May 15, 2009 GMT
More Luggage Art

The box I'm planning to bolt onto the rack is an old NonFango plastic one. I have a newer version NonFango box on my Honda Dominator. It used to be on my Ducati that took us to Moscow and Istanbul carrying luggage for two. Also to the Pyrennes and Spain, to Paris, and to Lisbon, all with luggage for two, and to North Cape and 3000 miles around eastern Europe carrying luggage for one.

It also hit the road rather heavily and nastily in Norway. And it still does good service on my Dominator, completely undamaged, and now fifteen years old.
Iíd like to say here, that luggage for two means luggage for me, and a teenage daughterÖÖ. and that, be in no doubt, is a LOT of HEAVY luggage.
So I think these NonFango boxes are pretty strong. And light. I saw an older version recently advertised second hand. It looked good, and its construction and attachment mechanism appears even stronger than my newer one. So it's now on my TTR.


Itís also slightly smaller than the newer box, so will enforce a discipline of not taking too much stuff on a little bike.
Iíll fit soft panniers, havenít decided which yet, am hoping to find some Andy-Strapz, and already have tank panniers fitted from Aerostitch. These will carry the heaviest stuff I think.


The front mudguard and headlamp shroud have been strengthened, so I aim to distribute luggage all over the bike in an artistic manner, in order to keep to a minimum the weight on that rear subframe.
I'm using the bike fairly regularly at the moment. So to test things out, it's carting around half a dozen house bricks plus some tools in the top box, half a gallon of water and scuba diving weights in each of the tank panniers, and about half a gallon plus another house brick in the tank bag. Plus other stuff in two old rear panniers I'm currently using. We'll see what that lot does on the green lanes around Guildford some time.
I've also had a rucksack and an old rear tyre strapped on the bike for some recent trips, to see how it all works out. OK so far. I'd like to be able to take a new tyre with me as far as Egypt to save the fuss of looking for a good one there.
A spiral of rubber gas pipe pop-rivetted to the right-hand side cover keeps some air between the silencer and the pannier, which seems to work OK. I recently carried a dozen best Waitrose beefburgers in that pannier for an hour-and-a-half journey and they hadn't cooked by the time I arrived. Still pretty cool in fact.
The rack needs to be tested to see if it can be used to lift the weight of the bike off the ground - or will the zip-ties, or the rack itself, break? From what I've read about wallowing around on the dirt roads of Africa, and embarking the ferries, the moment the bike needs lifting, dozens of willing hands will grab at any part of it that's accessible and carry it off to wherever it has to go. In exchange for some cash, of course. So whatever they're likely to grab hold of needs to be strong enough to lift the bike off the ground. Well, I tested that as much as I'm able, and all is OK.
I also have to make a special local weight allowance. Because, everything loaded onto the bike here at home will weigh more once it's reached the M25 and turned towards Dover.
Thatís right. In the late 1950s the UK Geological Survey drilled a bore hole on the edge of the village, 1,539 metres deep, just to see what was down there. They were hoping to find something to explain why the force of gravity in Whyteleafe is unexpectedly lower than it should be, making everything weigh less here than it does a couple of miles down the road!
They found an unusually thick layer of Jurassic limestones, and you'd be amazed at how much that messes up your gearing as you ride out of the village.......

Checking Septemberís route out of town.
Departing Whyteleafe. Borehole near the electricity sub-stations under the trees. M25 beyond the distant tree-line. Everything gets heavier from here on.......

OK, so the increase in weight is about a milligram, - or less. But there's always the straw that breaks the .........

Posted by Ken Thomas at May 15, 2009 10:53 PM GMT

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