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post #1 of 16 Old 01-16-2019, 08:12 PM Thread Starter
Junior Trooper
Join Date: Aug 2018
Posts: 8
Side Panniers

Hi guys!

What experience do you all have with your panniers? I have the factory plastic ones that came with my 2011 Wee but I feel like it they would crack if I fall offroading.

I'm looking at replacing them with soft or aluminum but I don't like like the price of new hard panniers and soft panniers seem more expensive than they need to be.

What panniers have you gotten and why? Do you like them?

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post #2 of 16 Old 01-16-2019, 10:48 PM
kd70qc's Avatar
Join Date: May 2016
Location: Alabama
Posts: 795
There are a hundred answers. The consensus seems to be (if you have the $$) hard for commuting, soft for off road. Some have used surplus Swiss army duffles, others have used popular brands like wolfman.

2015 DL650XT w/ factory Suzuki/Motech side cases and engine guard.
First farkle - Motech center stand
Suzuki handguards
Augustus Wind Deflectors
Fat, foamy grips
Givi AirFlow windscreen
Go-Cruise throttle lock
JD Astar 1260 lumen LED tail light bulb
Suzuki (SW Motech) Top Case
Hyde Racing skid plate
Adventuretech kickstand foot, fork brace, fender raising kit, and peg lowering kit.
Zita 26mm up / 20mm back risers
Sit and Fly Seat Net

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post #3 of 16 Old 01-17-2019, 10:55 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Sconsin, USA
Posts: 4,027
I have the SW-Motech Trax side cases (37L and 45L) and top case (38L) too. Along with the SW-Motech Quick-Lock EVO racks.

I have had them for about 8 years and have taken numerous short and long trips with them. I've been down a few times in low speed dumps and when I get home I just pound the dents outs if necessary and I am good to go again. So far they haven't leaked, I did silicone the interior seams several years ago as a precaution.

I got them as I wanted something to secure most of my travel items in and felt metal was better than plastic (just my opinion). I also liked their looks and they provided a nice place for decals.

I have been very happy with their performance and would buy again.


2020 Eastern V-Strom Rally (website) - May 14 - 17, 2020
2006 Suzuki V-Strom DL650K
1986 Honda Shadow VT700C
1974 Suzuki TM-250
1966 Triumph Bonneville T-120R
1965 Suzuki 80
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post #4 of 16 Old 01-19-2019, 07:54 PM
Super Trooper!
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Pasadna area
Posts: 13,982
"I feel like it they would crack if I fall offroading. "

Actually, they can explode. Mine did.

"price of new hard panniers and soft panniers seem more expensive than they need to be. "

It's call shopping around. I got new Seahorse plastic boxes for $40 a piece. I got a like new Nelson Rigg 855 soft bags for aboutd $100 used here on the forum.
If you shop the vinyl bags they do get pricey, like a Great Basin.

There is more info if you google search saddlebags in the search box at the top of the page. Much discussion has happened over the years.
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post #5 of 16 Old 01-19-2019, 08:14 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2016
Posts: 1,726
Pelican (not SeaHorse or HF knockoffs) are about as indestructible as you can get. They will take a fall and come back asking for more. If they break the unconditional guarantee will get them replaced. Lot of reports of Pelicans being beaten to death slid down roadways and other than scuffed and scratches still do their job.

Aluminum panniers are as flexible as an I-beam and will dent and distort fairly easily. Soft bag while the most resilient can also tear and are not great a securing things from theft unless you consider out of sight out of mind a being as good as a lock.
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post #6 of 16 Old 01-19-2019, 10:16 PM
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Join Date: May 2014
Location: Thornhill, ON
Posts: 260
Pelican if you want tough and waterproof. I've been using the 1430 and 1550 cases on my Strom.
I also use the Chinese knockoffs and the Canadian made copies of the Chinese knockoffs on my enduro bike. These are much thinner than the Pelicans and are consequently much lighter, which works better on a two fiddy. The knockoff case have been working well, but I don't think they would stand up to the same abuse as the Pelicans.

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post #7 of 16 Old 01-20-2019, 11:24 AM
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Join Date: Nov 2016
Location: America's Dairyland
Posts: 544
My '12 DL650 came with Givi plastic sidebags. The bike tipped over once onto the bag, which took it OK, but I wouldn't bet on it with a strong impact.

I picked up a set of used soft bags via Craigslist for $15 that offer greater carrying capacity and strap well to my existing rack. I swap those out for the Givis if I plan to go off-road at all.

Regarding CL, I try to check the MC & gear sections daily for new listings. I've found incredible deals on gear and supplies, especially earlier in my riding career as I tried to gear up on the cheap.

If it's a good day to wash the bike, it's a better day to ride the bike.
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post #8 of 16 Old 01-20-2019, 11:28 AM
Super Trooper!
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Pasadna area
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One caveat of the hard bags is that they can assist in crushing your leg if the bike falls over on it. How do I know that? Oh, ow!
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post #9 of 16 Old 01-20-2019, 12:23 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: Los Angeles Area
Posts: 184
Tusk makes aluminum panniers in 2 or 3 sizes starting at $250 for the pair at Rocky Mountain ATV. $399 includes a mounting system although unfortunately they don't make a mount for v-stroms. You might be able to fab something to attach them to your bike. There is also the Solo Box guy. $550 + shipping for 2 panniers and mounting hardware (I think).

2012 DL650A (purchased Dec 2017)
2005 DRZ400S (sold Dec 2017)
1972 Norton Commando (sold 1984)
1978 Suzuki DR370 (sold 1982)

Last edited by KSM; 01-20-2019 at 12:31 PM.
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post #10 of 16 Old 01-20-2019, 01:39 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2018
Location: New Mexico
Posts: 193
I'm happy with the Harbor Freight knockoffs bolted onto Givi saddlebag mounts. These are a about 15 liters each. I also have some Givi 22N bags, but I like these better and I'm going to sell the 22Ns for the main reason that I don't have to dig a key out of my pocket to open them. The HF cases don't look that bad either. I rarely if ever go off pavement, so I'm not too worried about them leaking where I bolted them on or falling over and crushing them. They're good enough.
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