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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 3 Jan 2013
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Leather Motorcycle panniers... Could they be the best compromise ??

I've been thinking about this..

Leather has got to be the BEST material for making proper travelling panniers out of.

It's fantastically abrasive resistant, can be easily waterproofed, very sturdy; yet flexible enough not to be damaged in a topple or low speed crash. Also very easy to work with and customise etc

Why do all the leather bags available look like 80's harley davidson cast offs and make you look like you just rode away from the Blue Oyster bar ??

Surely someone has to be making some good sturdy overlanding leather bags ???

Or do I have to make them myself ??
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  #2  
Old 3 Jan 2013
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I've been looking for some for leather bags for my Bonneville Ted but haven't seen any I like. I had a Google and there are quite a lot of leather panniers made for cyclists and some great ideas too, here some inspiration Ted



Eurobike Awards 2007 - Top Picks : TreeHugger



I like these ones, there not made from leather but from ' An exclusive waterproof material, as yet unnamed.'





BROOKS ENGLAND LTD. | CYCLE BAGS & ACCOUTREMENTS | JOHN O' GROATS FRONT PANNIER

I do like the idea of roll-top leather panniers
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Old 3 Jan 2013
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Take a look at Hitchcocks website. Admittedly they are orientated towards Enfields, but a bag is a bag.
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Old 4 Jan 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by *Touring Ted* View Post
I've been thinking about this..

Leather has got to be the BEST material for making proper travelling panniers out of.

It's fantastically abrasive resistant, can be easily waterproofed, very sturdy; yet flexible enough not to be damaged in a topple or low speed crash. Also very easy to work with and customise etc

Why do all the leather bags available look like 80's harley davidson cast offs and make you look like you just rode away from the Blue Oyster bar ??

It's the waterproof bit that's always put me off. Showerproof ok, but day long rain and then left outside on the bike overnight just turns anything leather I've ever owned into a slimy mess. I'm not sure I want to have to apply tlc in the shape of oil or wax or anything else to a set of panniers everytime a cloud appears in the sky.

Many years ago I bought a set of "semi soft" panniers from a company that made the same design in both leather and fake leather (some sort of vinyl), the leather ones being, not surprisingly, a lot more expensive. Naturally I bought the cheap ones and I've used them on and off ever since on various bikes. This year they're being pressed into service for my Elephant Rally trip (pic below) and they're still functional. When I dug them out from the back of the garage a few months ago I did wonder whether the leather ones would have survived as well.

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Old 4 Jan 2013
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Originally Posted by oldbmw View Post
Take a look at Hitchcocks website. Admittedly they are orientated towards Enfields, but a bag is a bag.
Thanks.... Still very 'briefcase and box like. I'm thinking something a lot bigger and 'overlandy'

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Originally Posted by backofbeyond View Post
It's the waterproof bit that's always put me off. Showerproof ok, but day long rain and then left outside on the bike overnight just turns anything leather I've ever owned into a slimy mess. I'm not sure I want to have to apply tlc in the shape of oil or wax or anything else to a set of panniers everytime a cloud appears in the sky.
You know, if you waterproof leather PROPERLY. It should stay waterproof for a good long while. My leather boots don't absorb water and leak. Nor do a lot of quality leather goods. I don't know of any soft luggage which is waterproof without a fragile internal membrane or an outer cover.

However. A waterproof cover for pre-longed downpours would be a good idea, as you say...


I used British army canvas bags on my Uk-Capetown and they were FANTASTIC. However, they were like a teabag and I think leather would last a lot longer and offer more 'shape' to make packing/unpacking easier.

I'm not talking about cheap, thin leather. I'm talking about 3mm tanned hide.

I'd really like to make some.. I think the leather would cost about £150 though.

The only QUALITY leather ones I can find are £300+ and look like Freddy Mercury's Underpants.
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Old 4 Jan 2013
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From my time in the Danish army , where we drove Bmw r65gs's with leather bags. I remember that the bags was always a slimmy stinky mess, that to ages to dry. Fungus would grow on them after a couple of days in the mud. We tried everything to water proff them, but without luck. But i must say that they was absolute indestructable. I'm 100% cured regarding the use of leather in wet conditions. :-)
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Old 4 Jan 2013
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Before I found those old panniers lying around I was going to buy some ex French army bags that looked like they were made from some sort of waxed cotton but the guy on Aylesbury market that was selling them wanted a bit more than I was willing to take a chance on. On the face of it though they looked like a good compromise between leaky canvas and soggy leather. Maybe I'll look at them again based on my Elephant experience.

There's a little one man artisan shop just up the road from me that'll make or repair anything in leather. Next time I'm passing I'll pop in and see what he would charge to make a bag. Do you have any idea what your dream bag should look like? Capacity? Fixings?
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Old 4 Jan 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by backofbeyond View Post
Before I found those old panniers lying around I was going to buy some ex French army bags that looked like they were made from some sort of waxed cotton but the guy on Aylesbury market that was selling them wanted a bit more than I was willing to take a chance on. On the face of it though they looked like a good compromise between leaky canvas and soggy leather. Maybe I'll look at them again based on my Elephant experience.

There's a little one man artisan shop just up the road from me that'll make or repair anything in leather. Next time I'm passing I'll pop in and see what he would charge to make a bag. Do you have any idea what your dream bag should look like? Capacity? Fixings?
I think I'm going to make one myself. I've started doing a bit of leatherwork lately.

I think I've like to remake my canvas bags in leather...

http://www.silvermans.co.uk/LargeIma...es/54013-1.jpg
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How about using the leather for structure/crash protection but deliberately not trying to make it waterproof and using waterproof inner bags. That way you don't have to worry about waterproofing the leather bag, just treating the leather to stop it going mushy.
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Old 5 Jan 2013
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How about using the leather for structure/crash protection but deliberately not trying to make it waterproof and using waterproof inner bags. That way you don't have to worry about waterproofing the leather bag, just treating the leather to stop it going mushy.
That's the best thing about leather. I reckon it will be easy to integrate some kind of replaceable waterproof inner liner. So many fixings are available.
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Old 5 Jan 2013
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Ted maybe you need to think laterally.

This bag looks like it could be made in leather and from the looks of it, you can step off the bike and just roll off.
If it rains the pillion can just lift it above your heads.

A couple of genius's no doubt took seconds to come up with this idea.
But just work on the misses grip strength before you leave.

cheers,

Jimmy
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Old 5 Jan 2013
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Originally Posted by realmc26 View Post
Ted maybe you need to think laterally.

This bag looks like it could be made in leather and from the looks of it, you can step off the bike and just roll off.
If it rains the pillion can just lift it above your heads.

A couple of genius's no doubt took seconds to come up with this idea.
But just work on the misses grip strength before you leave.

cheers,

Jimmy
hahahah brilliant......
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An old job of mine was at a place that had a UV lamp set up to sterilise samples. The lab tech used to load his leather horse gear in a few times a year. Claimed killing everything that eats damp cow hide made it easier to live with.

Andy
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