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Old 06-19-2012, 03:11 PM   #1
TUCKERS OP
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Happy Trails question

Happy Trails.

What has your experience been with ordering and the quality of panniers/racks?
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Old 06-19-2012, 04:34 PM   #2
Lonestar2112
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I would buy them again. I did do one mod which made them stronger, but I can't complain. I have had them on the bike for 3 years. Several slow speed naps and they have held up. They do have "beauty" marks on them though.
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Old 06-19-2012, 04:40 PM   #3
perterra
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Great racks and panniers, I wouldnt hesitate to get another set.
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Old 06-19-2012, 04:43 PM   #4
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Ditto, good stuff.

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Old 06-19-2012, 04:50 PM   #5
DirtDabber
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I have a set that has migrated for a couple of bikes. Lots of miles overloaded on rough roads. No issues.

Yes, those are cases of paint....


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Old 06-19-2012, 11:56 PM   #6
TUCKERS OP
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Thanks everyone.

In my kit I see no support for inside the panniers, just a bolt through with a washer. Wouldn't a puck be good on the inside to spread the load? The updated rack has a large outside are now for the pannier.
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Old 06-20-2012, 05:37 AM   #7
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That's funny: Two identical threads with almost totally opposite results.
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Old 06-20-2012, 05:53 AM   #8
ghostdncr
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In the interest of balance:


Copied and pasted from the "Show us your Transalp modifications" thread, post #4185. I wouldn't hit a dog in the ass with anything from Happy Trail:


Quote:
Originally Posted by NorCalDave
Am just finishing installing a Happy-Trails SU rack and Pelican 1550 cases and a Givi E45 top case on my bike.

Had some problems with the HT rack as the right side tolerances were off by a good 3/8 of a inch and they sent some hardware that was too short. Called and got some Asshat named Todd who tried everything to deflect any blame away from HT and onto my bike by saying stuff like "Oh, your bike must have been wrecked" and "Oh, no two bikes are ever built the same tolerance-wise. I basically told him that I'd heard enough BS from him and asked for the owner.

After also initially attempting to deflect blame away from H-T, Tim finally offered to replace the right side rack that I had to re-drill at the rear footrest mounting hole but I said I would keep it if he would agree to replace it if it ever broke where I had to re-drill it. UPS is supposed to show up with longer hardware today. Overall, not a real happy 1st experience with Happy-Trails.


My reply to NorCalDave:

I just went through this whole "asshat" experience with Happy-Trail myself. My hardware came in with some being too short, some way too long, a mysterious collection of spacers that seem to fit nothing on my bike, and one standard UNC bolt instead of the correct metric fastener.

I called H-T and spoke with a guy named Dave who seemed to really try to do the right thing and help, but couldn't really do anything aside from getting a bolt in an envelope and shipping it regular ground the following week.

I emailed H-T's "customer service" describing what had happened. The next day I got an email from Tim saying he was referring my issue to Todd.

An email from Todd later that day pretty well guaranteed H-T would never see another damn penny from me. I got the basic "Shit happens, ya know? And besides, we told you it was gonna take three and a half weeks to get your racks to you when you ordered". Um, I forgot to mention that it took three and a half weeks to get a package shipped from Idaho to Indiana, didn't I? And that they told me it would take three and a half weeks in the order confirmation email I received after the transaction was completed.

In the end, I finally got H-T to replace the UNC bolt free of charge, but with the INCORRECT LENGTH metric fastener (sent to me "postage due", if you can believe that!) at which I threw my hands up in disgust and spent about $60 with McMaster-Carr ordering enough metric hardware to get these racks mounted.

Oh, and the racks. The racks themselves look like something built in a high school-level metal shop. I can't imagine them being welded on any kind of serious jig/fixture as any one hole on either rack would line up, but the others then required fierce bending or drilling to make things line up. The welds look like crap, too.

I sent Tim one final email asking for a percentage of my purchase price to be refunded, since I'd obviously been sent the rack "kit" instead of the finished item. I'm still waiting for a reply to that one.

If nothing else, I like the fact that I found out what kind of operation I was dealing with on the very first transaction. But please don't take my word for it because, as always, YMMV.

Let me tell you how s-m-o-o-t-h this past week's Touratech order went...
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Old 06-20-2012, 09:59 AM   #9
Lonestar2112
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TUCKERS View Post
Thanks everyone.

In my kit I see no support for inside the panniers, just a bolt through with a washer. Wouldn't a puck be good on the inside to spread the load? The updated rack has a large outside are now for the pannier.
I had my local metal shop fab me up some steel stiffenrs. The stiffeners run 3/4 the length of the box, are 2 inches wide and 1/8" thick. I had holes drilled to match the pannier hole location. I did this for the upper and lower sets of holes. The mod REALLY stiffened up the box and it is now one with the bike.

I presume that the boxes are made with 5051 series AL. Soft enough to do nice bends butt soft enough to pull the bolts through if you happen to jump the pig (GS) DAMHIK ~12-18" high jump
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Old 06-20-2012, 10:09 AM   #10
Meter Man
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I liked mine fine.

I had the racks only on a DR650. The Ammo can pannier took an impact with a black bear that required some effort to get the bolt out of the rack after the trip.

The fitment was pretty fiddly and it rubbed on the plastic until I used some washers as a spacer.

I would buy them again.
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Old 06-22-2012, 04:18 PM   #11
quota
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Since you asked twice, I'll reply twice.

I'm happy with HT and their products.
Racks on a Transalp fit and work well.
Racks on a Guzzi Quota fit and work well.
DRZ400 rack fit and worked well.
Engine guards on 2 different Moto Guzzi Quota fit and worked well.
Tail rack on a Guzzi Quota fit and works well.

I can think of a couple of guys that I ride with on BMW 1200GS bikes with boxes and racks that have no complaints.

If I were looking for racks and hard cases, I'd order Happy Trails.
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Old 06-22-2012, 07:13 PM   #12
VikB
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TUCKERS View Post
Happy Trails.

What has your experience been with ordering and the quality of panniers/racks?
I've ordered a full set of farkles less the panniers from HT. Got everything fast, parts were complete and everything went on without modification.

I have no complaints...
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Old 06-23-2012, 06:58 AM   #13
OD_Cleaver
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Walk away from Happy Trails

(I see that there are two threads started by the same person on this subject.)

I installed Happy Trails racks (frame) and bags (panniers) on a ’07 Buell Ulysses. The rack did not fit. HT sent a new rack. This one did not fit any better. I eventually used a hammer to beat the rack into shape and a drill to open up the rack’s mounting holes.

Fast forward a few years. I was driving down a Wyoming back road. It started to rain. I got a close up view of some of the slickest clay I have seen. The lower leading edge of the left bag plowed a furrow into the mud until it hit a large buried rock. The HT bag distorted and never left the rack. The rack bent but did not break. What broke was the bike’s sub-frame (tail section).


What a poor design for a product that is intended for “adventure” riding. I should have known better. To make the product better:
  • The leading edges of the bags should be well rounded.
  • The bag mounts should be designed to break free without damaging the bike.
  • The racks should use slotted mounting holes on at least one point on each side.
One more point that I missed in my original response – The right bag/pannier/box mounts further away from the center line of the bike than the left box. Just one more attention to detail that HT overlooked.
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Old 06-23-2012, 07:07 AM   #14
bush pilot
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Happy Trails stuff is tiptop, customer service exemplary,(I did have to beat them up some) but they shined through it all.
Would I order again from them? Yes! In an heartbeat!
In fact I'm seriously thinking about replacing the garbage Caribou luggage I have on my GS with Happy Trails panniers. (trouble is I've already re-engineered the Caribou stuff to make it work.)
The Cascade panniers i used on the KLR travel bike are really great, but what really shinned was the super strong rack system.
There's no doubt in my mind Happy Trails gear will go the distance.
And top loading panniers are better after all is said and done.
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Old 06-23-2012, 07:15 AM   #15
fbj913
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They are good people. Customer service is top notch. They also make strong products.
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