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We just got a couple of Honda XR125L from eBay. We will travel with soft panniers and I am looking into some supporting frame for those. I could not find anything on the market for that. I have Andy Strapz bags, and my husband will have probably the Ortlieb.
Any DIY suggestions? We may be able get some copper pipes from B&Q and do some soldering. But ideas welcome!
Just need something to fix the soft panniers so they stay away from the exhaust on one side, and don’t flap around once we hit the corrugation and tough roads in the Stans and Mongolia…….
I was in the same predicament. Rather than copper tubing which might be a little too soft. I used some steel bar. It works fine and I don't think it's any heavier than a lot of the tube ones I've seen or used, and certainly easier to bend and shape. Just need to find someone with some basic welding skills.
Maybe see you on the road in Mongolia next August?
Thanks for the pictures. We will look at steel. Might be more complicated.
We don't want to spend too much on the bikes. If something goes badly wrong with a bike, we want the option of ditching it. I've learnt my lesson on that!
You riding from Oz to Mongolia?
I would expect, with visas limitations, to cross the border from Russia to Mongolia around late July.
Maybe see you on the road.
Don't use copper. Plumbers user it because it's weak. Minimum half inch steel tubing which you can bend with a bench bender but won't withstand big hits either. You can hire a MIG welder and tack it to get welded properly later but I think you're much better off selling the Andy bags for a giant loop coyote.
Poorly made racks will crack. Better to not have a rack at all. Every kilo counts on a tiny bike particularly on single and double trails.
Don't use copper. Plumbers user it because it's weak.
Err they use it because it is compatible with drinking water. I'd not use copper because it is expensive and heavy.
You have two extremes -
One that is strong and won't bend. The bike could break first.
One that is bendable - if you fall on it and it bends, you can bend it back easily.
Go for both ... have a weak point or two where it will bend. Bits that bend frequently will eventually break. So carry spares for that bit or have that bit a 'common' part available everywhere (a small bolt for example).
It's a very malleable material that's compatible with potable water. You can't always get somewhere with set shaped fittings so having a simple hand bender gives them a way of getting something that works without cracking.
Making your own rack is a pretty big undertaking particularly when a reckless alternative is available. There are others as well besides giant loop that offer this. They are all designed with tough terrain and as little impact on a bike as possible which is which fits this trip.
Also consider flat steel as pictured in the rear/second bike. The first bike rack design needed modifying because the pannier pushed on the plastic panel which sat on the exhaust and everything got rather hot. The other bike's design (my bike) with the extra strut around the side panel worked great.
The bike and rack is located in West Yorkshire if you want to drop in and have a look.
It's stainless steel threaded rod inside fuel line bent up in a vice. Yes it could bend in a crash but it'll bend back and strangely it hasn't bent yet despite having the full weight of the bike resting on it.
The whole thing cost €10 and an hour or two to make.
Don't use copper. It's far too soft. And solder is too brittle. It's not structural.
Steel is your friend here. It's cheap and available in countless shapes and sizes. Plastikote spray paint will stop it rusting.
It's a shame you're not closer to me. I'd of let you come to my workshop and I would of welded them up for you with all my posh new welding equipment.
back in 2009, I used flat bar for my racks which lasted me all through Africa and lots of tumbles. I over engineered them.
If you're determined to do it yourself and don't want the hasel of bending tube then I suggest buying some Mild steel flat bar (also known as black steel). DON'T by bright steel. It's too brittle.
Look at about 30mm - 40mm wide and 3mm thick. You can buy a 'length' for about £20 which is 7m long
look at my DRZ prep page on my website for some pictures of mine. I made those in 2009 before I knew how to weld. Using a £30 welder and some scrap flat bar which was way too thick.. 5mm I think. TOO THICK.
They took me about an hour to make using a vice and a hammer and a propane torch.. They look SHIT but were stronger than the subframe of my bike haha.
Let me know if you need anymore help. I'm doing LOTS of fabrication at the moment.
Here's one picture. I'm ashamed to share it due to the poor quality of manufacture. However, I did make them in an hour out of scrap metal whilst enjoying a s lol
Thanks for all the advice.
What Alexlebrit did seems very simple and ideal for our needs. I like it!
I still need to pick up my bike this saturday . Well, Alistair will, while I get to the London mini meet! Division of labour!
But we need still to try the panniers on the bikes before we decide anything. I like the idea of a single metal bar like Alex'.
The saddles bags won't need any support as such. I travelled with my bags on my Versys, without using a frame, and it was ok. But a bit too near to the back wheel. And the exhaust is under the belly on the V.
So for the Honda XR we need to measure. Also Alistair needs to get his travel saddle bags. Still hesitate. The Ortliebs are good contenders. Xmas present sorted
Maria, hopefully I'll see you on Saturday with your new bike although sadly not with my poor not working one. Like you say it's not about hanging the panniers off a rack just stopping them flapping or resting on things they shouldn't which means things don't have to be overbuilt.
I tend to think the hardest part is actually finding a way to attach the supports to the bike hopefully a bit of staring and prodding will reveal something.
As others have said don't use copper piping but you can get thin walled steel tubing as well from B&Q and I've made loads of racks from it. It's a little tricky to weld as it needs some care not to burn through but you do end up with a light rack - something important with a 125. I made something similar for my 125 Suzuki last year using it and they're about 250gms each side - picture below
The issue of welding is tricky if you don't have the equipment / skills to do it yourself. Trying to find a commercial welder (in my part of the UK anyway) to take on a one off bike rack project is just about impossible - from their perspective it's fiddly, low profit margin and subject to constant changes when they're asked to tack on an extra bracket here or move this fixing point there etc. You can hire a MIG welder easy enough and it's not that hard to use it but a rack you're going to depend on day in day out probably isn't the best starter project as a bit of experience does help asess whether welds will break etc. If you know someone someone who can do it at "hobby" rates it's definately the way to go though.
Ted's steel strip, hammer and vice option is the alternative but you probably don't need to use old railways lines like he did - B&Q also do 20mm x 2mm steel strip that would be fine. You can drill and bolt something together out of it but you do run the risk of it all vibrating undone - usually at the top of a mountain or somewhere awkward - ask me how I know!
If you're really stuck I'm happy to do what I can to help - I don't have Ted's equipment or expertise but if Oxford(ish) is closer than his neck of the woods then pm me.
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