ammo can panniers

Discussion in 'Thumpers' started by xhaleKLR, Jun 18, 2009.

  1. xhaleKLR

    xhaleKLR Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2009
    Oddometer:
    57
    Location:
    Hammond, IN
    I have read all kinds of threads on here about how people have used ammo cans as panniers on their bikes. I have an 08 KLR650 that I am thinking of doing this with. I was wondering if anyone had any pictures of the install process. Also, what would be the best racks to use for this application?
    #1
  2. NICO

    NICO Save the USA

    Joined:
    May 1, 2006
    Oddometer:
    29,615
    Location:
    here, there and everywhere
    IIRC, at least one of those threads on here had pics and description of the install process.
    #2
  3. jgrady1982

    jgrady1982 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2008
    Oddometer:
    803
    Location:
    Cleveland, Ohio
    I bought 2 20mm ammo cans that are still sitting in my garage. I am currently restoring a 1986 Honda XL600R, and once the bike is done I am going to weld on two tabs to the frame and construct a rack for the cases. I will be sure to post a thread when I do this.

    Good luck,
    Jack
    #3
  4. Saltbox

    Saltbox WTF is this?

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2008
    Oddometer:
    1,366
    Location:
    Boston
    Here is my cheap ass ammo can setup, I used the smaller cans (better off road). That and I don't need to lug tons of crap around, thats what the rack and waterproof duffle are for.[​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    Since I can't weld for shit, actually I don't know how I came up with this home brewed solution using electrical conduit, gas piping and a few bolts. They have held up really well, although I did puncture one of the ammo cans last weekend when the bike went down off road. My mounting system held up fine though.
    I think ammo cans were made for the KLR.

    :beer
    #4
  5. GordMounce

    GordMounce Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2005
    Oddometer:
    189
    Location:
    Calgary, Alberta
    How did we all know that the OP was referencing a KLR for ammo can panniers even though it wasn't in the subject line? lol! :augie
    #5
  6. xhaleKLR

    xhaleKLR Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2009
    Oddometer:
    57
    Location:
    Hammond, IN
    I wrote in my original post that I have a 08 KLR.
    #6
  7. crash50

    crash50 Idaho Back Country

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2006
    Oddometer:
    191
    Location:
    Idaho
    I picked up a few of these and although I already have the HT set, I put these on for in the mtns. Smaller means less gear, but the hard plastic, something similiar to Pelicans I think are pretty bombproof.

    Unable to post pictures as I have no way of doing it.


    The 25MM sases are about $19 a piece.
    #7
  8. CRio

    CRio KLR Obsessed

    Joined:
    May 4, 2010
    Oddometer:
    13
    Location:
    Ottawa, Ontario
    #8
  9. GSBS

    GSBS FunHog

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2005
    Oddometer:
    3,986
    Location:
    Blount Springs, AL
    ...and although they worked just fine, I wouldn't do it again.

    Just too damn heavy for me.

    I used the boxes that were about 9"W x 18"L x 14"D and they had lots of room, but each box weighed in at over 20 pounds! That's more than double the weight of most aluminum pannier boxes.

    I bought the mounting racks from KLR650.com (about $250 with mounting hardware for the boxes) and the ammo cans were about $22 each at a local Army surplus store. Other costs for mine were $25 for four lockset cylinders keyed alike and about $15 for rattlecan pickup bed liner spray paint.

    Unfortunately I don't have any photos as they were destroyed when my house burned in early 2007. I will say this, after the fire the ammo boxes were one of the few things in the garage (where the fire started and burned hottest) that were still relatively intact!

    IMO, the bottom line on ammo box panniers is that they are probably the most rugged thing you can use but will also be the heaviest. Mine really affected the handling of the bike in a bad way, particularly off road.

    Now I use soft bags on both my bikes and am much more satisified. Were I shopping for metal panniers though, I'd go Jesse without hesitation.

    My 2¢
    #9
  10. Fire Escape

    Fire Escape Long timer

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2007
    Oddometer:
    2,076
    Location:
    Epsom, NH
    I have had these 20mm cans on my DR for over 2 years now. I was going to put on some nice aluminum boxes so I got SW Motech racks from Twisted Throttle as a first step. Once the racks were in place I recalled having these cans burried in the garage (came from the father of a friend, there were two 50 cal. cans - the things I wanted at the time, packed in each one) so ......after substantial digging I decided to use these as a "trial" and decide where to go from there. Rather than spend more $$ on detachable mounts (only a temporary trial after all) I bolted them in place with enough fender washers between the rack and box to clear the diagonal stiffening rib. The rack itself (with box) comes off the bike with 3 "Dzus" fasteners per side which I do when loading in the camper or contemplating anything approaching "serious" off-road riding.

    [​IMG]

    They are indeed heavy, I have to pay attention to where I park because they settle the bike down on it's suspension (I actually need some new springs, not so much for the boxes but because I am fat enough to be 2 people). The bike is my "daily driver" throughout the winter while camping somewhere much warmer that New England, I do all my grocery shopping and errands with it, being careful to load the heavier stuff in the left side and unload that one last so the bike stays upright. I haven't measured the boxes but did learn that a gallon paint can will fit with room to spare.
    The only "real" drawback I found (once I got used to the weight) was that with the military markings still in place, cars were reluctant to get very close, arround here that means that I would often sit through several traffic light cycles because the bike alone doesn't trip the signal trigger. Adding a few touristy stickers solved that. and I have no plans to replace them anytime soon. YMMV.


    Bruce
    #10
  11. dlh62c

    dlh62c Long timer

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,603
    My advice ...Don't do it.

    I know their cheap and robust, but their also heavy. I was set to install a couple on my bike, but was talked out of it by an inmate. The money I would have saved would have gone out the window if I had to replace a tweaked or busted sub frame on the bike. I would much rather have a pannier explode like a ripe melon than break the frame.

    Touratech now sells a rack for the KLR650. http://www.touratech-usa.com/Store/1134/KLR-650,

    So does Happy Trails: http://www.happy-trail.com/KLR650/Aluminum-Panniers-Cascade-KLR650E.aspx

    What ever you do, make them easily removable.

    If your still set to use ammo cans, Youtube has a video on it: http://il.youtube.com/watch?v=y7bKLe_jqIM&feature=related

    daryl
    #11
  12. Sak

    Sak Adventurer

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2012
    Oddometer:
    11
    Hi Luggage Fetishists,
    I'm about to install some 25mm "plastic" ammo can panniers. These ...cans... sure are beauties! Ebay has them for cheap ($11 +shipping) again. They just arrived last night, and believe me, UPS wasn't kidding when they put the shipping weight at 35 lbs for the three of them!

    Here's one with a size 10 (US) boot for comparison:
    [​IMG]

    Internal volume is nothing to write home about. One boot fits inside the can. Unfortunately you'd have to open the other side to put the other boot in. A proper rigid moto boot would never fit. Part of the problem is the many ridges that stiffen the case and kept those 25mm cartridges from knocking around.

    The material is some sort of glass-reinforced plastic (aka fiberglass), presumably a thermoplastic. I don't doubt what other inmates have said about these taking a screw thread directly. Because of the rigid material, thickness and the multiple massive internal ribs they make Pelican and Storm cases feel like Tupperware. I filled them up with water to rinse out some of the depleted uranium and they seem to hold water.

    I trimmed off one of the ribs, which wasn't too hard with an "oscillating multi-function tool" a.k.a. "manbrator." I think the glass fibers dull the blade quickly though so I'll switch to an angle grinder. At the bottom of the image below you can see a 10mm ridge that I chopped off the middle of the lid. There is some melted plastic burring. The polycarbonate sheet at the top of the image will become a shelf that will conveniently separate the merely dirty things in the top of the case from the really filthy stuff at the bottom :1drink:
    [​IMG]

    The Ebay seller that I used also had cheap MOLLE radio pouches ($2, FS) so I ordered a pair as liner bags. They fit like a glove, and the pouches alone are burlier than much of the soft moto luggage that I've seen:
    [​IMG]

    Unfortunately the gov't asshats had to "demilitarize" them before releasing them to the surplus retailers by spray painting over those lovely ammunition specs. Some thinner on a rag sorted that out fairly quickly. Before (right) and after (left; was green):
    [​IMG]
    I'm tempted to try to do some fancy lockable quick-release setup for my Givi Wingrack, but will probably just bolt them straight on. K.I.S.S and svelte.

    That diamond-shaped blank area is calling out for some clever sticker. Although I giggled at the Hazmat explosive warning someone had, I worry that this just might attract too much of the wrong kind of attention. Maybe just a reflective Tuareg?

    Thanks, all you pioneering inmates who've posted your pannier builds!
    #12
  13. Switchblade315

    Switchblade315 Long timer

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2009
    Oddometer:
    7,002
    Location:
    Watching Bridges Burn
    this is my set up on my 82 XL500R.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I had a plate welded to them and two one inch square rods welded to that, I have square tubing welded under my rear rack that the rods slide into. and two bolts go through that to hold them on. takes less then 5 minutes to take them off. if i swapped the bolts for pins it would take less then 2 minutes to take them off or put them on.
    #13
  14. Tooltech

    Tooltech Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 25, 2011
    Oddometer:
    132
    Location:
    White Salmon, WA
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gf1dbdNJMSc

    Typical KLR...heavy, slow, cheap and runs forever.:huh
    #14
  15. _cy_

    _cy_ Long timer

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2011
    Oddometer:
    6,504
    Location:
    Tulsa, Oklahoma
    if you are bound to do this... go with aluminum mil surplus cans
    much lighter ... all sorts of thread telling you how
    #15
  16. Sak

    Sak Adventurer

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2012
    Oddometer:
    11
    Thanks for the tip. If I could find alu cans that fit my weight, width and cost parameters I'd be on them like flies on a cowpat. These polymer ones weigh 10lbs each (just weighed 'em) and once mounted are the same width as my fog lights. I figure I paid $11 each for badass "ammunition for cannon with solid projectiles -- 30 cartridges" stickers and got free fallout shelters for my hamsters!

    Mounting them is trickier than I expected because my top box interferes with the lid if they are level.:cry
    [​IMG]
    #16
  17. BigSingle

    BigSingle Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2009
    Oddometer:
    388
    Location:
    Flatistan
    I also went with the smaller cans. Each will hold 2 - 20oz bottles or equal amounts of stuff.

    Cans mounted to their frame.
    [​IMG]

    Rear view.
    [​IMG]

    Side View
    [​IMG]
    #17
  18. Switchblade315

    Switchblade315 Long timer

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2009
    Oddometer:
    7,002
    Location:
    Watching Bridges Burn
    nice looking set up.
    #18
  19. Saltbox

    Saltbox WTF is this?

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2008
    Oddometer:
    1,366
    Location:
    Boston
    My current setup, they bolt right on too the factory rack and rear blinker holes:[​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    #19
  20. Sak

    Sak Adventurer

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2012
    Oddometer:
    11
    a Dutch rider asked me about the dimensions of the polymer 25mm ammo cans.

    external: 345 x 140 x 360 mm
    internal: 305 x 305 x 125 mm
    length x width x height

    The internal length and width are measured at the opening. There are horizontal internal ribs near the center that stick out up to 28mm. This creates a significantly reduced "waist" dimension. These can be reduced but not entirely removed because the external
    The lids also have ~8mm tall ridges that could be ground or cut off. My height measurement is in between the ridges, so you could get an addition 16mm by removing these.

    The boxes are symmetrical top to bottom, with identical lids on either side.
    #20