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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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Old 24 Jul 2006
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Question Bags or Boxes?

I purchased a set of the big GIVI bags for a proposed trip that didn't materialize. Has anyone used soft bags for RTW trips? I know they are not as durable as aluminum boxes, but they do offer considerable convenience and we don't plan on leaving pavement except where necessary. Your opinions please
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Old 27 Jul 2006
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In planning for my rtw ride last year I did the same consideration of soft vs hard luggage that you are doing. I settled on large aluminum panniers and a lightweight hard plastic rear top box for security (theft prevention) reasons. I wanted to be able to leave my bike outside a cafe, for example, with all my possessions under lock and key. This worked - there were no attempts to break into my luggage, at least not that was apparent.

If I had it to do over again I would make the same decision for a trip of this nature. For more local trips over unpaved roads in the western US backcountry I opt for soft bags because of less risk of injury due to a leg getting pinned under a hard box in the event of a crash.

Hope this is of some help.

Mike
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Old 28 Jul 2006
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I like metal boxes & crash bars.

I was hit side on by a taxi in Brasil but escaped with just a few bruises as the boxes saved a space for my legs, with soft luggage it would've been more serious. They also made a mess of the car (evil grin).
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Old 28 Jul 2006
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Hi mate,

We used Givi panniers and top box on our trip (not round the world but all over Europe and Russia etc) and they worked fine. We dropped the bike three times, once sliding down the car ramp on the Italy ferry (slow speed) and although one of the side panniers cracked we just stuck some gaffa tape over it and it was fine. They were 20pound for two from ebay so I didnt have a heart attack every time they got scratched or dented etc which I would be having if it had paid hundreds for some new ones (or Ali ones).

I had the standard pannier rails strengthened at Overland Solutions and they didnt budge a mm.

We were riding a GS1150 though so I think the rails we had were steel which I beleive are stronger than the Givi racks you see on sports bikes.(Wingracks??)

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Old 29 Jul 2006
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Boxes of soft bags - both have their advantages and disadvantages

Boxes:
+ safer, can be locked
+ in case of an accident they can take a punch without your bike suffering
+ in case of a crash they might, as Happy Hacker noted, save a space for your legs
+ it's easier to put stickers on'em (trust me, that's more important than you might think right now)
+ the good ones are water proof
- in case of a crash they can cause major injuries (see Ted Kennedy, I think that was his name, or was it Simon?)
- they are quite heavy
- unfortunately quite expensive


Bags:
+ lightweight and cheap
+ just like a box can both save and hurt you, a soft bag might prevent a broken leg
- they can be easily stolen
- they're usually smaller than aluminium panniers (or any other kind of box)
- I have never stumbled upon anyone with soft bags who has not complained about the lack of impermeability
- in case of an accident or crash they can cause your bike to fall on top of you, and you don't want that...


You see, both have their pros and cons - when all is said and done it's your decision. Personally, I would never ever want to go back to soft bags and am right now looking for a nice set of aluminium panniers (currently equipped with Krauser K1). I have travelled extensively with a set of Held soft bags and consider boxes way more convenient in almost every single way (except for the weight part)
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