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Giant Loop Motorcycle Saddlebags & Motorcycle Tank Bags: Panniers, Soft Luggage for Adventure & Sport Touring

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  #76  
Old 11 Jun 2011
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The one thing we have found on our travels is that there isn't always a backpacker conveniently placed where we want to stay thus the tenting suits us far better, we usually end up somewhere off the beaten track.

Our Hilli Keron GT4 is 5.6kg true weight so I put it behind me in an Ortlieb 620 35L bag, something to rest on and keep the weight more central which does help handling.

For my wife and I with 2 lids, 4 boots 2 jackets, 2 pants etc the vestibule on the GT4 is mint in less than ideal weather.

Like the op, I want the bike to handle well so we are in the process of finding a proprietary rack or if it comes down to it I will build our own to bring the weight forward (or more central) and mount the side cases closer behind our legs than a lot of racks offer, neither of us will be carrying passengers so the more central the weight the better esp for the wife at 5'2".

Great thread and great to compare soft and hard, we are using Pelican cases being watertight and lockable etc and they crash well.

So on that note, we will be on two DR650's, does anyone know of a good proprietary rack we can buy in Alaska/America that we can have more central mounting, welcome the input, cheers all.
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  #77  
Old 11 Jun 2011
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To me this is an idyllic experience which I haven't yet managed to replicate without camping. The site was right behind me. Found it by chance and decided to end the day there. Had enough time to find a bottle of wine and were joint by some Polish cyclist who moved 200m down stream for the same isolation experience but were great fun to share a bottle wine with at a camp fire for dinner. Priceless.



Beats the shit out of finding the public bathhouse in shitsville Moron Mongolia in the dark.

But going back on track like turbo, you don't need a 2 man tent if you're on your own. You should be able to get your mat, sleeping bag and bivi or single man tent in a roll (closure) bag. I stuff both the sleeping bag and tent. Keep the outer separate for when it's wet. This should only weight about 5-6kg and can make a nice back rest for long ride on the slab, but close to COG for riding off road.

It's just plain awesome to go hard off the beaten track, through beautiful country with the knowledge that you've got everything you need to stop and enjoy the surrounds when and wherever you want getting away from the concrete jungle and pollution.

But that's just me.
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  #78  
Old 11 Jun 2011
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Originally Posted by tmotten View Post
To me this is an idyllic experience which I haven't yet managed to replicate without camping. The site was right behind me. Found it by chance and decided to end the day there. Had enough time to find a bottle of wine and were joint by some Polish cyclist who moved 200m down stream for the same isolation experience but were great fun to share a bottle wine with at a camp fire for dinner. Priceless.



Beats the shit out of finding the public bathhouse in shitsville Moron Mongolia in the dark.

But going back on track like turbo, you don't need a 2 man tent if you're on your own. You should be able to get your mat, sleeping bag and bivi or single man tent in a roll (closure) bag. I stuff both the sleeping bag and tent. Keep the outer separate for when it's wet. This should only weight about 5-6kg and can make a nice back rest for long ride on the slab, but close to COG for riding off road.

It's just plain awesome to go hard off the beaten track, through beautiful country with the knowledge that you've got everything you need to stop and enjoy the surrounds when and wherever you want getting away from the concrete jungle and pollution.

But that's just me.
I very good point ! Coming the think of it, the very best night/experienced I've had have been wild camping...

But also like you said, you only need the very basic kit for a night in paradise.. I'd always carry a tiny backpacker tent and a ground mat.
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  #79  
Old 11 Jun 2011
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To me this is an idyllic experience which I haven't yet managed to replicate without camping. The site was right behind me. Found it by chance and decided to end the day there.
I agree!
My trips are usually a mix of camping, hotels, hostels etc. The best experience usually comes from bush-camping.
For me it's essential not to have some kind of holy destination for the day, I carry enough food and petrol to mess around and stop at nice places and maybe take a detour or two. To do this it's necessary (for me) to carry a tent, cooking-stuff, sleepingbag etc. But it sure beats traveling from hostel to hostel on the main roads.

I use alu-panniers so I'm probably some kind of amateur but I really don't care. For me soft-luggage is fine for short trips, but I don't go the minimalist route on longer trips because I find that it limits my experiences.
Yes the panniers were expensive but so far they have lasted for 14 years and about 150kkm so I don't think the price is an issue.

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  #80  
Old 11 Jun 2011
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Yes the panniers were expensive but so far they have lasted for 14 years and about 150kkm so I don't think the price is an issue.
Couldn't agree more, also security is easy and cheap with hard cases.

I do have to larf that we who ride with hard cases are supposedly amateur .. that holds as much weight as a small gust of wind, to me if the gear is doing what you want it to and how you want it to then you have the right gear.

People ask what is a good wine, I say it is the one that YOU enjoy, it can be a $150.00 dollar bottle but can still taste like crap or a $5.00 tasting great.

The only thing I would add is soft with a little less weight is fine in the extreme ADV/trail riding on soft ground where lite weight is an advantage but you bike choice will have a far greater bearing on that, this is why we are using DR650, little less than total creature comfort but great for the job and a great compromise between road/off road .
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  #81  
Old 12 Jun 2011
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Taking South America as an example where off roading is pretty simple generally. With most of it on the gringo trails being gravels roads. However, there are bits where is plain sucks to be big and heavy. Usually you won't see big twins there much or those guys end up telling horror stories. Add to that large heavy luggage setups and it becomes worse. To me I can't see the point in taking a DR with its lightweight and adding heaps of weight unnecessarily which can be avoided with a bit of creativity and imagination.

Seeing as a picture tells a thousand words I'll throw in a few more. This picture was taken at the start of a river bed which became narrower with the rocks lager halfway up the shin. We ended up having to walk next to the bike through this where is was difficult to walk even. Ended up having to turn around with oncoming rain running out of ground clearance. The weight was to much to balance. That just sucks having to do that when we would have been able to manage without all that crap bolted on. We ride through that type of terrain at home all the time just fine. And it's become my benchmark for future setups.



This is the bolivian altiplano national park just near the guest house at lago colorado. Not at all the deepest wheel track but again a struggle on a bike weighing a bit under 300kg. This is just after my Mrs hit the edge of the wheel track losing her front end. There is just no correcting that with that weight. Got her leg stuck under the pannier with no way of getting out from under it. Luckily she wore cross boots. Not even a bruise but she did have a sore leg for days. I'm not saying that you can't tackle this with a big twin and panniers. We met a DL1000 on this track. But it just about sucks and every one ends up having a horror story or a winge about it when it should be an absolute highlight which it was for me. Not so much for the Mrs with less body weight and off road experience struggling in particular when the tracks cross others. It doesn't look like much on a picture but if you don't ride this terrain at home you'll struggle. Guaranteed. A friend who does ride this at home high sided at speed on an 990 there at a section with crossing tracks. You're meant to punch through at some speed, but there is always a risk. This section is at about 5000m altitude and breathing is a struggle. I want to do that ride with a 450 one day.




Either way, each to their own. But can we maybe start agreeing that hard luggage security is a myth?
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  #82  
Old 12 Jun 2011
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Originally Posted by tmotten View Post
...Either way, each to their own. But can we maybe start agreeing that hard luggage security is a myth?
...No




P.S.: Cool pics BTW.
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  #83  
Old 12 Jun 2011
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Originally Posted by AliBaba View Post
I use alu-panniers so I'm probably some kind of amateur but I really don't care.
I joined this Forum so that I could learn lots of stuff to help me realise an ambition I have held for some 40 years, and that is to ride a bike from England to Melbourne. Once I get there, I will work out how I want to get back, but I'm taking a year off work so hope I have enough time to satisfy what it is that I want from the trip.

Shortly after the HUBB Meet at Ripley last year I took out Club Membership so that in my own small way I could help with the running costs of the Forum. This has been one of those threads which have made me seriously question whether or not I am up to the challenge, and I have become quite dispirited, yet, when I actually go back to what it is that has been getting me down, it's been the 'willy waving' posts which say things like "only amateurs use hard luggage", "real travellers use really light weight bikes", and "proper travellers make everything themselves and can service and maintain their bikes and kit with just a pocket knife and sticky-back plaster"

I'm going to follow Ali Baba's advice and just not care anymore. I've followed the bloggs of some of those who have advocated the above sentiments, and have been at a talk by one of them, yet I have also looked at the preparation the bike of one of them has gone through and realised that although I may have been in awe of them, I have very little in common with them, and I can live with that.

So, back to this thread, and I am still interested in how a bike handles when fully loaded with hard luggage.
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  #84  
Old 12 Jun 2011
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Don't be disheartened. Do it the way you want to and is the way you're most comfortable with. In all honesty, my first try was my most memorable one. And it's hard to have less of a clue than that.hadn't discovered this site yet. Watch the video if that doesn't make sense. What was meant with colebatch's comment was that most people that do a trip multiple times and seek out the off road bits end up with soft for the reason I tried to explain with a bit of physics.
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  #85  
Old 12 Jun 2011
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...This has been one of those threads which have made me seriously question whether or not I am up to the challenge, and I have become quite dispirited, yet, when I actually go back to what it is that has been getting me down, it's been the 'willy waving' posts which say things like "only amateurs use hard luggage", "real travellers use really light weight bikes", and "proper travellers make everything themselves and can service and maintain their bikes and kit with just a pocket knife and sticky-back plaster"
The line between friendly banter, sarcasm and subtle “put downs” gets sometimes a little blurry.

There are the self proclaimed experts, “know-it-alls” and some folks are just so full of themselves, it’s at best amusing. Mostly, what I am missing is context, a point of reference or benchmark. Only a few have the ability to see the bigger picture when giving advice on topics that are not just one way only.

And then, you have folks on this board who have circumnavigated the globe on bikes completely unsuitable, wrong tires, irresponsible luggage system and they have lived to tell about it – and, looking back, wouldn’t change a thing (again, it’s all about point of reference)

So, take from each comment what is useful to you and allow yourself to chuckle about the rest.

And, a last word of advice …the best and most suitable bike for adventure travel is a R1200GS with lockable aluminum panniers. There are no two ways about it. Any other opinion is utterly wrong and immature…
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Last edited by T.REX63; 14 Jun 2011 at 10:47.
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  #86  
Old 12 Jun 2011
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i like your style t rex.think you got it spot on apart from the german bike ?
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  #87  
Old 12 Jun 2011
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Shortly after the HUBB Meet at Ripley last year I took out Club Membership so that in my own small way I could help with the running costs of the Forum. This has been one of those threads which have made me seriously question whether or not I am up to the challenge, and I have become quite dispirited, yet, when I actually go back to what it is that has been getting me down, it's been the 'willy waving' posts which say things like "only amateurs use hard luggage", "real travellers use really light weight bikes", and "proper travellers make everything themselves and can service and maintain their bikes and kit with just a pocket knife and sticky-back plaster"

I've met some people who have "failed" but I don't think I have met anyone who have failed because they used the wrong gear. Some might have changed their plans a bit but that's okay. I think it's most about your mind, if you want to do it you can do it.
In my book it's better to try and fail then not try at all.

Personally I think the HUBB is better now then it used to be a few years back but I fully see your point and you will probably meet the same discussions on the road some day.
When I left for my first big trip on a motorbike (50kkm in Africa) I used a standard BMW R80GS with hard luggage and I used a BMW riding suit, which I still use. If I had done the same today and posted my plans here on the HUBB guess what would have happened....
This trip was maybe the best year of my life.



Quote:
Originally Posted by deenewcastle View Post
So, back to this thread, and I am still interested in how a bike handles when fully loaded with hard luggage.
It handles worse then without luggage.
Weight is always an issue and some bikes carry weight better then others, for me the extra 10 kg has never been an issue. Personally I think deep mud and places with very big rocks are the worst but when I travel I take it slow on these places anyway.

Sure I have been places where I could have traveled faster with a lighter bike but I've never turned around because of the weight of the bike. I have been forced to turn around because of range (water and petrol). Personally I think it's more difficult to increase your range with a soft-setup.
Even if I'm an amateur I would say that I have been to many remote places with my boxes (Graveyard piste, Lake Chad route, northern Namibia, crossing Sahara alone in summertime etc) and hopefully I will visit more places with more or less the same setup.

I think one of the problem with boxes is that there is a lot of crap on the market. People buy expensive flimsy stuff and it brakes and they tell you that all boxes sucks. Even if I don't like sushi I love to eat other types of fish....
20 years ago I traveled a bit with leather-bags and I use some soft-luggage for shorter trips so I'm not saying it's useless. I Simply prefer alu-boxes on longer rides.



Have a nice trip!


Edit: What really makes the handling suffer is a heavy top-box or drybag!
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  #88  
Old 12 Jun 2011
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I don't get this "Aluminium are for amateurs"...

If anything, it's the other way round. You need a fair bit of experience and miles under your belt to handle a heavy tin boxed bike, especially off road..

That is exactly why I always recommend soft bags to new riders or "amateurs" if they're planning on a non-Starbucks adventure.
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  #89  
Old 12 Jun 2011
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do you think the to bm boys were amateurs when they went the long way round ?
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  #90  
Old 12 Jun 2011
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I don't get this "Aluminium are for amateurs"...
...

That is exactly why I always recommend soft bags to new riders or "amateurs" if they're planning on a non-Starbucks adventure.

Quit picking on Starbuck's. There is nothing wrong with riding your bike with aluminum boxes to Starbuck's! I like spending $8.95 on a cup of Fatfreefrappomochachino with whipped cream...

You are being very insensitive, Ted...

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