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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all. I'm getting ready to pull the trigger on new touring bags and think I've settled on the Wolfman Expedition Drybag Saddlebags...unless somebody can convince me otherwise. I've looked long and hard at the Tusk aluminum boxes but can't get myhead around the 26lbs empty weight. Do any of you guys have experience with either of these? Any body have some stories they can share to help me decide? Getting ready to ride the Trans Wisconsin Adventure Trail in spring and will be going unsupported campng for four days.

Thoughts?
 

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How about Tinman Tim's box's?
 

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I happen to have gleaned some valuable lessons in this area from some poor planning and cheapskatery.

26 lbs for those Tusk panniers is pretty heavy, but not as heavy as my ammo can panniers! 20 lbs each, which makes a very noticeable difference on this bike before you even start filling them with junk! Big, square boxes hanging off the sides causes some serious drag too, resulting in much lower fuel economy at highway speeds.

What I loved about them though was the sheer volume of storage, and the ease of opening and closing them.





Still, the weight and cumbersomeness of such big boxes on such a compact bike was too much for me so I forked out for the Wolfman Expedition Dry Bags after my first trip with the steel behemoths.

On road they were (literally) a drag, off road they were downright unpleasant. The fishtailing was bad enough, add in the mental picture of one of those boxes coming around and snapping my tibia in half and it almost sucked all the fun out of playing in the mud.





As you can see in the pics, although the Wolfman bags are bigger than other soft luggage options they're still waaay smaller than the big boxes. This could be seen as a negative or a positive, having smaller luggage can help guys like me leave behind some of the stuff I'm inclined to take but don't really need to. Less stuff = less weight, and of course the soft bags themselves weigh basically nothing compared to 26 or 40 pounds.

The system of straps you have to navigate to get into the bags are kind of a hassle, but they sure do the job of securing everything when the going gets bumpy. There is still a slight increase in drag with the Wolfman Expedition Dry bags, but far less noticeable than what I experienced when I was running the boxes.

Whatever the drawbacks, I've taken to running the Wolfman bags full time. They're usually barely noticeable and they often come in handy.

That's been my experience anyhow.
 

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I did the Trans Wisconsin Trail last July. I was VERY happy that I used the Wolfman Expedition bags. It rained about half the time and I never had to worry about my gear getting wet.

Tinman Tim makes mounts and a brace to use with a cycleracks rack. From the looks of them I think I may prefer them to the mounting I currently use. They look very sturdy.


A side note on the Trans Wisconsin Trail. As far as I am concerned, the TW is the PERFECT bike for this kind of riding. It handled all conditions well and I appreciated it even more in the sand as I got near Lake Superior.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Great feedback guys, thank you! I'm thinking the Expedition bag is the way to go. The TW doesn't have a lot of power to spare, especially on long trips. Gotta save weight where I can.
 

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Would you rather backpack around with a polymer/aluminum box strapped to your back or a lightweight backpack? If you have to ditch your dub and hike out, what's more versitle? If you're weaving through a tight trial, what's more forgiving? If you are fording a water crossing and slip on some mossy rock, what would provide the best water protection?
 
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One nice thing about the wolfman bags is they are waterproof. When I was down in missouri riding we crossed a moss covered road that went under water about 6 inches. Needless to say I went down and my left givi box had about 3" of water in it
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Would you rather backpack around with a polymer/aluminum box strapped to your back or a lightweight backpack? If you have to ditch your dub and hike out, what's more versitle? If you're weaving through a tight trial, what's more forgiving? If you are fording a water crossing and slip on some mossy rock, what would provide the best water protection?
That is a great way of looking at it. I suppose you don't see a lot of backpackers toting giant aluminum boxes. Not even the Germans.
 

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I use Ortleib soft bags on my klr. Totally waterproof (live in a rainforest). Cyclerack is in the mail, then will order some adapters for the tdub.
 

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When I first built my TW I used the OEM luggage off my V-Strom because it was lying around unused and available. When I loaded it up with everything I needed for my NFLD trip last summer and took it on a shakedown cruise I found the extra weight caused poor handling at high speeds. I weighed the bags and each one was close to 10lbs empty. I replaced them with Ortleib dry bags and a Scully 50lt dry bag from Mountain Co-op Equipment and shed 22lbs.(I also had the Suzuki top box not shown). Problem solved.Because the Scully dry bag is rectangular you can really pack it well. All three bags performed well in the rain. Sledhead all you need to fit the Ortleib bags to the TW is an extension for the velcro straps and some type of support to keep them away from the bike. http://i1006.photobucket.com/albums/af188/stevevickery/DSCF3927.jpg IMG_2830.jpg Photo by stevevickery | Photobucket
 
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well the Wolfman are a really good product. I used hard bags for years on my BMW bikes, mostly because they were better for wet weather and I did long distance runs. But for a small bike like the tdub I'd go with soft bags. I'm looking at the Nelson-Rigg version, pretty weather resistant but still enough room for camping.
 

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Hard panniers are leg breakers offroad. I've had way too many big-bucks adventure riders ruin my weekend throwing panniers on their legs. For me, that's a dealbreaker on any bike that regularly sees a dirt road. If all your riding is paved, panniers are more secure from theft while on the bike. Tdub2 sports a custom rack with an auxiliary fuel tank under the platform, LED lights, bag mounts to protect her 3 large tool tubes, muffler, and the mounts have little shelves hinged at the bottom to hold canoe bags. Cheap from Walmart, tough enough to last a while, totally waterproof, and forgiving enough to avoid broken bones in a mishap.
 

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Panniers

There is truth to the observation that hard panniers can pose risks riding off road. You probably would not have to search too far to find stories of broken lower legs. That being said, some incredibly long and rugged trips have been made on bikes with hard panniers. Hard panniers have one great quality, the ability to lock them up effectively. I personally have Happy Trail Tetons on my Triumph Scrambler, and before that had hard cases on my GS. However, the Scrambler isn't a bike I aggressively off road. It will handle some pretty wicked stuff if you know your business, but still, it really isn't that kind of bike despite what those who love it say. (Well, Ted Simon rode a Triumph...maybe I take that back.)

I have currently been researching soft panniers for my TW also. I have a 1998 which I bought new, and my nephew has apparently taken it over. So, I went shopping and found a 2011 with 63 miles on it for me. Originally I gravitated to the Wolfman Expedion panniers myself. I like the look and material. The volume however is not up to what I would really like to have. Personally, I have decided to go with the Happy Trail Mojave system. Keep in mind that they are puck mounted, which means removable using Happy Trail puck system. It doesn't necessarily mean you have to have Happy Trail racks, in fact my Scrambler has racks from Metal Mule in England, but they must be of a certain configuration. I like Happy Trail products though and will go with the complete system, Mojave bags and SU racks.

The Mojave bags have a volume of 28.44 liters each. The Wolfman Expedition bags have a volume of 19 liters each. A significant difference. Both are waterproof, using different systems for that.

Of course by going with the SU racks I also have the ability to swap the Aluminum Tetons off the Scrambler in a matter of minutes should I desire to do that. Can't really see why I would, but you never know, as I said, some situations/places cry out for the security of locked hard cases.

I'm not really advocating much of anything here, there are a lot of great luggage products out there. Rather I am simply sharing my thought process since I recently researched and considered the same question.
 

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Dubster: That's a nice setup. Looks like a Manrack on the front. What are you using for a tail rack/pannier rack? I just mounted a Manrack front rack and also their Utility (Roto pax compatible) rear rack on the new 2011 for our trip to Big Bend (we won't be camping off the bikes so all I need is fuel and day items/tools for that trip. But I would like to know what you have on the rear under those Ortliebs.
 

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Dubster: That's a nice setup. Looks like a Manrack on the front. What are you using for a tail rack/pannier rack? I just mounted a Manrack front rack and also their Utility (Roto pax compatible) rear rack on the new 2011 for our trip to Big Bend (we won't be camping off the bikes so all I need is fuel and day items/tools for that trip. But I would like to know what you have on the rear under those Ortliebs.
Hey Borneo
Thanks
The front rack is homemade and works fine for light stuff.
The rear rack is the OEM rack off my 09 Suzuki V-Strom. I can still attach the OEM hardbags depending on the circumstances. I installed Jessie aluminium panniers on the V-Strom and the OEM bags were gathering dust so I modified the rack to fit the TW and installed it. It is a good sturdy rack and does a good job but required some modification to make it work. I had to narrow it, add brackets, and extend the front to attach it to the rear peg brackets. My Lincoln wire welder is worth it's weight in gold.:D

Also I REALLY like and highly recommend the Scully 50lt dry bag. It is very robust,holds a crapload of gear and is totally 100% waterproof. I use 2 Rox straps and it is on and off in seconds.With a little ingenuity you could probably use them as panniers. I just wish it was available in black. And positioned right on the T-Dub it makes a great back support.
 

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this is a great tread, I am still not going to put side racks, for the time being I will stick with just a top box, regardless of what I have up there, but I do see myself doing BAJA on the TW... somebody here is already doing it, so all is good!

Damasovi
 

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I just need to haul my rain gear to and from work. So, I bought a pair of 12 can coolers from Wally for $10 ea.
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They should work for now.
 
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OurDee, I can't tell from the photo how you mounted the side bags. Did you use the Cyclerack pannier mounts? Thanks
 
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