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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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  #16  
Old 16 Jan 2010
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Hard bags allow one to carry a lot of gear. Perhaps more than we really need? So good in one way, as all your junk fits in. But bad in another way as the weight adds up quickly making the bike hard to manage off road.

In reading many RTW reports here and other forums I notice a very common problem seems to be with cracked or broken pannier frames. Guys end up building them up with more and more steel bracing until they must weigh 12 kgs. each!

Even Ted Simon jettisoned his hard panniers and top box after his Africa crash on his last big RTW ride. Went back to soft bags on his R80GS.

Ted's point about the false sense of security is very true. Most hard panniers are pretty easy to break into. And once they are tweaked a bit they leak. Most good soft panniers are waterproof or have rain covers.

Givi make some nice soft bags, as do Tourmaster and several others. I use clear, zippered plastic comforter bags to put my stuff in. (you get these when you buy bedding and such)

So what's the truth here? Do guys end up with hard panniers because of the stickers? You could always sew Flag cloth patches onto yer soffties, no?
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  #17  
Old 16 Jan 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by holodragon View Post
Back to the drawing board for a re-think,as I said please keep the suggestions coming they are very helpful
As I said, I have Tesch boxes but I quite like these. Prices seem reasonable...
Just another option for you

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  #18  
Old 16 Jan 2010
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Originally Posted by Gary D View Post
like a space capsule
Easily the quote of the day.
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  #19  
Old 16 Jan 2010
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I took metal mules with me to Africa. The left one on my AT was large enough to fit passengers in, much to the annoyance of hitchhikers that I passed en route.

Having spanked a load of cash on them (they were cheap then too!), and lovely to behold they most certainly are, I wept when I grazed the first one in a campsite fall on day1 in Morocco. I then dented it significantly on day2 when a policeman jumped out into the road and caused me to drop the bike. I could feel myself getting poorer by the day, and that was just the cumulative damage to these lovely shiny boxes. Burkina Faso ripped the first one off, Angola day2 the second one and finally Angola day3 I almost squashed it flat and had to hammer it back into shape.

The point is, anyone saying that they won't be taking them offroad is deluding themselves. If you ride a motorcycle all day everyday for 6months you WILL drop it and, in my case, the metal mules racks (or just racks in general) are the weak point.
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  #20  
Old 16 Jan 2010
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Steel Pony??

Cheers for the link Redboots, I had already checked the Steel Pony site out,the Andy Strapz one too,I must admit I am tempted by the Gascoyne bags from Steel Pony with maybe also the Simpson bags as tank panniers,I may be able to adapt the Suzuki pannier rack I already have on the bike to support these bags,would save me a FORTUNE too compared to Alu boxes.
I have no illusions about the bike being dropped,I know it will happen again (dropped it leaving an Orthodox monastery in east Poland last year but no panniers on at the time)
Keep the ideas coming,its great to get real life feedback from people who have been there & done it.
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  #21  
Old 18 Jan 2010
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I wanted alluminium panniers for a long time. They look great and I thought it was something you can buy once and then use it for the rest of your life.
I didn't bought them because they are expensive. I was just waiting for the moment were I really could not keep living without them...

I have done many kms with soft bags, but they don't look that cool, do they?


My opinion changed after travelling for some months through Indochina with some 25USD Vietnam-made soft panniers.
I liked them so much I sent them home after the trip.

Now it's time to adapt them a little bit, do a frame for my bike and also two waterproof inner bags that I can take to the hotel room while the panniers stay allways screwed to the bike.

Material is "truck-canvas" (Is that the correct name in english?), so pretty bombproof.

25USD the pair of bags:








long 35cm, wide 18,5cm, high 38cm. Some 25lts each. And leightweight.
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  #22  
Old 18 Jan 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vander View Post
I wanted alluminium panniers for a long time. They look great and I thought it was something you can buy once and then use it for the rest of your life.
I didn't bought them because they are expensive. I was just waiting for the moment were I really could not keep living without them...

I have done many kms with soft bags, but they don't look that cool, do they?


My opinion changed after travelling for some months through Indochina with some 25USD Vietnam-made soft panniers.
I liked them so much I sent them home after the trip.

Now it's time to adapt them a little bit, do a frame for my bike and also two waterproof inner bags that I can take to the hotel room while the panniers stay allways screwed to the bike.

Material is "truck-canvas" (Is that the correct name in english?), so pretty bombproof.

25USD the pair of bags:








long 35cm, wide 18,5cm, high 38cm. Some 25lts each. And leightweight.
They look PERFECT !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I'd buy a pair of them in a second !
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  #23  
Old 19 Jan 2010
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Yep.
Look good for purpose, but would need a hole in the bottom to let water out reasonably quickly.
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  #24  
Old 19 Jan 2010
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A thief would have your stuff before you could say "knife ".
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  #25  
Old 19 Jan 2010
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Originally Posted by tedmagnum View Post
I think people just assume a metal box is secure and durable.. It's great marketing isnt it.. it looks hardcore.

--It also looks secure and that is a deterent.--

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..

--Pop rivets are actually quite strong but could be repaced with small stainless steel fasteners [bolts].--

Woulnt put off anyone apart from a 10 year old.

--I've seen some pretty evil 10 yr olds in the UK .--


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 ???

--I do ,it's called a Leatherman --

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.

--True but they might have all night to winkle that stuff out of there !--

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.

--I've just read a ride report where a guy was surrounded by a few gang members and had his tank bag ripped off the bike whilst he was still riding it !--
If I was going anywhere risky ,I'd want hard panniers ,be they plastic or aluminum .

I agree that most of the panniers on the market are overpriced and many have serious flaws .

I didn't like what was on offer so I made my own ,now I'm on my "mark2" version and I can still see things that I would like to change and new features that I want to incorporate .

I haven't seen a set of soft panniers that I really liked yet ,the ones that I have used haven't been very durable or waterproof .The stuff inside can get mangled if you drop the bike ,they tend to be too small and a slide down the road will abrade them pretty badly .Plus they usually need a frame of some kind to support them and keep them off exhausts etc .
Something made out of waterproofed reinforced leather might be the answer .[no studded Harley bags please !]
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  #26  
Old 19 Jan 2010
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hi,
i like the alloy panniers, usefull not only for carrying everything in a waterproof/semi secure place but also work well for resting roll bag on when loading the bike, useful also for sitting on when camping or using as a table.
i also think they help protect the bike in small offs.
The biggest problem i see with them is the racks are so weak on the ones you buy, so i made my own... ill be suprised if they break!

i also have a dl650 and find that the 'wasted' space on the side without an exhaust is a usefull space for a tool tube (or two)
take a look at mine here; mainlyduesouth-motorcycles

cheers
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  #27  
Old 19 Jan 2010
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To Each His Own

For two up I can picture hard panniers. You need the space. But not so much when solo on a Thumper or smaller bike.

Hard panniers do look secure to the Grab & Go thief.
How much do your custom "strong" racks weigh? Have you weighed your set-up empty? (panniers, racks, hardware, braces et al)

Keeping stuff dry with soft bags requires either waterproof bags or rain covers (pain in the ass). I have both. But after two solid days of rain the Scotch guarded fabric begins to leak and out come the covers.

As mentioned, my clothing lives in clear plastic inner bags. Very handy, stuff stays clean/dry even if soft panniers leak a bit.

From what I've seen, soft bags survive crashes far better than hard bags, which bend, twist and snap clean off in some cases. Hard bags HURT when they pin you. Soft bags much less if at all.

Last edited by Mickey D; 19 Jan 2010 at 20:48.
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  #28  
Old 19 Jan 2010
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I’ve used Jesse Luggage.
The rack and a few other details are crap but the boxes itself are pretty good.

With a custom-build rack and some other tweaks it looks like this (2-up mode):
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  #29  
Old 19 Jan 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony P View Post
Yep.
Look good for purpose, but would need a hole in the bottom to let water out reasonably quickly.
They actually have.
I rode for a week under a typhoon, they worked pretty well. Very little water inside, allthough it will depend how fast you're going.
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  #30  
Old 19 Jan 2010
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im not sure how much my racks weigh exactly, about 5kg i imagine. i weighed my racks, boxes with 7liters of water in, and all of my camping gear, clothes and a load of other travelling things in a 89l ortileb roll bag, just before i left for a small trip through europe this year and it came in at 45kg, which i was more than happy with.
I understand what you say about the alloy ones bending or breaking in a crash but surely with soft ones then the contents gets wrecked in a crash?!

cheers
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