Pannier project - Kawasaki KLR 650 Forum
2008+ KLR650 Wrenching & Mod Questions For repair, maintaining or modifying discussions related to the newly updated 2008 and beyond, Generation 2 KLR650 Motorcycle.

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post #1 of 63 Old 01-27-2013, 10:40 PM Thread Starter
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Pannier project

OK, I'm starting a long term project for the KLR, or more of a feasibility study.
Goal = Hard case panniers, cheap.

Background, I like to do a lot of off the beaten track (don’t we all) riding and camping. And have the 2008 setup with Wolfman Explorer Lite tank bag, First Gear soft side bags that have been modified to bolt on to my Wolfman side racks, a new Christmas present, a Wolfman Ridgeline tail bag.



For some odd reason, or peer pressure, I seem to want hard panniers even though I have talked myself out of them multiple times. I guess I would just like to try a trip or two with them to see how they work out.
On that note, the cheap part. Ammo cans seem to be the answer in that department. I went out and bought two 20MM cans at a surplus store for $29 each and started planning things out. But at 19.8 pounds each, I thought I could lighten the load the burrow has to carry.

Stage one- lighten the load.



The latches are designed to hold ammo in place, not camping gear and clothes. They had to go, along with one side of the diagonal rail support. I have a set of spot weld drills and started with the rail.



Shaved the end handles off the boxes, and then started on the lid ends.



I did have a little problem and tore open four holes in the end that I had to weld up and grind down again.
So with about an hour and a half of drilling/grinding/welding/grinding of my own labor, I now have one “clean” box that shed about four pounds.



I have looked up some twist latches that will work at around $8 each for stainless steel, but I’m wondering if the finished product will be close to what I want.
Any Ideas out there?
Or should I just find some Happy Trail Tetons and bite the bullet?
The Tetons are about the same size, and weigh around 9.5 pounds. I'm still about double that and have no latches or hardware yet.

Last edited by campfire; 01-27-2013 at 10:43 PM.
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post #2 of 63 Old 01-27-2013, 10:51 PM
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Cool project, if you can coat them to match or be close the the OD green (or coat the entire can black/another color), it'd look slick.

While part of me is a little sad you are destroying some cool ammo cans, I see the point of your project, and I think it's still smarter to spend the time on the cans rather than the high cost of Tetons.
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post #3 of 63 Old 01-27-2013, 10:58 PM
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My only advice (opinion) on panniers for any off road excursions is to go with soft bags whether they be panniers which require a rack or a some kind of one piece soft bag like Giant Loop's Great Basin which requires nothing more than passenger pegs. I'm going with the latter because Atomic-Moto has them on sale right now.

My thinking is from experience; when you're slowly "paddling" your bike with your feet through deep sand, rock sections or a steep climb, inevitably a foot will get sucked under a hard bag and you'll swear your leg has been broken. After several close calls, lots of swearing and rubbing out the bruised calf, I swear I'll never use hard bags off road again. Food for thought.
-Crazymike

Last edited by PNWcrazymike; 01-28-2013 at 01:19 AM. Reason: Fat thumbs, skinny iPhone keypad.
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post #4 of 63 Old 01-27-2013, 11:10 PM
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I like the ammo can panniers! I think your on the right track by lightening them where you can. I wanted to go with the ammo cans or mermites, but in my area they just cant be bought or sourced economically.

The panniers I bought have a twist to tighten latching system with a padlock loop on them, are you going for something like that?

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post #5 of 63 Old 01-27-2013, 11:11 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PNWcrazymike View Post
My only advice (opinion) on panniers for any off road excursions is to go with soft bags wether they be panniers which require a rack or a sone kind of one peoce sodt bag like Giant Loop's Great Basin which requires nothing more than passenger pegs. I'm going with the latter because Atomic-Moto has them on sale right now.

My training is from experience; when you're slowly "paddling" your bike with your feet through deep sand, rock sections or a steep climb, inevitably a foot will get sucked under a hard bag and you'll swear your leg has been broken. After several close calls, lots of swearing and rubbing out the bruised calf, I swear I'll never use hard bags off road again. Food for thought.
-Crazymike
That's been my thought exactly. I rode my buddies 1200 GS with Jesse Luggage on it and pinned my calf just turning in a parking lot.
I might have some light weight cans for sale if this doesn't pan out like I want it to.
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post #6 of 63 Old 02-02-2013, 01:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PNWcrazymike View Post
My only advice (opinion) on panniers for any off road excursions is to go with soft bags whether they be panniers which require a rack or a some kind of one piece soft bag like Giant Loop's Great Basin which requires nothing more than passenger pegs. I'm going with the latter because Atomic-Moto has them on sale right now.

My thinking is from experience; when you're slowly "paddling" your bike with your feet through deep sand, rock sections or a steep climb, inevitably a foot will get sucked under a hard bag and you'll swear your leg has been broken. After several close calls, lots of swearing and rubbing out the bruised calf, I swear I'll never use hard bags off road again. Food for thought.
-Crazymike
Good point.
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post #7 of 63 Old 02-02-2013, 02:27 PM Thread Starter
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Had my soft bags on the other day hauling stuff to work and stopped at the store for some goodies. Came out and a Volvo pulled in next to me VERY close.
Thru my leg up over the bike and kicked the soft bag in the process with my shin.

Had that been an ammo can...............

Time is also starting to dictate that this project might turn into some really nice locklable tool boxes for my trailer.

Opinions?

Last edited by campfire; 02-02-2013 at 03:59 PM.
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post #8 of 63 Old 02-02-2013, 02:46 PM
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You should have kicked the Volvo.

My Kaw Barn - 2004 KLR, 2006 Concours (sold), 1997 Bayou 400.

"It's a friggen motorcycle, it's not supposed to be comfortable, quiet or safe. The wind noise is supposed to hurt your ears, the seat should be hard and riding it should make you shit your pants every now and then. "

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post #9 of 63 Old 02-02-2013, 03:32 PM
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Hard panniers and soft ones both have their places... If your doing a lot of off roading with rough/uneven terrain and camping out I would say go for the soft bags. You already have them so there's no added expense or install either.

But, if your mostly riding on the road (highway or gravel) and don't have as many possibilities to dab a foot and get your leg caught the hard panniers are very useful. The larger ones will hold more than soft panniers and they're lockable for when you stop in towns or stay over in a hotel. No need to take them off the bike and lug them around with you like soft bags.

So, what you choose depends on your primary usage.

Plus, I agree with klr4evr, I would have kicked the Volvo!

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post #10 of 63 Old 02-02-2013, 05:15 PM
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One should always have at least one valve cap that has a core removal tool.

Kicking a car may hurt your toe.

Always use the right tool for the job.

Your valve core removal tool.

T

p.s. I'm a soft bag guy.

Tom [email protected]

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