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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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  #31  
Old 1 Feb 2008
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Im using mules on my XT600E in South America at the moment and I have given them a PROPER test involving high and low speed crashes and small drops and spills on a regular basis

Now I love the mules. They are thick, strong with decent locks and great workmanship...The fitting system is fast and strong too.

BUT....I have discovered a couple of negatives due to some small drops and the odd crash.. This may not be a problem for the fancy BMW´s outside the pub, but when overlanding, its a big deal...

The mules fitting system is ingenious and quick but also very intricate and complicated when things go wrong. When you crash or drop the bike, the fittings rip out of the box, break easily and twist etc. This makes it VERY hard to get them straight again and difficult to align the fittings to the frame in order to secure the box. The way the box is locked to the frame requires the whole system to be operating perfectly without dints and bends... ratchet straps ARE required if you do any damage to the locking system. (although true with many systems in fairness)

I also find the boxes TOO strong. As in impossible to straighten after a crash. They are soo thick and well made that I cant get mine straight again after a small spill. I have been literally jumping and boucing on them to get them straight will no luck..

The possitive side is that they are rivitted so that i can drill all the riveits out, knock the panels straight individually and then rivet them back together. Time consuming and specialst tools required but at least doable. A welded system would be more hassel.

Im by no means slagging them off, I just like to offer a fair perspective relavent to my experiences.

To summerise... The boxes are fantastic but the fitting mechanism needs to be more robust.

Metal mule customer service is by far the best though. They will help you whereever they can.
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  #32  
Old 5 Feb 2008
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In my light use so far, the TT's have seemed fairly capable, I particularly like the mounting systems' simplicity. My bike hasn't been droppped (yet) though, so who knows how well they'll stand up to that. If I take them RTW, I'll be able to answer that question before we reach Calais, so I'll get back to you on that one!

BUT - one thing really grips my s**t. They are an absolute pain to lug around when full, because there is no central handle anywhere, the only ways to carry them are by the bottom in a 'baby carry' or by the bungee points. Obviously neither is very easy, a central handle would make things a lot easier. I believe MMs have them.

I'm still not one hundred percent convinced I'll take the TTs, that's why I'm testing them around the UK, before I get half a continent away, then find out I don't like them!

Happy Riding

Joel
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  #33  
Old 5 Feb 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Birdy View Post

BUT - one thing really grips my s**t. They are an absolute pain to lug around when full, because there is no central handle anywhere, the only ways to carry them are by the bottom in a 'baby carry' or by the bungee points. Obviously neither is very easy, a central handle would make things a lot easier. I believe MMs have them.

Joel
Give Metal Mule a call. They have an optional extra on theres of side carrying handles. These are sprung so they sit flat when riding. They are simply rivited on.. Very easy, very strong, very useful.

Im almost certain they will send you some for a few quid..
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  #34  
Old 5 Feb 2008
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We've got the side handles on our MM's. Worth their weight in gold and very strong. Go for all the optional extras you can on the MM's including rubber feet.
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  #35  
Old 5 Feb 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Birdy View Post
In my light use so far, the TT's have seemed fairly capable, I particularly like the mounting systems' simplicity. My bike hasn't been droppped (yet) though, so who knows how well they'll stand up to that. If I take them RTW, I'll be able to answer that question before we reach Calais, so I'll get back to you on that one!

BUT - one thing really grips my s**t. They are an absolute pain to lug around when full, because there is no central handle anywhere, ....

Joel
So far my TT's have taken a fair amount of battering and survived several drops at various speeds, mainly on dirtroads. And my old beemer is quite heavy to that. But they're still ok except for a small leak which I stuffed with silicon.

For safety reasons I always secure them additionally with a strap, which I use instead of the central handle by threading the straps through the metal loops on the lid.

The mounting system is robust and plain forward, BUT after thousands of kms the bolts oxidise and it's a pain in the bum to get the panniers fitting tightly aginst the rack. This is where I envy the MM guys.

Hans
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  #36  
Old 5 Feb 2008
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Im thinking of changing the fitting system on my MM´s.

As I undertand, the metal mules rack uses the ovals from Touratech. Meaning, metal mules should fit a touratech rack so a metal mule rack should accomodate touratech fitting system...

Sooo, im considering using the touratech fitting system on my metal mules and abondoning the Metal Mule system.. It seems much stronger and simple meaning it can be bent and battered back into shape if required.

The MM system, fast and ingenious as it is, is far too fragile and complicated for serious overlanding if (or should I say WHEN) topples occur...

P.S Obviously this is just MY opionion.
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  #37  
Old 5 Feb 2008
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Has anyone used the Hepco alu panniers? I've seen the eailer post about the frame not fitting a XT (?) but nothing about the panniers themselves

I saw some at the bike show on the weekend and they seem quite solid i laid them on the side and took the lid off and stood on them ( with the rep watching) and they were solid as a rock. The rep said the only weak point is the lock mech that holds it on to the rack. In a bad crash at the most it would pop the pannier off and maybe break the lock mech. which he recomended taking a spare (they just revit back on. light small and cheap of couse who carries a revit gun?!) doesn't sound too bad??
I would think that if was any more solid you'd be damaging the frame and the bike frame??
The pannier it self seemed very good though, and a lot cheaper than the MM which yes you get what you pay for but if you can't afford it you can't afford it. And there seamed to be a lot of Hepco racks on ebay etc ( as i understand it the rack is the same for the plastic boxes etc)

so perhaps a good low cost option?
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  #38  
Old 6 Feb 2008
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BMW Pannier

Hi,

Have you tested the BMW panniers. Those come in option with the 12 GSA ?

Damien
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  #39  
Old 6 Feb 2008
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'Give Metal Mule a call. They have an optional extra on theres of side carrying handles. These are sprung so they sit flat when riding. They are simply rivited on.. Very easy, very strong, very useful.'

Thanks for that. I had a look at their site, and they look good - but after looking, I was thinking rather than pay through the nose, I might try and fabricate some of my own, doesn't seem too hard. *Joel touches wood*

'For safety reasons I always secure them additionally with a strap, which I use instead of the central handle by threading the straps through the metal loops on the lid.'

Good advice - if I take the TTs I will do this. Also a cheap ingenious way of carrying them. A 2 quid ratchet strap seems like a good investment to both stop your pants being strewn down the piste, and allow an easy carry.

I am that cool that I've been carrying my adventure kit at all times with me in the UK to test the luggage system and get used to the weight. I am even so cool that after a while testing this, I am going to try throwovers and see how I get on with them. I am such a hardcore Rock and Roll adventurer. I bet Jim Morrison and Bob Fulton Jnr are looking down on me with envy.

Happy Riding

Joel
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  #40  
Old 6 Feb 2008
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Opinions opinions!

Is it just me, or do most people seem to be ofering opinions on panniers whilst only having experienced one brand? Just to offer my experiences, between us my wife and I have zega boxes and offtheroad boxes (similar to Daerr boxes). They have done approx 45000 miles of tough going each. The zegas do not leak, are not coming apart and still do the job-as are the others which were a lot cheaper. They have been underneath the bike as stands, and underneath the bike in unplanned get offs. My offtheroad boxes have nice carrying handles and robust quick release system and cost me 499 euros for two boxes, mounts, rack and rear carrier rack in 20mm tube with solid rear crossbrace (I think the only reason they are remove able on other brands is for ease of shipping).
I am not saying that metal mules are not the best, but who is to say that any pannier will stand up to some of the crashes described in this forum.
Friends of mine have pelican cases, strong and waterproof, but hard to pack and heavy.
Other people I have met on my travels had the BMW alloy looking adventure cases and summed them up to me in one word, "Crap". Apparently the hinges snap first, closely followed by everthing else.
In conclusion, go with you gut feeling and your wallet, and try not to crash!
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  #41  
Old 17 Feb 2008
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Metal mule's website

Is it just me?, I've been trying to order off MM's website, tried several times over the past few weeks, can't access their price list, and get a string of errors in their order process.
Yes, I know most people will say 'phone them', but their website is the first contact point for most people, and I'm getting no reply to email either. Doesn't inspire confidence....
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  #42  
Old 17 Feb 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Holland View Post
Is it just me?, I've been trying to order off MM's website, tried several times over the past few weeks, can't access their price list, and get a string of errors in their order process.
Yes, I know most people will say 'phone them', but their website is the first contact point for most people, and I'm getting no reply to email either. Doesn't inspire confidence....
Not just you Bill,
I had some problems ordering some spares, the site ran very slowly, some pages did not work.

I never followed it up as it was not impotant.

Try emailing them, service levels are pretty good, as is the product.

Steve
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  #43  
Old 17 Feb 2008
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TT mounts

Quote:
Originally Posted by tedmagnum View Post
Im thinking of changing the fitting system on my MM´s.
...
Sooo, im considering using the touratech fitting system on my metal mules and abondoning the Metal Mule system.. It seems much stronger and simple meaning it can be bent and battered back into shape if required.

The MM system, fast and ingenious as it is, is far too fragile and complicated for serious overlanding if (or should I say WHEN) topples occur...

Ted-

another point to consider when using the TT fitting system: For safety reasons you should strengthen the fixture with an additional alloy plate insite the box. Something similar to this: Touratech UK Webshop

But the price is a rip off :-( So just make your own.

Hans
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  #44  
Old 17 Feb 2008
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Metal Mule Destruction Test

I've just got back from a trip UK 2 South Africa and I honestly have tested my MULES to destruction! I crashed numerous times in sand, tarmac and mud incl a fast sand crash that popped the left mule off it's rack and bent the pannier badly off-square. I just adjusted the grabmechanism and it went back on securely.

I also crashed in Angola, twice heavily and one of those involved a collision with a scooter out on the piste. Both times the same mule got ripped off and both times it could be reattached without extra bits or welding.

The rack is another story. The R&D on the racks varies enormously between say a BMW and Africa Twin. The quality is the same good standard but the position of the transverse support that goes around the rear wheel is different and can compromise the strength of the rack. Mine broke and I can clearly see why from what is being asked of the Africa Twin one.

ANSWER: Yes, I would buy METAL MULE again. The panniers are brilliant. The attachment system is EXCELLENT. The rack varies but just looking at it tells me how I can strengthen mine for my next trip - I'll keep it.
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  #45  
Old 19 Feb 2008
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Has anyone tried the KTM boxes?

The KTM alu boxes (KTM KOFFERTRÄGERSYSTEM) look good in the catalogue, but no-one on here seems to mention them - has anyone tried them, and if so, are they any good?
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