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TRAVEL Hints and Tips Post your TIPS to travellers - all the interesting little tidbits you learned on the road about packing, where to get stuff, and how to cope with problems. Please make sure the subject describes the tip clearly!
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  #16  
Old 16 Aug 2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lonebiker View Post
I have riden my R1150 GS from London to India. I bought the very expensive Touratech paniers believing the sales pitch that they were water-tight. The slightest ding breaks the silicone seal at the base, and the flimsy aluminium bends by just looking at it. The top box rattled so much due to the bad design of the locking device that i had to send it home lest the small 'bendy' lugs which were meant to hold it rigid snapped. The paniers are over priced, badly designed, not waterproof, and hell to try and get on and off. General rating: very poor. Mine are going in the bin when i get back!
I have these, and have had no problems whatsoever.

Obviously you've got a bad batch. Maybe next time you should opt for Gobi's?
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  #17  
Old 17 Aug 2007
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They spend a lot of time at the Welders....no matter the system.

Last edited by mollydog; 26 Mar 2009 at 07:07.
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  #18  
Old 17 Aug 2007
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Originally Posted by mollydog View Post
I think long term life of any system depends a lot on the rider and the routes taken. Agressive riders will beat stuff up more than conservative ones.
Guys taking single track or riding at high speeds through whoops will have a different result than those who stay on smooth Piste.
I agree in every word!

Quote:
Originally Posted by mollydog View Post
Also, some guys have a real affinity for crashing. They can't ride sand or ruts and just fall down alot. I have trouble in mud....luckily mud is pretty soft when you fall in it.
Personally I have experienced that endless corrugation kill the racks, not the crashes. But my boxes are pretty solid.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mollydog View Post
BMW guys tend to over load, believing their GS's are some kind of Panzer. They also run way high tire pressure, which may protect rims but hammers the crap out of your bag system (and the goods inside)
They spend a lot of time at the Welders....no matter the system.
Well, BMW guys are used to that things work, also under extreme conditions. That might be one of (many) things we do wrong. We can not expect the same quality of kit from Touratech, Jesse and many others.
We can’t mount flimsy hardware from various sources and expect the same quality!

….on the other hand. Why should the luggage system be the limiting factor? Well, I spend a lot of time and money to solve this. Now I have a setup where I can drive endless corrugation, two up with camping gear and luggage.
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  #19  
Old 17 Aug 2007
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Happy Trails

I have Happy Trails on my DL650 and am quite happy with them. They are enormous and very waterproof (tested them a month ago while driving through a flood). While I haven't had a substantial fall on my bike, I've tipped it over quite a few times and only have a few scratches and no bends on my panniers.

I had the exact same experience as TravellingStrom -- I wanted Jesse's, waited 3 months of "only two more weeks", and ended up buying/loving my Happy Trails. I have been asked if they were homemade and I doubt that would happen if I had Jesse bags.
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  #20  
Old 17 Aug 2007
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you break one....you get another FREE!

Last edited by mollydog; 26 Mar 2009 at 07:08.
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  #21  
Old 18 Aug 2007
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I refuse to pay stupid money for boxes. I use Alpos boxes which, though half the price of many other boxes, still cost too much.

But anyway, these Alpos boxes do the business and are cheap (ish) and cheerful.


PS I made my own racks, so can't comment on Alpos racks.

Down with overpriced boxes......don't pay more...
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  #22  
Old 19 Aug 2007
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Originally Posted by mollydog View Post
I am using a newer version GIVI racks and E-41 GIVI bags. I know this is not the ideal setup but I had them already and do not want to put any more money into a new system. Is this a huge mistake for Mex. Central Am, S. America?
I'd consider it a mistake on any dirt or potholed road when doing long distances. But if riding like a retired pensioner, then you can do with ANY boxes setup w/o anything braking.

I had Givi plastics (a bit older models, but the mounting system seems to stay same for them, only outer design is updated) on my Susuki GSX bike, even here in Estonia, mostly on very shaky USSR style paved roads I nearly killed the plastic mounting points (where metal frame meets with the plastic box), sold them. If i'd take it to out gravel roads, they'd certanly fell off at one point taking all the pot holes

Givi pannier frame twice broke because of vibrations, first on our bad roads and again it managed to broke less than 12,000km on one of my tours on a nice european roads. Needed to re-weld it twice. Can't imagine if I fit the same system on my trusty BMW GS that ride very hard on dirt and gravel, at one point I'd probably see they're missing from the bike.

My Suzuki had amazingly lot of electrical and some mechanical problems per little 50,000km I rode with it, I whish Suzuki gave me a new bike every 10,000km or so, even more problems than the plain italian boxes created per that distance, but still, I'd recommend eighter soft or alloy boxes solution if you want to ride the bike hard and/or load the panniers hard.

In fact I've seen older Givis (with those absolete outer shapes) and they had more robust fixing system than the new ones, visually seemed to be better. But still I think indeed you can use plastics panniers like new Givis, if riding very carefully, slowly over potholes, not loading them hard, then you'll have no problems on what ever boxes you have and can praise the boxes sky-high after coming back from the trip. As always it's up to the rider.

Another thing is "crash-proof" question that most of people don't consider, fortunately or unfortunately. Solid "bending and un-cracking" alloy or a soft (textile) panniers don't fell off even on high speed crash, they have a material deformation "reserve" compared to plastics. In Poland I've done a approx 100kph crash after a car decided to do an illegal maneuver. Bike slided more than 10m on tar first, off the road the over 300kg fully loaded bike did 2 saltos together with us. Thick 2.5mm boxes stayed on till the end (VERY strong frame and very strong mountings), boxer cylinders had protected my legs (i.e. with inline or V-configuarion bike my leg bones probably had been into multiple pieces) and alu had boxes protected my g/f's legs. Basically in combination with cylinders they created a "protective space" for our legs. From the situation, I can easily tell that if we had plastic boxes, my pillon's legs would have been damaged, and other worst things happenined I don't want to imagine.

Pic of the aftermath:


See those boxes and now replace the thick 2.5mm aluminium with any comercially available plastic box that is mounted on the bike with fragile frame. What would have happened to my and her legs then?

In my definition after being through this: plastic boxes would have been simply "vaporized" with these kind of forces.

More about it here: Caja Sahel

Most of us think it's mostly our own faults doing crashes etc, but this story proves you must be careful of other mad cage drivers that can end your travel in a very unexpected moment. Choosing correct boxes can play a crucial part for your own security and protecting your bike too.

Ride safe, Margus

Last edited by Margus; 19 Aug 2007 at 14:37.
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  #23  
Old 19 Aug 2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sid Horman View Post
Another big thumbs up for Metal Mule - do you see a common theme here?

The hinged lids work very well and are strong and 100% water proof as tested in English summer.

Re comments above about thickness, I think Mules are slightly thicker than zegas. My friend had just fitted new zegas to his bike and it fell over at walking pace off road. The lids on his zegas were bent over an inch out of line and couldn't be re-fitted so all his contents was soaked by the time we got to destination.

Sid

Especially this summer ;-) You should have better travelled in a submarine...

Sorry guys, my mistake regarding material strength: I just checked both websites and yes, TTs are only 1,5mm whereas MMs are 2mm ali. Which of course means more weight.

The fastening system of MM is ways better than TT's. Of course the catch for the lid probably isn't as secure as the locking system of MM, but then I personally like the idea of being able to remove my lids if necessary without removing the luggage roll.

But summing up all pros & cons, my choice would definitely be MMs next time.

Hans
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  #24  
Old 25 Aug 2007
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Ammo cans

Ammo cans. $20 each, homemade mounts. Travelled South America 2 up with camping gear, had enough room. Crashed, no damage. If there had been any damage a local welder could fix them. Left my aluminum panniers home in favor of them. Mounted on an HD Sportster with 2 bolts each plus a threaded rod connecting them ($4). Waterproof, designed to carry 120 lbs. each .Unlimited supply in the US because of the huge, wasteful military. For the same weight as aluminum you get half the capacity and 1/20 the cost. Like my bike, low tech, the way I like it.
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  #25  
Old 26 Aug 2007
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This sounds like a great system...and cheap too!

Last edited by mollydog; 26 Mar 2009 at 07:08.
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  #26  
Old 26 Aug 2007
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panniers

mollydog i have two 80mm ammo boxes which are about the same size as happy trails boxes they weight 10pounds a piece and i will sell them to you if you are interested
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  #27  
Old 26 Aug 2007
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Thanks for the offer Cal. I'll look around locally.

Last edited by mollydog; 26 Mar 2009 at 07:08.
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  #28  
Old 27 Aug 2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mollydog View Post
Thanks for the offer Cal. I'll look around locally. I'm thinking the shipping alone from Wyoming would cost more than the boxes themselves.

Also, I think a slightly smaller box would suit me better.

Patrick
Try the Army Surplus stores in your area. There will be some.
Many different sized ammo boxes...for different ammo.
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  #29  
Old 27 Aug 2007
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Talking

Quote:
Originally Posted by mollydog View Post
Thanks for the offer Cal. I'll look around locally. I'm thinking the shipping alone from Wyoming would cost more than the boxes themselves.

Also, I think a slightly smaller box would suit me better.

Patrick
Hey Molly, if your up for the ride, there is a huge military surplus store on the #1, just north of Monterey, near Santa Cruz maybe? It's been a few years since i stopped there to get an axe for camping, guy inside reminded me of the dude with one arm on the Simpsons LOL.
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  #30  
Old 27 Aug 2007
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We ride to Santa Cruz for breakfast.

Last edited by mollydog; 26 Mar 2009 at 07:10.
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