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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 29 Apr 2004
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How much does your luggage weigh?

Hi guys, I've seen tons of pictures of the BMWs loaded to the gunnels so I'm wondering about the weight. Are you guys carrying close to 200 pounds including the gear, boxes and mounts? Even with a topbox you're only got 3 mounting points right per side right?

I'm trying to figure out what's reasonable for a bike to be able to handle. It's just a Suzuki GS400 with rear shocks off of a 1200 CC Harley (Showa shocks, not Harley brand! ) and I'm hoping to carry about 140 pounds of luggage with 70 pounds being the boxes and racks, or perhaps 150 with 80 pound boxes. I know the boxes are super heavy but for 60 bucks it's what I can afford and suspension parts/welding are cheaper than Jesse's.

Any ideas or data would be much appreciated.

Cheers, Steve
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  #2  
Old 29 Apr 2004
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I transfered your query over here - as it is not about BMW's specifically and deserves the attention of the larger group.

For my two cents worth:
Part of the formula is your own weight, of course but if your total luggage weight is 150 pounds that does not seem excessive (provided there is no passenger, which you didn't mention) even for a smaller bike. It largely depends on how you mount it all. A friend and I toured the Baja with home made luggage and racks - his bike was similar to yours (a '78 Yamaha XS400) although I doubt we had more then 100 pounds each. Still, give the fact that his shocks were completely gone, the bike held up well. It sounds like the boxes you have in mind are solid (military/ amo boxes per chance?) so it will all come down to the rack and mounting system. Keep the weight as far forward as you can, as tight to the bike as possible, and as low as you can without compromising clearence. Aside from that somewhat vague advise, a triangle brace running from somewhere by the rear swingarm up to the rear of the subframe/ rack really helps to carry the weight and support the subframe - which is notoriously weak on most bikes.
Your question about BMW's is interesting, as I recall that my R100GS owners manual stated that a maximum of 30 pounds per side was admissable in the stock bags! If you search the BMW section you will see lots of reference to strengthening the frame/ racks. This is a problem common to most overland bikes.
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  #3  
Old 29 Apr 2004
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You guessed it, they are boxes for carrying 155 mm Howitzer charge bags. These things are only 7" wide so I'm very happy to hear that my weight goal isn't unreasonable. The racks will only be 2" off the side of the bike so I'll only be adding 18" to the 14" rear end. I won't be carrying a passenger and it won't be possible to either since these boxes are too tall (20") and long (24"). I'll be sure to mount my 14 pounds of tools up front somehow to work as ballast so I don't forsee using all of the space unless I decide to bring a pillow or two.

The only reason I posted the question in the BMW section was because of how loaded I saw these bikes. It's like carrying 3 or more people when you have two panniers, a top box, tank bag, and a spare set of tires up front. I can't believe the BMW does that with a monoshock so the shock must be stronger than people say (or think)... I'll have to update the front springs on my bike since she bucks and heaves with two people on her (before changing the rear springs) but I think she can take it!

I'm still curious to hear kind of weight others laden their bikes with.

My plan is to have side mounts made like the www.nohorizons.net guy. I'm unsure of the box to frame latch at this point as I don't think his will last a day to be honest.

Cheers, Steve

ps. Just talked to a guy bought the BMW luggage for his Funduro F650 and 4 days later he was already returning a box which fell apart from vibes. 400 bucks Canadian per box! ahhhh
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Old 29 Apr 2004
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Two sets riding gear..sumer/winter..tools, spares, tent, sleeping bag, books, two tyres, two cameras, film...up to 30 rolls in the bags at any one time, stove, fuel, cup, vodka, cheese, coffee, coffee maker etc etc. I hate to admit it..but if I could strap it on I took it...then I added my wife and her stuff....it was very well thought out....bungees are great!

How many pounds in a kilo?

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Old 29 Apr 2004
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2.2lbs = 1 kilo.
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Old 29 Apr 2004
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I had to overload the panniers on my airhead GS last year. I was more concerned with the pannier to pannier frame mountings failing than the frames breaking off the bike. To prevent this, I put a ratchet strap vertically around the panniers to hold it tight to the mounting frame. It worked well & also provided a strap in case the ferry company only had rope for tying the bike down.

Steve
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Old 30 Apr 2004
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Let me ask this question...how much more gear will one need for a long extended tour versus a two week trip?

I estimate I had about 60-75 lbs max on my two week Baja trip and I probably could have saved some additional weight if I wanted to. I had camping gear (tent, sleeping bag & pad), but no cooking gear or spare tires. I used the stock BMW bags on my K75s with a medium Ortlieb dry bag on my passenger seat.

It seems like 150 lbs of gear for one person is way too much to take, even for a long extended trip. Or maybe I am missing something here?

-Dave
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Old 30 Apr 2004
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On a long tour you get -

Snow and ice and rain ... so you need warm gear.

Hot and humid ... so you need gear that breaths well.

In the remoter parts of the world you have to take drinking water, food and cooking gear.

On my last long trip I had over 50 litres of fuel 10 litres of water food for 4 days, cooking and camping gear... clothing? What clothing? :P
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Old 2 May 2004
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I won't actually be taking 150 pounds of stuff, half of that weight will be the boxes and racks.

I just did a 1000 km trip with about 100 pounds of extra stuff on my bike and it still bottoms out on the lowest shock preload setting. I also found out that the 400 is a pig on gas with a heavy load when travelling at 100 km/hr or more so I have some thinking to do, I was using 7-8 litres/100 km with ambient temperature between 5 and 20 Celcius. I've got a Suzuki GS1100E but I'm not certain that I can afford to insure it but if I can what I'd save on gas would cover any upgrading I need to do on it.

Steve
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Old 4 May 2004
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Just an idea - why not sell both the 400 and the 1100 and buy something in between, like a big single (KLR, XT) or 'standard' (nighthawk, GS750, etc.). Something that will carry the weight, get reasonable gas milage, not be to heavy, and require less modification? How long are you going for? My guess is, if you are going to alot of trouble to modify a bike, it is better to start with as close to the right ride as possible. I would suspect that you could sell one or both of your existing bikes and be cost even on this one.
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Old 5 May 2004
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Hi Steven, For two people RTW one year on a 1984 R80RT BMW we carried exactly 70 pounds of gear in three aluminum boxes. Twenty pounds per pannier and thirty in the top box. That was the personal luggage limit when we flew between continents.

You don't want to be paying $5 a kilo extra to fly your stuff with the bike if you can avoid it...
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Old 21 Jun 2004
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I've been adding my stuff up roughtly from memory it is about ...
10 kgs camping gear - mainly tent 3, sleeping bag 2
10 kg water (when unreliable)
5 kg clothing
3 kg food
2 kg Cooking gear
1 kg personal washing/shit kit

I'm going to have to look at the camping gear ... it is a large proportion of the weight. I have not yet weighted the tools and spares for the bike...

[This message has been edited by Frank Warner (edited 21 June 2004).]
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  #13  
Old 11 Dec 2004
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I use soft throwover saddlebags. They are light and expand when needed. A big duffel bag goes on top (on my backseat) tent, sleeping bag and soft stuff. Makes a great backrest!! My own weight keeps things stable and it takes 15 seconds to take the duffle bag out (is secured with 2 small bungee ropes) and swing the saddle bags over my shoulder. Everything is made from mountain gear material so is very light, waterproof and durable. Will probably not withstand a long slip, but I only like to fall when totally drunk and street racing with a Hells Angels group (Mendoza, argentina!!)
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