Originally Posted by BcDano
I'm wondering what the weight of your aluminum panniers are loaded up? Love to hear your responses and see if my target of 40 pounds total (including both boxes, liners and gear) is within reason
I think it depends on a lot of factors. The most obvious of which being how much the panniers themselves weigh. But, more importantly, how long you're going to be on the road, what resources are available where you're traveling, and is anyone else going to be with you?
If you're on the road in the US you could ride around for a year always eating out, and not worry about bringing spares of anything but tubes (if you bike needs them), and get away with tire irons and a leatherman for tools, and that'd save a ton of weight.
But, if you're going to be on the road in a country where needing to replace a chain or sprocket is likely and likely to be unavailable, then you're probably going to want to add some extra poundage to your trip. We're planning on doing the Americas soon and we're bringing spare sprockets, water pumps (known to die on F650Gs'), a set of levers, a decent but small toolkit, a chain breaker and some spare links. Your average laptop is another 7+ pounds on top of that. If you're going to be camping and cooking your own meals then you've got the weight (and space) of your "kitchen", plus any food you grab for the evening meal (meat and fruit are mostly water and water isn't light). Oh, and if you're going through the desert you've got the extra water to consider at 8lbs a gallon. While it probably won't be in your panniers it'll be on your back end somewhere...
We know that we'll need new sprockets in 20k+ miles (many off the tarmac), and we don't want to get stuck in the middle of nowhere waiting weeks to get a replacement water pump. With two people we'll be able to spread the load but my panniers still weigh about 40 lbs each (including the 9.5 lbs of aluminum pannier and 7lbs of laptop in one, but not including the kitchen which lives in my girlfriend's panniers).
And, I've been on a long trip before so I know all about not bringing excessive amounts of crap you'll never use. Two sets of clothes made out of thin fast-drying materials, a fleece and thermals, a decent first aid kit, tire repair kit (patches, tubes, BeadBrakr (awesome) CyclePump (better than 4 billion pumps on a hand pump)), tool roll, cold and warm weather gloves, tiny little travel towels, the kitchen (very compact), the laptop, and not a whole lot else. The CyclePump is, I admit, a luxury, but I've done the small hand-pump thing. It gets tiring very fast.
To put it another way. I don't think it really matters what anyone else's panniers weigh, because they're not taking the same trip as you, and their requirements are not yours.
Just focus on taking the minimum you think you can get away with and honestly ask yourself if each item is a "need" or a "want". The only exception i make to that is a real first aid kit, which you'll hopefully never need, but you'll really freaking want if someone (possibly you) takes a fall. Only allow a one or two "wants" and you should be ok.
And, of course, make sure you don't exceed the GVWR for your bike, and take some serious test rides with everything
you'll be carrying before you go out on the real trip.