Soft or Hard Panniers - Honda CRF1000L Africa Twin Forum
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post #1 of 62 (permalink) Old 01-07-2016, 12:51 PM Thread Starter
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Soft or Hard Panniers

What kind of panniers will you go with soft vs hard, pros vs cons, companies you like?

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post #2 of 62 (permalink) Old 01-07-2016, 02:34 PM
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None, hate panniers, Ventura system and tank bag, that is all :-)
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post #3 of 62 (permalink) Old 01-07-2016, 05:07 PM
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For long trips, IMO a quality set of hard panniers with solid mounts work well. I used a set of the Jesse aluminium panniers. Everything inside stays dry and is protected. In the event of an off, the panniers usually take part of the hit and often protect your leg. The weight is kept low so helping the COG issue. I used several plastic snap containers inside the panniers to keep items separated categorically and easily accessible. Kick off the mud and a quick wipe down with a wet rag gets them clean and functional.

I don't like zippers as on some soft luggage makes as they get mud in them and wind up getting stuck and/or breaking.

Soft waterproof bags are also very good (ie. Wolfman, Ortlieb) and can add to a pannier system easily as required or just use the soft bags without the panniers when only minimal luggage is required. I highly recommend the use of Rok- Straps for attaching these to the bike. They do get dirt/sand etc. all around the folds of the bags so when opening them, especially when wet and dirty it's inevitable that some dirt gets on the inside contents. Cleaning them up is a little more involved as compared the hard panniers.

My 2 cents.
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post #4 of 62 (permalink) Old 01-07-2016, 11:45 PM
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.......for me only soft panniers due to the fact that you WILL drop it every now and then. Hard panniers will bend, break, and probably screw up the whole rear sub-frame of your bike.

With the soft panniers you just push them back in to shape and away you go. The Hustler bags in the photo on my old Varadero were beautifully sealed and never had issues with dust entry. My only problem now is what sort of brackets will the AT have for holding the factory panniers on?(no close up photos of the mounting system). I may just have to wait until my AT arrives and have a close look.
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post #5 of 62 (permalink) Old 01-08-2016, 12:53 AM
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All the advice I read is that if you plan to go off road, soft panniers are a must... so that's the way I'm going with this I think. Not sure which ones yet, maybe the Adventure Spec Magadan ones... probably over a Touratech rack.
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post #6 of 62 (permalink) Old 01-08-2016, 07:48 AM
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A hard top box at the back and soft panniers on the sides might be the way to go considering all of the above. Surely a hard box is more secure for things like a camera etc. Use the soft side panniers for clothing and the hard top box for anything breakable.

I've never used panniers so the above is just a thought..
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post #7 of 62 (permalink) Old 01-08-2016, 08:01 AM
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My main concern is security. Some of the time I'd like to be a tourist and park up to wander off and have a look at things away from the bike. Whilst I've heard many people say they have never had a problem with soft luggage I always felt really uneasy whenever I parked up my old sports bikes with their Oxford soft panniers. So much so that ultimately it deterred me from going too far from the bike or for too long.

But I also don't want to be riding around on a wing-nut which is what a lot of the hard cases end up making the bike look like. I had a VFR800 back in 2002 with Givi cases. It was almost as wide as the other half's car - where's the fun in that if you get stuck in traffic? I know - I shouldn't be in traffic with the Africa Twin but sadly in the UK and a lot of Europe this is pretty unavoidable en route to off-road paradise...

So, I'm favouring the travelling light option - which for me (I can't pack to save my life...) is a top-box for valuables (not the ugly Honda OEM one though), a seat pack if the other half is at home, and perhaps a tank bag although I generally don't like tank bags for some reason. If the other half ever does come out I might have to go for side cases (one for her shoes and the other for her make-up, hair dryer, hair straighteners, hair conditioner, face wash, hair brush, spare hair brush...). And if I'm camping I also might have to have panniers.

There's no perfect solution is there? And that's despite the ones you can buy being priced for perfection...
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post #8 of 62 (permalink) Old 01-08-2016, 08:48 AM
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I was debating this topic with people over on the Horizons Unlimited board recently. Lots of people there who really do the whole round the world bike travel thing. The considered view seems to be that soft luggage all around is best from the point of view of weight distribution, and crash survivability. You don't want hard panniers on the side as they deform in a crash, and you don't want a top box on the back as it's a lot of weight in exactly the wrong place.

Most seem to believe that a hard box also attracts attention - "what is so valuable in there that it needs locking up?" wonders the thief - and can be jammed open with a screwdriver almost as easily as a soft bag can be slashed. So most bring a bike cover with them, and cover the bike whenever they're away from it, opening an out of sight out of mind policy. The cheaper looking the bike cover, the better.

Then your real valuable (passports, documents, electronics) go in a tank bag that you carry with you at all times when you're away from the bike.

Also, re: top boxes - whenever I've used them in the past I believe that they do impact fuel economy a bit.
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post #9 of 62 (permalink) Old 01-08-2016, 09:54 AM
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I will get H&B Xplorers and will use topbox when I'm commuting. The reason is simple, I want to put my laptop there. For longer trips I don't plan to use topbox, but when ridin 2-up then I will.
RTW trip would probably be with soft luggage.

CRF1000L, wow
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post #10 of 62 (permalink) Old 01-08-2016, 09:59 AM
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Anyone ever use wolfman luggage? I've read good things but no experience personally.
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