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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 25 Jul 2010
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Best shape for metal panniers

I'm about to have some aluminium panniers made up. It seems he (rodger who does the ardcases) can make any shape and size I want which is great but it leaves me wondering what'll be best for me.

I've done a bit of searching online but can't seem to find much discussion about the box shape itself.

From what I can tell my options are (in terms of shape if not manufacturer - I've pretty much decided to go with the ardcase panniers already as they seem very strudy and also reasonably priced):

1) SQUARE


2) SLOPED AT THE SIDES


3) SLOPED AT THE BOTTOM


I'm not too worried about size as I don't need them to be massive, just enough for one person (33-35ish litres should be more than enough for me I think).

As well as a bit of wandering around the UK, I'd be using them to visit morocco in the near future (where I'm likely to drop the bike I'm sure), then maybe somewhere further afield in the more distant future (dreaming of a proper round the world trip at some point and although it'll likely be a while before that happens it'd be nice to get the right panniers for the job now).

They'll be mounted to an Africa Twin.

Anyone got any pointers about how the benefits of each particular type are in reality on longish trips? I know the ones sloped at the sides are meant to be more aerodynamic (which will be handy for motorways), the sloped at the bottom ones are meant to stop them digging in and may be a little better in a drop, but I'm not really sure what difference this makes in reality and whether it'll just make beating them back into shape more difficult (plus I'd like to use them as a seat when off the bike too so would the sloped bottom work just as well for that?).

Any pointers anyone can offer would be great and stop me dithering so much about what to ask for
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Old 26 Jul 2010
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Sloped at the bottom and on the side facing forward. Better impact stress and better for your legs through sandy bits. I'd advice to keep them as narrow as possible. Nothing wider than the handlebars.
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  #3  
Old 26 Jul 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tmotten View Post
Sloped at the bottom and on the side facing forward. Better impact stress and better for your legs through sandy bits. I'd advice to keep them as narrow as possible. Nothing wider than the handlebars.
+1

John
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Old 26 Jul 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tmotten View Post
Sloped at the bottom and on the side facing forward. Better impact stress and better for your legs through sandy bits. I'd advice to keep them as narrow as possible. Nothing wider than the handlebars.
As above if you plan to ride a lot of off road for the reasons pointed out. However....if you also want to use them as seats (as your post mentioned) or even more handily as stands for the bike when fixing a puncture for example when hard ground isn't available then straight sides are much more stable. You also can use much more of the space inside more efficiently as it's easier to pack things into a square-ish space than a sloping space.If going for square shapes you might want to get ball- corners fitted....steel corner ball protectors. They're available from [url=http://www.djkit.com]DJKIT
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Old 26 Jul 2010
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Angled bottoms and fronts (wow, lucky I dont have a dirty mind!) work well in the event of an off as I found out last weekend. The sloped bottom doesnt prevent the box being used as a seat - make sure the angled side faces front so that you rock forward rather than tip backwards if it becomes unstable.

The shape is a bit irregular for packing, but I find the bottom part of the pannier useful for keeping tools and loose bits and bobs, then throw in my holdall (cheap pannier liner bag alternative) on top.

I got my panniers very cheap and they are well made, but make the bike very wide (mostly a result of the standard pannier racks that are OME on the bike). If you are having them custom made, you are fortunate enough to get them as narrow as possible. tmotten is spot on, look to get them as wide as the bars. That way you can filter through traffic with abandon in manical far off ciities (while I sit in a que with all the other numpties).

Just my opinion based on hours of reading other peoples opinions on the internet!
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Old 26 Jul 2010
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Thanks for all your help guys

When you say angled front and bottom, do you mean like this:



Would that help with aerodynamics too do you think (or is this just not as much of a concern as some of the pannier makers make out with their newer designs).

Although there's a good chance I'll take them offroad at some point in the future, there'll probably be a lot more road riding than offroad so this might be important too perhaps.

I'll try to keep in mind the width (though probably fighting a losing battle to get them narrower than the bars as they'll be mounted to hepco becker racks which stick out quite a bit on both sides on the RD04). Time to get the cardboard and gaffa tape out and try to work out measurements
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Old 26 Jul 2010
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P.S. Thanks for the link to that DJ site too. Just bookmarked that. Those corner protecters look really handy (and also nice and cheap)
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Old 26 Jul 2010
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I went the custom route which meant I could turn the bottom bit into a water tank. Any sheet metal shop should be able to make this.

http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hub...lt-water-38521
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Old 27 Jul 2010
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I would also recommend the sloped leading edge and outside bottom.
Mount them as high as possible without going above the level of your rear rack!
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Old 28 Jul 2010
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Do you travel 2-up sometimes?

My boxes have eccentric fixings so that in the "normal" position they sit as far forward as is practical/comfortable for solo driving.

Then, mount the boxes on the opposite sides using the same mounts and they sit further back to allow room for the pillions legs.

Forget padlocks. They just rattle about and look a mess. If someone wants in, it wont stop them, use a simple cam lock.

Mine fix to the bike with wing-bolts from the inside. QD is QD for all

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Old 28 Jul 2010
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Thanks for the tips. It looks like the sloping front edge and bottom is the way to go then.

Quote:
I went the custom route which meant I could turn the bottom bit into a water tank. Any sheet metal shop should be able to make this.
Those panniers you have there look excellent (i've seen that post before and drooled over them ), and they look like they'd be handy for extra fuel too, but I think in reality for water I'd probably end up strapping a couple of plastic coke bottles filled with water to the seat as I usually do, and for fuel my backside usually gives up before the fuel supply does, so for me the space might be better for tools or something.

Quote:
I would also recommend the sloped leading edge and outside bottom.
Mount them as high as possible without going above the level of your rear rack!
What's the reason for mounting them high? I thought keeping them low would be better to keep the center of gravity lower. My plan was to mount them so they fit flush with the seat so I can strap things across the seat, but I might be missing something here. Is it for ground clearance?

Quote:
Do you travel 2-up sometimes?
My boxes have eccentric fixings so that in the "normal" position they sit as far forward as is practical/comfortable for solo driving.
I'll probably be riding solo I think. I'll keep that idea in mind though as it seems really handy if that changes.

You've set me thinking about whether riding solo means I can get away with longer but thinner panniers though. I'm going to be fitting the rack to the bike this week, so I'll play around a bit with some cardboard cutouts and see what I can come up with.
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