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ADV ProductsGiant Loop MotoTrekk Panniers: Rugged Rack-Mount Saddlebags

Giant Loop MotoTrekk Panniers: Rugged Rack-Mount Saddlebags

 Convenience of hard panniers with the ruggedness of off-road soft luggage.

Published on 11.12.2018

For many who are on the fence about whether to buy hard panniers or soft saddlebags, there’s something in between you should consider – rack-mounted soft panniers. They strap onto pannier racks and offer some of the convenience of hard panniers, while retaining many of the durability, safety and weight advantages of soft bags.

Last year Giant Loop introduced an all-new set of rack-mount soft saddlebags – the MotoTrekk Panniers. They’re designed to be simple, convenient, waterproof and durable, while having just enough capacity for lightweight overland travel.

Made of 500D PVC tarpaulin material, the MotoTrekk panniers can take a pounding from either mother nature or the trail. Waterproofing (IPX6+) is provided by a seam-sealed body, without the need for inner bags, and a roll-top enclosure maintains a water-tight seal.

Giant Loop Mototrekk Panniers Adventure Motorcycle soft luggage
MotoTrekk Panniers include shoulder straps that clip into D-rings, so they can be used like a backpack or you can use the top handles to carry the bags.

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The MotoTrekk Panniers have a combined capacity of 42 liters with three rolls of the top, or you can over stuff them and use fewer rolls. Weight for the set of bags is 6 pounds total and they are compatible with Giant Loop’s pannier mounting plates that utilize a quick-connect/release system.

Getting Them Installed

Typically with rackless soft luggage systems, there is a significant amount of adjusting and tensioning of straps the first time you setup the bags. You have to find the ideal position for straps so they don’t interfere with passenger grab rails or tail racks, then make sure the bags clear the exhaust. With the MotoTrekk panniers it’s a lot simpler, as long as you already have your pannier racks on the bike.

Giant Loop Mototrekk Panniers Soft Bags for Adventure Motorcycles
Four aluminum Durflex hooks secure the bag to pannier racks at each corner.

To start, there is a vertical back strap with a convenient magnetic clasp you can use to loosely attach the bag to the rack. Next four small anchor hooks fasten the bag to the pannier rack at each corner, while tension straps both secure the bag and simultaneously compress down any empty space inside. Giant Loop also includes elastic slack fasteners on all the tension straps to keep everything tidy.

How They Performed

Getting the MotoTrekk panniers loaded for the first trip, we noticed they have a contoured shape that is wider at the top than the bottom. There is limited space for placing longer items horizontally at the bottom of the bag. Instead, longer items need to be placed vertically. The bags are taller than they look and are able to swallow a tent with no problem, as long as your poles aren’t too long (17 inches or less). The contoured shape reduces usable space you’d get in a square bag but it does make it easier to pack/unpack items without getting things stuck.

Giant Loop Mototrekk Soft Panniers Adventure Motorcycle

With 42 liters of capacity, it’s possible to get all your gear in the MotoTrekks for a hotel-to-hotel trip but if you are camping and cooking, you’ll probably need to add a top bag as well. When more space is needed, lash points are available to strap on auxiliary or fuel bags.

The roll-top closure is easy to use and it allows you to over- or under-stuff the bags depending on the number of rolls you use. A Velcro lining makes it simple to align the opening before you start rolling it closed, and four snaps ensure everything stays securely closed. Opening the bags isn’t as fast as popping open a lid on a hard pannier but they do open wide, giving you a good view of the contents inside.

The 500D Tarpaulin material is strong, so you can stuff them with heavy tools without worrying about busting a seam. Being a rack-mount system also gives them additional rigidity so they don’t flop around or get caught in a wheel. The heavy-duty body also offers good protection for the contents of your bags in a fall. We had a minor off-road crash and nothing more than a few light brush marks were visible, so we expect them to hold up well over time.

Giant Loop Mototrekk Panniers Adventure Motorcycle Luggage
The panniers are compact and stay out of the way for off-road riding. The perfectly sized for our Kawasaki Versys-X 300 test bike.

The mounting system has a little movement built into it, as a result you need to pull the tension straps tightly to get the four mounting hooks securely attached. The same horizontal straps are used to tension the contents of the bag and mounting hooks on the rack, which means there is a bit of fiddling required to make sure you are getting all four corners tight. Each time you open up the bag you need to loosen and retighten everything again.

Even when tightly secured, the bags still have a tendency to slide up and down on the rack rails a bit. Yet it was never enough movement to notice any shifting of weight. We found that making sure the vertical back strap was tight helped remove most of the slack out of the system. On occasion though, when riding in rough terrain, we noticed a mounting hook would come unlatched. The bags were never in danger of coming off though, and further tightening the tension straps seemed to alleviate the problem.

Arriving at camp or a hotel for the night, it’s pretty convenient to remove the bags from the bike by releasing the magnetic back strap and four anchor hooks. Then a top handle makes it easy to carry the bags to where you are sleeping for the night. Putting them back on in the morning is a lot less of a hassle than you typically have reinstalling a set of rackless soft bags in terms of fine tuning straps.

As far as waterproofing, we didn’t get a chance to ride with the MotoTrekks in the rain (rain is a rare commodity here in California), but we did give them a thorough dowsing with a hose and they proved to meet all claims. We also haven’t seen any hint of the seams coming apart after stuffing them to the max on several adventures.

Giant Loop Mototrekk Soft Bags Panniers Adventure Motorcycle
RF Welded seams and a roll-top closure keep everything completely dry inside the MotoTrekk bags.

We got a chance to test the MotoTrekk Panniers with a set of Giant Loop mounting plates as well, to see how that would improve convenience. Instead of mounting the bags to the pannier racks, you mount them to a set of flat backing plates. Then those backing plates can be clipped onto or unclipped from the rack system with the ease of a set of hard panniers. Better yet, they have a keyed lock mechanism that secures the plate to the pannier racks to ensure that thieves don’t remove your bags just as quickly.

The Mounting Plates made a big difference making the MotoTrekks operate more like a set of hard boxes and they weigh almost nothing – a big improvement in convenience over mounting them directly to pannier racks. And with less room to slide around, the MotoTrekks also attach even more securely to the mounting plates than they do a set of luggage racks.

Giant Loop Mototrekk Pannier Plates
With the optional Mounting Plates, the MotoTrekk panniers can be removed or installed on pannier racks in seconds.

Who Are They For?

The MotoTrekk Panniers keep it simple with no waterproof inner liners and an easy to manage mounting system. They are a nice set of bags for anyone wanting the benefits of compact soft luggage for off-road rides but don’t want to scratch up their bodywork or worry about clearance issues. Also, those who pack light, but want some of the convenience of hard boxes in terms of loading, mounting and unmounting ease.

Giant Loop Mototrekk Soft Bags Panniers Adventure Motorcycle

Our Verdict

At $339 the Giant Loop MotoTrekk Panniers are reasonably priced for a set of quality, waterproof and bombproof soft bags. We liked how simple they are to mount and it gets even easier when used with the GL Pannier Mounting plates. We did find it a little challenging to get the mounting system tightened up for rough terrain, but it got easier as our familiarity grew with the bags. Overall, the MotoTrekks are rugged enough to handle adventure rides well beyond the beaten path.

What We Liked

  • Waterproof without inner bags.
  • Bombproof construction.
  • Nicely sized for lightweight packers.
  • More convenient than rackless soft pannier systems.

What Could Be Improved

  • Develop mounting anchors that lock on more securely.
  • Remove some of the extra slack out of the mounting system.

MotoTrekk Panniers Specs:

CONSTRUCTION: 500D PVC tarpaulin body with RF welded seams
CAPACITY: 42 Liters (total for both bags)
DIMENSIONS: 12″ (5cm) top x 9″ (23cm) bottom x 15″ (38cm) all x 7″ (18cm) deep
WEIGHT: 6 pounds (2.7 kg)
MSRP: $339.00

Shopping Options

Rocky Mountain ATV/MC

Author: Rob Dabney
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