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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 Josephine Flohr, Elephant at Camp, Namibia

I haven't been everywhere...
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Photo by Josephine Flohr,
Elephant at Camp, Namibia



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  #1  
Old 1 Oct 2004
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The dangers of soft luggage

Hi,
I used to have light-weight mountain-bike panniers on my XT and had no problems other than scorch marks on the exhaust-side pannier.
Now I ride an old Boxer BMW on which I had the same soft panniers. I firmly believe less-is-more. Less to carry, less to lose. But some greybeards down at the bike club tut-tutted when they saw the soft bags and told me all kinds of horror stories of nasty spills caused by straps etc getting into the rear wheel. It's self evident - don't let anything come loose, but I'd be interested in other people's views on using 'soft' panniers.
cheers
Paul
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  #2  
Old 1 Oct 2004
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Met a guy by the side of the road in Croatia last year who had been using canvas panniers for three weeks before they slipped a little too close to his 'zaust and one caught fire. Luckily he only lost a few T-shirts.
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  #3  
Old 5 Oct 2004
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Ive had a couple of near misses with soft panniers that why I anm changing to hard alu ones.

Firts proble was the pannier burnt through and a belt in to got tangled around the rear wheel luckaly not flipping me off but jammed the wheel = big slide

See pic http://groups.msn.com/UKTenereOwners...to&PhotoID=163

Then the straps melted and the pannier went in the rear wheel same drill slide fest.

Soft are only good on roads and then on low level can bikes.



[This message has been edited by braindead (edited 03 November 2004).]
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  #4  
Old 29 Oct 2004
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I had soft luggage on an old XT250, it slipped down onto the exhaust, ignited (fuelled mainly by my sleeping bag) and burnt through most of my stuff before I noticed the flames in the mirrors. Lost most of my clothes, sleeping bag and other bits'n'pieces. Everything that survived reeked of burnt plastic and had to be binned.

Could have been worse tho...


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  #5  
Old 1 Nov 2004
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Riding around Africa with soft panniers on our Transalps at the moment. Don't have pannier frames fitted, only an exhaust guard to prevent any spontaneous combustion incidents like those described earlier. If I was to start again I would add frames because the panniers take a lot of battering and they just can't be properly attached without frames.
Loose straps is one of my worries. We have roll bags on top of the bikes as well as the panniers so plenty of opportunity to leave the end of a strap flailing about in the wind.

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  #6  
Old 23 Nov 2004
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Other side is that alu boxes, if you hardly crash on the rocky pistas are big problem, my friend has Touratech alu boxes with panniers, and now he hate it. I was try to repair this by stone, but belive me choose soft bag and use pannier racks with it. This is the best way, or made special u-shape alu plate (and attach to rear part of bike) to hold them on the position.

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  #7  
Old 8 Jun 2009
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Went 6 months on a trip across Europe and Morocco with really crappy (read cheap!) soft pannniers - no problem at all - hint: buy a soldering protector pad from B&Q (or similar) and fix it on your rack by the exhaust, hey presto, no scorch marks and your panniers are fully protected! Only a couple of quid too! BTW, another tip - we didn't use bungees but straps with buckles to tighten, then you don't need to worry about it pinging off and catching you a bit unawares!
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Old 8 Jun 2009
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I won't add to the hard vs soft debate..

But it sounds like these danger stories all have a common thread - negligent use of soft bags vs the safe complacency of hard luggage.
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  #9  
Old 8 Jun 2009
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In my experience its how you set them up. soft panniers work great if you take care putting them onto the bike, tying up/cutting down loose webbing/strapping, maybe even using a few bent coat hangers to keet the fabric from the bikes heat sources.

Be extra vigilant when using. Only prob is security; in that dept. there s***e
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Old 8 Jun 2009
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Remember that a lot of 'grey-beards' purpose in life is to tut-tut and exhale noisily and tell you you are doing it all wrong. And a lot of them talk s***e.

If the system works for you stick with it. There are up and down sides to both types of luggage and as mentioned above, dangers inherent in both types too.

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  #11  
Old 8 Jun 2009
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As posted by dbg:
Quote:
hint: buy a soldering protector pad from B&Q (or similar) and fix it on your rack by the exhaust, hey presto, no scorch marks and your panniers are fully protected
- could you expand on this, i can't really visualise one of these even from my school soldering days. Perplexed, Dave.:confused1:
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  #12  
Old 9 Jun 2009
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Originally Posted by edteamslr View Post
But it sounds like these danger stories all have a common thread - negligent use of soft bags vs the safe complacency of hard luggage.
couldnt agree more, soft bags are fine, but if you put them on touching or near the exhausts, with loose straps hanging all over the place, and not strapped down tightly so they move all over the place, then you are asking for trouble.
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Old 9 Jun 2009
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Thumbs up

Hey Pottsy,
For the soldering mat -
B&Q Soldering Mat, 0000003276334

(cripes, I reckon THAT link won't work!) anyhooo, £4.98 from B&Q, we just fixed it to the side of the rack next to the exhaust.

Hope that helps!
Im
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Last edited by dbg; 9 Jun 2009 at 12:08. Reason: thought I'd add his name!
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  #14  
Old 9 Jun 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by edteamslr View Post
But it sounds like these danger stories all have a common thread - negligent use of soft bags vs the safe complacency of hard luggage.
I totally agree... If you don't bother to heat shield your exhaust (How obvious can you get) or secure them properly, you get what you deserve. I used soft bags through most of south America with no issues. I swapped my
Metal Mules for them and I had a much better time.

Hard boxes have their own pocket full of cons too. Price, difficult to repair, weight, bulk etc.

For road touring, I like plastic E36 Givi boxes and for more hardcore overlanding, softbags are my firm favourite.

I maybe tempted with Pelican Cases.. £40 each and more durable than Aluminium.

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  #15  
Old 9 Jun 2009
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Originally Posted by tedmagnum View Post
I totally agree... If you don't bother to heat shield your exhaust (How obvious can you get) or secure them properly, you get what you deserve.
Indeed.

As well as some sort of heat shield, consider wrapping your exhaust from the headers to the end with exhaust wrap. It's not that expensive on eBay and can also save you from a nasty burn or singed trouser leg one day.

You also get that professional, rally-prepped look...

Here's one I made earlier...



Stephan
PS As another DIY mod, I picked out the best-looking finned computer heat sink from work and I think it would work pretty well jammed between the exhaust and the plastic. I've got adhesive insulating material on the underside of the plastic which is much thicker than the thin stuff that Honda glue on at the factory.
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