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Topic: Cheap panniers.  (Read 2814 times)

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« on: June 22, 2017, 04:23:17 pm »

I have been looking around and and it looks like these 2 words are an oxymoron. It is a weird world that we live in today, with all those aftermarket manufacturers, when the Original Equipment panniers seem to be the cheapest and highest quality panniers (and top-boxes), plus being easiest and best fit.

It is very hard to find set of hard panniers with mounting brackets for 500 dollars or less, most are closer to 1000 and many are above that. Add a little bit of shipping costs to different places of our artificially divided planet and any self respecting thief would steal the panniers and leave the good ol' bike since the panniers are worth more.

Do any of you nice members of the brother and sisterhood of the motorcycle sport touring inclination have suggestions for inexpensive panniers or examples of practical nice looking home made solutions?  Regular ammo boxes seem to be common but are in my opinion too heavy and limited in size.

I realize that quality costs money but I am willing to accept slightly less than the absolute best quality if the price is right. Smile
« Last Edit: June 22, 2017, 04:26:34 pm by Andsetinn » Logged
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« Reply #1 on: June 22, 2017, 05:04:03 pm »

For my son's bike I bought two top boxes ( trunks )
from JC Whitney for about $140.
I then fabbed my own brackets for the mounting plates.
Sturdy, light weight, water proof and removable.
He's been using them for about five years now.
I'm sure similar cases are available on Amazon or eBay.
« Last Edit: June 22, 2017, 09:14:32 pm by SLK50 » Logged
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« Reply #2 on: June 22, 2017, 07:10:08 pm »

Ebay and various places have lots of CHEAP panniers and topboxes that are essentially Givi knockoffs -- they are made of much cheaper and less impact resistant plastic and may not seal as well BUT that's easy to deal with - get waterproof bag liners.  

Some of them might need a little "engineering" to make them usable - as in adding reinforcing aluminum bar under the mounting bracket etc if the plastic isn't sufficiently strong.  
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« Reply #3 on: June 22, 2017, 09:37:47 pm »

You can always use soft luggage as well

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« Reply #4 on: June 23, 2017, 01:55:13 pm »

There's also the new (so not a great variety) of semi-rigid bags.  Something to look into.
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« Reply #5 on: June 26, 2017, 12:52:37 am »

I'm about as frugal as they come - yeah, that's a nice way to put it Smile And one of my close friends is not much better.
Some of your points resonate with my experiences.

The rugged storage cases don't have any integrated mounting points including no latching/locking mechanism so you could end up dicking around with that, or buying a kit requiring you to drill holes in your cases and bolt up some crude internal metal braces and still being disappointed. The only hard luggage I have is an old, small Givi top case on a home made bracket that the base plate is secured to.

I bought soft side bags maybe ten years ago and still get regular use out of them. They have an expansion panel to add about 2" of width but I rarely need that room unless I'm stuffing them with additional clothing. Mostly they carry my tools, small bottles of fluids, battery charger, spare parts. That kind of stuff. All in various heavy zip-loc bags if the weather calls for it. They have external rain covers with draw cords but that system doesn't work well at keeping water out for long. I can tell you what happens when the bike goes over. If the bags have enough soft contents to fill them out, they will protect the bike's rear sides and signal lights. I didn't even see any damage to the fabric after a brief low side. All that said, I haven't made DIY brackets for these so I pay attention to tying them down to avoid brushes with the exhaust.

My third luggage item is an expanding tank bag. I just keep popping into the bike stores and eventually see some clear out deals so for $40 I got a bag that's about perfect for my needs, comparable to things next to it for 3x or more that price. It's nuts how much stuff I can fit in there without resorting to using the expansion. If I only ride with one piece of luggage, that's it, even preferred over the top case.

Lastly for extended hauling, I have an 85L camping dry bag. Heavy duty PVA coated material, almost like what you'd expect for a dinghy. Filled and closed up, it's about 12" diameter and 24" wide, give or take. That gets placed on its side on the passenger part of my seat and is held down with ROK Straps. Those things are worth every penny. I used to think they were fancy over priced affairs but once I used them, the advantages over traditional bungees are abundantly clear.

My distribution is:
Tank bag - soft and hard immediate access items and delicate electronics = $40
Side bags - tools, spares, rags/cleaning towels, bulky hard items, bulky clothing - everything separated in heavy grade zip-loc bags  $130 for the pair
Top case - easy access clothing called for with changes in weather/temperature, and fragile items packed in the centre of all the soft items - $ can't remember. About $20 for my home made bracket.
Dry bag - the changes of clothing, footwear, towels and toiletries I'll need at an overnight destination, not during the ride. $35
ROK straps - 60" pair $30
All in Canadian dollars (about 0.75 of U.S.)

Hope that gives some help.


If I go the DIY route I am most likely to go with Peli flightcases. Waterproof, impact proof, lockable, lots of sizes, lifetime warranty.
Soft luggage is cheaper but what will happen to stuff inside soft case if it falls off or the bike falls on its side? If I go for soft luggage I will most likely use waterproof duffel bag with lots of Bungee tie downs, but I want slightly more professional looking option. Smile

I am sure there are others who make similar cases who would fit nicely for intended use but why are motorcycle cases so expensive? It is like manufacturers double the price if it is for motorcycles. End of rant. Bigsmile Cool
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« Reply #6 on: September 12, 2017, 02:24:31 pm »


I have been looking around and and it looks like these 2 words are an oxymoron. It is a weird world that we live in today, with all those aftermarket manufacturers, when the Original Equipment panniers seem to be the cheapest and highest quality panniers (and top-boxes), plus being easiest and best fit.

It is very hard to find set of hard panniers with mounting brackets for 500 dollars or less, most are closer to 1000 and many are above that. Add a little bit of shipping costs to different places of our artificially divided planet and any self respecting thief would steal the panniers and leave the good ol' bike since the panniers are worth more.

Do any of you nice members of the brother and sisterhood of the motorcycle sport touring inclination have suggestions for inexpensive panniers or examples of practical nice looking home made solutions?  Regular ammo boxes seem to be common but are in my opinion too heavy and limited in size.

I realize that quality costs money but I am willing to accept slightly less than the absolute best quality if the price is right. Smile



https://www.princessauto.com/en/detail/22-in-impact-resistant-tool-box/A-p8486037e
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« Reply #7 on: September 13, 2017, 09:28:31 pm »

Go down to the local Army Navy Surplus store and get 2 ammo cans.  Whatever size you like.  Come back to your garage and fab up 2 brackets to hold them in place on the bike.  Get a lock and you will be all set. Water proof, lockable and cheap.
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« Reply #8 on: September 14, 2017, 02:21:09 am »


...suggestions for inexpensive panniers or examples of practical nice looking home made solutions?  Regular ammo boxes seem to be common but are in my opinion too heavy and limited in size.


Since you mentioned homemade and ammo, might I suggest the food canisters that are available (called mermite cans)? They are infinitely lighter than ammo boxes and much bigger. Probably too big, but I thought I'd make the suggestion anyway.

On the KLR:


I had a friend in Seattle weld up the rack. He's incredibly talented and it took him just a couple of hours of bending and welding. The rack held up very well, and was out of the way when the panniers weren't needed.



Example of capacity  Bigsmile
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« Reply #9 on: September 14, 2017, 02:43:52 am »

Good idea!!

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« Reply #10 on: September 14, 2017, 10:56:55 am »



Hey Ivan. Seahorse cases are as good a quality as Pelican, and much cheaper. You can order them with integrated locks too. I have two, that I use for a small, and smaller top box. Work great.

The 630 or larger 720 would make nice side cases.

https://www.carrycasesplus.com/seahorse-cases/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIu9e16_ek1gIVBgppCh2uFgetEAAYAyAAEgKh9PD_BwE
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« Reply #11 on: October 18, 2017, 07:58:27 pm »




Hey Ivan. Seahorse cases are as good a quality as Pelican, and much cheaper. You can order them with integrated locks too. I have two, that I use for a small, and smaller top box. Work great.

The 630 or larger 720 would make nice side cases.

https://www.carrycasesplus.com/seahorse-cases/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIu9e16_ek1gIVBgppCh2uFgetEAAYAyAAEgKh9PD_BwE


I put Seahorse 720 cases on my SV650 and they worked great.   Bigok

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« Reply #12 on: March 05, 2018, 09:19:27 am »

I used one of these on my 02 Bandit for almost 10 years. http://www.bestemusa.com/T-Box-Top-Box_c_891.html



Worked very well and if the 08 Bandit I picked up last month did not have the factory bags on it, I would have purchased one for it.  They come with a mounting plate so you could buy two and fab up brackets to use them a panniers.
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