plastic or alu panniers

Discussion in 'Crazy-Awesome almost Dakar racers (950/990cc)' started by Academy, Jan 18, 2013.

  1. Academy

    Academy Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2012
    Oddometer:
    423
    Location:
    North of Some, South of a Few
    Getting pretty close to pulling the trigger on a 990 R !

    I decided to go ahead and have the dealer install factory panniers and crash bars. I am flipping coins on going w plastic or aluminum panniers

    Any words of advice on the panniers?
    #1
  2. Orangecicle

    Orangecicle On a "Quest"

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2007
    Oddometer:
    3,463
    Location:
    West Des Moines, IA
    I have Gobis. I consider them as being just too wide for regular use. I'm converting to Pelican cases very soon.
    #2
  3. traveltoad

    traveltoad Aaron S

    Joined:
    May 8, 2002
    Oddometer:
    6,767
    Location:
    San Fernando Valley
    Kriega Overlander 30 or 60.
    #3
  4. Marine By Choice

    Marine By Choice Sergeant 0311

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2012
    Oddometer:
    199
    Location:
    Winlock, Washington
    Fantastic!
    #4
  5. Wantajustride

    Wantajustride Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2011
    Oddometer:
    105
    Location:
    Peyton Colorado
    I don't want to try and talk you out of,, or into,, one or the other. I actually have three different types.
    Aluminum hard cases, Soft (Heavy Cordura) and Plastic. All three have different benefits and liabilities.

    The hard cases have better security. By that I mean, you can lock your stuff up to protect it from theft to a certain degree.

    But I do like the soft luggage on my 990R. Just an FYI,, the soft luggage I chose was just about as expensive as my hard cases by the time I bought the KTM racks and bags. Save some cash and install the racks yourself. It's really pretty easy to do if you have a little mechanical ability and a few tools (some will be in the KTM tool Kit most likely).

    Maybe other inmates will give you the pros and cons of each from their experience.

    Lots of options from a lot of different manufacturers.

    +1 on the Kriega Overland 60, add a Wolfman Beta Plus tail bag,,, and you got some serious room for lots of gear.

    WJR
    #5
  6. Av8rPaul

    Av8rPaul Have bike will travel

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2008
    Oddometer:
    603
    Location:
    Between Carson City and Topaz Lake
    I had Gobis on mine and loved 'em. Very watertight and I just like the way they look. They are quite wide, but I don't know how it's detrimental unless you are riding single track or splitting lanes.
    #6
  7. Academy

    Academy Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2012
    Oddometer:
    423
    Location:
    North of Some, South of a Few
    I like the looks of the those Kriegas and the rack accepts RotopaX canisters :ricky
    #7
  8. Wantajustride

    Wantajustride Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2011
    Oddometer:
    105
    Location:
    Peyton Colorado
    They are much lighter than hard cases.
    The Rotopax containers were partly the reason I chose the Overland 60 kit.
    I will tell ya, the kit wasn't cheap. And it did take some time figuring out the best way to mount the "Platforms" to the KTM racks. Fact was, I could only get 3 of the 4 cams to attach to the rack frame. The 4th attachment point I used a very heavy duty plastic tie strap to fix the platform to the rack. Maybe I just couldn't figure out the way to get the 4th cam to work out?
    I'm very satisfied with the product

    WJR
    #8
  9. Academy

    Academy Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2012
    Oddometer:
    423
    Location:
    North of Some, South of a Few
    Who manufactures the aluminum KTM branded boxes?
    #9
  10. Pete640

    Pete640 I hate sand.......

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2008
    Oddometer:
    1,950
    Location:
    Sanding something in the shed...
    Touratech, but branded KTM. Not as wide as the gobis and lighter. dont stand up to a fall as well as the plastics but as with all things the right tool for the job depends on the job....
    #10
  11. MotoTex

    MotoTex Miles of Smiles

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2009
    Oddometer:
    2,036
    Location:
    Tool Shed
    As long as the bike never falls on the aluminum bags they will do fine.

    I've landed my 950 on my Caribous several times and they are no worse for wear and tear.

    After reading a lot of reviews the single common aspect of all the metal boxes were that eventually I would read of someone tweaking them and then being unable to close them. Several of these reviews were folks on world tours.

    Some were able to bend things mostly back into shape, others had welding done to repair the metal case. Many reported the cases never sealing properly again.

    Bottom line is that this is considerably less likely to happen with cases such as those offered by Caribou Cases or other Pelican-style bags.

    Aluminum is prettier and looks great on those GS's at Starbucks, but in the real world there may be a few drawbacks worthy of consideration.

    Go to the vendors forum and read ALL the posts for any set you are planning to pay good money for. Then decide.
    #11
  12. Maoule

    Maoule Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2012
    Oddometer:
    668
    Location:
    KCMO
    My bag project was: Racks and mounting kit from HappyTrails = $317
    2 X 1550s from PelicanCasesforLess = $240
    4 keyed alike locks from Pplmotorhomes = $ 56
    $613
    http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=855346
    The lid cables and hardware were < $10. Not cheap but exactly what I was looking for. It definitely adds some ass to the bike; I just about effed up today pulling out of the garage and sliding between the pickup and car. The pickup bumper reminded me about the cases:eek1
    #12
  13. Academy

    Academy Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2012
    Oddometer:
    423
    Location:
    North of Some, South of a Few
    I like the pelicans but the pic of the KTM w the plastic boxes in your thread looks pretty sweet too
    #13
  14. Lobster

    Lobster Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2010
    Oddometer:
    394
    Location:
    Memphis Metro Area
    I had a low speed get off on my home built alum panniers and they held up just fine. They have a nice little scratch, but between them and the crash bars, NOTHING plastic hit the ground...NOTHING. A little black spray paint and you'd never even know I was down.
    #14
  15. Academy

    Academy Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2012
    Oddometer:
    423
    Location:
    North of Some, South of a Few

    Yes! I heard that crash bars and panniers save the day in a lot of situations like that
    #15
  16. Tucos

    Tucos Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2007
    Oddometer:
    310
    Location:
    Center, Colorado
    I have Wolfman racks made by backroads moto and the expedition soft bags, and pelican storm hard cases. I like the expedition cases for heavy off road use but if you are in and out of the bags a lot, it becomes a pain in the butt. I used the pelicans for a trip to copper canyon and was much happier due to ease of access to documents, etc. I also only packed about half of each case and was able to fit my jacket and pants in them, locked up, when eating or whatever. I had an encounter with a log that ripped one of the pelicans off of the rack. The mounting setup for the hard cases bent, as designed, and saved the rack and cases from any damage. Berg Briggs from backroads moto sent me a couple new easy to change pieces and I was back to like new condition. On the copper canyon trip, my buddy on a GS with Jessie's, had a tumble. The aluminum bent and one side would not close and the other had a hole ground into it. I am not saying that wouldn't happen with the pelicans but I hit that afformentioned log pretty hard and the case was still square. Good luck with your choice there are a ton of good products.
    #16
  17. PNWcrazymike

    PNWcrazymike Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2012
    Oddometer:
    26
    Location:
    Bend, Oregon (in the sunny half of the state)
    If you're sticking to asphalt and ravel roads, please disregard my opinion.

    If you DO plan on riding off road, especially rough roads that are seasonally washed out with ruts and exposed rocks or deeper sand, I don't recommend any kind of "hard bags" because when you have both feet down "paddling" the bike through said rough sections, inevitably on leg will get sucked under a hard bag and although it may not be broken, you'll swear that you just broke your leg. I remember this all too well from my GS days so my current ADV bike is getting "soft bags."
    Again, if you're sticking to asphalt (no pun intended) your hard bags will be out of the way and not an issue.
    -Mike
    #17
  18. Hondo

    Hondo What if it's a Samsquamch?

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2006
    Oddometer:
    10,062
    Location:
    Front Range, CO
    The Gobis seemed too wide for me, so I used KTM pannier & Gobi tail box racks and made mounts for my aluminum mermites -

    [​IMG]

    I would have bought aluminum panniers if I didn't already own these, and I'll be buying a set of Wolfman Expedition Saddle Bags soon.
    #18
  19. ÖÖ.

    ÖÖ. Ajaa kuin mummo

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2009
    Oddometer:
    293
    Location:
    Finland
    I agree. Different panniers for different kind of riding. As said before soft bags are lighter and usually smaller than hard bags. Good things if you are really riding off road far away from any civilization. With hard bags fully loaded it's easy to get near the stated maximum load capacity.

    Riding "high speed" gravel / tarmac inside civilized world you may need to consider more about protecting your items inside the panniers than the ultimate bike lightness and survivability. Also if your crashing with speed usually your bike starts sliding around. Grinding everything that touches the ground. Maybe hard bags are better in these kind of situations. While in off road crashes seem to be hard hits, usually without any sliding. In those kind of situations soft bags may be better for the bike but maybe not for the items inside.

    To original topic. First I had alu-panniers. They were easy to pack, had plenty of room and where quite light. I had few light off road style crashes with those, no problems. Only few bends. Problem was they where too wide and had even too much space for riding alone.

    I changed for pelican 1550 cases. They are not so easy to pack and they are a bit heavy. They are a lot narrower so its easier to drive in narrow tracks. I have had few crashes with them. Off road ones left only few scratches. Crash on racetrack grinded left case a bit but lid still closes perfectly and it's watertight.

    My sw-motech quick lock racks are getting more difficult to install/remove after every summer. Maybe some day I have to get new ones. :D
    #19
  20. Dogtown

    Dogtown Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2008
    Oddometer:
    410
    Location:
    Marin County
    Ive had all of them!

    Soft bags only carry enough for an overnight.
    Gobies are tooooo wide (for me)
    Aluminums are a bit too fragile for "get offs"
    Happy with pelicans! Home made mounts on KTM/Gobi racks LOVE THEM!!!!
    #20