Soft luggage: light but up, or lower but heavier?

Discussion in 'Equipment' started by Apo, May 6, 2019.

  1. Apo

    Apo Been here awhile

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    If you take let's say a total of maximum 14 kgs of camping gear and supplies with you, is it better to put everything in a <1kg duffel strapped on the rear rack (so light but up, my usual set up), or two soft bags on a pannier rack (which weight nearly 8kgs more, so more weight but lower center of gravity)?

    What do you guys think? Would you prefer to have about 15kgs on your rear rack, or 11kgs on each side of the bike?

    Let's keep the debate mainly focused on bike handling (not all pros and cons of top luggage vs side luggage).
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  2. STLR

    STLR Been here awhile

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    Phenomenal question, and I am genuinely interested. I’ve always been in the “get the weight as low as possible” camp. Let’s set up a blind study: Exact same bike, each with the load out that you’ve described. We’ll have to take the mirrors off and put a hard cervical collar on the rider to keep them from turning around to check said load. Obtain an After Action Report. Done!
    I will add that with today's available soft bags and mounts, there are lighter options than the weight of hard racks: Green Chile, Wolfman, etc., have soft strap options. Giant Loop, Mosko, etc., have horseshoe designs.
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  3. Apo

    Apo Been here awhile

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    I did not consider rackless (Giant Loop, Mosko or Enduristan), because I tried and didn't like it (moves too much, or pain in the ass to access, or take on/off, or to secure, or to carry…). I just bought Mosko Moto Scout 25 panniers, will mount them along with the rack in a few days (790 Adventure). It looks like a very good set up, but I wonder if I will feel the additional weight down low compared to my light Enduristan duffel up high (but even though, I will be happy to leave my backpack or vest at home).

    Your blind study would be interesting, I will soon be able to test but being objective will be difficult…
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  4. STLR

    STLR Been here awhile

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    I agree for regular use on a bigger bike. On my last couple of adv bikes, I also gave it the old college try and failed (Reckless 80 on one, and Green Chile with dry bags on another). I'm now back to pannier racks and Moskos on the GS. I still use and really like the Green Chile for my smaller dual sport though. It works phenomenally well for camping load out on a light bike.
    The left leg of the Reckless would consistently swing into the rear tire on rough terrain no matter how tight I had the straps. I really liked the Green Chile for its ability to load the bike, but it proved too difficult for daily use (touring/commuting).
    It's really tough to beat panniers for ease of access and weight distribution.
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  5. White mt guy

    White mt guy Long timer

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    I try to fit all my gear in one dry bag on the rear rack. Usually between 20/30 lbs. Strapped on tight I've never noticed it to cause any ride interference.
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  6. Aircooled6racer

    Aircooled6racer Been here awhile

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    I think it will depend on the ride. Heavy and lower works better on trail stuff for me. Using lighter bag setup also helps here. Saddle bag setup with straps over the seat/tail with lighter racks works well. The Giant Loop horseshoe bags like the Great Basin work if you put the heavy stuff down low. As a test you could load up your top bag and take a ride like you would normally do and then take the bag off and see what the difference is. I don't like my bike to be too top heavy since I take enough dirt naps with out the pendulum effect of a heavy top bag. Lastly look at long distance bicycle riders and how they pack.
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  7. Emmett

    Emmett Been here awhile Supporter

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    Here's my thinking for what it's worth......Not only are panniers lower, but they're also farther forward than a tail-rack, and moving weight forward is also important.

    If you are not going to use panniers, and all you have is one bag, try to get it as far forward as possible. Ideally you want as much weight placed as low, and as centered between the two wheels as possible.

    When I load up it's usually for multi week trips, so I have hard cases, a Mosko 25 or 60 L Scout duffle mounted length wise or sideways depending on which one I'm using, and a Nomad on the tank.

    To that end I bought a pillion rack for my Tiger from a fellow inmate who makes racks and pillion racks.

    The pillion rack allows me to get the duffle farther forward as opposed to hanging over and behind the rear wheel.

    Check him out --->https://advrider.com/f/threads/admo...luggage-racks-april-sale-119-shipped.1354007/
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  8. Wesley J

    Wesley J Hoser

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    I go semi-rackless and soft semi-low, lol

    Top rack (0.100" AL) is a bunch lighter than seat/base/hand holds etc and sides (0.100" AL) are a bit lighter than passenger pegs etc that I removed. About 2 - 3" wider than exhaust and narrower than front crash bars. Perfect setup for my needs.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
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  9. clintnz

    clintnz Trans-Global Chook Chaser

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    That is a cool setup, shows the value of having something custom fitted to match the bike and the capacity required.

    I'm definitely in the low & forward soft pannier camp, It's probably less of an issue on a 250kg ADV-Whale but on a thumper 14kg out the back of the bike really screws the handling and puts a lot of stress on the subframe.

    ...but I sure as hell don't have 8kg of rack. Would be lucky to be 1kg.

    [​IMG]

    The trouble is that minimalist soft bag racks aren't as widely available as hard pannier mounts so unless you can make your own options are limited.

    Cheers
    Clint
    #9
  10. Anthiron

    Anthiron Hell hath no fury like a womans scorn for Sega

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    I think low is best BUT - it isn't just load height that affect this.

    It is better to think of it as keeping weight closest to center of gravity.
    that would be low, as far forward as can be without interfering with your legs and foot controls whilst also being as close to the bike as possible.
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  11. Jim K.

    Jim K. Long timer

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    Good info here. ^

    "Centralizing mass" is a mantra that's brought great leaps in bike handling over the last decade or so. The same rules apply to the "mass" that the rider straps on later.
    Another thing to consider is wind force. I've been sailing almost as long as I've been riding, & I've learned to have a lot of respect for the forces that wind can exert. Not so important at off road speeds perhaps, but highway speed is equal to a Cat 1 hurricane. The forces exerted (on only 1-2 sq. ft. of baggage) at those speeds need to be placed as low & close to the center of mass as possible. Every inch up & back from that center gives those forces a longer lever to exert on the bike....the tail should never wag the dog.
    #11
  12. Aircooled6racer

    Aircooled6racer Been here awhile

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    The above post gives a good point about wind force. With the bags low and close to your body it works as one unit. Your body deflects the wind enough to go around your luggage as well. I use Giant Loop Possibles pouches on my crash bars to help deflect the wind around my legs. It also gets some weight forward. Here is a pic of my setup minus the GL Tillamook drybag I install on the seat behind me. IMG_2346.jpg
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  13. Wesley J

    Wesley J Hoser

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    Very true

    I totally agree. My passenger peg mount points are integral to where my "racks" mount, which I moved forward about as far as I could without interference with my friggin size 12's

    I totally agree. When I did a cross Canada trip a few years back with my stock Hepco Becker bags on my 990 we had a huge head/cross wind for the first 2 days. I was getting 175 kms (110 miles) per tank vs my normal 250. Day 1 we did 1675 kms (1010 miles) so my "sail" bags cost me about $60 Canadian pesos that day...
    #13
  14. miniboxer

    miniboxer Adventurer

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    Bonjour Apo,
    the best system that works for me, is a system of sideracks, combinded with softbags (with removed U-shaped-stiffeners like in Ortlieb or Enduristan), which are secured with a horizontal strap insead of the manufacturers idea, of attaching their luggage to your bike. One bag for wet, dusty and dirty things like tent, Crocs, water-bag/-bottle etc.. The other for kitchen, snacks, thermos etc.. Behind the seat I have my Rolliebag with light things like matress, sleeping bag, tentpoles and few clothes. Tankbag with maps, camera, tools, spares etc.. I always try to have the heavy thinks low and in nearest position to the drivers pegs. This way of packing minimizes bad handling problems on difficult tracks for me.
    #14
  15. Apo

    Apo Been here awhile

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    Thank you everybody for your advices.

    I did order Mosko Moto Scout 25L Panniers with a rack. Ended up selling it right away: way too wide for me.
    And a little too heavy with the rack…

    Then I ordered Mosko Moto Reckless 80: best set up I ever used.
    Excellent compromise between weight and durability, narrow and very tight, very easy to use, very versatile.
    I nearly don't know it's there while riding. All the weight is exactly where you want it to be.
    Used it on a 2 weeks 50/50 trip (including both highway and single tracks), couldn't be more satisfied.

    It sticks to the bike way better than usual saddlebags…

    All my stuff fits in the side bags, and I only use the top if needed (for more food, beers and shit).

    PERFECT !

    Attached Files:

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  16. GR8ADV

    GR8ADV Safety Second!

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    Rackless altrider hemisphere. Doesn’t move, easy access to remove and put on with the holster system. Way easier to pack and put on and take off compared to the non holster options of soft luggage. Also the system is generally round just like my tent, bag, pad etc. very easy to pack round things in round packages. Does not cover the fuel access on my 701. Holds everything I need. Will never go back. https://www.revzilla.com/motorcycle...MIp96fnrTx4gIVjsBkCh0OmgNNEAUYASABEgLMpvD_BwE
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  17. Oceandiving954

    Oceandiving954 Been here awhile Supporter

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    Same bike , Same color and M 80's just recieved...Cant wait! BTW who says the 790 ADV standard cant jump!!
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  18. Apo

    Apo Been here awhile

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    Oh man you are going to love everything!

    Both the bike and the gear can handle a lot :-)

    I met a guy from Switzerland who travels with a 790 + R80: he loves the set up too! It really looks like it has been made for this bike.

    Just get your stuff on the bike and GO!
    #18
  19. JensEskildsen

    JensEskildsen Long timer

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    The simplicity of the duffel on the rear rack also has its value.
    It depends where youre gonna ride, and how fast.
    I've done the duffle on a rack plenty times, for both primarily street, but also for dualsport trips.
    I still think the bike handled nicely.

    Ive since made the switch to altrider hemisphere saddlebags.
    #19
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  20. Bad Dad

    Bad Dad Been here awhile

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    My usual packing is inline. Rack and seat carrying the load. Like having a 40 pound passenger i guess, it's been working well for 20 years. 20180711_071604.jpg
    #20
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