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Northern and Central Asia Topics specific to Russia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Mongolia, China, Japan and Korea
Photo by Ellen Delis, Lagunas Ojos del Campo, Antofalla, Catamarca

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Photo by Ellen Delis,
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Antofalla, Catamarca



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  #1  
Old 31 Aug 2013
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Question Magadan soft bags stolen in Mongolia, what now?

Hi guys,

so I have been traveling through in Mongolia with a set of relatively new AdvSpec Magadans when my mate and I stopped in Sukhbaatar for the night. The hotel Selenge there has a fenced, though not locked yard away from the street, and as the bikes were parked right under our window relatively out of sight, I thought it would be reasonable to leave the outer shells of the Magadans on the bike over night. Turns out this was a big mistake, as they were gone by the morning.

Out in the boonies in Mongolia, I thought my mate was the sucker for having come with vulnerable hard cases, but his locked hard cases were still there today morning. For some reason I thought that something that is not more valuable than a shopping bag for someone who is not an enduro afficionado would not be particularly tempting loot, especially given that it was covered by an inch of caked mud on all sides, which was the second reason I did not take it up to the hotel room. The first being that it took me too long to securely strap it back on each time.

Anyway. The fact that nobody spoke even a little English at Selenge hotel in Sukhbaatar did not make things simpler, but once they understood the problem a nice man came along with me to show where I could try to find some sort of improvised replacement. We shopped around an open market for around an hour until I found two “Samsonite” (obviously not authentic) branded polyester bags with handles that were big enough to fit the Magadan inside bags with my stuff. I also bought a roll of clothes line. With the help of some straps I had, the straps we used to secure the bikes for transport in the container, the clothesline, and the ingenuity of the nice man, we tied the bags onto my motorbike, trying to carefully avoid them from touching the hot exhaust and melting or catching fire. I was quite nervous if the improvised construction, which would have been more at home on a pack mule than a motorcycle, would hold up, but it did not budge for the next 350 km. I also prayed at the border crossing that the customs officers don't make me open it, because it would have taken another hour to remount.

So I am in Ulan Ude now, and I am looking for a better solution. I don't want to stay here for more than 24 hours, so I think that eliminates the option of ordering new Magadans. Does anyone have any ideas if I can buy some bike real bike luggage here, or else know a good mechanic who can improvise something decent for me? Ideally it would be good enough to drive through Russia. I am thankful for any pointers.

Cheers,

Adam
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Old 1 Sep 2013
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Sorry to hear they're gone. Might be bored kids or someone that uses locally crap made bags on their horses that saw some foreign and exotic saddle bags.

The shape of those bags are really easy for any upholstery to make. You might need to instruct them to sew them inside out and then again right side out do you go through 4 layers of fabric before the binding goes on.
Sourcing decent materials is the trick, but in the end cordura is just nylon fabric. Canvas work fine too and is very common here in Australia.

You will also end up with an amazing souvenir.
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Old 1 Sep 2013
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Sorry

Real sorry to hear that your bags were stolen. I don't know which direction you are heading, but if you are coming through Kyrgyzstan I could help you find some bags or we could order something and have it sent here, or I can help you find someone to sew up what you like.

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Old 1 Sep 2013
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Just an idea...

That sucks big time...

A mate of mine was cleaned out in Tanzania a few years ago. He bought two rucksacks locally and had the straps sewn together to make a pair of makeshift throwover panniers. They got him home.
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Old 1 Sep 2013
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Red face

Hi guys,

so we took a Lada taxi to a hardware store. There I bought two old school metal frame backpacks, indeed. They look super sturdy, and the Magadan inside bags fit in them perfectly. I am gonna go get some pizza now and then mount the frame of the backpacks onto my rack. The only bit that is sort of iffy is that the metal frames are rather tall and they go down quite low even if I make them stick up over the back seat, but hey, I don't plan on cornering with my knee scraping here anyway.

I'll let you guys know how it holds up.

Cheers,

Adam
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Old 1 Sep 2013
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Clearly it's too late now, but if there's a next time, try to get the police involved. Last year my riding buddy got his rollbag/tent back after it was stolen off his bike from in front of the hotel in Ulangom. The police recovered the items and the thief had a caved in face for his efforts too. I deduced the policeman was right-handed. Not sure how much time he spent in jail.
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Old 2 Sep 2013
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Hmm, it didn't occur to the hoteliers to get the police. Also, I don't know if I necessarily want physical punishment to be leveled on these poor devils as retribution. It seems punishment enough to have to live in a place like Sukhbaatar all your life.

I grew up in a town in Hungary where the police was pretty useless and all they did is fill out paperwork in a case like this. Maybe I am too pessimistic but we wanted to get out of there fast, and I assumed that the police will just delay us.
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Old 2 Sep 2013
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Hi Adam, sorry to hear the news re bags. Mongolia unfortunately has become a serious petty theft hotspot. Hope you get sorted out soon.

I am guessing you werent using the WrapSafe locking cables around the bag?

Also were the straps both other the seat? Under? or one over one under?

For the benefit of others reading, I do recommend people take advantage of the special security loops around the Magadan bags to cable lock the bags to the bike via wrapsafe cables. As an additional idea, it can be useful to thread one of the main "over seat" straps actually under the seat. If the seat needs a key to take it off, then it kinda locks the bags to the bike.
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Old 2 Sep 2013
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Hey Walter,

I did have locks with me but I was too tired / lazy / naive to use them.

The seat trick would not work for me, because on my 650 GS the plastic plate that covers the seat release lever is so flimsy, it can be pulled off even without unlocking it with the ignition key. I am actually pretty worried that the seat itself will eventually get stolen, so I started using the cable lock to lock the seat on. :/
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Old 2 Sep 2013
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Man, that sucks big time. Most of the time I don't even take the inner bags out.

BTW, I stopped using the packsafe locks because the steel cable is eating through the loops and straps when going offroad.

If you come through Osh, Kyrgyzstan, send me a PM and we can probably work something out with some Magadan bags.
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Old 2 Sep 2013
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Motorcycle canvas bags... Ex mititary issue from Silvermans.

About £30 and the toughest bags I've ever used. They aren't waterproof but just use a waterproof inner bag. Dead easy.

A bit late now I know, but no ones ever going to steal them and they work better than 80% of what's on the market for hundreds...
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Old 2 Sep 2013
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Well, I usually stay away from the police but it can be fun. With some locals I caught the kid who stole my boots in Iran. A fun couple of days with some high speed escorts to the police station, free food, a police escort to a shoe shop, and watching the Iranian wiggles with the cops. Sat in front of the judge the next day, won my case and promptly pardoned the poor devil for 100 bucks compensation. Nobody spoke English, I don't speak Farsi, but somehow we managed. All this went down on election day in 2009. So, did my part from keeping the police to do anything more sinister. Still have the hand written judgement somewhere. It's in Frasi, so no idea what it actually says


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Originally Posted by AdamTours View Post
Hmm, it didn't occur to the hoteliers to get the police. Also, I don't know if I necessarily want physical punishment to be leveled on these poor devils as retribution. It seems punishment enough to have to live in a place like Sukhbaatar all your life.

I grew up in a town in Hungary where the police was pretty useless and all they did is fill out paperwork in a case like this. Maybe I am too pessimistic but we wanted to get out of there fast, and I assumed that the police will just delay us.
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