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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 24 Feb 2011
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hard luggage necessary for solo rider?

Hi,
In october I will start my transafrica trip from capetown to cairo on a yamaha xt. I'm struggling with the choice of luggage I will use. i know all the advantages and disadvantages of hard and soft luggage, but still can't make up my mind. Since I will be travelling on my own, I think I almost have to go for panniers for security reasons. There won't be anybody to guard my bike when I hop in a store, search for an embassy, buy ferry tickets etc. I will also do alot of (wild) camping, so my bike will be standing unprotected for a considerable time.
What do you guys think? Go hard or go soft?
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  #2  
Old 24 Feb 2011
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I use soft luggage, and it will do. BUT.. I did not see all of the things I wanted to see for the very reason you mention, that of not being able to leave the bike loaded and secure. If you can find it I would go the solid luggage route. If there are any nasty corner near you heels, maybe attach a bit of bike tyre to round off any points that might make human impact if you topple or otherwise come off.
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Old 24 Feb 2011
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Hard

Hi, i would agree and opt for hardcases for the security. Andy
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Old 24 Feb 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oldbmw View Post
I use soft luggage, and it will do. BUT.. I did not see all of the things I wanted to see for the very reason you mention, that of not being able to leave the bike loaded and secure. If you can find it I would go the solid luggage route. If there are any nasty corner near you heels, maybe attach a bit of bike tyre to round off any points that might make human impact if you topple or otherwise come off.
thanks for the advice. I'm a bit scared of the alu panniers too, don't want to break a leg or something. Most of the time i will ride tarmac, only a little bit of dirt roads. If I go for the alu panniers I will definetly also buy some full mx-boots for protection. The bike tyre idea sounds nice too.
Still not 100% sure though...
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Old 24 Feb 2011
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What is it that you are hoping to find by asking here? You say you know all the advantages and disadvantages, and it's for sure the subject has been done to death repeatedly, but you are still uncertain. What would make you certain?

Or maybe you'll never be "100% sure," in which case the next best thing is to just decide and go with it. Most of us are not "100% sure" about anything--which brand of bike, what size engine, which clothing or boots or helmet, what time of year......you name it, there are always arguments for each side of a discussion. Waiting for 100% is a recipe for paralysis.

I chose hard cases; you already know the reasons. Someone else chose soft cases; you know their reasons, too. I wear MX boots; the next person doesn't. What's missing?

Mark
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Old 24 Feb 2011
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Heavy aluminium luggage on an XT sucks !! I used softbags from Uk-capetown and not once was security as issue...

Although for other reasons, have you considered plastic luggage ??? They get forgotten in the whole hard vs soft debate.

They're much lighter, flex rather than break and offer the same amount of security as aluminium...

Maybe pelican cases too !!
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Old 24 Feb 2011
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Originally Posted by markharf View Post
What is it that you are hoping to find by asking here? You say you know all the advantages and disadvantages, and it's for sure the subject has been done to death repeatedly, but you are still uncertain. What would make you certain?

Or maybe you'll never be "100% sure," in which case the next best thing is to just decide and go with it. Most of us are not "100% sure" about anything--which brand of bike, what size engine, which clothing or boots or helmet, what time of year......you name it, there are always arguments for each side of a discussion. Waiting for 100% is a recipe for paralysis.

I chose hard cases; you already know the reasons. Someone else chose soft cases; you know their reasons, too. I wear MX boots; the next person doesn't. What's missing?

Mark
Just looking for some tips and points of attention. Don't wet your pants. Sorry bout using the forum for what it's made for...
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Old 24 Feb 2011
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Originally Posted by *Touring Ted* View Post
Heavy aluminium luggage on an XT sucks !! I used softbags from Uk-capetown and not once was security as issue...

Although for other reasons, have you considered plastic luggage ??? They get forgotten in the whole hard vs soft debate.

They're much lighter, flex rather than break and offer the same amount of security as aluminium...

Maybe pelican cases too !!
Didn't think about plastic luggage actualy. Thought that it would break easily... Pelican cases are an option too...
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Old 24 Feb 2011
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I have used soft luggage in over 30 African countries and never had a security problem.

The most likely cause of theft problems will be in capital cities, where most likely, you will have left your luggage at your accomodation when running errands, thus reducing the risk of theft from the bike.

That is not to say theft can't happen in Africa, but I wouldn't overestimate the risk on a bike. If you are concerned, go with soft luggage and mesh to cover it.
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Old 24 Feb 2011
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Don't wet your pants. Sorry bout using the forum for what it's made for...
Sorry if you took it that way, which wasn't my intent. Safe journeys!
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  #11  
Old 24 Feb 2011
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It takes very little cunning/skill/tools to break into hard boxes. So choosing them for security reasons is pointless, IMHO.

cheers
Chris

Last edited by chris; 24 Feb 2011 at 23:33. Reason: verb subject agreement
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  #12  
Old 24 Feb 2011
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For security the hard boxes will keep out the the honest people. The reason I have them. (and well I got the on an old bike for free)
I have not seen a light box made that can keep someone out that wants in. most will pop open with little more than the use of a hammer. So there is some limitations right there. Add to that you can not gust pull them off the bike like soft bags.

In the end if some one cuts open your soft bag you will think you need a hard box if you brake your leg or foot on your hard box you will think you need a soft bag.
You may want to look at packsafe Pacsafe Anti-Theft Bags & Travel Security Products
not side a side bag option but there may be something you can work around.
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  #13  
Old 24 Feb 2011
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Thanks guys!
Whatever I'll end up with, there is another question i have. If I plan to travel through Africa for about 4 to 5 months, how much luggage space should i have? An idea of total volume in liter perhaps? I plan to camp, so I will be taking a tent, sleeping bag, sleeping mat and some camping equipment. Also some spare parts, clothes, ... all the usual things. Not planning to take hitech stuff like laptops.
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Old 25 Feb 2011
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What ever you take much of it you will never need. But you will use all the room you have. Just the way it is.

Some thin many people over look is a tarp and rope cheap small and many uses.

The parts you take will depend on the bike. Last year I wish I had rear brake pads so I will take them next trip. My bike dose not have problems with spark plugs so I skip them I take chain wax but not a spare chain. I go have a few master links and a little bit chain (or I did gave that to some who had more need than me) I have plugs and patches for the tiers.

For a tent I use a 2 man tent now, I have used a 1 man tent but like the room of a 2 man, on long trips in the rain the space is nice. I use a air filled sleeping mat that now has a whole in it I need to fix that. A sleeping bag that is rated for lower temps than I will ride in for long.
Clothes I have 2 sets 1 for riding the other to wash 3 sets of undergarments and 3 pair of socks 1 pair water proof sock, I hate wet feet. All some sort of synthetic, drys fast and packs small. HU sells them go to meeting and buy one there and know all that need and get some good riding kit. It will save you more than spend on it. A liner for the riding jacket and riding pants with liner. 2 sets of gloves one is for cooler days.
Tool kit? Well all that you know how to use. Try taking apart the bike and find out what you need. You will need to remove the tier from the rim and the rim from the bike. My kit did not have all the stuff I need to do that it now dose. Replace the air filter, pull the gas take, replace spark plugs, do a oil and filter change clean and replace gas filters. All of this will need to be done before you go best if you can do if need be. Some things you will want is duct tape, zip ties, a good bit of wire some epoxy filler (comes in a tube and you kneed it together) there are lots of them some like JB weld I have both. Spare bolts and nuts tier pump and patch kit.

If you need Ideas there is some places to look at all the junk you may want to drag around with you.
Gear, Parts & Accessories for Adventure Motorcycle Touring - Touratech-USA
Over 5000 Items In Stock and Ready for Immediate Shipment - Whitehorse Gear
Aerostich/RiderWearHouse Motorcycle Jackets, Suits, Clothing, & Gear :: Aerostich/RiderWearHouse Motorcycle Jackets, Suits, Clothing, & Gear
Camping Gear & Outdoor Gear - Outerwear & Outdoor Clothing from Campmor.com
http://www.rei.com/?s_kwcid=TC|13030|REI||S|e|6846201373&cm_mmc=ps_go ogle_reibrand-_-REI_Brand-_-REI-_-rei&gclid=CJTV-ISkoqcCFUpJ2godtHYtCg
and many more.

Odd things I take
A book on how to fix my bike.
Tripod and camera looking to get laptop.
A bit of food a few days of water never know when you need to stop or just want to.
Some thing to read.
Electrical tester.
Some time I will get a chair to sit in.

Now just dont ask what stove to get people here get funny about it. Any thing that works for you will do.

I use up all my boxes and there 33 and 45L. and a around 30L. in the top box. When I had a smaller soft bags on my bike it was half that I use the area I have.
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  #15  
Old 25 Feb 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zjwannie View Post
Didn't think about plastic luggage actualy. Thought that it would break easily... Pelican cases are an option too...
I had plastic givi boxes on all of my Africa Twins. I dropped the bikes countless times and they never once broke, cracked or deformed. They can take a hell of abuse.

Compared to my uber expensive metal mules which were out of shape after a 2mph sand topple...

I would think its actually harder to break into plastic boxes than aluminium. The plastic flexes where you would use a tool. In the dealership I worked in, we had to break into a set because the owner lost their keys. It wasn't as easy as we expected.

The only thing is, they look look at "cool" and "overland" as the other options...
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