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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just bought the TUSK Pilot soft pannier bags and steel rack system for the KLR 650. I know you can lash the Pilot bags to the racks, but would like to attach the plate and quick detach frame to the back of the Pilot soft bags so when I do the same to hard pannier boxes I can have the capability to switch back and forth.

Anyone know where I can see a video or read written instructions on how to attach the plate to the soft Pilot bags instead of just guessing? :unsure:

TIA. :cool:
 

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I did that with my Nelson-Rigg bags. I simply mounted the frames into the racks, then set the bags to where they were positioned to be sure to clear my legs comfortably and so that they were at the appropriate yaw angle. I like to have my bags at the same tilt as my rear rack.

These are my hard bags, but you get the idea.


I sew a lot and one of the tools I have is tailor's chalk, so I ran that along the frames, marking the bags. Then I took the whole mess down, laid it all back together on the bench, and carefully marked where the holes should be in the bag for the attach bolts. I fired up the propane torch and used the torch to heat up a section of 3/8" brass tubing and melted the holes into the bag. I used fender washers under the head of the bolts on the inside of the bag.

This is what tailor's chalk looks like; it's thin and is used to chalk lines on fabric.

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I can take pictures of the finished product if it would help.
 
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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Nice looking setup you've got there. Thanks for your help and description. The chalk is a great idea. I was thinking Sharpie earlier. I guess I just wanted to make sure there were no special "do's & don'ts" where the Tusk Pilot bags were concerned. Appreciate the feedback Tom! I'd love to see pics of the finished product.
 

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I'm not familiar with the Tusk bags and am the sort that will cut, chop, incinerate, bend, fold, spindle, mutilate, crease, wrinkle, and macerate almost anything to bend it to my will. Take what I say with a grain of sal..., no, get a salt lick.

The Nelson Riggs had a bit of a panel in the back and I preserved the large straps that go across the seat. I think mounting them to the frame was fine. I suppose the only caution would be if there is something structural in the Tusk bags that you wouldn't want to cut through.

I'll go out and fetch up some pictures.
 
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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
Excellent! Thanks for taking the time. The Pilot bags from TUSK also have a hardened backer plate inside. Another question. Do you find that you have to keep using the saddle strap with this setup? I will have a mounting plate made of steel/aluminum? on mine. I'd like to do away with the straps over the seats if they're not needed.

I just bought a salt lick for the deer a couple months ago...lol.

Thanks again!
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The straps across the seat and onto the rear rack are really a belt and suspenders sort of thing. They don't seem necessary.
 
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I have the Tusk Pilot bags and although I don't have the mounting plates, i think the use of the straps over the seat will prevent the bags from sagging as they seem to support most of the weight of the bags and contents, the smaller straps seem to secure the bags to the rack (or the mounting plates in your case). I like these bags and am interested in how the mounting plates work out for you. You probably saw this when you ordered your bags and mounting plates: Tusk Pannier Soft Luggage Mounting System
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Yes sir. Watched all the vids looking for the soft version mount. I figured adding some bolts with large flat washers inside would add stability, though the folks at Rocky Mtn ATV do say it will void the warranty if the material frays/ravels. I like the idea of burning the holes through. We'll see. I wonder how the larger ammo boxes would look for hard panniers? The size on the lower right-ish? Hmmmmmmmm.:rolleyes:
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Ammo cans are popular, mostly because they are inexpensive. Unfortunately, they are also very heavy and extremely unyielding to trapped limbs.

I've always considered them to be a poor choice. If hard, lockable luggage is what you're after I'd recommend the Tusk boxes or Seahorse cases as a budget alternative or Jesse boxes for higher-end.

The bit about voiding the warranty due to fraying seems pretty vacuous. Perhaps it's their recourse to you for not buying the $120 soft mounting system and going with the $40 brackets.

What is it with jet-cut aluminum plates that have been powder coated costing $100, anyway? It's $10 worth of aluminum sheet and a $5 powder coat job.
 
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I had two people ask me when I was going to mount ammo cans on it, and another asked when I was going to put a camo colored milk crate on the back...lol.

On the hard panniers of any kind, they would be a street only option. Soft for off road. That's why I'm trying to set it up for the quick switch between the two. I'll probably run the soft most often anyway. Just a KLR noob thinking out loud.
Thanks for all the input guys.
 

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OK, now a milk crate is in another league altogether, see. As bush-league-Beverly-Hillbillies as they look they are really very practical for 'around town use. Add a good cargo net and you're dressed to the nines, KLR-style.

Just make sure you get a decent milk crate, like a nice royal blue Foremost, rather than one of those cheap generic ones they sell at Walmart or somesuch. You need to steal it from out back of the Safeway to be legitimate.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Here we go...:rolleyes:
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It almost matches.
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I have the Tusk racks on mine.
I use the hard panniers in town.
I use the pilot bags for camping.
I looped the 4 corner straps through the mounting plates and can swap back to the hard bags in 30 seconds.
Just leave the mounting plates looped through the corner straps.
 

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"Just make sure you get a decent milk crate..." I scored one of those old metal milk crates from the 1950's, and it's more than distinctive, Beverly-Hillbillies' luggage - it's my preferred maintenance stand for tire changes, etc. It gives me lots of respect for the milk delivery folk of yore - it weighs a wee bit!
 

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Yes! The beauty of a good crate is that it also makes a good motorcycle work stand and tool storage bin.
 

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I just bought the TUSK Pilot soft pannier bags and steel rack system for the KLR 650. I know you can lash the Pilot bags to the racks, but would like to attach the plate and quick detach frame to the back of the Pilot soft bags so when I do the same to hard pannier boxes I can have the capability to switch back and forth.

Anyone know where I can see a video or read written instructions on how to attach the plate to the soft Pilot bags instead of just guessing? :unsure:

TIA. :cool:
Badman, maybe you've figured out your plan already. I did the same thing a few months ago. Started with the Tusk quick release mount plates. Like Tom says, they're overpriced, but I bought them anyway. They were fine, but I decided I wanted a more rigid mount and hoped to eliminate the two straps running over the top.

Decided to sandwich the Pilot bags between the aluminum quick release plates and something...just to make a more rigid mount. Thought about another piece of aluminum inside the bag. Decided on a good stiff piece of poly. Ordered a couple 1/2" thick poly cutting boards from Amazon. Cut/shaped/drilled them to fit, using the softer Pilot backer plate as a template.

Takes up a tiny bit of space in the bag but makes for a nice solid mount. Pop the quick release and the bag is still hard mounted to the plate, just a little more like a hard box. I cut down one of the 'over the top' straps and use it as an insurance strap, attached to the top rack but totally out of the way....just in case one of these days I don't fully engage the locking pin. Anyway, worked pretty well for me. Any questions, let me know. Good luck.
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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
The Pilot Soft panniers with mounting plates...
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And the Tusk Hard Panniers with the Apache 4800 top box. :cool:
 

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I like those pilots. Thanks for sharing this, now I’m going to hold onto my hard bags as well and use the same rack for both.
Now to research power ports to recharge batteries used for camping at night. Should be pretty straightforward.
 
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