Built racks and panniers for the Steamer!

Discussion in 'Land of the Rising Sun: ADV Bikes from Japan' started by sevenpointsixtwo, Apr 28, 2013.

  1. sevenpointsixtwo

    sevenpointsixtwo Resident Hooligan

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2010
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    In the Shadow of Smuggler's Notch, VT
    With the exception of a rare second-hand set of Hepco-Becker or Givis, I couldn't find any pannier racks for my Steamer; even then, they were massively expensive. I knew I wanted to run hard cases on this bike, so I was going to need a custom setup.

    I sourced some Seahorse 720 waterproof cases on the recommendation of a fellow inmate, and enlisted a few friends to help me with fabrication and assembly.

    In progress:

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    My welder's ADV salute. Get back to work!

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    We used 1/2" EMT galvanized tubing for the hoops, and higher-strength 3/4" 16 gauge mild steel for the struts. Two struts tie to the OEM aluminum top rack bolts, (which I'm not using, as it's massively heavy) one to the passenger footpeg brackets, and a removable support bar across the back.

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    And mounted the boxes:


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    I'm going to have to remember that they are, in fact, 3" wider than my handlebars and not get myself into any tight squeezes!

    Here's the mount setup. L brackets at the top and bottom, clamps to the hoop with a knob. The top bracket will have a lock-plate that bends over the bracket to hold the box in position. The "pucks" themselves are a plastic building material, bolted on with t-nuts and fender washers on the inside.

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    All they need now are some stickers!
    #1
  2. Gallowbraid

    Gallowbraid Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Very nice setup. :thumb I used a packrat rack and mounted a pair of 720's to my KLR almost a year ago now and they've held up fantastically. Plenty of storage space, durable as heck and most importantly: plenty of surface area for stickers! :lol3
    #2
  3. slowgoer

    slowgoer n00b

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    Slick, Great workmanship.
    #3
  4. sevenpointsixtwo

    sevenpointsixtwo Resident Hooligan

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    Thanks! The first stickers will probably be reflective ones, as the boxes hide the tail reflectors in profile.
    #4
  5. markbvt

    markbvt Long timer

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    I'm still amazed how well these racks turned out. Building them was an interesting project; tubing benders are cool. :D I was pretty sure as we were making the parts that the resulting racks would be good, but the end result exceeded my expectations. Can't wait to see how they hold up on our next trip!

    Good thing I already have racks for my Tiger 800 or I'd be tempted to embark on Rack Project #2...

    --mark
    #5
  6. villageidiot

    villageidiot Long timer

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    ive built racks for my last 3 bikes.

    its kind of a sickness. i built a set of racks and alloy panniers on my bmw r80 too which turned out great, but a lot more work.
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    soft bag standoffs and tail rack for my 2005 vstrom
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    and racks and seahorse cases for my triumph bonneville
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    i just got a new vstrom 650 last week and look forward to starting racks soon.

    FWIW i usually use 1/2" 16ga tubing for the racks, and simply bolt the racks and bags together. i used happy trails mount kit for the bmw, but found myself never taking them off, so for the triumph i used nuts n bolts.
    #6
  7. sevenpointsixtwo

    sevenpointsixtwo Resident Hooligan

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    Nice work! I had considered a more permanent bolt-on system, but theoretically I'd like to be able to pack the bags flat, then mount them to the bike, to minimize the drawbacks of a side-loader box.

    I think these hoops would work well if I ever want to run soft bags too, like a set of Wolfman dry luggage.
    #7
  8. sevenpointsixtwo

    sevenpointsixtwo Resident Hooligan

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    Also, a (rough) calculation of total cost:

    Seahorse cases: $105
    EMT/tube/flat steel: ~$25
    Hardware, paint, etc: ~$20
    Beer for my buddy with a MIG: ~$15

    Total cost: ~$165 plus or minus.


    Plus many hours tinkering. The joys of academia and marginal employment! :clap
    #8
  9. villageidiot

    villageidiot Long timer

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    I use bag liners. Pack the bag liner on the table/bed wherever and it simply goes right in the case. I only have one bag liner, for clothes/toiletries etc. the other case gets food and cooking equipment. I pack my tent and sleeping gear in a kayaking dry bag I rok strap to my back seat or rack.
    #9
  10. sevenpointsixtwo

    sevenpointsixtwo Resident Hooligan

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    Ah, that is a great idea. I will have to look for some liners that fit those boxes. Any recommendations?
    #10
  11. villageidiot

    villageidiot Long timer

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    #11
  12. sevenpointsixtwo

    sevenpointsixtwo Resident Hooligan

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    Thanks! I will definitely be looking into 1 or 2 of the box liners. Going to (hopefully, if they fit) add a couple tool tubes inboard of the racks, so a tool roll or bag might be nice for those too!
    #12
  13. sevenpointsixtwo

    sevenpointsixtwo Resident Hooligan

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    Added some tool tubes (sorry to whoever was selling them on here; it looked like the group buy was over so I got the ebay ones...). They're just ziptied on for now, but it seems pretty secure. I've heard p-clamps break and I've had bolts rattle loose, so zips might be the permanent solution!

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    #13