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262 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
thought i would just add a few picks of what i did luggage wise and lessons if learnt on my last coast to coast trip. the trip itself was not seriously hard-core, but dealing with weight solo on and especially ofroad is always a challenge and of coarse a serious handicap. all im busy doing is experimenting for longer and longer trips, aiming for South america and maybe more. Everyone travel differently and have different objectives and means. what is important for me is complete and utter independance.
if you have a buddy, so much better to share the load, but i have learned that very seldom 2 people can actually share the same time and objectives.
i dont like staying in accomodation, prefer to camp (not even in campsite if i can help it) want to cook for myself, have my own power, fix my own bike, and if a trout becons, i want to cast a line and land my own dinner. coming from an outdoors and mountaineering environment, i have a fair idea of what minimum needs are. for a seriously independant expedition you cary up to 40kgs on your back, just equipment for basic survival. thats without bike spares, tools, spare fuel, tubes, tyres etc. so where are we? looking at passenger included 150kgs on the back of your loved one? likely! if not more.

so to start with i looked at pannier frames available. dissapointing fare to say the least. nothing i looked at seemed to be able to handle even mild topples with 350kgs following (bike + kitt). also, i dont like paying silly money for things i can bodge myself. my criterium for a frame was:
  • cheap
  • bush fixable
  • strong
  • secure
  • quick release panniers
  • waterproof
  • low CG
  • and simple enough for a numnut like me to make!
by now means have i re-invented the wheel, but i am happy with what i did so far. work in progress though!

luckily i had a mate in town that strip quad-bikes of extra framing, so i had acess to lots of pre-bent carriers that i could use. so i did not have to bend anything, just select bits and bobs and add them together in a way that made sense.
firstly i wanted a larger and more robust back carrier than the pissy plastic thing the RD07 comes out with. this was the result:

using the available fittings and canti-levering it back, it worked a treat. followed the original curves of the handholds worked well when my GF got a lift back from Dar.

if you do happen to luck upon some roadkill, like a small cow, im sure shell handle it!

from ther i had to figure out the pannier rails with locking system. i decided to use two peli-cases 550, as i use them for all sorts and know just how strong they are. made the rail strong but light as possible, then built some connection points into the attachment that would shear in case of a hard fall without stuffing my subframe. so the idea is: if fall, first to break must be shear points on box attachment (not box itself!). then the frame would go before subframe is affected.

the way the pannier actually attach to the frame came to me one day as i left the back sliding door of my house on the way to my workshop. a push-pin lock mostly used in sliding doors! cheap and effective

its made of some alloy and available at any hardware. and although securing the boxes agains theft, i recon they would break of long before the frame or boxes break in a hard fall. with that i reinforced the inside of the box with a steel plate, and added 4mm allu plate hooks at the bottom, that would also rather bend open in a fall, but prevents my boxes from redistribution in africa!

the top plate with hole slots into the frame and pin-lock push down to lock in place

like such

i chose to mount my boxes the other way round than is what if seen from the chaps that use the peli boxes (forgot the name!) as it makes more sense to me in easy acess to the boxes. by mounting my kitchen box on the right i can use it as a kitchen box?:D without taking it of, and, everything does not fall out upon opening. did do a bungee thing in the lid and will add one for the bottom bit now as well.

note backing plate inside lid.
must confess, after using it extensively, it boggles me mind why one would want to do it the other way round!? maybe to sell more extras, like inner bags?

i built the frame equi-distant apart, as the idea is to fill the gap under the left pannier wit an extra fuel tank.

for the crash bars i decided to make something a bit higher than the conventional, as in my humble experience this sort of configuration leads to to much weight in the back. i wanted to plant that wobbly from wheel down more firmly, so i made the frame high enough to hook up two british bergen side pouches with heavy stuff like water, oild and maybe spaer fuel.
i had them on clips so i can take them of easily, and convert into a backpack if need be.

notice the brandy stains?


262 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
That Push Pin Lock idea is very neat. :thumbup:

Mind you, up here in damper climes some sort of cover for the lock would be needed to stop the locks flooding.
bloody hell you are quick of the draw! i barely pressed enter! you are right though! after a week of not in use, and a few tumbles in sand, i struggled to open them today. it is still however, one of the best off-shelf things if seen. well oiled or a vertical mount would help methinks. in defence i have to say, it has just been trough numerous tropical rainstorms, submerged in mud twice, and now in the place with the highest rust-rate on the planet, and it only took a few squirts of wd40 to get them open!;)
work in progress mate! thanks:thumbup:

6,063 Posts
More good stuff Joe

1,642 Posts
Tres bon ideas & top tips there Joe, fab pics too.
I particulary liked the idea of Bergen pockets attached on the crash bars, has got me thinking I've got some of those in the garage that could be reused !
Thanks for sharing

262 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
thanks for the feedback folk:thumbup: wonder if we should not start a section under the AT tech bit specifically for adventure touring equip, kitt and ideas? seen that on other forums but not @ specific? or maybe im missing something:confused:
anyway, here follows a bit more:
never found any real use for the trip thing, but liked the position of the bracket for a GPS mount, so i cut it of. found a ZUMO on peabay for a good price and mounted it in place. i have four garmin GPS,s i work with, and i must report that this number is the best thing i every procured! it made my life soooo much easyer. and with a philosophy that everyone should be a hero in your own movie, including soundtrack, you can download 1000 songs onto the thing as well. plug in headphones or bluetooth and let rip with **** jagger screaming in your ears! (it also helps not hearing yourself or your GF scream!)

zumo mount bracket

after a horiffic back-flip in a desert canyon destroyed my windscreen, nose cowling and front side panels last year, i had to make a plan. the idea of a touring screen appealed to me, so i got the advertised dimentions of the web, got hold of a 4mm piece of perspex and made one. took a bit of experimenting, and sadly did not record the process, but its actually very easy.
drilled a few holes in the corners and down side of perspex. strung bits of wire across wilst bending the perspex into shape, apllied heat evenly with gas flame thing. tighten wires. re-apply heat. reapeat till shape is right. once you got the shape, i cut the final form with a dremmel grinding blade. stuck a cut open fuel line on top edge to prevent decapitation.
  • ok, top tips: a screen like this is great for dry weather. i can ride full tilt with open visor. BUT when it rains you have to stand up to clear your visor. damn dangerous.
  • also (as you have likely observed) if you take this baby on more extreme ofroad riding where falls are bound to be the norm, you WILL break it! a screen like this is fine for road cruising and the only way to get the best of both worlds is to have an adjustable one.
  • i am about to cut mine down now to just below the crack and stick to a short one in future!

soon to be shortened!

after a lot of fiddling with heatsinks and other ways of cooling down the reg/rec, i finally gave up and just cut a vent where honda should have made one in the first place! had no more overheating problems in that department. an i can assure you, your re/rec WILL overheat and leave you stranded if you dont tend to the issue somehow.

like such. again a dremmel with cutting blade works fine.

got a fiberglass chap in town to make me moulds of front side panels and nose, then made my own panels with fiber matting. cost 40 squids per mould, and will make that back by making more moulds for my mates as they drop more often in the desert:-D

the mould

the end product. and yeas, they are heavyer, but waaaaay stronger (i can jump with my full weight on them) and i can fix them:thumbup:

although i prefer not to drive in the dark, sometimes its unavoidable, so i picked up some spots from an automotive shop (cheap as chips but works) after lots of head scratching i decided to mount the like such as the are out of the way and in good position. just made a small flatbar alli bracket and used the same points where the pannels and nose thing connect. it helps that they are now fibre glass, as it is stronger. with standard plastic, this mount would need a backing support plate.

  • top tip: i wired the spots to my bright switch and popped the fuse at night on a mountain pass with a huge truck on my tail. so rather run a dedicated independant line with its own fuse, or upgrade your headlight wire gauge and fuse!

finally lessons learned:
  • although i did modify my seat before, i cannot stress it more. IF IT IS THE ONLY THING YOU DO, GET A MORE COMFORTABLE SEAT! it is of no use to be on a bike, traveling fast and light, overtaking trucks and busses, only to be forced to stop every hour and massage life back into your arse, whatching that same trucks and busses fly past again. building a gel-pad into my seat this week. will post if anyone interested.:thumbup:
  • wider footpegs is another must. spacially ofroad
  • xtra loud horn!
  • auxilary power with USB adaptor
  • leave your GF at home or buy her her own bike
  • you HAVE TO be able to do 500kms between fuelstops (and always fill up at every garage!)
  • wean your bike of specialized oils and stick to common highmile oil such as 20W50
  • protect you levers! i was very happy with these relative cheap handprotectors that fitted nicely over the @'s standard hand shields, and actually took a few unloaded falls on them. but put some weight behind you and they are useless. to many weak links and inferious material. so after the fact i am replacing this:

with this:

something more in line with bark-busters and other. stronger and less links

anyway, thats all for now folks. hope this was helpfull to someone. at some point will do a comprehensive equipment list et al.
the best piece of kit you can posibly have though is you and your Africa Twin. for the record: on this trip n found no less than 4 broken down GS 1200,s! not one of them waited LESS than one month for spares. mostly drive-shaft and obscure electric problems.
and me? i checked my oil twice, such effort!:mrgreen:

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