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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 Sep 2007
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metal panniers v/s soft panniers

hi everybody, Im still planing my pan-american trip (starts on march 2008).

I don't have much money so I've thinking on a hand made metalic panniers (probably of inox steel) or a couple of denier soft saddlebags of ebay.

you guys have so much experience than me... can you please help me to make the better election? thanks!!!
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Old 3 Sep 2007
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There are alot more people out there with alot more experience than me - however ....
I'd go for metal rather than fabric saddlebags as they are mure durable and can be locked. If you do metal then obviously the lighter the better. I don't know what inox steel is - but it sounds heavy!
Also, metal boxes should be more waterproof (if properly designed/made) and you can use them as seats, bike props etc.
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Old 3 Sep 2007
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thanks mermaid. I don't think that the heavy weight of the inox steel panniers. I will try to find a "hospital" kind of inox steel.

I'm worried about the noises product of vibrations. I can't use a "branded" kind of pieces to fix the panniers, like touratech for example, so may be a cheaper solucion will be a problematic noise making machine
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Old 3 Sep 2007
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Am I right in thinking that inox steel is the same as stainless steel? If that is the case you might end up with rather heavy panniers. You would probably be better off finding someone who can make up some aluminium panniers for you.
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Old 3 Sep 2007
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aluminum here in chile is very expensive. yes, Im talking about stainless steel, but I don't know... I don't think that will weight to much, imagine those liver shaped hospital recipients... you can make an a idea...
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Old 3 Sep 2007
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Pros for soft bags are they are safer if you drop your bike (and get your boot stuck under them eg.) and they are cheaper. And some are really robust & durable.

Cons are they can be slit open easily and they offer less volume.

I prefer alu panniers for the above mentioned reasons. You get them in 1,5 and 2mm strength. And IMO even the 2mm alu is alot lighter than 1mm stainless steel.
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Old 3 Sep 2007
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Density matters

For what it is worth in this discussion, steel is about 2.8 times more dense than various Aluminium alloys.

Therefore, panniers made of 2.8mm thick Al would weigh the same as stainless steel panniers at 1mm thick, all other factors being equal (fixings, size etc).
Put another way, panniers of 1mm stainless would be quite a bit heavier than the 2mm Al panniers and about twice as heavy as the 1.5mm variety.

BTW, there are many different types of stainless steel and some are corroded by chlorine, as found in salt!

Magnesium alloy is the way to go!! (not really, it is easy to damage but oh, so light!).
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Last edited by Walkabout; 3 Sep 2007 at 17:07. Reason: Better calculator!
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  #8  
Old 10 Sep 2007
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naysayers

hey zaplaje,

if you ride aggressively when you're off-road, you should probably use saddlebags. if your bike isn't already heavy, saddlebags are also better.

i don't have much money, either. i used cheap army surplus bags from new jersey to colombia. they weren't very big or waterproof, but they worked. while i was teaching english in Tunja, Colombia, i had these metal boxes made:

FOTOS: las cajas amarillos de dunkee, hecho en Tunja, Colombia

touratech's aluminum boxes cost more than my bike. these boxes (including the rack) cost less than $300 USD to fabricate. steel boxes are fine, i think, as long as you don't make them too big. and they can be repaired (riveted or welded) almost anywhere, if necessary.
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Old 10 Sep 2007
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I would not use stainless steel , it is expensive and harder to weld / repair than mild steel .
If you want metal panniers use mild steel if you can't afford aluminium .
You should be able to have them fabricated locally for a reasonable price .
Make some out of cardboard first to your own personal design , try and avoid sharp corners [they can break your leg] , check out the Jesse design it has 45degree corners that make the pannier stronger and will help avoid injury to you .
Don't make them too big .
Use square tubing for the pannier frame ,it's very easy to work with .

Metal panniers will give security but if you are not worried about theft ,them go for soft bags .
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  #10  
Old 10 Sep 2007
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I heard a lot in favour of soft bags and would be tempted to try some, esp. regarding the weight (my Tesch (aluminium) boxes rack weigh more than 20 kg alltogether).

The one thing is: I can lock my boxes and leave a lot of my luggage on the bike instead of carrying it around all the time and worrying about safety.

I think I would simply be too lazy to use soft bags (especially since I already got my aluminium boxes, of course)

Lars
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  #11  
Old 10 Sep 2007
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one idea....

Stainless steel is a bitch to weld indeed! Mild steel painted with red oxide lasts well, has a good home-made, i.e. cheap look to it and easily repaired.

Some great panniers I have seen were large metal jerry cans, cut the top off, weld a lip around the inside of the lower part so the top part fits over, cheap rubber door type seal and some latches and padlocks. Strong, waterproof, dentable without splitting and looked great!!

I will be going for soft bags on my next trip but we will have a 4x4 with us to take valuables/electrics, the required guide in places, and extra fuel..... I know, I know - 4x4 'support' is a cop out etc....but god will it make life easy, and therefore we will be able to fill the gap in the comfort zone with some fiercer riding!
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Old 12 Sep 2007
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panniers

I made these out of 16mm mild steel tube £9 for 6 meters,and two ammo boxes of ebay for £2.50 + postage.
Sorry but the picture file for the ammo boxes is too big but the sizes are 44cm x35cm x20cm ,they look about 30 - 35 liters,used them at the XRV National last weekend they were great.
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  #13  
Old 13 Sep 2007
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thanks to all for the tips.
I don't know yet what kind of material I will use... now i'm thinking on plastic.

I will tell you when I'll decide
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  #14  
Old 13 Sep 2007
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Done the hard case and now doing the soft. I love the soft 'Andyz bagz' water proof and tough. Can be locked with the use of steel netting covers made or bought at camping stores. The thing about hard cases is your always needing repairs, especially if u do off road stuff, u will drop the bike at some stage, and if u dont damage the hard case, youll do the racking, if not that youll do an ankel. Soft bags like Andys are real tough, im using them on my Africa trip now. For possible repairs i carry a stitching needle set bought at horse/saddle shops. Ive layed my bike down several times with no damage to soft bags. Each time u lay down hard cases it weakens/damages the case, locks, water proofing etc. All the best in what u do. Brian B
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  #15  
Old 14 Sep 2007
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My opinion is...

Hard bags can be dangerous off road.
Hard bags and their supporting system, as mentioned above, can get beat and mashed to hell.
Hard bags provide a false sense of security - again, just my opnion.
Hard Bags are relatively heavy compared to soft bags.
Hard bags are relatively expensive compared to soft bags.
Hard bags are harder to carry/handle than soft bags.
Hard bags can beat your junk into submission if not packed tightly.
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