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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi there

I know this has been done before, and I think I saw something on this very site last year when I was working out how to do it - although as I hadn't bought my 'Alp at that time, I wasn't otherwise aware of the excellent forum here.

My main mount for the last 8 years has been a Royal Enfield 500 Bullet: made in India in 2002 to an unchanged 50 year old design and imported via sidecar makers Watsonian Squire, who also did the trials conversion - consisting of braced handlebars; rubber fork gaiters; rubber-mounted indicators; alloy mudguards; Continental Twinduro tyres; repainted petrol tank; solo sprung saddle; engine bashplate; upswept exhaust; lightweight rear subframe; Lucas tail-light; and 'tidy' electrics (battery / coil / flasher relay etc. repositioned in toolboxes, allowing disposal of standard battery box and air filter, and fitment of a more stylish 'pancake' air filter). IMHO the most stylish variant available, and well worth the extra £500 above list price of the boring standard black machine.

I only ride a few thousand miles a year, but much of that revolves around camping trips, so a set of panniers were needed. I had a pair old soft Oxford panniers which would obviously foul the upswept exhaust, so I made a set of standoff brackets which I bolted the Oxfords to, with internal bracing to prevent ripping. That was okay for a couple of years, but I wanted something more durable, so I went looking for hard panniers. Horrified by the price of even basic fibreglass boxes, let alone aluminium ones, I decided to use a pair of army surplus ammo boxes. These are steel rather than ally, so weight is potentially an issue - however - the bike is designed to carry a pillion but set up for solo use (solo saddle & lighter rear subframe), and I reckoned it was well up to the task of carring a few kg of heavier boxes. I had previously used flat steel bar/strip to mount the Oxfords, and decided to do the same for the ammo boxes. Conveniently, I had a few metres of black plastic-coated flat strip left over from a fencing project, which helped me keep the cost low.

After a thorough internet search, I decided I wanted a pair of 20-cal boxes…but couldn't find any for sale in the UK. I managed to track down a pair of 40-cal boxes (same footprint as 20-cal but not as tall), and decided they would do as a stopgap until I sourced 20-cals. I formed the frames out of 3x long strips of steel bent in a vice with a lump hammer, held together with whatever 8mm bolts I had to hand. A dry build helped me decide to use button-head allen bolts from inside the panniers; large stainless and rubber washers between everything; finished off with stainells lid handles courtesy if IKEA, and pairs of plain and domed nuts to keep it all tight. Obviously, these were not going to be 'QD' panniers, so in would need locks…no problem: ebay provided a set of 4x 'keyed alike' padlocks, and B&Q provided angled steel brackets which I drilled out to make hasps.

Sadly, I didn't photograph each stage, but the pics below show the dry-build and finished versions. Finish is 2x coats of smooth silver Hammerite applied with a 2" brush…paying particular attention to the outer face of each box. I have removed the Dakar decals (a bit ambitious…) and have replaced them with faked 'Pooratech' logos. I have since had a couple of camping/hostelling weekends away, during which everything stayed tight and the carrying capacity was adequate, with tent and bedroll in dry-bags strapped across the top. Total cost around £50 for the pair, including all paint and bolts etc. plus 5 or 6 hours tinkering. All in all, I'm quite happy w ith them…but I'm still on the lookout for a pair of taller 20-cal boxes for my 'Alp!

Joe



p.s. not sure why the pics don't show within the post, but clicking on the icons opens the pics in a new window.

p.p.s. third pic shows the right hand pannier after a disagreement with a stone wall...a bit of paint scuffing, and I think it saved my right leg!
 

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one of the lost boys
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No pics Joe
Where have you got them.
If they are still on your Hard Drive you need to attach them using the "Manage Attachments" in the additional options (which is only visable when you are replying and is below your reply to thread window)

or if they are hosted on an open picture host like flickr picasa ect. then you need to copy and paste the address in the window that shows after hitting the button with this sign

Look forward to seeing them
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Hi Snaphappy

I loaded the pics into an album on the forum, and linked them from there. I can see them open in a new window when I click on each little box with the red x in it, and thought that others would see them too...I'll try again!

Joe

hey, that worked! thanks for the advice.
 

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SHW'MAE BUTT
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Cool as.:D
 

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Joe,
I'm impressed to say the very least, practical, professionally finished and to excuse the pun "bomb proof " engineering, I've some old 7.62 ammo cases in my garage just might take up your idea !
Nice one mate
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
Hi Guys

Thanks for the positive reviews...I'd love to be able to have a go at DIY aluminium panniers, but the level of skill required is beyond me, so ammo boxes seemed the best alternative. I knew the boxes would be up to the task, and the frames came together well, but I was absolutely amazed at the finish I got with the silver Hammerite - I've used smooth black before (frame and crankcases on a previous Honda 550-4 and the the frame of my current sidecar) but carefully brushing the silver in one direction seems to align the particles so it looks polished - but is very smooth to the touch.

The stickers came from ebay and add a nice finishing touch: a guy was advertising coca-cola style 'air cooled motoring' stickers aimed at VW beetle/camper owners, and I asked him to consider a motorcycling version in a smaller size to suit my air cooled bike. They are still available - see AIR COOLED M/BIKE DECAL STICKER 150 x 57mm PANNIER on eBay (end time 17-Dec-10 10:09:51 GMT)

Someone else adapted their fake Touratech stickers to Pooratech for me, and I couldn't resist taking the p*ss with 'wrongwayround'. I have since added a grenade box as a top box, which I'll add photos of at some stage.

Next project is working out a set of frames for the 'Alp...as manufacturers' prices are beyond my meagre budget (despite what Davsato refers to as the 'cost-v-laziness' analysis). If anyone out there has a solution, please get in touch!

Joe
 
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