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Photo by Igor Djokovic, camping above San Juan river, Arizona USA

I haven't been everywhere...
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Photo by Igor Djokovic,
camping above San Juan river,
Arizona USA

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  • 1 Post By Endurodude

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Old 19 Sep 2018
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Best luggage for Africa Twin?

What's the best (not necessarily cheapest, but strongest/most reliable/most secure) luggage for an AT? Off on long trip next year.

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Old 22 Sep 2018
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Any subsequent answers will centre around where you plan to ride. If you're doing a fair amount of off road, then answers will centre around soft luggage. I'm sure there are great ways to make this secure, although I've only ever used what will be a second response, hard luggage (answers here will focus on mainly road riding, maybe a little off road).

The hard luggage I use is Metal Mule. I'm personally very happy with these boxes (I fall into the second category above). When I originally bought them, the customer service was excellent to match the boxes; I'm not sure I feel exactly the same with the current ownership, but the boxes themselves are excellent. They're extremely secure, 100% waterproof and unbelievably easy to get on and off the frames - something potentially worth considering. I'd definitely buy them again. They weren't cheap, but I've had them for 8 years and there have been zero issues; a small amount of WD40 on a lock is all the trouble I've faced .

Some may argue that if you buy boxes you'll inevitably fill them, thus making the whole bike heavier, but this doesn't need to be the case. I personally went for the 38l either side, and generally set off on a trip 3/4 full. By the time I come back they're nearly 100% full, but that's after souvenir buying!

The MM boxes are very secure and the peace of mind they offer is extremely welcome when I'm off wandering; park the bike and go.

I'm sure that the bomont and Zeta (Touratech) boxes would be equally as good, I just prefer the ease of on / off of the MM ones.

I only wish the current MM team offered a balanced set up like they used too, where each box on either side was the same distance from the centre of the seat (this meant altering slightly the exhaust, bringing it nearer to the bike and replacing the end can).
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Old 26 Sep 2018
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Hi Endurodude,

Thanks for the reply.

I discovered (of course) that there's plenty of discussion on this elsewhere on the HUBB and I found it and read it and thought about it and realised that there are so many pros and cons in each direction.

The aim on the trip (two up with m'lady Angelika) is London - Nordkapp - Cape Agulhas [Cape Town] via the western Africa coastal route and home (somehow or other - not sure yet). We have 13 months.

I won't be seeking off-road. But I'm aware that there's plenty of 'road' in Africa that imitates off-road fairly well.

I've almost decided to simply go with the current plastic Givi luggage I'm using - and have used for ages. I think I thought I'd need new gear for this trip, but I reckon I was over-planning. What the heck. It's cheap (already own it!), lighter than aluminium, has decent capacity and if it gets damaged, well, we'll deal with that as and if.



Afterthought - of course, my current luggage may well not fit the AT due it's different exhaust configuration!

Last edited by zenbiker; 27 Sep 2018 at 07:34. Reason: post-post realisation
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Old 12 Nov 2018
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A few things that damage luggage systems than cause them to fail:
  1. Dropping the bike - may cause the cases to deform, plastic crack and/or the mounting system to deform
  2. Vibration
  3. Deformation of the luggage mounting system

Each of these problems have their own cause and affect. But some general guidelines that may help:
  • Make sure the luggage inside the pannier/case/bag is packed tight. If there is room inside, the load moves and this causes a lot of stress on everything. Think of a loose brick in a washing machine.
  • The pannier racks are more important than which panniers you pick. Even some reputable brands have really crappy frames and these crack on the welds, deform and are just a major PITA. The CRF1000 has a really weird mounting system and compared to other more conventional systems, and there are lots of reviews online for more common systems.
  • The mounting system needs to be reliable. Can you repair it if it deforms? Does it lock properly in place? (Seen plenty of 1150 and 1200ADV BMWs loose their panniers because the locking mechanism was not good enough and is way to complicated).
  • I find that using a ratchet strap around the pannier and the frame will limit movement and vibration of the case on the rack. Any movement will become more agitated over time, resulting in a looser and looser fit (especially on corrugated roads), stressing the locking mechanisms, the case as well as the frames. Even soft luggage has a tendency to tear and a strap helps for that to.

I like the Givi allu pannier system for the CRF1000. Seems very robust and easy to use and well priced. Givi had a very bad reputation in the 90's for being cheap and not lasting. They have come a long way since then. Not sure the plastic Givi's are that good. I toured NZ with a set and they were flimsy, hard to operate, kept wanting to pop of the locking mechanism. This was maybe eight years ago and they may have improved, but I would not use plastic Givi again.
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Old 30 Nov 2018
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Just popping in to mention TARK – begin your adventure. I'm not affiliated with them in any way, except that it's a project by someone fairly prominent in the moto community here in Estonia, so I feel obliged to support our own. The gist is that it's aftermarket hard luggage made from a high-density thermoplastic, which is meant to combine the security of hard panniers with the drop-tolerance of soft luggage.

There's an Estonian duo with these bags going around the world right now, too.
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Old 19 Jan 2019
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Personally I think you'll regret going with the plastic Givi's very quickly, well at once you hit Africa and have a few spills. My preference is for soft panniers, but like you said, there are pro's and cons both ways. We've been using Mosko Moto's, Back Country 35's and love them. Forgot about the people spruiking security as an issue. Trust me it isn't, or at least 99.9% of the time it isn't. Aluminium cases are also easily broken into.
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africa twin, luggage

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