I've never been much of an entrepreneur, or an arbitrageur, or whatever they call people who make money out of nothing. I'm too simple and straightforward, really (I won't say I'm too honest, as that sounds a bit self-aggrandising, and you know as soon as you hear it that the opposite is true. Honest people never advertise the fact - they just are.) I'm a useless salesman, as I seem to try to get the best deal for the other guy, even at my own expense, and I am a very bad liar. So how come I now have a set of very tasty Hepco and Becker pannier frames on the Bonnie - for nothing? Here they are:
OK, they are second-hand and a bit scruffy (the previous owner did a 20,000 mile tour of the States with them on), but new these would cost £225, and they are mine for the princely sum of nada, zero, nothing, zilch.
Readers may remember I have been muttering about luggage for the bike for a while now. It seemed as though soft paniers were the way to go - cheap and cheerful, and easily taken off when you don't need them. But then I saw a similar bike to mine at a meet, with some hard side-cases, and they looked just right. Change of plan ...
I had bought some Triumph-branded fabric panniers, complete with metal frame rails to keep them out of the back wheel. These proved to be too small and flimsy for my needs, so I put the bags on eBay and kept the rails on the bike, thinking they would be fine with some Frank Thomas soft bags. The bags alone sold for £20 more than I had paid for the bags and rails together, so I was up £20 and had the rails for free. Then came the change of heart, and I started searching eBay for hard cases and frames.
A pair of Hepco and Becker Junior panniers (the same as I had seen at the meet) came up, and with matching frames from the same seller. He had them mounted to a bike like mine and had toured the States with them. He then sold the bike and was selling the kit separately. I won the frames for £50, and just missed out on the cases. While I was waiting for the frames to arrive, I put the Triumph rails on eBay, and they sold within a couple of hours - for £50. Bingo!
So I now have the frames for nothing, and £20 towards a set of cases. I'm watching eBay like a hawk.