HOMEMADE LUGGAGE RACK & PANNIERS
From what I read on other peoples motorcycle blogs, the subject of choosing hard luggage or panniers for your bike is the cause of so much mental anguish and deliberation that it often takes months to decide, I was no different.
I wanted a nice strong set of metal panniers with a sturdy mounting rack, but I didn’t want to have to sell a kidney to pay for them. Also I wanted panniers with proper locks fitted and not 4 padlocks rattling around that the vast majority have, I may as well have been asking for the moon. The cost of these simple metal objects starts around 500 Pounds for rubbish, up to 1500 Pounds (2200 Dollars) for the quality ones, now factor in 50% import duty on top of those prices for Turkey. I simply can’t justify the expense to myself, I thought surly it is not beyond the whit and ingenuity of man to make these simple things.
The photo above is of shop bought racks, over the months, every time I saw a large bike with panniers I took the opportunity to look at them and chat to the bikers, most were unhappy with them for various reasons, cost being the single most problem mentioned, but too far forward, not enough leg room for the rear passenger was mentioned, too flimsy was another.
My cunning plan was to make the rack from scooter crash bars, thicker tube than used by Honda or Givi etc. Also cheap and easily available, we cut up and welded together two rear sets of scooter crash bars to make the pannier mounting rack, it looked dreadful, untill I sprayed it black and it suddenly came to life, looking much like any other mounting system.
The Transalp’s rear indicators, as on some other bikes, stick out a long way preventing most racks fitting in a convenient place, ie. being too far forward, so I changed the rear indicators for much smaller cheap ones, thus enabling the rack to fit close to the bikes body and further back away from the passengers legs.
We made the rack to take both the plastic and metal panniers.
I chose 1mm stainless steel for the panniers, I had the choice of ordinary mild steel and Aluminum as well, mild steel was very cheap indeed but it would have to be painted, and then every scrtch and scuff would become rusty. I had the oppertunity to see many Ali panniers, but these felt very flimsy and also they buckled so easy when a 200Kg bike drops on them from what I saw.
I found, after much searching, a chap who makes Diesel fuel tanks for boats, he spoke no English and I speak no Turkish, but through drawings and various nods and shakes of the head we got to what I wanted, and with proper locks fitted.
Stainless steel is a metal that posses the strange property of ”Work hardening” it’s an absolute nightmare to drill or try to cut with a hacksaw, a very tough metal that becomes tougher by the second when you try to do anything to it. The mounting system is the same as the manufactured panniers, locating lugs and hooks with the exception that I used a bolt instead of a plastic cam lock to secure the panniers to the rack.
The locating lugs below.
They hook around the rail in exactly the same way as manufactured panniers.
The finished item.
My friend Mick recently bought himself a Yamaha 650 Dragstar and he then had himself a set of lozenge shaped stainless steel panniers made, but he had his polished up to look like Chrome, they really glisten in the sun.
THE COST, all this took four and a half days work, the total cost had I chosen complete mild steel would have been just 110 Pounds (160 US) for Aluminum it would have been around 180 Pounds (260 US) but I chose the most expensive, tough stainless steel at 240 Pounds (340 US) quite a considerable saving from 2000 Dollars plus.
~ by travelswithmymotorbike on February 14, 2009.