Homemade pannier attachment system, Version 3.0 - Stromtrooper Forum : Suzuki V-Strom Motorcycle Forums
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post #1 of 10 Old 02-12-2018, 11:45 PM Thread Starter
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Homemade pannier attachment system, Version 3.0

I felt like my old pannier attachment system had some shortcomings that I wanted to address, so this is what I came up with. The sliding clamp on the old system, though effective, was kind of clunky, and I wanted something a little more streamlined and to be adjustable for the best fit. I also wanted to simplify installation of the attachment system, and to be able to switch the attachment system to a new set of panniers without having to do a lot of measuring of individual components. The solution I came up with was to place all the attachment components on a plate, which then attaches to the pannier; that way, the various parts become one unit, that can be easily unbolted from a pannier and attached to a new one. The attachment system would work with Pelican style cases, ammo cans, top loaders, or any pannier that has a flat side thats a minimum of 15 1/2 wide and 12 inches high. The attachment system is designed to work with Happy Trail racks, which are what Ive had on my last two bikes.


This picture shows the major material used in the construction of the attachment system. The aluminum and steel items came from Metals Depot (an online metal supplier), and the ABS plastic sheet was from TAP Plastics. My design changed a little as it progressed (it always does), so I ended up having to buy some additional HDPE sheet plastic from Grainger. The rotary latches came from Amazon.


This is the lower support for the pannier. Its made from three layers of 1/4 thick ABS plastic, glued into a block. The center section has embedded machine nuts, that create attachment points for the aluminum flanges, and for attaching the support to the backing plate. The block is made to fit tightly between the upright portions of the HT rack, to minimize movement of the pannier on the rack. The aluminum flanges were made from the 3/16 thick aluminum bar stock shown in the first photo.


This is the upper support for the pannier. Its made from a section of the 1.5 by 1.5 aluminum angle. It sits on the top bar of the pannier rack. The L-shaped piece is made from a piece of 1/4 thick aluminum stock I had laying around from other projects. The L-shaped piece is tapped and then attached to the angle with a screw, and its also soldered to the angle with Alumiweld. The L-shaped piece provides a backup connection in the unlikely event that the rotary latch failed; it also can be used to lock the pannier to the rack.


This bracket attaches to the pannier rack, and is the anchor point for the rotary latch. It bolts into the threaded brass inserts that come with the HT racks. The two slots on the one side of the bracket allow positioning adjustments to the bracket, to fine tune the fit. The three slots on top allow positioning adjustments of the rotary latch.



These are the rotary latches. The screws from the latch thread into the aluminum block via three tapped holes. The latch and the block sandwich the pannier rack attachment bracket; the block allows the rotary latch to be adjusted from the top, without the need for a wrench under the bracket.


These are the pinch blocks, made from 1/4 ABS. Theyre slotted so they can be adjusted. Theyre slid into position to clamp the bottom part of the pannier rack, then tightened. They prevent the pannier from being dislodged if its struck from below.


This is the steel backing plate, made from 18 gauge steel. All the components bolt to this plate, and the plate then bolts to the pannier. At first I just intended to paint it, but after I realized that it would constantly need to be repainted due to contact with the pannier racks, I bought some HDPE plastic and covered the steel with that. The HDPE is attached to the steel with machine screws, which screw into tapped holes in the steel plate.


This shows how the latching mechanism is set up.


This is the completed attachment plate.


This is the attachment plate, attached to the pannier.


This is the interior of the pannier, after the attachment plate was installed. As you can see, none of the attachment hardware intrudes into the case.


The pannier latched to the rack.

I was pretty happy with the way the project came out. The total pannier weight was 14.2 lbs; thats only 1.78 pounds heavier than the pannier with the old attachment system. I could have reduced that even further if Id used aluminum instead of steel for the backing plate, but I used steel for the reduced project cost. The only really specialized tool I needed was a tap and die set; the rest of it was made with regular hand tools (drill, scroll saw, Dremel tool, etc). The attachment to the pannier rack is very tight and secure, but also very easy to remove once the rotary latch is opened. If youre interested in more details about how the system was constructed, there are a bunch of photos here:

https://www.stromtrooper.com/members/...3-album-1.html

https://www.stromtrooper.com/members/...3-album-2.html
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post #2 of 10 Old 02-13-2018, 12:05 AM
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Nice job and a great write up!
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post #3 of 10 Old 07-07-2018, 07:03 PM Thread Starter
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For anyone who finds this post and is interested in making this attachment system.....

I finally had a chance to put it through some rigorous paces on a recent trip out west. I was riding two-up, with both panniers weighing in at around 30-35 lbs. I had the bike on some pretty rough roads while loaded: Phantom Canyon Rd, the Shafer Trail in Canyonlands, the Moki Dugway, and the Valley of the Gods road. Phantom Canyon was particularly rough, as it's about 30 miles of constant washboard and was a lot like riding a paint shaker. The Valley of the Gods Road had a bit of washboard too. The attachment system was solid as a rock for the entire 5600 miles of the trip: no sign of any bent or damaged components, and the cases came off as smoothly after the trip was over as they did before it started.

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post #4 of 10 Old 07-07-2018, 11:19 PM
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Those washboard roads seem to smooth as your speed increases. My CJ6 was really stiff and at 45-50 mph it got less bouncy and floated on the surface.
I gotta say that is a beautiful case of wretched excess in mounting hardware. I bolted a couple pieces of 'S' shaped flat stock to the lower of the Seahorse boxes and used 1/4 20 bolts to secure them and 1/4 20 bolts to keep the top of the box secure. i did use fender washers on the inside to spread the load. No problems in many miles...yet.
I think those military grade boxes are quite stout and would be hard to kill.
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post #5 of 10 Old 07-07-2018, 11:53 PM Thread Starter
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I don't consider it wretched excess.

I designed the attachment system so the cases would be easily removable without any tools yet be very secure on the bike, would be lockable to the pannier racks, wouldn't have any hardware inside the case that took up storage room, and wouldn't require any alterations to the Happy Trail racks. The design fulfills all those requirements. They're rock solid, they come off with a half turn of a rotary latch, and the whole attachment mechanism can be removed from the racks by unbolting two 10mm bolts. The cases can be locked to the racks, using either a padlock or a cable lock.

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post #6 of 10 Old 07-08-2018, 10:46 AM
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I was just thinking of your backing plates to insure load dispersion. The work is exceptional and I meant no diss in the wretched excess. I believe in wretched excess in moderation in all of life's endeavors!
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post #7 of 10 Old 07-13-2018, 10:23 PM
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RC.......are you using the 20" Sam's Club Cases, or the larger 22" version (from Sam's)??
NOTE: I believe Sam's Club only sells the 22" version boxes now, not the smaller box....but it can be found on Ebay, with a "stiff price" too compared to what I got it for at Sam's a year or two ago....$19.95)
Great fabrication skills, write-up, professionally done.......!!!! I'm ditchin my big-azz Ammo Boxes (i.e. big, but heavy too) in lieu of the smaller Sam's boxes for lightness. Do you find the lid restraint straps adequate.......or, maybe use some solid fabric to keep items from falling out thru the openings on each end?? just wondering which route I should take........

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post #8 of 10 Old 07-13-2018, 10:38 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by notacop View Post
I was just thinking of your backing plates to insure load dispersion. The work is exceptional and I meant no diss in the wretched excess. I believe in wretched excess in moderation in all of life's endeavors!
If you mean the plates that go on the outside of the case, those weren't for load dispersion; they are so the entire attachment system on the pannier can be moved to another case without having to re-measure all the various components so they all fit correctly (since all the components are attached to the plate, and not the pannier itself). If I switch to Pelicans, or even aluminum top-loaders, all I have to do is unbolt the plates and move them to the new luggage. Makes life easier for any future projects.

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post #9 of 10 Old 07-13-2018, 10:49 PM
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Good job and good write up.

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post #10 of 10 Old 07-13-2018, 11:10 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mark444 View Post
RC.......are you using the 20" Sam's Club Cases, or the larger 22" version (from Sam's)??
NOTE: I believe Sam's Club only sells the 22" version boxes now, not the smaller box....but it can be found on Ebay, with a "stiff price" too compared to what I got it for at Sam's a year or two ago....$19.95)
Great fabrication skills, write-up, professionally done.......!!!! I'm ditchin my big-azz Ammo Boxes (i.e. big, but heavy too) in lieu of the smaller Sam's boxes for lightness. Do you find the lid restraint straps adequate.......or, maybe use some solid fabric to keep items from falling out thru the openings on each end?? just wondering which route I should take........
Hi Mark,

These aren't from Sam's Club (though the ones sold by Sam's Club may be from the same Chinese manufacturer). They came from a company called MCM Electronics, and were marketed under the brand name Duratool. MCM still sells them (or at least the ones they sell look a lot like these), but they aren't sold as Duratool cases any more. They're also more expensive now than they were when I bought them (which was at least five years ago). It's been a while since I checked their website, but last time I did, they were still stocking the 22" case and the smaller one that I use as a top case. Just as a reference, mine are called 22" cases, but that counts the width of the latches on the outside; the actual usable portion of the case isn't 22".

I never liked the ammo case thing. I even lightened my set by cutting out sections of the steel in the case, riveting sheets of aluminum in their place, and building new lids out of aluminum to get them down to about 14 pounds but visually, they never appealed to me.

My lid restraint straps work fine for me. As far as keeping stuff in place inside the pannier, I found some nylon bags sold on amazon as airplane carry-on bags for about 19 bucks each that I use as pannier liners. They keep everything from falling out if I open the panniers. That was the simplest solution for me, rather than creating some sort of retaining system for the contents inside the pannier.

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