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

- George Washington

Friday 28 May 2010

Well pleased

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.


  1. endemoniada_8829 May 2010 at 02:55


    They suit the bike well, and for that sort of price (!) I can see why you're pleased.

    Good call, going for the H&B option. You probably won't be revisiting the Soul Mover luggage thread, but I did comment there on the Givi thing. In essence - sturdy and reliable, yes, but generally ugly and with no attempt to tailor either fittings or luggage to suit the bike.

    My Versys came with a rebadged Givi pannier set fitted, but I'd love to junk that and fit a set of SW Motech Evo bars with matching Trax black powder-coated aluminium cases. Just can't justify spending the cash for a purely aesthetic improvement, unfortunately...

  2. I get an alert from the other blog when anyone comments, so I did see it. And replied, I think, although I CBA to check.

    I'm not sure I would be with you on the aluminium cases. They are very popular owing to Ewan and Charlie and all that, but if you read forums like Horizons Unlimited, there are a lot of reports of the ally ones cracking, falling to bits, or damaging their owners in a fall. Plastic/ABS (or whatever it is) cases should last better, even if they don't look quite so RTW-tough. To me, the H&B are a good compromise: they seem to be robust, practical and waterproof, but avoid the gaudiness of some of Givi's offerings.

  3. endemoniada_8830 May 2010 at 00:49

    I'm not a fan of the ally catering-tin look at all - for a start, I've never owned a bike where they wouldn't look ridiculous...! The matt-black SW Motech top loaders are angular and modern (and appear to be extremely well-made), rather than a wannabee adventure biker look. That said, there's not a lot of difference in price/style between those and the plastic H&B Gobi pannier sets, which I also like a lot. Either of which, I reckon, would suit the Kawasaki far better than the Givis do.

    On a usage-versus-cost basis, however, keeping the free-with-the-bike Givi kit wins hands down!

  4. "Catering-tin look" - LOL. I totally agree. In fact, I'm not sure there is any bike on which they don't look ridiculous. Even the big Beemers. The SW Motech ones do look good, I admit - just enough concession to style so as not to appear self-consciously butch, if you see what I mean. The Gobis have a double skin, I believe, and can carry 3.5 litres of water (although the taps are extra - how logical is that?). Whether you would want to drink water that has been sitting in the sun for hours in a plastic box is another matter.

    Put the Trax boxes down on your Santa list! Until then, free-with-the-bike would do for me.


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