Installation and customer service
The install was speedy, straightforward and executed without a trace of fuss. The bags slotted onto the rack previously used for my hard panniers (usefully keeping the bags safely away from the side panels, wheels and exhaust), with Velcro top straps to support them over the rear seat of the bike.
The bags are designed to work with any traditional ‘hooped’ racks such as those from Metal Mule units or Touratech, although the bags can accommodate many other brands of racks for hard luggage: suitable if the bars on which the boxes rest are flat, you should be fine. If in doubt enquire via email with a picture and Adventure-Spec will confirm.
Stabilising each of the bags with a tension strap (not included) stops any shifting, flapping or sagging while riding. Pleased with the fit and finish, the panniers looked fit-for-purpose in preparation to transport our equipment on the second leg of our two-wheel jaunt to the top of the planet. Should anything wear out, it’s good to know that field serviceability can be undertaken if the buckles get damaged. Alternatively, replacements can be ordered and shipped, or company repairs made. Firsthand experience shows that Adventure-Spec willingly ship internationally where the after-sales service has always been managed efficiently and effectively.
Weight and sanity: a positive correlation
Despite the many and valid arguments for hard panniers, the pair of us have grown weary of pumping iron on a gruelling basis to keep up with the muscle mass required in picking up the GSs. Instead–and swopping the bikes for lighter models will be the next natural step in the process–Jason and I agreed that it was high time we shaved a load off. Struggling with 530lb (240 kilograms) of F800GS laden with luggage and marginally less on mine, an F650GS: enough to give anyone a hernia and a joyless endeavour at altitude, in sand, on cambers, and let’s face it, wherever when the bike topples. Simply, when off road the saddlebags come into their own.
Like any luggage, backpack, motorcycling suits and other performance apparel or military wear worth its salt, the incorporation of Cordura will be present. Known for its durability and resistance to abrasion, tearing and scuffing, its reputation precedes it. Where my current motorcycle suit enjoys 500 denier Cordura, the Magadans boast 1000 denier. Coupled with Kevlar / Twaron fabric makes them twice as thick and myriad times as strong respectively—their integrity would doubtless be unaffected if not practically immune in sliding down the highway. Perhaps the toughest solution on the market with regards to an endless supply of ruggedness and longevity. The straps on the MK2s have been redesigned and the buckles are supersized, giving further peace of mind to the bag’s endurance over a long life span.