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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.
Photo by Michael Jordan, enjoying a meal at sunset, Zangskar Valley, India

I haven't been everywhere...
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Photo by Michael Jordan
enjoying a meal at sunset,
Zangskar Valley, India



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  #1  
Old 2 Jun 2008
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Bike pannniers - why not on the front.

Ok, this is possibly a dumb question from a newbie to motorbike touring, but, why are motorbikes alwas loaded at the rear (bar a tank bag) and not at the front. I've done a lot of cycle touring, and we always have front and rear panniers.


The fronts are always smaller 20-30 litre bags but I often end up packing my food in them so I can keep an eye on it, so they'll probably weigh in at about the 10-15 kilos each. They never seem to make much difference to the cycles handling, and I can happily ride hands off. They even make racks now for front suspension bikes.

I never seen this for motorbikes though. The ideal would be to have it mounted on the sprung side of the suspension, but that wouldn't be too hard to make up especially with upside-down forks. I'd have thought it'd be a great place for extra fuel for instance, as it's out of the way and would be well protected by the wheel itself.

Any reason why this doesn't happen on motorbikes? Or have I just come up with a revolution in bike luggage whic I won't have the money to develop?
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Old 2 Jun 2008
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It's been done. Check out pictures of wartime Harleys, BMW's, BSA's etc. and you'll see the space gets used. Trouble is, once you've got a brake disk there and decent suspension you've got a fire hazard and dynamic issues if you want to ride above 40 mph. Bicycles are a lot lighter, so the forces involved in reverse steering at 15 mph or conventional steering at 5 mph are rather different to controlling 400 kg at 70 mph.

A rack above the headlight works for low weight/high volume items (good for sleeping bags) and tank panniers can be very good, but something on the forks I'd not really fancy. I had a bag for inner tubes on the mudguard and could feel that.

Andy
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Old 2 Jun 2008
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I agree with TWB. You also have potential restriction of steering adnas implied by TWB, interference with the suspension. As also stated around the headlight seems to work. Check out what Terra Circa did with their DR350s. Looked wierd and probably took a bit of getting used to, but it worked. Just be sure that your head lamp airm does not suffer.

I do think, after my forays, that tank area storage is under underutilised in many cases. I like the whole saddle bag across the tank set-up, if it does not clash with yer knees.
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Old 2 Jun 2008
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These work very well and as they're attached to the frame rather than the forks they don't have any implications on the steering.
They also give some extra weather protection to the riders legs and bike protection if it falls over.
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Old 3 Jun 2008
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I use a rack above the headlight for bulky light items like sleeping bag and roll mat.
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Old 23 Nov 2009
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I too have done many miles by bicycle and now use my arkel bags on my yamaha as well. I use the front panniers on my lowrider racks and cannot feel any difference in handling at all.I have the T54s mounted on the rear rack and a one piece pair across the bike under the seat so the hang just behind my heels when i am useing the stock pegs...
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Old 23 Nov 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by harleyrider View Post

These work very well and as they're attached to the frame rather than the forks they don't have any implications on the steering.
They also give some extra weather protection to the riders legs and bike protection if it falls over.
Now I like the looks of those.are the plastic or metal. Cuz i would cut the leading corner at about a 45 degree angle..
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Old 23 Nov 2009
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They are plastic (or some form of tough polycarbonate!) and cutting the bottom corner would be a useful improvement to the design.
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Old 23 Nov 2009
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My KLR has got toploading Pelican cases mounted to the front crashbars, with larger aluminum cases in the rear and a big Pelican topbox. Of course I´m way overloaded, but so´s everyone else I see.

I put almost 50k miles on the bike with soft panniers up front, but I was always worried about opportunistic theft, therefore always tense (and hustling to bring them inside at the end of a riding day when I´d rather be relaxing). With hard panniers and cheap padlocks I often leave them overnight (in reasonably secure areas like gated parking lots) with or without the bike covered. And I´m not paranoid everytime I turn my back on the bike to have a coffee or take a leak. So far so good.

I attached them to Happy Trails nerf bars with a few plastic L brackets similar to the standard Happy Trails mounts plus a small stainless u-bolt on each case. Inside the cases I´ve got plastic knobs on each leg of the u-bolts so I can remove them without tools. But generally I leave them in place.

Hope that helps.

Mark

(Panama City, trying to decide how to ship the bike to Colombia)
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Old 24 Nov 2009
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These ex-military Harley's are regularly sold by Welcome to MOD Sales Online - Military Vehicles for Sale for about GBP6-700 each - or a container load of 10 at a lower unit cost.

For those on a tight budget seeking for a rugged Rotax engined bike, generally under 10-15 years old, these are not bad value.

A current auction of theirs is Welcome to MOD Sales Online - Military Vehicles for Sale - #27560 - HARLEY DAVIDSON MT350, 1996, EX MILITARY This one looks more tatty than some and does not appear to include the cases but often they are included.
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  #11  
Old 24 Nov 2009
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Africa twin 2 ups

hey im travelling with my wife on africa twin 750 with 2 side panniers 10 kilos each soo far soo good .http://bigfooton2wheels.blogspot.com/
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  #12  
Old 24 Nov 2009
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Hannah and I carried 15k or more in a bag bungeed on top of our mudguard, all the way to Cape Town.

I found that if I ever tried to use the bike with the bag off, I would ride terribly, as I was so used to having the extra counterweight over the front wheel. Having it there caused no problems once I was used to the slightly more pondorous turning and slight flip flopping effect.

Birdy
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  #13  
Old 24 Nov 2009
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I've used a set of soft bags over the tank for years. I prefer them to the rear bags on a daily basis as I can keep an eye on my stuff and the widest part of the bike is in front of me. I know both aerostitch and TT sells them, but mine are just old saddlebags.
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Old 1 Dec 2009
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Mornin' Guys n Gals,

I use a pair of gas mask holders on my Serow and they work really well. I find that a square, 5 litre plastic tub fits in perfectly.



Sorry about the BBQ in the front of the shot but I'm feeling peckish today!
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Old 1 Dec 2009
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I have used thees soft tank side panniers since 2004 and like Birdy said I'm so accustomed to ride with them that bike feel unbalanced whit out them. You have 2x12 liter more carrying capacity and it's forward so you can adjust balance of the bike more easily. I prefer front panniers and only soft ones WHY?
They absorb hits and shocks when you crash or stumble.
They absorb vibration and don't fall apart.
Easy to repair and adjustable volume with ties.
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