or "How I Built Panniers for $190" I really wanted a set of hard panniers for my KLR but was not willing to spend the $600+ I was seeing online for the aluminum products. Don't get me wrong, these are all excellent, well built cases and if I was to build & sell them myself I don't think I could do any better on the price it's just more than I wanted to spend. After seeing a number of pictures on ADV of ammo can panniers and perusing the limited information online I decided to have a go at a set myself. I also decided to come up with a build that I could share here and that someone with a simple tool set could follow. I am a qualified welder and have TIG & MIG (& Plasma cutters) to hand but that doesn't help anyone without such an investment and if you had a set made and welded up for you I doubt the price would be much different than going to the vendors on this site. So here goes; To my mind the panniers needed to be - 1) sturdy enough for ADV riding (duh) 2) easily removable from the bike 3) lockable, both to the bike and the lids 4) simple to lock, not require multiple locks and keys to remove after a hard days riding First order of the day was ammo cans. Looking at measurements online I decided that the 20mm ones (17" x 14" x 7.5") would be a good size for my KLR. Prices vary widely online and shipping does play a big factor, I found mine at Army Surplus Warehouse (http://www.armysurpluswarehouse.com/ammo-cans-storage-containers.html), they have a huge variety of different sizes and the shipping was very reasonable. Truth in advertising - I did already have a Givi rack that came with the bike. "Oh" I hear you cry it's not really $190, it's $190 plus the cost of a rack. Exactly correct but with the Givis selling for around $175 we're still way under the cost of a commercial set. If I had to buy a rack for this build I would have still chosen the Givi. It's made from square tubing which is much easier to work on (more on that later). The rest of the build requirements are really straight ahead, I made a Google Spreadsheet of the purchases which can be found here - https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AlPdWQMqx8GfdFktUGtUYjJOV2NTWmlqemdxaml4TUE&hl=en_US So onto the work. Job #1 is to remove one of the strengthening braces from each can. The cans are extremely solid and I wasn't worried about weakening them. The brace is tack welded on and comes off easily with a chisel/pry bar and hammer. While I was at it, I sandblasted the loose paint and surface corrosion from the cans, elbow grease & a sander would obviously suffice here too. Next is the measuring. I held the can up against the bike & rack and made some marks where I was happiest with the height (the front rear spacing is easy, dead center the can on the rack). I them removed one rack from the bike & used it to layout my marks. I wanted lower mounting brackets that would fit over the lower rack rail securely but still allow the can to slide off & on the rack. I was struggling to find something off the shelf and was about to break my no-welding rule when I came across some institutional door hinges at my local "real" hardware store. A quick slice & dice with the Dremel and they fit perfectly. I used bolts to get everything aligned and then riveted for the final build. A framing square is a useful way of aligning everything. Onto the top mounts. As mentioned, I wanted the cases to be easily removable and simple to lock. I figured that a mounting system accesible from the inside of the can only would allow the lid locks to do double duty. My plan was to use 2 eyebolts that penetrated into the case and pinned into place with lynch pins. Screwed in and cut short at the bolt end they could not then be loosened by nefarious hands. My Givi racks already had M8 threaded holes in just the right places, however, finding M8 eyebolts proved impossible so I gave up & re-threaded to 5/16". If you have more patience than me I'm sure they could be ordered online. So I got the eyebolts mounted and to prevent too much metal on metal contact, glued small patches of rubber inside the case for the lynch pins to secure against. Time for a test fitting...hmm, not so good, I couldn't get the eyebolts tight enough against the cans to eliminate gap between the rack and cans. Another trip to the store and 4 J-bolts later I had it all tight & secure. Lock mounts for the lids were simple U-bolts held in place inside with nylon lock nuts. Once the case handles are closed you cannot access the exterior bolts either. Final fitting. And painting, I used a hammered finish which technically doesn't need priming but the military labeling shows through the 1st few coats and so I primered first to avoid wasting the expensive paint. Minus the 4 keyed-same locks (which I forgot for the photos) and adding in the cabinet handles,here is the finished job. One last all-important accessory! All in all, not a difficult job. No specialty tools needed, although I would recommend a Dremel with some cutting discs to trim the various bolt shafts and also to cut the grooves in the cases. The rubber does not completely seal the holes, however they are very high up on the bike and I use a dry bag for the stuff that really wants to stay that way. I'd be interested in seeing other's versions of the ammo can.