Ortlieb Panniers vs. Great Basin bag

Discussion in 'Equipment' started by alaskan dude, Mar 17, 2013.

  1. alaskan dude

    alaskan dude Adventurer

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    Ok guys, this is my last question regarding this topic, honest.

    A buddy and I will be doing a trip from Anchorage to Great Slave Lake and back this summer and need to decide what soft luggage to use.

    It will either be Ortlieb panniers or Great Basin bag, so here are my questions:

    1. Ortlieb states 52 liters capacity and great Basin 50 liters, so pretty even. So question is this. Ortlieb packing space is basically a box and Great Basin a long tapered tube. To me, I would think Ortlieb would be easier to pack and actually carry more? Your thoughts?

    2. The 2013 version of Great Basin does not have the built in 2 fuel bottle pouches or the so called built in sleeping bag pouch. Which of the two designs do you like best?

    I am leaning towards Great Basin.

    Thanks, again.
    #1
  2. byways

    byways byways

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    I've no experience with the GB, but I have been impressed with the simplicity, ease of use and capacity of my roll-top Ortlieb dry bag saddlebags (yellow). Not to mention the toughness and cushion they provide whenever my KLR suddenly decides it's, um, 'nap time' ...

    Here's my Ortlieb- (and Kriega- and SealLine-) equipped KLR with Mobius in Montana ...

    [​IMG]
    #2
  3. mookybird

    mookybird Gramps

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    As mentioned above I think for light weight performance based offroad touring that the GL products are the ticket.

    For ease of loading I would choose the top loading separate compartments of the Ortlieb or something similar, doesn't mean the GL is hard to load just that top loaders would be easier.

    I can easily do multi state/week rides with the combination of an ogio vest and the GL coyote which the specs say carry 30 liters and even with a stool and a comfortable two man tent, a shower and spare shoes there is always a fair amount of room left over in the coyote. Unless you need to carry a lot of food or are riding two up 52 liters seems like a lot of capacity.
    #3
  4. John_L

    John_L Been here awhile

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    I've had both now.

    Started with the Ortliebs. Waterproof was great but they way they mounted to my the DRZ left them a bit floppy which I didn't care for. Top loading I really liked.

    Got a GL and put it on my TE610 for a year. Mount was completely solid. Not waterproof but did a good job of holding in water in the bottoms that found it's way in resulting in some rusted tools and soggy oatmeal packets. Opening and closing the bag is not fun when you need something quick and I found that it was hard to get it full due to the odd shape.

    Put Ortliebs back on the TE for the next trip. Mounted them with a bolt through only the back plate of the bags to the loop on the Dirtbagz rack so as not to affect waterproofing. Mounting now rock solid like the GL's and it allows much easier access and the ability to pack items based on use rather than where things fit. I can get almost the same amount of stuff in my Ortliebs that I got in my Great Basin bag. The whole setup is only about one inch wider on the bike than the GL bag and the weight is lower.

    GL bag has since been sold. Ortliebs are staying now that the mounting is figured out.

    I think they are more like 40+ liters though not 50.

    cheers
    #4
  5. alaskan dude

    alaskan dude Adventurer

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    Thanks guys, good info
    #5
  6. toowheels

    toowheels on a mission...

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    Hey alaskan dude,

    I've run the Ortliebs in the past and I now run Giant Loop stuff (Disclaimer: I sell GL in Canada).

    Ortliebs are good but as was mentioned floppy off-road and also may need some sort of support too. They are also not that durable in the event of a crash, or in my case a branch ripping one of them.

    No side racks needed for the Great Basin saves you at least 10lbs and nothing to bend/crack.

    The Great Basin is crash worthy, high speed on gravel no less. There have been posts on here of incidents with no damage other than scratch marks to the sides. The Cordura overlay works! Nothing on the lower side either to rip off. I haven't seen anything as tough.

    Capacity is slightly conservative at 50L for the 2012 and older and bumped up to 60L for the new 2013 versions.

    The 2013s also have new quick access buckles up top and a separate retention system to attach it to the bike. Much faster to get in and out without disturbing the set up.

    The "open space" inside the 2013 version will make it more versatile in how you can pack it. Remember though light stuff up top!

    I'm a huge fan of how well the Great Basin works!

    Any more q's ask away!

    Dave
    #6
  7. John_L

    John_L Been here awhile

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    Dave,

    Good to know that the GL product has been redesigned a bit. Are they now waterproof?

    I purchased my Ortliebs in 2006 I believe it was. They have tons of miles and many crashes on them and are still in good shape, just dusty.

    My GL held up well too to many crashes.

    I've seen Ortliebs fail, aluminum fail and a GL Great Basin fail. They all fail at one point or another, it is really crash dependent.

    For me once the mounting of the Ortliebs was fixed, it hands-down beat the packing and the waterproof aspect of the GL.

    Both are great products though.
    #7
  8. toowheels

    toowheels on a mission...

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    Hi John,

    No, not waterproof but the changes are going to go a long way in it's resistance. Here's the deal; the Bombshell fabric is waterproof but everywhere it is stitched, it's not. The new version has drastically reduced outside stitching i.e. no more daisy chains up top, so the areas for water to creep in are minimized. You could still seam seal it too. Btw the Cordura on the bottom sections is over top of the Bombshell main fabric.

    [​IMG]
    Quick release buckles up top and the front "beaver tail' compression flap is only sewn on at the bottom. Great place to stash some rain pants or the like too.

    [​IMG]
    Here you can see the new separate retention straps. You only have to use one of the three but you have placement options. An extremely stable system. You can also see the new cable pass through locking option here.

    Quick on/off, quick in/out with the changes.

    Of course there are waterproof inner bags available as well.

    Interesting you've seen a Great Basin crash damaged. What happened to the bag?

    Dave
    #8
  9. John_L

    John_L Been here awhile

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    Looks good on the improvements.

    Damage to bag was a silver dollar sized hole on the bottom of the bag close to where the corder is stitched on the outside edge. Nothing major but point is nothing is bombproof if you hit the right conditions. Back was patch by a shoe shop and still in service. Not mine but a riding buddy from a trip a couple years back.
    #9
  10. MrPulldown

    MrPulldown Long timer

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    You can still have a top box or strap things on top with the standard two pannier system.

    Sure you can lash things to the giant loops but it is not the same.

    I don't have either, but am researching same as the OP and this is on of my considerations. I have run a top box before and like the ease of getting things in and out, as well a water proofness.
    #10
  11. HH

    HH Hurricane Harry

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    Hi dave:wave

    we met at the orca run and last years loose screw, hows that leg doing?

    you can tear a GL bag, and you can expect great customer service from GL if it does
    [​IMG]
    #11
  12. toowheels

    toowheels on a mission...

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    Yes that is very true...anything can be wrecked in the right (wrong) conditions!

    Example Hurrican Harry above! :lol3

    Hey HH!

    Ankle's doing great thanks! Got the DSBC Noob ride this w/e too!

    ...and you're the exception to any rule :deal

    I was really surprised to hear what you did to that bag when you told me :huh

    Got any mega adventures planned?

    Mr. Pulldown I have actually seen riders team up a GB with a (smaller) Pelican type top box too. Depends what you want of course. The new Siskiyou panniers have that option covered to an extent as well and are a little bigger again.

    I don't want this whole thing to come off as too pimpy :pimp (too late I'm sure! :lol3) rather explaining the differences and my experiences.

    Dave
    #12
  13. HH

    HH Hurricane Harry

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    I'm still on the fence for the newbie ride, but if i go i will look you up

    a group of us are off to moab in april, stay tuned for a ride report
    #13
  14. Edwards

    Edwards Gravel Eddie

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    I am in the same situation as the OP and need soft luggage. The GL looks like a great product. However ... One of my peeves is stuff not being waterproof that is made for motorcycling. A motorcycle is outside. Umm it rains outside. Would it be acceptable if the trunk of your car was just kind of waterproof, like it leaked at the seams?
    #14
  15. John_L

    John_L Been here awhile

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    Best part about either setup is that you can buy it, try it out and if you don't like it put it in the flea market and get most if not all of your money back out of it.

    cheers and best of luck.
    #15
  16. notrivia

    notrivia Adventurer

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    I bought a pair for my street bike and was never particularly happy with them. The attachment system goes under the bag and is a bit clumsy to use, the roll down feature seems to make the bags less small than you would like, and like every soft bag, they have inadequate attachments. These bags MUST have a round-the-bag strap, like all soft bags, or when heavily weighted they really move around too much.

    I turned mine into tank panniers toward the end of their life. The plastic buckles had broken and the top velcro straps had delaminated. They were'nt reliable anymore. To the good, definitely wayerproof - but NO WAY are they worth the aerostich price! Look at the new Nelson-Riggs - probably the same problems, but reasonably priced.
    r
    Although I have no experience with it, all the good comments and original design features would compel me to buy the other bag you mentioned.
    #16
  17. bomber60015

    bomber60015 Anatomically Correct

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    We've been using a pauir of Ortliebs for 12 years or so, both on and off road . . . . . while cinching them down does take a moment, we've experienced no problems with the bags moving around without any added straps . . . . . .

    As for price, they ain't cheap. But they do exactly what they say, and, work the same way today as they did the better part of 150K miles ago . . . . looked at in that manner, they are a bargain, IMO.

    I don't think you can go wrong with this choice . . . . decide what is most important to you, and make your pick based on that.

    I would not hesitate to replace my ortliebs wiht another pair, if the need arose.
    #17
  18. alaskan dude

    alaskan dude Adventurer

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    Thanks guys for all the info, helped with my decision. I ended up getting the Great Basin bag. It arrived yesterday and I really like how heavy duty it is.

    I have no problem having to seam seam the thread holes to make it waterproof, not that big a deal. Loved how bomber it is once attached to the bike. Also found a pair of used Vstrom eBay luggage racks for $50 to put on the bike to stop rubbing/scratching the paint.

    Now all I need is the snow to melt.
    #18
  19. oldxr

    oldxr Long timer

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    Mounting the great basin bag-My Honda xr650r had no good place to put the mounting straps on.I got a piece of 3/4" strap iron and some chain from the local hardware store and welded the chain link to the strap iron.I used the sub frame bolt on the rh side and the chain roller bolt on the left to mount the new hold down links to.There is another welded piece where the old tail light used to be with a chain link.The bag can be installed or removed in under 1 minute.I put my tent and sleeping bag in another bag and use the bag straps to hold it on.Next problem-you need to buck up for good back packing gear or else you wont have any room left.Once the gl bag is loaded it is inconvienent to get anything out.
    #19
  20. WU7X

    WU7X The Old Fart

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    Just my $0.02 worth here. I had the original Great Basin (in white no less). I really liked the way it strapped down to my '02 650 Dakar. Held a lot of 'stuff' and great cushioning too when I dropped the bike. But I didn't like the three straps on top. Getting in and out of it was a real hassle. So I sold it and bought some Happy Trail panniers. HT's are good and stout, but not as safe if you do a lot of double and single track riding. So I sold them too. Now I'm looking for soft luggage again. It's good to see and read about the new design and increased size for the Giant Loop Great Basin model. I also like the individual roll top design panniers, so will be following this thread to see where it goes.

    Thanks for all the great information guys!
    #20