Wolfman Rocky Mountain vs BMW Vario Panniers

Discussion in 'Equipment' started by GooseRider, Jun 10, 2013.

  1. GooseRider

    GooseRider Adventurer

    Dec 18, 2012

    As my riding is transitioning from road to more and more dirt, I decided to convert from hard luggage to soft. Just in time Wolfman released the Rocky Mountain (RM) panniers. I sold my vario boxes on eBay, but before shipping them out I made this little comparison just to see if I was giving up space.

    RM is listed as providing 32 liters of volume a side expandable to 35l. The larger vario box is listed at 39l ...

    I took the large slip case that fits inside the vario pannier and stuffed it in my wolfman. Low and behold, the RM swallowed it with room to spare. Granted I did not fill the slip case to presevent compression, but it is clear to me that the RM has at least the same if not more volume than the largest vario box and if one was inclined to use the slipcases inside the vario box even more volume is lost, whereas the RM liner bag hardly eats any volume.

    Edit: added pictures. Now if only I could make them show. ;)



  2. terraunbound

    terraunbound Been here awhile

    Dec 8, 2008
    near Nederland, CO


    (when hitting reply or new post, there's a little icon that looks like a mountain. click that and paste in url)

    Now, let's see these bags on your bike!
  3. lacofdfireman

    lacofdfireman Been here awhile

    Jan 29, 2008
    St. George, UT
    Yes lets see some Rocky Mountains mounted up on people bikes..
  4. browneye

    browneye PIN IT & BANG GEARS

    Dec 17, 2009
    Orange County, CA
    Yep, dirt noob. None of this shit matters. You will have much bigger challenges to overcome. Wolfman stuff is fine, it works, well made, durable, water and dust proof. It doesn't matter if they're smaller, just bring less stuff. Most people bring way more junk than they need. Each trip, look at what you brought and what you used and if you didn't use it then that item rode along the whole trip for nothing - leave it home. Spares and tools excluded.

    The vario mounting is a total joke. Last big trip to Grand Canyon North Rim our GS rider's pannier broke completely off - the top mount is plastic. What were they thinking? Another rider on a 990 with happy trails panniers also broke completely off. His had a mild excuse though, had been dumped and straightened before therefore weakening the welds.

    Another GS buddy bends his torque strut or whatever they call it, a couple of times a year. If you hit a ditch going too fast that thing winds up and bends into the tire. He's forever beating on it in the field and then having to buy a new one.

    The big bikes are very difficult to handle in rough going and harder to pickup. If you ride a big bike in the rough you WILL dump it. We had a group of GS's out near Bodie and the leader took us through the worst sand pit road I've ever been through. I was scouting on my Husky and finally just had to plow ahead and get through it. One of our members was a rawhide instructor - crashed in a huge cloud of dust. There's no way I would have wanted to be on one of those pigs.

    Suspension and tires are even more important than your panniers. But at least you're on the right track. Learn to pack light. Don't bring stuff you wont/don't use.

    I have a Tiger XC that does some off-pavement, but it was mostly bought for road touring. I have left it's hard panniers on but may still go your route. Would probably do the next size down, the expeditions - they're big enough.

    My true dirt setup is the TE630 - here's packed for 5 days camping off the bikes. We even had to haul our own water, so the extra rolie on top was for a 6L dromedary bag. And we needed fuel range for 220 miles so there's the kolpin pax. If not for range the pax gets left behind. Dirtbagz are 19L TOTAL between the two of them, the roll-top is 35L. With my medium Roli bag that totals about 60L - everything has to fit, food, clothes, spares, etc. Oh, and a tent bag.

    It's still heavy, but going light makes rough going possible. This trip was about 700 miles of dirt - some of it so rough it broke the panniers right off the big bikes. If you look close you can even see my A-Lite chair tucked in there, and there's a 18'x2" tow strap. There's a mini-cooler with 3 ice cold beers, a tool roll, 12v compressor, spare front and rear tubes, tent, pad, down bag, clothes, camp shoes, bottle of wine, down sweater, food, jetboil stove, tent lantern.


    Toroweep - north rim Grand Canyon.