If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.

- George Washington

Sunday, 2 May 2010


Time for a break from all this politics crap!

I plan to take the Bonneville touring at some point - possibly later this year, if I can find the tuits. At the moment, it is naked as the day it was born. No rack, no bags, no nothing. I need to find some way of carrying a bit of luggage. I don't want to fit a top-box (too ugly, and the XT already has one for shopping purposes). I think a rear rack, if discreet, might be useful, although I really don't want to spoil the lines of the bike with too much chrome, as I think it looks pretty good as it is. I've joined a Triumph forum on the web, and it's full of American owners who like nothing better than to spend the weekends fitting 'extras' from NewBonneville or British Customs, so their bikes end up looking like Christmas trees. No thanks.

The solution is going to be a pair of fabric panniers, I think: much cheaper than the rigid type, and easily removed to leave the bike unadorned when they aren't needed. I also think they look better. More of the cowboy's saddlebags and less like someone travelling with three large suitcases strapped to his bike. The only problem is that there is presently no way of keeping the panniers from swinging into the rear wheel. Triumph sell a pair of rails which would seem to fit the bill, but they are well over £50 each, and that's before you have shelled out money on the panniers themselves. There are quite a few pannier sets on eBay, complete with rails, and if I could get one of those for a reasonable price and sell the panniers on (I'm not keen on the look of the Triumph bags) I would do that. But so far, they have all gone for way more than I am happy to pay.

There is a guy in California who has a pair of US rails made by MC Resources, and he has offered them to me. They would be a lot cheaper than the Triumph rails, but of course there's the shipping to factor in, and it may not work out. I have offered to buy them if we can agree a price, and I'm waiting to hear back from him. I already have a pair of panniers, bought second-hand from someone I used to work with, and these may do in a pinch, but they are boxy and very ugly. I've got my eye on a pair of Frank Thomas Cargo Touring bags, but I need to see how much I have to spend on the rails first.

Watch this space.


  1. This luggage issue is causing me a headache too. I recently changed from a Guzzi to a K1200s and baulked at paying £600+ for BMW's tricky expandable panniers, expecting to "pick some up on eBay".
    Turns out one can pick them up there, at around £400 a go. Other options from the likes of Hepco & Becker and similar seem to involve fitting so much metal to the back of the bike that its rather pleasing lines will be ruined forever.
    Even tank pads and tailpacks are hard to come by in aftermarket form (plastic tank, of course).
    I expect I'll have to go for the Beemer stuff eventually but in the meantime I"m doggedly holding out hope of "something turning up". Obviously it won't, but....

  2. Keep looking! I have tried every system known to Man, from a full 3-box Givi system to an old rucksack strapped to the pillion seat, and none of them is an outright winner. I agree with you about spoiling the lines of the bike. Unless it is a dedicated tourer, it's nice to be able to strip it off and have a normal bike in between times. I think the discreet rails and a pair of throw-overs will do for what I need in the foreseeable future.

    I was talking to another Triumph owner on a ride-out a few weeks ago, and she had a Ventura system. Said it was excellent, so that may be a possibility. She only had a small day bag attached that day, but she uses a huge tailpack for camping trips. Convenient, well-made, stable, and best of all most of it comes off when you don't need it.

  3. endemoniada_884 May 2010 at 23:16

    I rate the Ventura system as well, if that's any help!

    Didn't think the Triumph rails were particularly steep, I must say - they seem to retail at around £110 a pair. It's a lot for something that doesn't actually do anything per se, but cheap by luggage and pipework standards. Still, if you can get a bargain from the States, so much the better.

    I have, ahem, practical luggage mounting (rebadged Givi, I do believe) - which means no attempt has been made to disguise its ugliness at all. Lucky it's a fairly camel-shaped bike to begin with, otherwise the side-scaffolding might look a bit out of place. Anyway, quite glad of it - will be clipping on the panniers and departing for foreign shores in the morning. Time for an early night...

  4. Ventura looks fairly pricey too - well over 300 notes for a rack and single bag combo. I like the idea, though, and it's helpful to have the endorsement of someone like yourself.

    Have a good break, and tell us about it when you get back.


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