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Discussion Starter #1
I haven't bought panniers yet, but I do lots of off-road weekend trips and camp, but also plan to do some longer Africa trips in the near future. Here is my two penneth worth on the pannier discussion, as it seems everyone wants hard panniers these days due to the interest stirred up by the Long Way Round. I think soft panniers win????? Happy to be convinced otherwise?????

Security
Hard panniers win as they have locks and can't be slashed. Though the locks don't look very strong.

Cost
Soft bags win

Capacity
Draw

Weight
Soft bags win

Safety
Hard panniers can hurt you in a fall. Soft bag straps could get caught in rear wheel (though most riders put soft bags on top of panniers with straps), so consider this a draw as risk is the same.

Usability
Easy to access contents from both, though soft bags can easily be detached and taken with you saddlebag style, so consider softbags win

Longevity
hard panniers should stand up to most off-road rigours, though a big crash leaves them unrepairable. Soft bags may rip, and the contents deform, though they can be patched up by the roadside. The better quality bags are also 100% waterproof, and unless you have a good seal on hard panniers, both dust and water can penetrate. Consider softbags win.
 

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Hard luggage takes the brunt of damage in a fall, rather than the bike (or soft panniers). Better to throw away a pannier plus contents but still have a rideable bike.
 

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OK..... I am looking to get some hard side panniers but don't want to pay £500 from Touratech. Are there aluminium alternatives?

Don't want to high jack the thread but thought it was sort of relevant.

Regards

Jon :D
 

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I saw a picture ones from a bike that fitted military ammo boxes on a rack on both sides. They should be cheap to get from a army dump. And could be locked.


edit: found some pics

 

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I have used both & think that each have their place. I had soft givi bags (used with pannier frames) & they were great, small but expandable, waterproof and fairly rugged. I think even in a fall neither bike or bags would be damaged. The only problem was that I ran 1 of the straps under the seat, so the seat had to be removed if the bags were to be removed. Also they wernt great for carrying heavy loads (shopping).

I sold them & bought a touratech set-up. The main benefits are security and they are very usefull around the campsite for seats, tables, salad bowls (nothing like pannier lid salad). They are also much better for the weekly run to the supermarket. Also, because of the extra space you find you will take more crap that you wouldnt usually.

I wish I had kept the soft bags so I could use them when they would be better (short weekend trips) and use the hard panniers for longer trips & touring.
 

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Blues N Twos said:
OK..... I am looking to get some hard side panniers but don't want to pay £500 from Touratech. Are there aluminium alternatives?

Don't want to high jack the thread but thought it was sort of relevant.

Regards

Jon :D

Speak to Paul Cave EIBC Ltd.... Link in the err links section.
 

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TallJohn said:
I haven't bought panniers yet, but I do lots of off-road weekend trips and camp, but also plan to do some longer Africa trips in the near future. Here is my two penneth worth on the pannier discussion, as it seems everyone wants hard panniers these days due to the interest stirred up by the Long Way Round. I think soft panniers win?????
You could well be right. A couple of pals recently completed a UK to NZ trip on a TDM with a home-made rack (substantial crash protection) and a rucksack on each side. They got round the security issue with a couple of those flexible wire mesh security things avaliable at most travel/camping shops.
 

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Well i done two six thousand mile solo trips with soft luggage, and i found it all to be a pain in the arse, bungee cords, rokstraps,tie downs,cargo nets,steel nets, I have used them all and they all do the job, but when your tired and hungry and its dark or pissing down with rain or both, and your in a Norwegian mountain somewhere,fumbling around under the light of a head torch in your luggage for something you need(and its always gonna be at the bottom of your luggage),trust me! the novelty wears off. :(

When a Russian customs officer at the Estonian border insisted i remove all my luggage, which had taken me ages to pack away earlier that day, in the pissing rain which i had been riding in for three hours, i was not in the mood. I did not say anything to him, I just looked at him like Damien from the Omen films, i hadn't shaved both of my eyes were red from conjunctivitis, and he said, 'okay you go now' it was one of those 'if looks could kill moments' :evil:

If your on the move and packing your tents and gear every one or two days, i found soft luggage to be a major p.i.a. I was watching our fellow German bikers pull up at campsites with there aluminium panniers, and unload and load there gear with a lot less hassle. If i was going for a weekend jaunt with a little luggage i would probably use soft luggage

Like Dave said Paul at EIBC does them ay a reasonable cost, i have just sent him my deposit, and i am gonna get quick relase Hepco and Becker rails(boxes off about 20 seconds each side) he charges £380.00 inc delivery for the lot. I am gonna collect them from him and pay cash so he has given me a bit of a discount.

When i get them i can send you photo's if you want so you can judge for yourself, but the real test will be on Augest 10th when i ride to Norway, Finland, Baltic states,Poland,germany and France, if you want my honest opinion of the how they perform i'll let you know. If i don't like em i can always put em up for sale on this site :lol:

My two pence worth

London bubble
 

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Well thanks for the replys,

I have been in touch with Paul at EIBC and I like the look of his set up.
As said earlier £380 all in with a discount to follow.

I need these not only for trips etc but I use the bike every day for work and I will be going onto a floating rota. This will mean I have to carry a lot of equipment to different Ambulance Stations, ie boots, stab vest, high vis jacket, uniform etc. I can't get all that in a top box and believe me I have tried. :roll:

I am going to go and have a butchers at pauls setup as he has this all installed on his AT. One nice touch that Pauls setup dosen't have is little feet on the panniers. During my search I looked at "Metal Mules" panniers and you can buy four little rubber feet for the panniers and fit them yourself. Cost is about £10. Should keep some of the mud of ehh :D

Regards

Jon :D
 

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John, i hadnn't noticed that but i am sure you can buy some rubber feet or door stops from some of the major DIY stores, and improvise a little, it shouldn't be a problem

When i spoke to Paul he said he also sells the tie down thingys for a couple of pounds each, it migh be worth sticking some of those on as well.

London Bubble
 

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I spent a long time considering panniers and was initially drawn towards soft luggage as the first I saw were quite cheap..

However...

Security
Locks are as good as you want them. You can fit your own locks and they can't be slashed open, burnt, stained and are easier to clean.

Cost
Soft bags win. Not necessarily. When you get to soft luggage that is waterproof and of a similar capacity, they are only slightly cheaper.

Capacity
Draw in terms of litres yes the same size but a hard box is far easier to pack than a soft bag.

Weight
Soft bags win. We are talking a couple of kilos here..

Safety
Hard panniers can hurt you in a fall. How? They are behind you.. Most riders who have hard panniers thank them in a crash as they can be part of a crumple zone instead of your leg.


Usability
Easy to access contents from both, although I think hard luggage is simpler as you don't have half a dozen zips to contend with. Hard panniers can also be used as tables, chairs or whenever a hard flat surface is needed which is surprisingly often. Soft bags can easily be detached and taken with you saddlebag style which is great if you stay in b&b's etc but not an issue when your camping.

Longevity
hard panniers should stand up to most off-road rigours, though a big crash leaves them unrepairable. Soft bags do rip, tear and zips break easily with smaller falls. They have many more seams to break and for water to get through.. I think they're aren't as durable.

Coolness
Hard panniers win hands down. Where else can you put all those stickers of countries you've been too?

To be honest, the main issue for me was security. I wanted to be able to leave the bike with my gear safely locked away for a couple of hours with peace of mind. I thought soft luggage is just too tempting for a petty thief.
 

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I've done some thinking re: type of luggage, and still can't make up my mind.

fewtrees said:
Weight
Soft bags win. We are talking a couple of kilos here..
Probably a bit more than just a couple of kilos... the rack only weighs 5-6 kilos, and the boxes are 4-5 kilos each, then add padlocks, handles, etc., while the soft paniers are less than 2 kilos together. Do your maths. :D
fewtrees said:
Safety
Hard panniers can hurt you in a fall. How? They are behind you.. Most riders who have hard panniers thank them in a crash as they can be part of a crumple zone instead of your leg.
I've heard of stories when the rider's foot gets stuck on the ground and pulled backwards towards the box, which results in a fracture. This can happen at high or low speeds, and you don't have to come off the bike for it to happen. Hard boxes can definitely cause more damage than soft luggage.
fewtrees said:
Usability
Easy to access contents from both, although I think hard luggage is simpler as you don't have half a dozen zips to contend with. Hard panniers can also be used as tables, chairs or whenever a hard flat surface is needed which is surprisingly often. Soft bags can easily be detached and taken with you saddlebag style which is great if you stay in b&b's etc but not an issue when your camping.
I wander if alu boxes are strong enough to rest the bike on when changing tyres? No need of a centre stand - just balance the bike on one of the boxes.
fewtrees said:
Longevity
hard panniers should stand up to most off-road rigours, though a big crash leaves them unrepairable. Soft bags do rip, tear and zips break easily with smaller falls. They have many more seams to break and for water to get through.. I think they're aren't as durable.
Hard luggage can damage subframe in a crash, while soft ones can't. :wink:
fewtrees said:
Coolness
Hard panniers win hands down. Where else can you put all those stickers of countries you've been too?
Not necessarily. The aluminium boxes remind me too much of big BMWs, over-engineering, over-loading, and over-practicality. A set of soft paniers thrown on the back of a bike look much cooler. 8)
fewtrees said:
To be honest, the main issue for me was security. I wanted to be able to leave the bike with my gear safely locked away for a couple of hours with peace of mind. I thought soft luggage is just too tempting for a petty thief.
Has anyone got Metal Mule rack and boxes set for an AT? I saw them at HU meet and was very impressed with quality. If they come up with a better rack to fit a narrower exhaust, they'll be definitely my choice, even though they are more expensive than others.
 

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I spoke to a guy at Metal mules and the cost put me off.

I am sure they are the best quality and all that but with all the extras they were going to be £600. :shock:

Jon :D
 

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I have Givi MonoKey top box, and Givi side panniers. Hard, ABS Plastic.
They look the b0ll0x on the bike, but obviously donot look as Hardcore as ali boxes.
They Lock onto the bike, and hold 45 litres in teh top box, and 2x35 litres in the side panniers
 
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Discussion Starter #15
Has anyone got the EIBC contact details or WWW, at £380 before discount i may be interested?
 

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londonbubble said:
Like Dave said Paul at EIBC does them ay a reasonable cost, i have just sent him my deposit, and i am gonna get quick relase Hepco and Becker rails(boxes off about 20 seconds each side) he charges £380.00 inc delivery for the lot. I am gonna collect them from him and pay cash so he has given me a bit of a discount.
Hi londonbubble,

I'd be interested to see the EIBC set up. Have you got it yet?

Does the £380 include the Hepco and Becker rails?

Cheers
:D :D :D
 

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kiroh said:
Probably a bit more than just a couple of kilos...
From the Touratech website, it claims that the Zega boxes are 3.5kg each. The rack (for a 1200GS, can't find a figure for the AT) weighs in at 4.1kg. So the total weight for the hard panniers is around 11kg. Definately more than a pair of soft throw-over panniers.

kiroh said:
Hard boxes can definitely cause more damage than soft luggage.
I'd agree here.

fewtrees said:
Soft bags can easily be detached and taken with you saddlebag style which is great if you stay in b&b's etc...
I have inner bags in my hard panniers, which I can just pull out and walk off with. From what I've seen of soft panniers they usually fix under the seat, which adds to the time needed to remove them.

kiroh said:
Hard luggage can damage subframe in a crash, while soft ones can't.
The Zega boxes are fixed to the rack via plastic mounting lugs. I think in a big crash it's more likely the lugs would come away from the rack. Even if they didn't, the rack is only bolted to the subframe, so there's another point of weakness to fail before the subframe cops any damage.

kiroh said:
A set of soft paniers thrown on the back of a bike look much cooler.
Entirely subjective.

kiroh said:
If they come up with a better rack to fit a narrower exhaust, ...
Touratech do a special pannier rack for the AT that is designed for a low-slung exhaust, and reduces the overall width of the luggage.
 

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iswoolley said:
kiroh said:
If they come up with a better rack to fit a narrower exhaust, ...
Touratech do a special pannier rack for the AT that is designed for a low-slung exhaust, and reduces the overall width of the luggage.
I was looking into this set up, but don't like the idea of having the exhaust under the panier. River crossings can become a problem this way.

At the HU meeting the guy at the Metal Mule stall said that he had many requests from AT riders for a rack to fit around a narrower exhaust, this leaving more room for the box on the right.

One of the reasons I liked the Metal Mule boxes was that they're riveted, which is more robust and easier to fix on the road.

Are Zega boxes welded or riveted?
 

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TallJohn said:
Security
Hard panniers win as they have locks and can't be slashed. Though the locks don't look very strong.
What will you carry? If you want to leave valuable on an unattended bike, hard panniers may help deter an opportunist thief - but there's no guarantee you won't come back to find a missing camera and a smashed pannier.

Coming back to find a pannier that has been smashed open just so someone could find out they didn't want to steal your dirty underwear is liable to be far more irritating than finding someone unzipped a soft pannier to make the unsavoury discovery.

Hard panniers (if you want them for some reason other than security) may be a better bet if you can leave them unlocked? This isn't an option with most Givi panniers and the like.

TallJohn said:
Capacity
Draw
Hmmm, don't think this is true. Even small side cases are about 30 lites each side, and
40 litres isn't unreasonable. I've never seen soft panniers with anything like a 60-80 litre capacity.

TallJohn said:
Safety
Hard panniers can hurt you in a fall. Soft bag straps could get caught in rear wheel (though most riders put soft bags on top of panniers with straps), so consider this a draw as risk is the same.
I'd take this risk seriously. I had a set of pannier straps break, and one went into the back wheel. Thankfully not in the fast lane of the M1, but a silly wee road in Sutherland.
This photo was taken from the point my wheel locked solid...


You get a certain amount of kudos for riding a bike from 40-50mph to a standstill with a locked rear wheel and not dropping it, but I'd not sure I'd recommend it.

I'd think that with hard panniers, additional bags strapped on are less likely to go into the wheel, as the "gap" is mostly blocked.


I think you forgot two things:

Hard panniers will be more waterproof. And if you get the aluminium types, it's scare the sh*t out of car drivers :twisted:
 
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