmagnum View Post
metal mule boxes.. I thought I was the "real deal"... .
Me too.
Actually I was reasonably happy with the MM boxes. I feel sure I got lots of admiring looks on the M25 and even more in the Channel Tunnel.

All across Europe and half of Russia and no complaint - but then the tarmac ended.

Within half a day on good graded gravel the frame started coming apart (totally inadequate securing system to rear footrest mounts - F650GS Dakar). On the second day a complete frame failure - a complete break on one side and a fracture nearly full way through on the other side. This was the start of 3 months and 12,000 miles off sealed surfaces.

Comprehensive welded reinforcing and then welding some improvised mounts directly to the bike by a local Russian mechanic, when I eventually limped into a village, gave not a moments problem thereafter. No charge!!!!

MM squash the frame tubes. Doesn't that weaken the inherent strength of a tube?
Then they bent the squashed tubes. Doesn't that further weaken it?

TT frames do not have these squashed tubes or bent mounting ends - they keep the integrity and strength of a circular tube and weld mounting brackets to them. For those with MM boxes needing frames you may like to know your boxes fit TT frames. Stronger? Certainly cheaper!

When I queried with MM about the top box not fitting on their new frame they had just sold me, because one tube was welded off position, I was told to put it in a vice, hack saw it, file it (i.e. file metal, not a writ!), and glue up the silicone again.
And this is top of the price range stuff, with DIY after sale service, rectifying manufacturing faults!

"Adventure Equipment for Motorcycles" it said on the tin. Bullocks.



Any comments Paul?

Last edited by Tony P; 16 Jan 2010 at 16:24. Reason: Grammar, spelling.
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  #9  
Old 14 Jan 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tedmagnum View Post
They are all very heavy.
They all require a very heavy frame to carry them.
They all bend out of shape from even minor falls.
They are all a pain to fix (metal mules especially).
They all made your bike as wide as a small car.

Then, after a practically walking speed tumble in sand, one ripped off and bent all the rediculously complicated (but easy to use) fanstening system..

After hammering my £1000 luggage back to usable condition (sick feeling, trust me) I set off again and then in a much faster crash they ripped off completely turning themselfs into junk... Very hard to straighten, especially with your limited tool kit.

Now, if you are never going to drop or crash your bike, sure they are great for security and almost make you look as cool as Ewan Mcgreggor but a good set of sturdy soft bags make soo much more sense for overland travel.

Cheaper, dead easy to fix, take alot of abuse and just squash rather than break, MUCH lighter, require only a simple frame (if at all), much narrower, much easier to carry etc.

I'm a total soft luggage convert for any proper travelling.. Security is taken care of with packsafes if you're paranoid.

And, if you do damage them.... All they take is a large needle and thick thread to fix them. Pefect !
Good to see feedback from Alu pannier users who have converted. I remember Chris Scott talked about this in his book. He liked soft bags too if I remember correctly.

Yet today, when you look out there, you still see mostly Hard Alu panniers everywhere. Why? Are travelers really that dim? Having whacked my leg on one while dabbing through some sand, I'm a soft bag convert forever.

Is security THAT BIG of an issue most places? If you have to leave your bike with soft bags, what's the best way to protect them? I've seen those Pac-Safe steel cable mesh things but can't someone cut between and reach in? I guess you just have to keep a better eye on the bike.

I think the weight issue doesn't bother that many riders because they avoid off road situations completely. But in parts of the world is that really possible? I know many hire a truck to get them past the bad sections. On dirt bikes ounces are stressed over and thousands spent to source light weight parts. Must be a reason for this.

Mc D
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  #10  
Old 14 Jan 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mickey D View Post
Good to see feedback from Alu pannier users who have converted. I remember Chris Scott talked about this in his book. He liked soft bags too if I remember correctly.

Yet today, when you look out there, you still see mostly Hard Alu panniers everywhere. Why? Are travelers really that dim? Having whacked my leg on one while dabbing through some sand, I'm a soft bag convert forever.

Is security THAT BIG of an issue most places? If you have to leave your bike with soft bags, what's the best way to protect them? I've seen those Pac-Safe steel cable mesh things but can't someone cut between and reach in? I guess you just have to keep a better eye on the bike.

I think the weight issue doesn't bother that many riders because they avoid off road situations completely. But in parts of the world is that really possible? I know many hire a truck to get them past the bad sections. On dirt bikes ounces are stressed over and thousands spent to source light weight parts. Must be a reason for this.

Mc D
I think people just assume a metal box is secure and durable.. It's great marketing isnt it.. it looks hardcore.

As for security, the locks on most boxes are SHITE !!! You can break them off with a rock. I could open my MM boxes with a tyre lever and even the biggest padlock is only as strong as the crappy aluminium pop rivets that hold the lock on..

Woulnt put off anyone apart from a 10 year old.

The pacsafes are in my opinion, safer.. You actually need wire cutters to get in. Who carries those around with them unless it's pre-meditated ???

Sure you can cut the bag and pull stuff out, but only if that stuff is small than say a tennis ball and then you'd have to get lucky where you are cutting.

In my opinion, the BEST solution isto keep your valuables in a removable tank bag and take it with you. Just keep clothes and low value stuff in your panniers.
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  #11  
Old 15 Jan 2010
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Originally Posted by tedmagnum View Post
In my opinion, the BEST solution isto keep your valuables in a removable tank bag and take it with you. Just keep clothes and low value stuff in your panniers.
ditto
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  #12  
Old 15 Jan 2010
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Hard v soft....re-think....maybe

Thanks for all the feedback people keep it coming please.
I have used soft luggage before on a 3 month trip round Europe,my problem with it was its lack of waterproofing,I now know I should have put everything in waterproof bags but this made packing far more problematic. I also just had throwovers which ended up rubbing on the rear tyre so a rack would solve that.
Also the security thing was not a huge issue as anything valuable I took with me,however I now regularly have a pillion so was thinking of the Alu boxes for extra security & peace of mind for her valuables too.
My next `big` trip is going to be mostly road based out to the Stans in a big loop via Scandinavia,Russia etc & coming back along the Med coast so off road durability is not a huge issue.
I have taken on board the weight issue,maybe soft bags would be better as already taking extra luggage (pillion)
Does anyone have feedback on the Wolfman panniers???
Back to the drawing board for a re-think,as I said please keep the suggestions coming they are very helpful
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  #13  
Old 16 Jan 2010
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I found a 2nd hand Hepco & Becker rack online for cheap, and added a new set of Alu Standard boxes of the same brand. I use the slightly narrower 38 liter on the exhaust side, 45 liter on the other side, and am now perfectly symmetrical . Yes, the boxes definitely are heavy, but it's good for something. I haven't crashed hard, but I have laid the bike on its side a few times (Patagonian crosswinds); the setup doesn't give an inch and actually ends up protecting the bike. I have compensated the weight by installing a heavy duty shock/spring combo. Quick lock system is very convenient, but I have no illusions about safety when the wrong person with a flathead screwdriver and bad intentions walks by. Waterproof has held up through torrential rains and then some.

So far the bike and I have done 36,000 km 80/20 through the Americas. As a bonus, the boxes serve as a good surface to put those cool trophy stickers on.

Good luck choosing your kit,
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  #14  
Old 16 Jan 2010
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Wolfman make grate gear I do have there panniers so I can not talk about them. I like the tank bags they make and will get there tank panniers one day, helps with the DL650 buffiting as well.

On the DL650 the side with out the can, can be filled with a "soft rack" I have used a yard stick made out of aluminum bent it to bump out the spot I need. Here is place to get some ideas My V-Strom Accessories and Motorcycle Memories

also vsrtom forums may be help as well. V-Strom Riders International - Index andDL650 Specific! The Wee Strom! - Stromtrooper.com

Packsafe also makes nets that you can use to help people not getting in to the bags.
Hard boxes are not the best off road it will eat at the box. The vibes at speed drives me nuts.

Other options are using the rack for a hard box and then adding a frame to them to better hold the soft bags. This will let you hold the bags down better. I was thinking some thing like the old hard frame from a back pack. Or any thing is better than some bags I have used.

People like the box because they look the part. I have seen and read that people start to travel with soft bags go hard box then go back to soft. I am in the hard box stage and will till my boxes go bad. They have 40,000 miles on them and still work there a bit bent and have hurt my self more than a few times on them.
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  #15  
Old 16 Jan 2010
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Smile

I had the Givi on my Ducati and managed to lose one at speed on tarmac. Went back and picked it up, all working A1, came off like a space capsule and just a few scratches. For my DL650 i am thinking Givi or Carabou.
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