Soft vs. hard luggage

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Ard
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Soft vs. hard luggage

Post by Ard » Tue May 22, 2018 2:21 pm

Here a topic about the pros and cons of hard and soft luggage.

The reason that hard luggage offers more protection against theft is a bit of a myth. Besides the fact that hardly ever anything gets stolen.
Hard luggage might look nicer than those sagging bags but they might also be the reason you'll have to end your trip early.

If you're trying to negotiate a difficult section of trail where you feel the need to put your feet down for balance or to stop the bike from falling over, your leg might get caught by a ridge, rock, clump of long grass or a branch just laying there.
If that happens it will be dragged back, underneath one of the cases. Due to that you'll try and lean in the direction of which leg is caught and the bike possibly falls over on that leg.
The edges on boxes are usually quite sharp and you could end up with a broken leg.

Hard boxes and their mounting system also have no give in them so getting caught by something along the track is also a real danger.

Soft luggage is most of the times more variable and can be strapped down when you have less stuff with you. It's also somewhat easier to carry inside a house/hotel etc. with less risk of damaging something.

Getting caught out with your leg is indeed possible with some set ups but with the bags and their mounting having more give in them it's less likely you sustain serious injuries.

The other plus of soft bags is that you can mount it the way you like it, lower down for instance and more forward to get a better weight distribution and a lower center of gravity.

On some set ups you need racks for soft bags, on others you don't which will save you even more weight.

Weight is your biggest enemy on the trail as you might need to swing your bike from side to side suddenly and with a lot of extra weight high up this might prove to be hard to do.
It'll wear you out quicker and you might not enjoy the ride as much as you would with a different set up.

One last tip using soft luggage: Strap it down as best you can, just throwing over some bags that are able to bounce up and down will affect the handling and might cause you rear subframe to fatigue. crack or even break

The one important thing why you could prefer cases over bags though is: Bags are notoriously difficult to stick stickers on so no one would ever know that you've ridden up to the Nordkapp....
:facepalm
Which ever set up you end up using, have fun with it ! :handgestures-thumbup:

Cheers, Ard
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computer_freak
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Re: Soft vs. hard luggage

Post by computer_freak » Sun Aug 19, 2018 12:57 pm

I have hard luggage for a couple of reasons.

First, theft and security is a big item. I frequently park my bike in a city with street parking and high theft rate. Think Amsterdam, Marseille, Antwerp, Rome. All I have to do is take out my right inner bag, swing it across my shoulder, put a padlock on the bike and lock the two cases. I can walk to my destination with a helmet in my left hand and my right hand entirely free. Everything is secure. With soft luggage I would have to undo all the straps and take my entire setup inside. Or risk someone else doing that for me at night.

Second, organising. With panniers I roll up everything I own and put it in upright in the case. That way I can directly access 10-15 items per panniers without having to shuffle anything around. It's all easily accessible.

Third, easy acces on the bike. When I'm at a border I can grab into my cases while I'm on the bike. No need to get off and to undo a roll top or complicated buckle system. Just flick the lock open, open the pannier and grab my paper work. Even works with gloves on. Same with grabbing a bottle of water while on the bike.

Fourth, security on the go. When I'm in a busy city and locked in between cars, think Tangier, Budapest, Paris, I don't want a hobo or street seller opening up the panniers and going through my stuff. Or someone with a knife slash the straps off my soft luggage and taking off. I lock them, nobody can access them.

Fifth, security on border crossings. What's worse then somebody stealing your stuff? Stuffing drugs in your luggage and then collecting it across the border. Almost had this happen on my recent Morocco/Spain crossing. A couple of too-friendly guys wanted to meet up after the unloading from the boat. Would buy me a beer and everything. I spotted one of them going to the car-deck while the other distracted me with a cool story. Sorry guys, my panniers are locked. Have fun stuff your drugs some place where the sun doesn't shine.
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Womble
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Re: Soft vs. hard luggage

Post by Womble » Tue Aug 28, 2018 1:57 pm

Both comments have valid arguments. Security of the rider vs security of the stuff you take.

I have been travelling mostly with leather bags in the past with no way to lock them. Now I both have Enduristan bags and Touratech panniers. Either choice, my luggage don't contain valuable items, just clothes (after several days the stink will keep the thieves away), food, kitchen and camping stuff. I never really worried leaving this behind, I take the real few valuables with me in a backpack. Except for shopping I don't leave my bike much alone, mostly even sleep next to it. Its not so much to protect bike or stuff, its just the way I travel.

If I plan to remain mostly on roads or at least gravel, I take the pannier. If most of the road is trail, I take the bags for the reasons Ard pointed out.
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Ard
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Re: Soft vs. hard luggage

Post by Ard » Wed Aug 29, 2018 1:57 pm

A good way to secure soft luggage is to wrap a stainless steel cable with loops on the ends around them and secure that with a padlock.
That way you can secure them to the racks and protect them from "quick thieves"

You'd be surpised how quick a locked latch on a hard case is to open. Same goes for the locking system that secures them to the bike.

Not saying hard cases aren't any good but for me personally they have more cons than pros.
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Womble
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Re: Soft vs. hard luggage

Post by Womble » Thu Aug 30, 2018 12:06 pm

Pacsafe has developed a system with an integrated stainless steal cable netting to protect your stuff in backpacks. It will not stand a continuous attempt to break it, just the quick cut with a knife. I wish Enduristan and other softluggage manufacturer would look at similar solutions. This could also avoid your items being spread if the bag gets ripped by a tree branch or pointed stone.

Image
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computer_freak
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Re: Soft vs. hard luggage

Post by computer_freak » Thu Aug 30, 2018 10:35 pm

I'm pretty sure that you can crack the locks on my panniers with nothing but a big screwdriver. But hopefully it deters the quick thief.

Giant loop has the QuickLoop, which is a cable running through the bags. Stops people from taking them off (but not grabbing whats inside).
https://www.giantloopmoto.com/product/g ... d-padlock/

Valuables in a backpack is a good idea, didn't think of that. You can also go with a small lockable Pelican case on your rear rack and soft bags on the sides. Best of both worlds.
https://basherdesigns.com/2011/03/06/pe ... -mounting/
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Ard
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Re: Soft vs. hard luggage

Post by Ard » Sat Sep 01, 2018 6:34 am

A Tankbag is a good option for putting valuables in. Like a small tablet, camera stuff etc.
This is not equipment you want to strap to your back because they might become invaluables pretty quickly in a fall.
Not to mention the potential danger for your spine.
A tankbag therefore is a pretty safe space to store them and they usually are quick to take them off when you separate from the bike.

I personally only wear a Camelbak on my back with some snacks and soft items like spare gloves.
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