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  #16  
Old 23 Feb 2010
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Like Mickey says.. Most people start off with hard boxes as it is copycat ! I did it... Expensive lesson. All the magazines, books, catalogues and loads of people on the hubb seems to tell you to buy them.

But what I found is all the people who told me "YOU MUST HAVE HARD ALU BOXES" had never travelled offroad or even out of western Europe. Of course, thats not true of everyone but you get my point.

It's very hard to guage good advice on the Hubb. It is all very well meant but very difficult to judge opinions. I think (and again just my opinion) that you can only listen to people who have actually been there, done that and got the broken expensive boxes (I mean Tshirt).

I used to recommend my Metal mules to anyone that would listen. That was before I actually really knew what it was like to drag them through sand or gravel roads or to try and bend them back to shape so they would close again. (IMPOSSIBLE)

A great deal of people who have travelled with big heavy metal boxes swear that the first thing they will do when they get the chance, is swap to a lighter, softer luggage system.

I think the biggest consideration is the road conditions. If you're riding tarmac or very easy trails then ANYTHING will work and it's not really a problem.

If you are really considering daring or challenging offroad where there is a high chance of multiple drops and tumbles, then IMO you'd be mad to have anything but the lightest, most flexible and easiest to repair luggage. And that means softbags.

I dont think people really realise just how big, wide, heavy and cumbersome these aluminium boxes are until they fit them, load them and then go for a test ride.. "HOLEY F**K" is the usual response !!

Back to the point.... They are big heavy sharp metal things and they can and do fall on you in tumbles. I was trapped under my bike on the Ruta 40 by mine and I do believe that the only thing that saved a break was my massive Alpinestars Tech 10 boots.

Whatever you do.. BUY BIG PROTECTIVE MX BOOTS if you're offroading at all.
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  #17  
Old 23 Feb 2010
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For some reason. that might have to do with documentation, it looks like someone is trying to remove the focus from the original topic and instead declare that boxes are for the people who never travel far or "real" offroad.
If you check the background of people posting here I would say it proves the opposite. You can also take a look on the HU-calendar.

What about the owner of this bike:



He traveled with the G/S for 400.000 km and he went places nowhere else has gone (like Darien Gap). And the funny thing is that he still uses boxes. Conservative? No I don't think so he has used FI-bikes for almost 10 years and now I think he drives a HP2 (with boxes).

Yes, I'm pro boxes but will probably buy something soft for shorter rides.
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  #18  
Old 23 Feb 2010
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HI Ted

Quote:
Originally Posted by tedmagnum View Post
It's very hard to guage good advice on the Hubb. It is all very well meant but very difficult to judge opinions. I think (and again just my opinion) that you can only listen to people who have actually been there, done that and got the broken expensive boxes (I mean Tshirt).
I would have to disagree. As a source for information in English on bike travel there's no site better, IMHO. On every forum there are the travel-newbies, bullsh*tters and Touratwat types who think bling is alli king. It's not hard at all to suss out if they have been around and about in the world and what luggage they used.

IMHO Alli boxes are more dangerous for your legs/ankles. Despite this, if you go to a German bike travellers meet (our teutonic friends have been going RTW while we were in nappies and there's a lot more of them) like the Tesch Treffen or Gieboldehausen, most bikes, especially the travel scarred ones, have (scarred) alli boxes. Lots of Germans like it hard.

FWIW, for proper off-road I ride a 400cc single with soft and light luggage, for touring I've got an A/T with alli boxes. If I only had 1 travel bike, it'd be a 600 or 650cc single with soft bags.

Soft luggage technology has moved on a lot. It's now very sturdy and waterproof. In the past It may not have been.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tedmagnum View Post
Whatever you do.. BUY BIG PROTECTIVE MX BOOTS if you're offroading at all.
I agree 100%. Also for onroad/easy gravel. Also for commuting. A couple of years ago a car tosser shunted me from the side. My Transalp became an accessory on his front bumper. The left footpeg and rack were attached to his car. My MX boot saved my left ankle from much worse damage.


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  #19  
Old 23 Feb 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chris View Post
HI Ted



I would have to disagree. As a source for information in English on bike travel there's no site better, IMHO. On every forum there are the travel-newbies, bullsh*tters and Touratwat types who think bling is alli king. It's not hard at all to suss out if they have been around and about in the world and what luggage they used.

IMHO Alli boxes are more dangerous for your legs/ankles. Despite this, if you go to a German bike travellers meet (our teutonic friends have been going RTW while we were in nappies and there's a lot more of them) like the Tesch Treffen or Gieboldehausen, most bikes, especially the travel scarred ones, have (scarred) alli boxes. Lots of Germans like it hard.

FWIW, for proper off-road I ride a 400cc single with soft and light luggage, for touring I've got an A/T with alli boxes. If I only had 1 travel bike, it'd be a 600 or 650cc single with soft bags.

Soft luggage technology has moved on a lot. It's now very sturdy and waterproof. In the past It may not have been.



I agree 100%. Also for onroad/easy gravel. Also for commuting. A couple of years ago a car tosser shunted me from the side. My Transalp became an accessory on his front bumper. The left footpeg and rack were attached to his car. My MX boot saved my left ankle from much worse damage.


Hang loose
Chris
I meant that it's hard to know what to do.. So many contrasting opinions ! For a newbie, its a mine field....

An experienced traveller/rider like yourself can smell the "doo doo" . When i started out, I was sucked into people telling me this and that and it was mostly just a waste of money and "bling".

I guess It always goes back to "whatever works for you" ! I suppose all one can do is learn through personal experience.


I actually have the same "fleet as you". DRZ400S for trail/offroad trips and an Africa twin with hard givi luggage !!

And yeah.. If I could have ONE bike it would probably be a DR650 or TTR600RE with soft bags
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  #20  
Old 24 Feb 2010
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I won't repeat my experiance and changed view. They are earlier in this thread, and elsewhere.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tedmagnum View Post
For a newbie, its a mine field....
Another thought for a newbie - why not try the cheaper sytem first (£100 or so). Then, if not happy with them, write a cheque for 10 to 15 times as much.
Far cheaper than learning the other way round, which most (including me) seem intent on doing.
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  #21  
Old 24 Feb 2010
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I never meant his thread to be for or against any type of luggage, as this type of discussion leads nowhere.
I wanted experience good or bad with both types and arguments for and against, so I can make my own decision according to my own needs and I think I am getting that ( with a few detours )

I started this thread after reading a travel report where a guy caught his foot on a roadside rock and the hardcase broke his ankle.

One of my highest priorities, as I travel mostly alone, is selfsustainability, which to me means a light machine and light and easily removable luggage.

A horror scenario for me, would be to lie under a heavily loaded BMW in the middle of Mongolia , having to wait for someone to free me (sounds familiar?)

I am also contemplating ways of rounding/protecting edges of the case and maybe have release mechanism á la a ski release, maybe adjustable.
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  #22  
Old 24 Feb 2010
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I think it's important to keep things in perspective .

[From their Blogs or diaries ]

Tedmagnum smashed his panniers to pieces riding fast on a gravel road that suddenly turned to sand .Using road biased tyres .

Ted Simon broke his leg against a pannier ,in a fall whilst riding a muddy road also on road biased tyres .

You could therefore conclude that the tyres were also to blame.
Or perhaps people called Ted are predisposed to aluminium pannier accidents .

Hard panniers aren't the only part of a bike that can cause injury ,motorcycling is a risky business at the best of times .
I've had my leg trapped under a bike that had no panniers ,big deal !

There are cheap strong aluminum panniers that cost about the same as a set of premium quality soft bags ,so you don't have to spend a fortune on either kind .

Tedmagnum summed it up very well , wear strong boots !
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  #23  
Old 24 Feb 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dodger View Post
I think it's important to keep things in perspective .

[From their Blogs or diaries ]

Tedmagnum smashed his panniers to pieces riding fast on a gravel road that suddenly turned to sand .Using road biased tyres .
That was just one of the occassions. I crashed using Karoo's too !

Although, my rediculously overloaded, unbalanced bike didnt help with the handling.

I'm not saying that the boxes made me crash, although I do think the weight of the boxes certainly contribute to handling problems. The handling of my bike improved dramatically after ditching the weight (ie the boxes)

To get back to to the point of the thread. Yes, I was stuck under my bike by my box which was only protected by my massive boots. I had to wiggle my way free with difficulty. If it wasnt for my Tech 10 boots, my ankle and shin were sure to be badly injured. I don't think I could of wiggled free with a broken ankle.

Just to stir the pot, I know a Canadian guy who got wedged between a truck and a cliff my his metal boxes. Whilse overtaking, the truck moved in a little and he got stuck between them.

He said he would of made it if his bike was 1" slimmer lol. Also, his ankles were crushed as the box's folded in on him like a mousetrap.

He was wearing walking boots and enjoyed 2 months in a Colombian hospital as a result. He now wears big MX boots and has a slimmer, box free bike !
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  #24  
Old 24 Feb 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tedmagnum View Post

Just to stir the pot, I know a Canadian guy who got wedged between a truck and a cliff my his metal boxes. Whilse overtaking, the truck moved in a little and he got stuck between them.

He said he would of made it if his bike was 1" slimmer lol. Also, his ankles were crushed as the box's folded in on him like a mousetrap.

He was wearing walking boots and enjoyed 2 months in a Colombian hospital as a result. He now wears big MX boots and has a slimmer, box free bike !
He wasn't called Ted by any chance ?
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  #25  
Old 24 Feb 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dodger View Post
I think it's important to keep things in perspective .

<snip>

Hard panniers aren't the only part of a bike that can cause injury ,motorcycling is a risky business at the best of times .
It's all very well to say such things 'hard panniers broke my leg', however, when you consider the machinery they are covering (that spinning cheese-grater and amputation chain) then, being hurt by a box is going to be a better outcome than getting your leg/arm/head (I don't know have you seen how some folk crash!) stuck in the moving parts - isn't it ?

It's a balance of risk, correctly loaded, a metal pannier is not going to burst open in most cases, but the flipside is it has to be packed very firmly and therefore it can become heavy. On the other side soft luggage can be a complete liability if it is not packed correctly. It is, or can be lighter if you are riding certain terrain.

It all comes down to your own ability, assesment of the risks and where you are going.

Personally, I would preffer to come off a bike 10 time a day and be able to crawl from under it, that get pinned once. You can always rest if you wave the choice.

Then again you could argue that with soft luggage you are predisposed to have less accidents and therfore less likely to hurt yourself.

The point I'm tring to make it there are many factors that would cause you to choose your luggage - not least you ability to ride the bike and the level of safety equipment you wear.

I can't understand why this is such an emotive issue, in the end, just like your choice of bike, luggage is a choice of what best suits an individual

This thread reads to me like 'I take soft becasue it allows me to controll my weight', where 'hard luggage is more spacious and as we all know we expand to fill all available space' So it's not a case of hard v's soft, it's a case of heavy v's light.....
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  #26  
Old 24 Feb 2010
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I used Alu panniers RTW last year and they were great until I crashed in Mongolia and ripped a lock out, meaning I had to strap the box back on with a ratchet strap, thereby losing the convenience and relative security. But I'd rather have that than a bag ripped open and all my stuff strewn about the place. I'd like to think they protected other parts of the bike from damage on several occasions when I dropped it, but that's also just speculation.

They were very convenient for packing, swallowed a lot of stuff, and gave me somewhere to put all my stickers including my world map with my route marked on it, which was a great conversation starter. It made me less nervous about having stuff pinched, too.

They also were very useful as a table, a chair, and a bike stand. And not much more expensive than quality, waterproof, secure, robust soft bags.

On the other hand....

Security wasn't as much of a problem as I'd feared, and I was either near the bike or took everything off anyway.

I'm not sure what I would leave out, but having that space available probably meant I took too much stuff. I suspect I wouldn't have crashed anyway if the front hadn't been so light, and I certainly wouldn't have had so much drama on the trans-siberian with a broken frame and snapped pannier rails if I hadn't been carrying all that weight.

But...

I still can't decide what I'll use on the next trip.

I'm thinking about something halfway - maybe smaller, lighter boxes, perhaps even plastic ones. And less stuff (still struggle with that - all the stuff I never used on the last trip, I still tell myself that if I don't take it I'll need it, same goes for the stuff I ditched at the side of the road in Siberia...)

Perhaps a small lockable topbox for security/convenience/stickers, though I'd be equally concerned about weight up high and out back like that.

And definitely always wear proper boots!

Makes me cringe when I see someone riding in flip-flops or walking boots.
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  #27  
Old 24 Feb 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tedmagnum View Post
Just to stir the pot, I know a Canadian guy who got wedged between a truck and a cliff my his metal boxes. Whilse overtaking, the truck moved in a little and he got stuck between them.
Sounds to me like more judgement would have helped him rather than fewer inches!!

Don't mess with 40 tons of steel!

Quote:
Originally Posted by pbekkerh View Post
I never meant his thread to be for or against any type of luggage, as this type of discussion leads nowhere.
I wanted experience good or bad with both types and arguments for and against, so I can make my own decision according to my own needs
OK, then.
Based on that I shall refine my previous response:

I have ridden Europe but also South America, on and off-road. Off-road may have been easy for an experienced off-roader but for me, a novice, 2-up on a BM 1150 GS, it was not.

We fell off, never fast, and the panniers never damaged neither myself nor my girlfriend (and I would say she was at greater risk).

The only injury I suffered was a rider's footpeg in the calf muscle (No puncture wound, just heavy bruising). I had touring boots on. MX boots would have protected me, hence a pair of Alpinestarts Tech 3s are now in the wardrobe. They have since protected me when a nice fiesta drive slammed my GS (RIP) and I into a crash barrier...

It easy to say that "my hard luggage hurt me" because one is there when it happens: very little room for misintrepretation.

What is harder to say, but equally valid is, "would harder luggage have protected me?" I am sure there are plenty of riders who have had a limb bruised, cut or worse by a bike landing on them.

I am sure that in some cases the added clearance of hard luggage would have avoided that. Saying which cases is a lot harder, and so the bias will be against hard luggage either way.

Best protection with soft or hard, as already mooted is wear beefy boots.
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  #28  
Old 24 Feb 2010
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I can't speak from any experience of having ridden on off-road conditions with hard luggage and crashing a lot, but my thoughts are thus:

I think there is a a clear logical argument that hard boxes (even with rounded/sloped edges) are going to increase the chances of injury when crashing. But my guess at how much extra risk this amounts to would not be enough to disuade me from riding with hard boxes if that's what I wanted to do.

Example: No-one posting in this thread has ever seriously hurt themselves from crashing because of their hard panniers. Doesn't mean that it wont happen, but I think it's fair to say it's not that common or likely.

There's lots of arguments for or against hard luggage but I think the increased risk of injury in the event of crashing is a minor one against them.


Last thought, since people have mentioned boots. I thoroughly agree that wearing big mx style boots will reduce the chances of hurting yourself when crashing. But I still choose to wear military style boots for all types of riding, even when trailriding in rocky derbyshire. I wouldn't choose to ride with hard luggage again, but I wouldn't let any safety concerns disuade from it if I wanted to, because I think the risk is insignificant. Riding motorcycles is a dangerous activity, if you want to be 100% safe then don't do it. It's all about assessing risks and balancing them against other factors.
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  #29  
Old 24 Feb 2010
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ffs...if your worried about hurting yourself....Dont ride bike's

there are 1000's of things that can hurt you when riding your bike...your luggage is way down the list.
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  #30  
Old 24 Feb 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tedmagnum View Post
Just to stir the pot, I know a Canadian guy who got wedged between a truck and a cliff my his metal boxes. Whilse overtaking, the truck moved in a little and he got stuck between them.

He said he would of made it if his bike was 1" slimmer lol. Also, his ankles were crushed as the box's folded in on him like a mousetrap.

He was wearing walking boots and enjoyed 2 months in a Colombian hospital as a result. He now wears big MX boots and has a slimmer, box free bike !
And I met a New Yorker and a Frenchman at the Ecuador border, one of whom (I've forgotten which) got trapped precisely that way between a truck and a concrete guardrail in S.A. Guess what took the impact and scraping?

You know the quote about the plural of "anecdote" not being "data?" For every personal experience stated here, someone else can match an opposing experience. For every thirdhand anecdote, a matched contradictory anecdote. That doesn't make one or the other the "correct" answer; it just means there are a lot of data points to consider.

Someone nameless with whom I rode for a while in S.A. has written about the various advantages of riding fast across the tops of corrugations on ripio roads. However, he crashed a time or two when he hit gravel berms or sand unexpectedly. His conclusion was that the roads are terrible and difficult; I ride slowly on corrugations and conclude that I'm not very adventurous or skillful...but I don't fall, and I don't get my leg crushed by panniers either. So far. And my bike is way overloaded, with over 60kg of baggage in addition to my no-longer-exactly-sleek self.

I'll be sure and post if and when my personal set of anecdotal evidence changes drastically, possibly from a hospital somewhere while they assemble and pin my tibia and fibula.

Safe journeys and wise choices!

Mark

(time to leave Puerto Natales, I think, and confront the winds, cold, damp and ripio once again)
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