Hard or Soft? - Stromtrooper Forum : Suzuki V-Strom Motorcycle Forums
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post #1 of 16 Old 04-06-2015, 06:46 AM Thread Starter
Sgt Schultz's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2015
Location: Wollongong NSW
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Smile Hard or Soft?

Haven't yet decided what type of panniers to fit to the new Wee.
Last bike had hard panniers (GTR1000) that stayed on all the time, only taking them off when I stopped at a Motel/ Hotel.
Have a Givi top box, but on multiday trips need more storage.
The plus side for hard panniers is being able to lock them fairly securely when off for a walk etc. Down side is cost and making the bike a lot wider.
Soft panniers seem a bit too easy to open or walk off with.
What are your opinions and experience with either?
Main interest is long distance road but now wanting to mix it up with some dirt, nothing too extreme though.
Thanks for "sensible" input.

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Givi crash bars, Barkbusters, Ravetech Bash plate, Ravetech Rad guard, Ravetech over dash Ram mount, Hyperlite flashing brake lights, Madstad bracket and screen, Augustus wind deflectors, Spot 3, UHF two way radio, Garmin Zumo GPS, Starcom intercom, Fuze block.
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post #2 of 16 Old 04-06-2015, 07:07 AM
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One vote for soft


I have Andy Strapz Expedition Panniers. I can recommend them. Only damage from my "off" was stitching needed to be redone. They carry a lot, velcro over the seat holds them on, little straps and strapz keep them located.
For security, you could use little padlocks, though for short times (such as shopping), I've not found a problem. Overnight, they come in with me - so I only unpack what I want and the public don't get to see what's inside.
They're very light, so they do carry weight. Even just with the fold seal, they keep dust out (even when going horizontal) but with waterproof/dustproof liners, there is no problem.
About the only drawback is it's more difficult to place stickers on them than boxes.


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post #3 of 16 Old 04-06-2015, 08:35 AM
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Location: central OH
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I have a top box but decided not to get panniers and racks. Instead I got a Wolfman large waterproof dry bag duffel that I strap crosswise across the back seat with RokStraps. I'd guess that it holds the same as both panniers together. I only use it on trips and it serves as a back rest too. It's about 36" wide so it doesn't stick out as far as panniers. I've owned several bikes with panniers but I really enjoy the narrower profile of my glee. The top box is enough storage for everyday riding for me. The Wolfman bag was maybe $150 from an ebay dealer so there's a considerable savings over racks and panniers too.

Last edited by zener; 04-06-2015 at 08:38 AM.
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post #4 of 16 Old 04-06-2015, 08:40 AM
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Location: NE Alabama
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I have Pelican 1520s. I was asking myself the same question when bike was new. I don't care for top boxes so anything I pick up goes in the bags.

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post #5 of 16 Old 04-06-2015, 09:51 AM
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Location: Colorado
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Soft Liners

If you go with hard (which is my preference) I recommend going with soft liners/duffles so that when hoteling after a long day you simply lift the lid, pull out the duffles, and check in. Having said that, the Givi side cases I had on my f800st were pretty "suitcase like" in that regard and made it fairly easy to snap off and walk with them like suitcases. I don't expect the metal boxes are conducive to walking around with.

Last edited by ColoradoSagebrush; 04-06-2015 at 10:04 AM.
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post #6 of 16 Old 04-06-2015, 11:44 AM
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Location: mid-NC
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Did 17 days last May with the stock Suzuki hard sides and a 50L top box. Love the top box (go ahead and call me "scooter" cause those things are great!). I put a dry bag behind me with rain gear and dirty clothes. Had a full size laptop in the smaller side with some odds and ends and clothes in the other. Put my helmet in the top case when stopped. Kept camera and water and chain lube and sun glasses and bug cleaner and a rag and a bunch of have handy stuff in the top box as well and it still had room in it. In fact, I still had lots of room left in all three boxes. Could have left the side cases at home if I really wanted to. But the hard cases saved me about 20 minutes a day by not having to worry about tie downs and straps as the side cases kept the dry bag securely on the bike with a single strap.

It's hard to choke down the cost of hard luggage and most of the time you can make do without it. Hard sides and off road are a problem as well, IMO. But if you are on and off the bike around a lot of people, there is no substitute for the security of the hard luggage
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post #7 of 16 Old 04-06-2015, 12:36 PM
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my .02...

Unless you are going to a 3rd world country or an inner city type of thing you don't have to worry about your bike being messed with. Heck I always see riders just stick their helmet/jacket/etc on the bike and walk away.

Hard bag security is overrated anyway. It would take about 2 minutes and a screwdriver to break into all the ones I've seen. Hard bags and their mounts add a lot of weight to the bike also.

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post #8 of 16 Old 04-06-2015, 01:08 PM
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Location: New Brunswick, Canada
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I have found out, after many years, many bikes and various luggage, that the best and most economical combination is a lockable hard top case and waterproof duffel bag.
For day trips is best 30 to 40 liter top case. I do not use the attachment plate or adaptor that might come with the case, I bolt it directly to the rear rack. This way it is perfectly secured and you have lower center of gravity than using plate/adaptor combination.
As for the duffel bag, you can easily pack for a week long trip (staying in hotels/motels) into 50 to 60 liter duffel bag.

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Last edited by Luma; 04-06-2015 at 04:05 PM.
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post #9 of 16 Old 04-06-2015, 01:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Douggie View Post
I have Andy Strapz Expedition Panniers. I can recommend them. Only damage from my "off" was stitching needed to be redone. They carry a lot, velcro over the seat holds them on, little straps and strapz keep them located. g

Velcro mounting is a good way to go. Just enough to keep the bags on, but they will still break away if snagged on something in an accident or thick brush.

Overbuild panniers that don't have a breakaway mechanism are quite dangerous.

Even with a good stock pannier with a breakaway mechanism panniers can throw the balance off a bike even at low speeds.


Things can get much worse with overbuilt panniers.`
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post #10 of 16 Old 04-06-2015, 10:24 PM
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: Britt, ia
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I use a tank bag and soft Nelson Rigg panniers for my longer trips. I may be switching up my arrangement to a top case and a duffle after reading more and more about them.

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